Saturday, March 11, 2006

Seaweed and More Bread in My Life

I spent the weekend of March 4th and 5th at a Seaweed Convivium. I do realize that seaweed is a foreign substance for most people who think that it ought to stay in the ocean from whence it came. But I have harvested it before on the very clean Sonoma coast and I wanted to learn more -- about it's nutritional and possible therapuetic effects, and how to use it in cooking. And that's what I did.

The evemt was held at a Grange Hall in Anderson Valley, just north of Boonville and south of Philo, here in California. I learned about the grange and that this is the only solar-powered grange around. There are also lots of old hippies in the area and it's quite amazing that the event even took place considering who was doing the organizing. But despite some timing issues on Day 1, the event was a success -- at least for me.

I learned that everyone probably needs to eat more seaweed more often, except for me on that Saturday when I discovered just how much fiber seaweed contains. I think that I ate a tad more than my body ws used to. I didn't get sick but let's just say that I made an extra trip to the bathroom that evening.

I also learned that seaweed can help all of us with the unknown effects of radiation from all the electronic equipment that we use and are exposed to, plus the small daily outputs from nuclear reactors around the world. My goal now is to see how I can eat my 5 grams of seaweed each day. This is about one-sixth of an ounce. Seaweed shrinks down by 5 to 20 times from fresh to dried and then swells up again in your body. The easiest way for me to eat seaweed is to snack on it in the form of Sea Palm which are also sometimes known as Sea Crunchies. They are native to my area.

On Sunday we were treated to 5 cooking demonstrations by some great cooks and chefs. Cherie Soria from Living Light Natural Foods cooking school in Fort Bragg. It's all raw and the food was tasty but it was a chilly rainy day so I found the cooked, warm food much more pleasing. We were treated to Seaweed and Edamame Gnocchi with creamy Oyster Mushroom Sauce from Eric Tucker from Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, Celery Root and Asian Pear Soup with Baby Nori Flan from James Romero from The Sea Ranch Lodge on our coast, Daikon Involatini from Renee Rohrig an awesome chef from Google (where they have free reign to buy ingredients and create wonderful meals) and last was Barry Horton from The Stanford Inn in Mendocino with his signature dish of Sea Palm Strudel with 2 sauces - Wasabi and Raspberry. I left sated, if not full.

I hope to arrange some kind of cooking demo or workshop at The Stanford Inn this fall so if this is of interest to you, please let me know.

About the bread -- I ended the week with 6 loaves more than I started with. I got 4 wonderfully hearty loaves from Grindstone Bakery in Santa Rosa and 2 from Bruce Bread of Mendocino. Both exchanges happend in the parking lot of Community Market in Santa Rosa where I shop regularly. Now I know why I continue to go back -- I can always use more bread.

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