Seaweed Oh! Seaweed
At Grant Junior High School, we had an annual science fair.
I loved science and gave talks every year because I enjoyed
getting up in front of people. One year I gave a science talk
on X-Ray and its inventor Wilhelm Roentgen. My father's job
was in x-ray and he helped me by developing various films
to illustrate the points I was making. Another year I gave
a talk on chromatography. I recall using lemon extract mixed
with food colorings. The round thick test paper absorbed the
mixture up its wick, and separated it into ring after beautiful
ring of all the colors present. A few colors showed up only
under ultraviolet light.
students did projects instead of talks and the gym was filled
every year with demos and displays on various topics. In eighth
grade I remember one display done by a girl I knew, Judith
H. It was about "new" discoveries of uses for seaweed.
This was the early 60's, so it was a topic new to most people.
Judith had pictures and information on seaweed uses in Food
(a plate of cookies there, untouched), in Cosmetics, Agriculture,
the list went on and on.
As I recall, her project didn't win, but I'll never forget
being completely disgusted and appalled by the thought of
eating or using seaweed at all. Spare me, as we used to say
in eighth grade. Mind you, I had never been at the ocean,
and it was probably lakeweed that informed my opinions, that
and the TV show "Sea Hunt" I saw seaweed as mysterious,
dangerous, weird. Nothing I'd ever want to eat. Spare me.
Today some of my favorite culinary delights are made with
sea vegetables; sea palm fronds, arame, kelp, nori, hiziki,
dulse, wakame, kombu and on and on. They each offer a different
taste, just like land vegetables. They all offer generous,
abundant good quality mineral salts. I can only think they
are more bio-available to us than supplements, since we evolved
with plants, not pills. When I get enough money, I may fund
a study for that one.
began using sea vegetables when I studied macrobiotics and
liked them right away. As a salt lover, if I'm honest, I must
admit that macrobiotics allowed me to put enough tamari on
them so they tasted great. Since then, however, I have come
to appreciate the various tastes and personalities without
so much tamari and to realize that they actually satisfy a
deep craving for minerals.
As a child I loved to eat dirt and pieces of chalk from the
school blackboard were a favorite treat. I craved salt, would
lick it from my palm. I ate French clay once for quitting
smoking and avidly looked forward each day to that 1/8 tsp.
of clay in water. Seaweed is that kind of taste, a satisfying
earth flavor that lasts. We must be genetically evolved to
like the taste of salt, since it is essential for life.
Commercial salt is refined and only sodium chloride (NaCl)
gets the name of "salt" in our inferior nutritional
training. The flavor of sodium chloride is enough to temporarily
satisfy our taste buds but it is not the full panoply of mineral
salts and soon we want more salt!!
Seaweed is an efficient, delicious way to take in high quality
nutrition. Polluted waters are a concern, so choose your vendor
well. During my macrobiotic days I loved arame best, but now
it's a toss up among sea palm fronds and so many others. Here
are some simple recipes to inspire your own cooking.
DRESSED UP serves 4
2 large handfuls dried arame 1 medium onion,diced
l c fresh burdock root,diced 2 large carrots, diced 1/2 c
unhulled sesame seeds 1-2 TB olive oil or butter 2 TB tamari
or to taste water to soak and cook 1 c grated raw daikon
Soak arame in abundant water as it will expand at least twofold.
In the summer you can soak it for an hour and eat it. Always
lift it out of the soaking water, leaving any sand in the
bottom of the bowl. It is a cooling food, so in the winter
you can soak it 20 minutes then cook it uncovered in fresh
water for 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a dry cast iron skillet, roast the sesame seeds over medium
heat. Stir or shake pan attentively until the seeds become
fragrant. If they crackle and pop more than gently, the heat
is too high.
Heat the oil or butter and saute the onions until they
are translucent. Add the carrot and burdock and saute 5 minutes
or so until the vegs are cooked. Add the arame, daikon and
tamari and cover, steaming until it's all hot together. Sprinkle
on the sesame seeds just before serving.
