The light changes dramatically here in Warwick in the very early spring. Right around the time we change the clocks, the angle of sun makes everything glow with the promise of long, soft days and warmer nights. This year, we have a deep, sparkling blanket of snow from last week’s blizzard; it feels a little peculiar to have sunlight for a walk after supper when the landscape looks so wintry.
The snow pack has given us a chance to get out into the woods on our cross country skis. It’s a terrific workout followed by a cup Totally Luxurious Comforting Hot Chocolate and a slice of toasted Mindfulness Bread with almond butter in front of the fire.
It’s time for some food that feels springy, even as the grill is still buried and are toes are as yet too cold for salad suppers. One of my Instagram followers asked me for the recipe for my homemade gomasio, and thinking about that budding mind a direction; I love that sort of inspiration.
I have my Instagram friends, especially Jill @feedtheswimmers, to thank for the gomasio idea; I’ve been making my own because I’m such a committed diy-er. But Nancy, @urbankitchenapothecary, specializes in the stuff and I’d encourage you to check out her feed and her website for extra inspo and purchasing options.
Gomasio, or gomashio, is a Japanese condiment consisting of ground toasted sesame seeds and salt. Sometimes herbs and/or pepper are added. My version uses both black and white seeds, but you may use either. Unhulled seeds are traditional. I buy organic seeds and encourage you to do the same.
This recipe will give you a taste of this lovely condiment. And I’m sure you’ll think of many other uses. Here are some to get you started:
Top raw veggies, like carrots and cucumbers
Top a salad
Sprinkle on scrambled, hard-cooked or fried eggs
Top a chili or soup
Sprinkle on homemade crackers
In a grilled cheese sandwich
Garnish a stir fry
Sprinkle on bread dough before baking
Perfect crust for a roasted piece of salmon or chicken
Top a fruit salad
Top ice cream (I know, you’d be surprised)
Spring Gomasio Veggie Tofu Pan Roast
Makes a little more than a cup.
½ cup white sesame seeds
½ cup black sesame seeds
1 tbs. coarse sea salt
Toast the seed in a dry skillet until the white seeds just begin to color and the mixture is fragrant. Mix in the salt. Grind in a mortar and pestle or mini food processor until most of the seeds are broken up. I hold out a few tablespoons to leave whole just because it’s prettier.
The cornstarch helps form a nice crust. Skip it if you don’t want the carbs.
Extra firm tofu
Drizzle of walnut or olive oil
Sprinkle of soy sauce
optional: a bit of cornstarch and/or honey
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Press the tofu between two towel-lined plates for 15 minutes or so. Cut into sticks or cubes. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch (if using). Toss very gently. Sprinkle on the gomasio. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tofu pieces are browned and crispy. Cool for a few minutes to let them firm up before you try to move them to a plate.
I’ll list the veg I used here, but feel free to substitute your favorites.
Purple and green cabbage, cut into wedges
Purple cauliflower, cut into wedges
Purple carrots, sliced
Purple potatoes, cut into wedges
Purple onions, cut into wedges
Frozen artichoke hearts
Line baking sheets with parchment. Toss the veggies with a bit of your favorite oil, salt, and pepper. Lay them in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until each veg is tender. You may need to remove the quicker cooking ones (like asparagus) as they are done. Sprinkle with gomasio.