That added crunch!

A good dish is one that has many layers to it. Fat, flavor, and texture all come together to make a dish worthy of oooohhhhh's and aaahhhh's. Texture is a relatively new concept to me. Granted, I've always loved velvety ice cream or crunchy popcorn but in terms of my cooking, consciously adding this dimension only appeared in the last two years. Let it be known, my favorite texture is crunch. Is crunch even considered a texture? Let's call it a sensation. Much sexier! Give me crunch and lots of it. I stumbled upon my crunch predilection when a client asked me, "Do you have any smooth recipes?" "What do you mean, 'smooth' recipes?" I said. "You know, anything with a smooth consistency. I love creamy smooth things. I must just have a lazy mouth." After throwing every rice pudding and mashed potato recipe I could find at her (all delicious and healthy, let me add) I started to think about my own mouth. If there is one overactive part of my body it is definitely my huge mouth. That sucker has got me into more trouble than I care to admit. To this day I'm the only one of siblings to ever get slapped across the face. Why, you ask? For running my mouth! And my parents don't even believe in spanking! I digress.

In that moment with my client I realized I was the complete opposite. A life sustained on dishes consistent with baby food seemed painful and very boring. My hyperactive muncher needed crunch, bad! Later that night I gorged on popcorn, shoving my mouth full of salty goodness out of fear that my beloved sensation might vanish from my palate forever. Luckily I have since recovered and, in a more emotionally stable way, add crunch to almost every meal.

If you open my fridge at this very moment you will see glass jars filled with all types of nuts and seeds. For a bit of crunchy sensation, I throw a handful onto everything. Salad with tamari pumpkins seeds, sauteed kale with pine nuts, brown rice and slivered almonds, the combos are endless. They are also the PERFECT on-the-go snack. The crunch and fat together fills you up and creates a sense of satiety that keeps you content until the next meal.

Tamari Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

You can simply toast these but I think the tamari adds a rich saltiness. Tamari, a naturally fermented wheat-free soy sauce, can be found at your local health food store. Regular soy sauce is loaded with preservatives, MSG and other undesirables so stay away from it. And besides, tamari simply tastes better!

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tamari

In a medium sauté pan toast pumpkin seeds over low to medium heat until they begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir them every couple of minutes to prevent burning. Turn the heat very low and sprinkle tamari over the toasted seeds. Make sure most seeds receive a little tamari. Once the seeds are dry (the tamari dries very quickly), remove from heat and let sit. Eat as a delicious salty snack or sprinkle over everything!

Storage: Once cooled, store in a glass jar in the fridge or freezer. Will last a good 2 months. Enjoy!

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General, Recipesjamie