SEA-MISO SOUP serves 4-6
1 medium onion, chopped 4 TB olive oil
1/2 c chopped daikon 1/2 c chppd mushrooms
2 c chopped bok choy 12" wakame or alaria
l handful nereocyctis other seaweed of
kelp frond pieces your choice*2
2/3 tsp good salt 8 c hot water
parsley/watercress garnish your choice of miso
Soak wakame 15 minutes. Drain and cut into small pieces.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pan or skillet. Add onion and saute
until translucent. Add mushroom and saute until it softens
and releases its liquid; add bok choy and daikon and saute
2 or 3 minutes to coat them with oil and get them hot. Now
add the seaweeds and stir for a minute for the same reason
(add a little more oil if you need it). Add the salt and water,
cover, bring to boil and simmer gently 20 minutes or until
everything is cooked. Start with 3 TB miso in a cup, add a
little water to make a paste, then add to soup. More to taste.
Garnish and serve
*If your chosen seaweed needs to cook longer, cook it ahead
and add just before the miso.
FAJITOIDS serves 4 or 5 good eaters
2 handfuls sea palm fronds 1 large onion, diced
4-5 TB olive oil 3 TB tamari or to taste
8-10 tortillas, wheat or corn 1 c fresh cilantro
2 c grated cheese or yogurt
6 c of (1/2") diced vegetables, any of the following,
depending on season: summer squash, portabello or other mushroom,
green or red pepper, celery, carrot, cabbage, kale, bok choy,
Soak the sea palm fronds about 20 minutes, then simmer 45
minutes. Chop into pieces about 1/2" long and set aside.
Use the cooking water for soup stock . Heat oil in a cast
iron skillet and saute the onions until they are translucent.
You'll need a little more oil than usual to maintain the heat
to cook the vegs. Add the other vegetables and saute until
almost done. Add the cooked sea palm fronds and the tamari
and cook until mixed thoroughly and hot. Chop the cilantro
fine, stir it in, spoon mixture generously into tortillas,
add grated cheese (or plain yogurt) and eat immediately. Great
with your favorite salsa. Savor that seaweed!
HIZIKI COOKIES oven 350º
1 c cooked chopped hiziki 3 c cooked brown rice
3/4 c roasted rice or ww flour 3 TB tamari or to taste
1/2 c roasted sunflower seeds water
1 TB olive oil + oil for baking sheet
Mix together above ingredients, using enough flour and water
to make a fairly dry dough. Form into golfball sie. Oil cookie
sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten balls to 1/2".
Bake 20 minutes, turn cookes and bake 20 minutes on the other
side. Let cool some before you eat.
1. two good sources for sea vegetables:
Carla Jo Laramore Waldron Island WA 98297
NO TELEPHONE fabulous kelp and other sea vegs
Mendocino Sea Vegetables PO Box 1265
Mendocino CA 95460 (707) 937-2050
wonderful choice of many delicious sea vegs
including sea palm fronds, and a cookbook!
2. Good salt is not bright white, it is dark white, can
have pink or brown or other color flecks, lots of them. It
can come from sea water or land deposits (old oceans). It
should cost $4.00/lb. It's worth it.
Summerwood, Wise Woman Center cook, has been a lover
of food and nourishment for many years. She taught macrobiotic
cooking for 10 years, then found cooking with weeds (at Weed's)
to be a natural next step. Cooking in the Wise Woman Tradition
uses any food, any technique needed for the right nourishment
of the moment. It is a sacred recognition of the cycles of
our lives, and the will to bring to it what will best nourish.
Marie recognizes that one of the deepest spirals of life begins
in the kitchen. Read about Marie's love for her magnificent
cooking at the Wise Woman Center. Learn more about
her fabulous CD
Women's Sacred Chants.
Wise Woman Center -- Workshops
Join us this year for spirit healing and herbal
medicine workshops, intensives,
with Susun Weed and other Wise
Woman teachers. The Wise Woman Center in Woodstock NY
exists to re-weave the healing cloak of the Ancients. This
land, this sacred sanctuary for women is a place for the teachings
of the Wise Woman way. The Goddess lives here, as do goats,
fairies, green witches, and elders. Located between Woodstock
and Saugerties, 5 miles from the NYS Thruway, the Wise Woman
Center is easily accessible while private enough for nude
swimming. You'll receive a map and directions when you register.
Nourishing wild-food vegetarian meals are included with all
See the Calendar
of Events & Workshop schedule (and to register) for this
year, click here.