My mind was blown last week at school. Why you ask? Seaweed, simply. Who knew!? What barely has a life outside of a sushi roll has a plethora of uses and can taste rapturously savory in all its salty glory. Like deep fried seaweed- potato chip of the ocean! Yum! Did you know we already eat seaweed in an everyday food like ice cream (carrageen). (ehem, ice cream is an everyday food for me.) Seaweed is a useful thickener and flavor enhancer as well as its own shining star.
Here are some of its health benefits:
– rich in minerals and vitamins
– helps metabolize insulin for diabetics
– breaks down fatty deposits
– cleanses the lymphatic system
– aides in digestive disorders
– detoxes the body of radiation and heavy metals (have miso soup after getting an x-ray)
With a month of culinary school down, one question that keeps popping up is: “Have you learned anything you didn’t know before?” Well, seaweed met that mark in opening my eyes to a whole new world of food that lives beneath the sea.
Have you seen the snack packs of Annie Chung’s roasted seaweed? It’s a great gateway seaweed, so pick one up next time you’re at the grocery.
Below are a couple of simple ways to use it at home. When you experiment with seaweed, know that some have a stronger flavor (like a salty sailor’s panties) and some are more mild (like a mermaid’s subtle seduction). Hijiki is the sailor and arame is like the mermaid. (whatever floats your boat!) Nori is what we all know and love; it is the green wrapper that surrounds your most beloved piece of sushi. Dulse is Irish and is middle of the road mild. Click here for some wiki seaweed info. Recipes below.
– 1/2 c Coconut Oil
– 15 Kombu Strips
Heat coconut oil over med/high heat. Dust off white saltiness from the outside of the kombu strips with a semi-damp towel. Make sure they are dry again. Place kombu strips in a few at a time, watch them balloon open and then remove quickly. Crunchy, salty goodness!
Agar-Agar Ahoy! Fruit Treats
– 2 Tbs Agar-Agar Flakes
– 2 c Juice (ie: apple, pomegranate, cranberry)
In a pot, mix the agar-agar flakes with the juice, be patient and wait about 10-15 mins until all the flakes are dissolved. Then slowly bring the mixture to a simmer for 5 mins. Pour into a small dish and chill. You’ll have a natural gelatin, and it’s way better for you than Cosby’s!
If you are feeling adventurous, you can try a can of Coconut Milk (13.5oz), the Juice of a Lime and 1/4 c Agave with the Agar-Agar. Follow the same procedures as above.
In Japan now, the use of seaweed in diets will help in detoxing people’s radiation exposure. For those of us in the US, care needs to be taken when choosing your brand of seaweed. For the time being, I would use our local, Atlantic harvested seaweed from Maine: The Maine Seaweed Company. The two women in the pic below from class are from Maine and highly recommend this family-run, sustainable company.
Sea how happy seaweed makes them!?