Cooking with Wildish Flair
some musings on food and nourishment
by Marie Summerwood
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.
Some 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.
I 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.
ARAME 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 opinions
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
WIELDY 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, etc.
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!
2Good 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.