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Making Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

Gomasio

One of the beautiful things about the world of blogging is that we are in an atmosphere of sharing and learning. While some of my foodie counterparts are grain free, low carb and some are not, there is much to be learned all the way around when paying attention to other writers. Recently, I saw a post by the talented Julie Minten on her blog, Grano Salis, talking about home made gomasio. Hmmmm… I had no idea what gomasio was before that, not to mention that one could make it at home!

So that post of hers sparked an interest and I began investigating more about gomasio and why I might want to attempt to make a batch! It turns out that it is sesame salt, a condiment that is wonderfully flavorful while providing the health benefits of sesame seeds. It is an essential seasoning in macrobiotic diets, and allows one to use less salt while adding flavor.

I have a collection of mortars and pestles, but this is the largest and heaviest, which is perfect for this task.

According to an article by Harold Kulungian, gomasio has medicinal powers that include soothing digestion, adding energy, help in healing inflammatory disorders, and possibly even help with cancer and diabetes. He goes on to talk about how gomasio de-acidifies the blood which leads to more balanced health. His article also provides a recipe if you are interested in checking it out. One of the biggest keys is making sure to grind it by hand, not using a blender. He uses a suribachi (Japanese wooden, grooved mortar and pestle.) Gomasio is also featured in blogs that promote health and beauty, such as at Beauty is Wellness, where Jolene Hart talks about the health and beauty benefits of gomasio made with added seaweed.

After digging around, I was convinced that it would be worth the effort to make my own, and I also decided that I wanted to include some seaweed flakes in half of the batch. I have a nice amount of both white and black sesame seeds on hand as I picked some up recently at our bulk food store. I have sea salt as well as some earth salt that I wanted to include. While it did take awhile to crush by hand in the mortar and pestle, it is delicious and I know I will be keeping a supply on hand from now on! This is my own version, and it varies in salt content from some other recipes I found, but the salt I used seemed milder than usual, so I adjusted. (Scroll down past the images to see the entire recipe.)

Roasting the salts, getting all the moisture out in preparation for grinding with the mortar and pestle.

Toasting the sesame seeds to crisp them slightly and activate the oils. Do not over cook or burn, just get them to the point of crunching when squeezed.

Beginning to grind the sesame seeds and salt in my heavy mortar and pestle.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Finely chopping the seaweed sheets to add to a portion of the gomasio.

Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

  • 1 Tb sea salt (fine)
  • 1 Tb earth salt
  • 6 Tb white sesame seeds
  • 6 Tb black sesame seeds
  • 4 sheets (2″x3″) toasted seaweed (optional)
  1. Begin by roasting the salt over medium heat in a heavy skillet to remove moisture.
  2. Transfer to mortar and grind to a fine texture.
  3. Next, lower heat to medium/low and roast the sesame seeds, stirring frequently until they are lightly toasted and crunchy, but not dark.
  4. Carefully transfer to mortar with the salt and begin to grind in a gentle crushing motion to release the oils. Have patience, as grinding the seeds by hand will take some time. You may even want to consider this a sort of peaceful quiet or meditation time, just enjoying the process. It took me perhaps 20 minutes to get the consistency I desired, though you may prefer it finer.
  5. If you are not adding seaweed, you are done now, and can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I found conflicting opinions on whether the seasoning should be refrigerated or not; some said it spoiled in the fridge, others said the opposite. As I can tell already, I will be using this quickly enough that I am just storing it in the pantry with my other seasonings.
  6. If using seaweed sheets, you may want to toast them further in your same skillet, just be sure that they are dry and easy to chop.
  7. When toasted, transfer to a cutting board, and using a large, heavy knife, finely dice the sheets into small flakes and add to the gomasio. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Here, I have used gomasio on freshly sliced garden cucmbers. Delicious!

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Crunchy Hot Wings and Blue Cheese

OK, first things first… if you are a chicken purist, and think that parboiling is akin to software pirating, please discontinue reading and forget you were ever here!

On the other hand, if you don’t mind some kitchen short-cuts to yummy, crunchy wings, that aren’t deep fried, you are in luck! This is the wings method I have been using for several years, though I don’t recall quite where the idea came from. I vary the sauce depending on what we are craving, and what’s in the fridge, but this is a pretty basic mild hot-wings style I have going here. It’s reassuring that one of our faves does NOT have to be altered to be gluten-free! I am watching the carbs though, so I stayed away from the sweet sauce this time around.

First, the Blue Cheese Dressing: Again, I admit that I really don’t measure things that I make frequently. To make a small batch of dressing, I would use about 4oz softened cream cheese, 1/4C mayo (regular or light), a few tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola, freshly ground black pepper, and maybe a pinch of rice wine vinegar. Combine well, and refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors come together. Simple! If it is too thick when you remove it from the fridge, just add a little milk.

To make the Wings: Thaw chicken wing sections (if frozen) and cover with water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Next, line a cookie sheet with foil to make clean-up easier, and arrange wings. Broil on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turn over and finish broiling another 8-10 minutes until wings are crispy and cooked through.

Sauce: Meanwhile, whip up a sauce of your choosing to coat the wings. I used about 1/4 cup of Frank’s RedHot sauce, a few tablespoons of butter and a dash of Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing, heated in the microwave about 90 seconds, until the butter melts. (I have also used Asian marinades, BBQ sauce, minced garlic, fresh ginger, dried ginger, sesame oil, soy, hot pepper flakes, pretty much anything you enjoy.) Place the wings in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top; toss to coat.

Kitchen Tip: I usually serve with celery and sometimes carrot sticks. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I get just as excited about celery leaves as I do about the celery stalks! I always save the leaves and dry them so that I can add them to soups. I just put the leaves on a paper plate and rearrange them every so often to help them dry over the course of a couple days. I think I may be one of the only people who choose their celery by how many leaves they have!

 

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Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut! GF Walnut Butter

Walnut butter on apple slices is a great mid-day snack.

In researching the wheat-free and gluten-free way of eating, nut butters are frequently mentioned. I love the taste of nuts and the jolt of protein that they provide, but I have to be cautious when eating them because they can trigger flare-ups with IBS for me (sorry if that’s TMI, but this blog is written for health reasons!) Peanut butter is good, but gets boring pretty quickly, so I decided to try my hand at making Walnut butter. I was inspired by a visit to Nuts.com  (this is where I ordered my almond flour, which will hopefully arrive today!) and is a good source if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making it yourself, though I promise it’s easy-peasy!

Walnut Butter

  • 2 cups walnut halves, soaked overnight in water to reduce any bitterness
  • 1 TB organic honey
  • 1 TB walnut oil
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • ground cinnamon to taste

Rinse and drain the walnuts, and then roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 7 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Allow to cool completely. Using a food processor, blend the walnuts until they form a fine meal and begin to stick to the sides of the bowl. It is at this point that I added the honey and oil, and continue to process until the nuts become a bit of a paste, scraping the bowl occasionally. This will take several minutes altogether. Finally add the salt and cinnamon to taste and process to incorporate. Yields about 1 cup. Refrigerate.

I am sure that there are other methods that will result in a good nut butter, and in the future, I will try different variations. One that comes to mind is adding a dash of cayenne pepper and maybe chili powder for a spicy twist to the spread. I do adhere to a low carb diet, but I feel that adding sugars judiciously is within my personal guidelines, however if you prefer to get your carbs from another source, omit the honey. This recipe yields a butter that is not as smooth as commercial peanut butter, but is easily spreadable. Try it on apple slices, celery sticks and as an ingredient in place of peanut butter in some recipes.

 

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