Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wakame what?

When I am busy in my kitchen preparing food, my dogs have learned to hover near my feet.  My somewhat sloppy knife technique often results in bits of carrot, potato, apple, etc being flung to the floor, where it is immediately snorfed up by one of the two pugs after a spirited tussle.  Sometimes the pugs find the tidbit rewarding, other times it's an onion.

Today was no exception.  I was working at the counter, pugs wedged between my ankles and the cabinetry.  The experiment was wakame, a sea vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine.  I decided to give it a try since it is a good source of iodine, calcium, niacin, and other vitamins.  While preparing wakame salad with cucumber and carrots, a bowl transfer led to some spillage of the rehydrated wakame onto the floor.  Francie turned up her nose, but Crosley gobbled it right up.  Fifteen minutes later he was puking.

Interesting, possibly foreboding.

Wakame, or Undaria pinnatifida, is an edible brown sea algae.  It is considered an invasive species (most recently invading SF Bay) and can pick up toxins from polluted water, so it is important to choose wakame from a reputable source.  Recommended by multiple sources: Eden and Maine Coast Sea Vegetables (which is actually alaria, a similar algae).  It's usually sold dried in strips or flakes, and typically soaked in warm water to rehydrate before adding to a dish.  Although I did read the flakes can be added to scrambled eggs, pizza, baked potatoes, and cooked grains.

So how did it taste?  While it did not make me vomit, I can't say as it is my favorite.  It was slightly rubbery and smelled really fishy, something I associate with seafood gone bad.  Maybe it is my lack of experience with this vegetable that made something in the preparation go awry.  I will have to research some other uses.  I have half a package left so I need to find some use for it.  Hopefully more enjoyable than the salad I am totally passing on to my mom ("I thought you might like it, it's different")

The other thing I learned about during my wakame experiment was gomashio seasoning.  This is a combination of sea salt and sesame seeds.  Delicious!  I think I will find more uses for this than the wakame.
The finished product

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