SOS Kitchen Challenge for October

Anyone who has read my blog through all four seasons  for at least a month  regularly  once knows that I really (really) hate the cold weather. And while autumn also heralds delicious root vegetables, warming spices, Thanksgiving and Halloween, to me it’s just the precursor to winter.  Bah! To help mitigate the chill this October, Kim of Affairs of Living and I present you with another Sweet or Savory Kitchen Challenge–this time, with a special twist.  So read on, learn about our latest key ingredient, and join in on the fun!

Now, you’ve most likely heard or read about at least one of the “superfood” seeds currently being touted all over the internet: flax, chia, hemp.  And while all three are wonderfully nutritious and offer all manner of health benefits, they sometimes overshadow the more common specimens that are equally healthy in their own right.  This month, we’re focusing on one of those better-known seeds:

SESAME!

Sesame seeds are inexpensive, delicious, packed with nutritional benefits–and available year-round. In other words, a perfect ingredient for our first SOS Challenge of autumn!

According to one of my favorite websites, World’s Healthiest Foods, sesame seeds (sesamum indicum) “may be the oldest condiment known to man dating back to as early as 1600 BC.”  One Assyrian myth, in fact, claims that the gods drank sesame wine right before they created the earth. They are also considered to be the first seed that was cultivated specifically for their unique taste and are the most cultivated seed at present. And who is not familiar with the common expression, “open sesame”? The term refers to the manner in which the seed pods burst open when the seeds are mature, and was introduced in the classic legend by Ali Baba in the Thousand and One Nights.  

These tiny, oval gems (available in a varietyof shades from beige to brown to red to black) are also a highly nutritious food, one that is a staple in most vegan households because of their high calcium content. Tahini (sesame paste) or nondairy milk made with sesame can add a valuable boost to your calcium intake.  In fact, sesame seeds offer up a good variety of other minerals, too: they’re considered a “very good” source of manganese and copper, plus a “good” source of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. In addition, they contain two types of lignans (sesamin and sesamolin), antioxidant-like substances known to help stave off all kinds of chronic illnesses, from high blood pressure to liver damage; and they can help lower cholesterol levels.

And they’re not just for hamburger buns any more! Sesame seeds lend themselves to all kinds of cooking.  Like many seeds and nuts, they can be lightly toasted to bring out their optimum flavor.  If ground to a paste, they produce tahini, a key ingredient in all kinds of Middle Eastern foods from hummus to falafel.  I also love using it in place of nut butters in much of my cooking, from sauces to desserts.  They’re also the key ingredient in one of my favorite seasonings, Japanese gomashio, which I sprinkled here.

It’s worth noting that our digestive tracts are unable to break down the outer hull on the seeds, so whole seeds will serve only as a source of insoluble (unabsorbed) fiber and will pass through your system intact.  To benefit from the sesame oil inside the seeds, they need to be cracked or ground.

Whole seeds can be stored at room temperature for several weeks; or freeze for longer storage periods.  Once the hull is cracked, however, the seeds must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.  An exception is sesame oil, which is incredibly stable and resists rancidity even over long periods of time and changes in temperature.

And now to make this month even more fun. . .

For the first time, October’s SOS event will feature a guest sponsor–and prizes! Our sponsor (sorry, BlogHer stipulates that I can’t write about them on my main page) is generously donating ELEVEN prizes!  That’s right: the first ten entries will each receive a  bag of organic sesame seeds, and one lucky (random) winner will win a $50 shopping spree to buy their own choice of healthy products.  To enter the giveaway, you’ll need to register before linking up below (see details here), or you can simply share a recipe as you always have before without registering.  The challenge will run until October 31st. (Please follow the usual SOS guidelines for recipe ingredients.) As always, at the end of the month we’ll post a roundup of all the recipes and showcase a few favorites. :D

Yep, autumn just keeps getting better and better. . .

Want to know more?  Details about how to use the seeds and how you can win one of the prizes are posted here.

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Comments

  1. I don’t know if I am cheating by sharing an old recipe… but it’s too good not to! Hopefully I’ll have a chance to come up with something new as well!

  2. this sounds like a great challenge – am already thinking through some ideas and hope to get something in this month – if the gods are kind to me!

  3. I know you say no old entries, Ricki, but I posted my Tofu Caprese Salad earlier in October, so I linked it up. I always love your choice of ingredients. Keep it up! :)

  4. Whooo!! It’s not cranberries! And it’s sesame! Awesome! I will either take a one day break from Halloweegan to participate in the sesame goodness or I will make some sort of Halloween themed sesame… something. And YAY for prizes! :D

  5. Yikes, I just found out that I’m allergic to sesame! It should still be interesting to see what people come up with though :)

  6. just submitted my recipe! I did want to let you and Kimm know I actually won a $50 giveaway from iherb recently (I think sometime in July), so it seems that I should abstain – I will leave final decision up to you and iherb (with regards to both teh sesame seed packet and the giveaway) but wanted to give you a heads up!

  7. OhMyGosh is this a great ingredient – I will be truly “challenged!”

  8. Sesame seeds, a fantastic choice for this month’s SOS Challenge ingredient. Sesame seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients and rightfully deserve to be an SOS featured ingredient!

  9. Woohoo! I finally did it! Managed to make something in time for the SOS kitchen challenge. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to My Kitchen, My World, featuring Japanese dishes this month, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Dil Se and to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame. [...]

  2. [...] on October 7, 2010 by Deanna It’s time for another Sweet or Savory Challenge! Ricki, from Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Kim from Affairs of Living have concocted another great challenge for all of us. This month, [...]

  3. [...] I’m hoping this is the start of a change, with my contribution to Ricki and Kim’s SOS Kitchen Challenge featuring sesame seeds.  Inspired by a somewhat similar recipe for a raw vegan ice cream I’m rather fond of, I [...]

  4. [...] is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame, and to My Kitchen, My World, featuring Japanese dishes this [...]

  5. [...] take it. This post also submitted to this month’s Sweet or Savory Challenge hosted by Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Affairs of [...]

  6. [...] I’ve entered these cashews in this month’s SOS Kitchen Challenge over at Ricki’s blog! Be sure to check out all the other great [...]

  7. [...] Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs  and Kim at Affairs of Living.  This recipe is submitted to the SOS Kitchen Challenge for October. Sesame seeds, a fantastic choice for this month’s SOS Challenge ingredient. Sesame seeds are a [...]

  8. [...] seeds turn brown when baked. Ah well. They still taste good. And, it’s yet another entry into Ricki and Kim’s October SOS Sesame Challenge. Meow! (I should be a black [...]

  9. [...] back’ than my first SOS Challenge entry =) This month’s ingredient was sesame seeds (click here for this month’s homepage). I decided to use some homemade tahini and whip up Tahini Bars with homemade chocolate [...]

  10. [...] cookies (not that I’m complaining! ) These here cookies are my contribution to this months SOS roundup using tahini. I loved the idea of using tahini in a peanut butter style cookie recipe and [...]

  11. [...] sesame-almond concoction is linked to the October edition of Sweet or Savory. The theme this month is sesame and I am so excited to be participating for the second month in a [...]

  12. [...] is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Dil [...]

  13. [...] Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs  and Kim at Affairs of Living.  This recipe is submitted to the SOS Kitchen Challenge for October. Sesame seeds are a fantastic choice for this month’s SOS Challenge ingredient. Sesame seeds [...]

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