BLOG: My list of summer delights is better than ice cream!

By Assunta Ng

What really cools you down during a hot day? It doesn’t have to be a cold beer or ice cream. Psychologically, beer and ice cream might give you the impression that they lower your body temperature. In reality, it’s just the opposite. Ice cream will actually increase your body temperature and beer will dehydrate you.

My special shrimp watermelon salad I make for meals. (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

This is a compilation of my favorites:

1. Watermelon

I used to hate watermelon when I was a kid—too many seeds, they were too big, and hard to cut–the skin was too thick—and it was hard to find the sweet ones. And you were never able to find them during the winter.

The new watermelon has everything I ask for—sweet, seedless, small, and it has the thin white skin. Now, I couldn’t survive during summer without this fruit. Credit our modern farmers for doing such a splendid job in revolutionizing the whole fruit.  We are blessed to live in this age–we can buy watermelon in Seattle, all year round. And, as a bonus, watermelon contains about 6% sugar and 91% water by weight and is a huge source of vitamin C. Watermelon is also on the list of anti-aging foods. Wow!

Mustard green, tofu, and salted egg soup. (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

2. Soups

Chinese mustard green, salty egg, pork, tofu soup…

When you don’t have much appetite to eat during the summer, try different kinds of soup. The first one on my list is Chinese mustard greens boiled with salty egg, pork, and tofu. It boosts your appetite. It also quickly cools you down during the evenings while you sleep.

3. Miso soup

According to Japan’s National Cancer Centre, “Eating three or more bowls of miso soup every day could cut women’s risk of developing breast cancer.”Awesome! Miso paste is also a good source of fiber and minerals, despite being heavy on salt.

If you don’t have time to prepare fancy soups, just buy the instant kind. There are several kinds to choose from. I like to buy the miso paste individually wrapped at Uwajimaya.

Rainier cherries and tomatoes.

4. Rainier cherries

Washington is home of Rainier cherries, those beautiful pink and white ones. I wouldn’t eat the blood-red cherries, they are too sweet for me. I prefer the Rainier cherries—they have the right amount of sweetness and juiciness. They are still in the market, so get some before the season is over.

Mini bananas. These are smaller than they look! (Photo by Assunta Ng/NWAW)

5. Mini bananas

Bananas come in all sizes. I like mini bananas from Central America. You can get them from Lam’s Seafood.
Bananas might not appeal to everyone’s taste because they can be quite bland. Mini bananas are much sweeter than the big ones. Two years ago, bananas were not on my food list. Once I learned about their nutritious value, I wouldn’t let go. They are rich in vitamin B6 and C, manganese, potassium, and other minerals. They also contain prebiotics. Just in case…if you have regular constipation…banana is your friend.

6. Apple salad

“An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” still applies. But I can’t eat one every day. Apples are getting to be so big that consuming one will fill me up like a huge meal. So George and I make apple salad with avocados and other goodies as part of our dinner. My son John does a nice job of chopping the apples into fine pieces—helps with digestion!

7. Tomatoes

You can buy tomatoes during all four seasons. But summer tomatoes produce multiple colors and have a much better taste. I usually go to Asian grocery stores and try the small kinds. It’s refreshing to eat tomatoes as snacks. Whether it’s heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, any type of tomato is beneficial to your health.

8. Cold noodles

How do you make your cold noodles delicious? It’s the sauce. You can buy all kinds of sauce in Asian grocery stores. My favorite is peanut sauce. When I have peanut butter in my fridge, I can easily blend my own peanut sauce with garlic powder, ginger powder, hot sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce.

9. Cold chicken

And yes, my peanut sauce would go well with cold chicken, too. The difference between my cold chicken is that I use dark meat instead of white meat. However, my peanut sauce works well with both dark and white meat. Just make sure your chicken isn’t overcooked. Then make sure you cool it in the fridge for a while before you serve.

10. Hot dogs

I spare the bun, onion, pickles, or tomatoes for my hot dog, I just want the “dog.” No need to grill the “dog” either, a little pan-frying in my kitchen does wonders for the meat. Instantly, I feel satisfied and content with only a few bites.

Readers would probably accuse me of advocating junk food. I am allowed to be bad—especially on a hot summer day. I polled my staff on what they like to eat during these hot summer days. One said sushi, another said grass jelly, and yes, there was a vote for bubble tea—all great suggestions for treats during this warm weather. It’s fun to experiment when it comes to food. You might be surprised by what you discover. (end)

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