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VEGETABLES from the SEA - everyday cooking with sea greens
by Jill Gusman

Recipes to try:
Seared Shiitakes
> Pickled Kelp > Soba Salad

Vegetables from the Sea :
Everyday Cooking with Sea Greens

The incredible plants from the sea, often referred to as seaweed, has increased in popularity over the past several years due to the popularity of "super foods" in the mainstream. People wanting to feel and look better, lose weight, have more energy are finding this category of foods not quite as strange as before.

Markets everywhere carry packages of seaweed ready to eat as well as the familiar marinated seaweed salads. One can even find sweet treats to chips with these powerful plants as an added health benefit.

While these plants are gaining recognition now, they really are forgotton foods from the past. These ancient life forms, sea algae or seaweed, have virtually been lost by our modern world. With the macrobiotic and natural foods world expanding into the corporate chain sales of food, people are waking up the possibilities of how they will benefit from these miracle plants as well as eating real foods!

Power foods or nutrient dense foods are foods that provide essential nutrients by consuming small amounts on a regular basis. With the increasing mind set of "supersizing" foods, and "if it's good for me , then alot must be better", we must be conscious of too much of anything takes away from building health. Excess never supports health.

With twenty years of cooking and eating sea vegetables with great pleasure, it was not until I harvested these plants in northern California did I fall in love with them.

I frequently suggest to students who want to pursue cooking as a profession, to experience working in a garden for at least one growing season.

To make contact with the earth and the plants, to see directly the magic and mystery that supports our life on this planet. Likewise, to be up at low tide, with the moon on the horizon, the sky darkened still by the night, to smell the sea water and then to venture out into frigid waters awakened in me a connection to the past.

Ancient plants still on the planet, plants lush as a forest preferring cold, dark waters. Powerful plants anchored to the sea floor sway with the constant push and pull of the tides, resilient yet flexible in their growth cycle. These plants give endlessly as long as care is provided when cutting, to ensure next years harvest in the early spring.

Nutrient dense sea vegetables contain vitamin A, D, E, B1, B2, vitamin C, phosphorous, potassium ( this gives the plants it's salty flavor ), not the sodium as many suspect! Plenty of calcium, iron, iodine, fiber, sodium amd small amounts of protein.

Sea water is very close in chemical composition to the human body, just in diluted form. The regular consumption of these foods, in quantities that support your unique condition, can help stabilize blood sugar levels, cleanse the intestinal tract, purify and alkalize the blood, cleanse the lymphatic system, re-balance hormones and help bind and remove heavy metals from the system.Powerful gifts from nature.

Regardless of how long you may be cooking with these sea treasures, their are truelly endless ways to prepare them. Based on you taste preferences for either a milder flavor, wakame, agar, nori and arame or a bolder more demanding one like hiziki, kombu, sea lettuce, sea palm and dulse, you can create snacks, condiments entrees, salads, soups/stews, pickles and desserts. Some are delicious just lightly marinated, my favorite in the summer time!

Besides their versatility in food preparation, they add a unique color and texture unlike any other foods. I remember in a cooking class with Aveline Kushi many years ago, a student was repeatledly asking the very patient, soft spoken Aveline how many calories, what vitamins and minerals did a particular food have and what was it good for? Her simple, direct, honest answer is always with me. Aveline replied,
" if you eat with all the colors nature provides, you will have your needs met"

Try new ways to prepare your sea vegetables. They have been eaten for thousands of years by most sea cultures around the world, with the Asian population consuming the most. Some of the most delicious sea plants are harvested here in the United States, both the Northeast and Northwest by hand!!
Happy cooking adventures from my kitchen to yours.

Click Here to order Jill Gusman's new book

Jill currently teaches in the United States. The book, Vegetables From the Sea, everyday cooking with sea greens is her first book. A senior cooking instructor and lecturer at The Natural Gourmet Cookery School
in New York City, Jill travels and teaches at various health related institutions, and does radio interviews on health and sea vegetables. She can be contacted at

Seared Shiitakes
6 servings

1 bunch kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound shiitakes, stems removed, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari
3 sheets toasted nori, torn into 1-inch pieces


1. Cook kale in boiling water until bright green. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shiitakes and saute until soft and lightly browned on the edges. Add the boiled kale and combine all ingredients well.
3. Pour the tamari over the mixture, stir in the nori, remove from heat after moisture evaporates.


Pickled Kelp
8-10 servings.

1 ounce dried kelp
1/2 cup tamari
2 tablespoons umeboshi vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced


1. Rinse the kelp in cool water for 5 seconds. Cover with fresh cool water and soak for 10 minutes. Lift out and slice into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Set aside.

2. Pour tamari, vinegar and maple syrup into a glass jar. Stir well and add the shallot and garlic. Add the kelp and stir well. Let mixture sit at room temperature for one hour. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Pickles are ready.


Soba Salad
Makes 4 servings

8-ounce package soba noodles
1/2 cup lightly packed arame
2 teaspoons tamari
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar(see box, page 51) spoons,
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and salt.
2 teaspoons sea salt sprouts and scallions
4 cups bean sprouts,rinsed and drained
6 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1. In a large pot, boil 3 quarts of water, Add the noodles and cook until
the noodles are the same color inside and outside, 5 to 7 minutes.
Drain and rinse under warm water and place in a large serving bowl.

2. Rinse the arame in a bowl of cool water for 5 seconds and drain, Cover with water and soak for 7 minutes. Lift the arame out of the water with your hands and place it in a small bowl. Add the tamari and stir well to
coat the arame. Add to the noodles, mixing well with two large wooden

3. Whisk together in a small bowl the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard,Pour the dressing over the noodles, mixing well again. Add the and give the mixture a quick toss before serving,

Cooked small shrimp or steamed tofu may be added for a more robust salad.




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