Menu: Weeks One through Three:
Featured ingredient: Sesame (Sesamum indium)
Sesame is thought to be oldest oilseed crop in the world — it has been under human cultivation for at least 5,000 years. Its nutritive & medicinal values are vast & varied — proteins, fats, antioxidants, minerals; resiliency, potency, toothaches, skin care, & more. The seeds & oil are incredibly stable, due to the high levels of anti-oxidants — & the protein content is about 25% by weight. It rocks growing in weather like we’ve been having — hot hot hot — it’s known to succeed through incredible droughts where many other crops might fail or not grow at all. Sesame is a resilience crop for humanity. It grows at the edge of deserts. It has wild ancestors in Sub-Saharan Africa, & is thought to have been brought under cultivation in India. So, in the food-is-medicine spirit of the earth, we eat sesame to coax our roots to grow deeper, feel the heat of its origins, & to sustain us in even the harshest conditions.
Gomasio: This is a Japanese condiment made from toasted sesame seeds, blended with sea salt & seaweed. It is rich with sea minerals, complete salts, & all that sesame contains. Use it wherever added-salt might be called for — popcorn, soups, toast, etc. — to add richness, depth of flavor, & increased nutritive value.
Sesame Hummus: Hummus is a shared word between Arabic & Hebrew that names the garbanzo bean. Hummus in many forms & guises will be gracing the CSK menu throughout the season. Last week’s sesame hummus contained sesame in three forms — in seeds, in paste (tahini), & in oil. I hope you enjoyed.
Sunflower Za’tar: Za’tar is a spice-mixture — & a staple in the diet of peoples across the Eastern Mediterranean. Most classically eaten adorning pita bread, or simply floating in olive oil (for dipping), it generally contains sesame seeds, a green desert herb (called za’tar or thyme or..), & sumac — a lemony spice that adds its red color & sour flavor to the mix. This version uses thyme & is cut with ground sunflower seeds to add richness & body — such that it even may be spooned straight from the jar.
Greens Hummus: This is one of my favorite hummus variations. Instead of raw garlic, the garlic is first sautéed in a panful of hearty greens (swiss chard, here). I hope you enjoy it as mush as i do.
Red Lentil Daal: ‘Daal’ comes from a Sanskrit root word (the ancient language of the yogis & Hindis) meaning ‘to split’. It refers to process of splitting pulses in the drying process before turning them, typically, into hearty vegetarian stews. This dish is a staple of my diet, & a versatile vehicle to carry myriad flavors. Spices, herbs & vegetables are infused into oil or ghee — here coconut oil — before being added to simply-prepared, turmeric-steeped lentils & sea salt.
Sesame, Carob, Mint, Rose, & Honey. A deep ‘welcome’ from my plant- & family-ancestries (the Mints & the Roses), sweetened by the bees, & rooted in the traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean.