Monday, March 18, 2013

Nori-Nettle Gomasio

Years ago, when I lived in California, I used to hit up the farmers markets at least twice a week.  The Bay Area was a food lovers paradise.. the growing season gave you tender lettuces in February, tomatoes in March and basil in January.  In addition to the variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from year round, there was always a handful of locals selling homemade goods ranging from kombucha to goat cheese, to kimchi.  At the tail end of the market was an older woman sporting dreadlocks and a smile that was contagious. She harvested her own seaweed and sold an amazing gomasio.

Gomasio is a Japanese condiment consisting of unhulled sesame seeds and sea salt. It's great sprinkled over a salad or rice or over steamed vegetables, basically anywere you want a bit of salt and crunch.  The woman at the farmers market (she had some hippy name like Rainbow or Moonbeam or something), took a basic gomasio recipe and added dried nettles and nori and sold it in little baggies for like, five bucks.  I quickly became addicted to the stuff, not only because it was delicious, but I knew that everytime I sprinkled a little of her magic fairy dust on my quinoa and steamed greens I was doing my body a big favor in the health department.

Sesame seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, B vitamins and fiber.  Nori (a dried seaweed) is also rich in B vitamins as well as vitamin A and E and contains more vitamin C than oranges. It is rich in iodine, a trace mineral that stimulates the thyroid to produce hormones required for metabolism and keeps hair, nails and skin looking their finest! Nettles are one of those "super herbs" used to treat anything and everything. It's a slow acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes. It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes through the kidneys.  It is rich in iron, vitamin C and calcium, making it a great herb for women to prevent anemia and keep bones strong without the use of dairy products. It is commonly used for people that suffer from seasonal allergies, can help alleviate joint and muscle pain, increases circulation and purifies the blood.

... Not to bad for a simple condiment.

Nori Nettle Gomasio

3 sheets nori
6 T. unhulled sesame seeds
1 T. black sesame seeds (opt)
3 T. dried nettles
1/2 t. sea salt

Cut nori into small pieces.  Place in a spice grinder and pulse a couple times to break it down.  Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, except the salt.  Working in batches, transfer to the mixture to the spice grinder and pulse until the nori and nettles are powdery and the sesame seeds are broken down a bit ( I did mine in two batches). Place in a bowl and stir in salt.  Store in an airtight container.

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