Super Natural Black Sesame Otsu

Heart Center

quiet cat-like tread
lightly in the darkened room
roll out mats and
smooth cloth to flatten

rest and peace
enter together
in the room’s dark
warmth embracing

let child’s pose stay
bend in supplication
clear your mind
clear your heart

focus… breathe
in….out
release all thoughts,
be here now

gently shift, move
and lift into
Cobra
then downward dog

 slowly
ever so slowly
lower to plank… hold… hold
then release and move…

back to cobra
downward dog
swiftly your feet move
to strong warrior

face trepidation
hold your own gaze
posture erect and strong,
unyielding, fixed

then turn
lift your hands
and your gaze
to the sun.. triangle

pure release
bring hands to

Heart Center
Sun Salutation

fill your mind
compose your heart
breathe and be still
be here now

Namaste 

Few activities give as great as pleasure as meditation through yoga… hot yoga (if you dare!) It can be an epiphany… if you allow it… where body, heart, and mind coexist together in synchronicity. Then “whoosh” cool, fresh air enters as you leave the room refreshed, engaged and ready to take on another day…

To keep this feeling of “reverence” alive, try to feed your body nourishment that suggests balance in a natural state. Become renewed for everything life showers your way…

Black Sesame Otsu

Super Natural Black Sesame Otsu

51

Super Natural Black Sesame Otsu

Ingredients

1 teaspoon pine nuts

1 teaspoon sunflower seeds

1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g black sesame seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons mirin

Scant 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Fine-grain sea salt

12 ounces / 340 g soba noodles

12 ounces / 340 g extra-firm tofu

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Instructions

Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast for a minute or so. It’s hard to tell when they are toasted; look closely and use your nose. Remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of toasted sesame; if you let them go much beyond that, you’ll start smelling burned sesame – not good. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the mixture; the texture should be like black sand. Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Stir in the sugar, shoyu, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add the soba, and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, reserving some of the noodle cooking water, and rinse under cold running water.

While the noodles are cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut into matchstick shapes. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, toss with a small amount of oil, and cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, tossing every couple of minutes, until the pieces are browned on all sides.

Reserve a heaping tablespoon of the sesame paste, then thin the rest with 1/3 cup / 80 ml of the hot noodle water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, half of the green onions, and the black sesame paste. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of the reserved sesame paste and the remaining green onions.

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

http://justasmidgen.com/2012/01/19/super-natural-black-sesame-otsu/

  • thecompletecookbook - January 19, 2012 - 1:15 am

    I haven’t done yoga for over a year now! Think I would snap in half if I tried – will have to ease myself into it again…. I love the look of your dish Smidge!
    :-) MandyReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 2:52 pm

      Hahaha, easing into anything new is always my preferred style:) especially with yoga!

      ReplyCancel

  • Misk Cooks - January 19, 2012 - 1:29 am

    Inspirational piece. I bought a DVD with beginner lessons but I find some it very stressful on my knees. My right knee is always a problem,particularly during winter months. :( ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 2:54 pm

      I have terrible knees.. I always ask the instructor to modify.. In my “boot camp class” today we were supposed to jump up on a bench.. I just laughed.. Sadly I think my “jumping up” days are few and far between!! We lowered it and I could do a few:) xo Smidge

      ReplyCancel

  • hotlyspiced - January 19, 2012 - 2:05 am

    I am so inflexible I’m sure I would be rejected from any yoga class. But that noodle dish is something I could definitely try. Very delicious flavours there.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:03 pm

      Hahaha, no rejection allowed in yoga (thank goodness for that!) I love that spirit of friendship and support there… Everyone just does there own thing:)

      ReplyCancel

  • niasunset - January 19, 2012 - 2:18 am

    WOW! This was so interesting, I loved it dear Barbara and I have just learned this one. Thank you, with my love, niaReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:03 pm

      Thank you nia, it was so delicious.. I actually made it a while back and am craving it today… Now that I see the photos again:) xo Smidge

      ReplyCancel

  • Bam's Kitchen - January 19, 2012 - 3:25 am

    I love Japanese foods as my mind reminisces about when our family lived in Yokohama. Your flavors so simple and fresh. Your poems get more beautiful each day. BAMReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:04 pm

      I think that’s what I love most about your blog posts.. The unique flavors and combinations of them… Thanks!!

      ReplyCancel

  • ChgoJohn - January 19, 2012 - 6:16 am

    You never cease to amaze, Smidge! You start out by describing — or was it an invitation — your yoga exercises. From there, it’s a trip into the kitchen to prepare a Japanese dish that is both healthy and hearty (not an easy thing to accomplish). Great post!ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:04 pm

      Well thank you, John! I think you’ve been up to something as well, so I’m heading over to read your blog:) Hope you’re having a wonderful day today!

      ReplyCancel

  • tastydesu - January 19, 2012 - 7:23 am

    What a truly beautiful and inspirational post! I’ve never thought of using black sesame seeds in this way, but now I want to try it ASAP! Looks delicious and healthy!ReplyCancel

  • Christina - January 19, 2012 - 7:40 am

    I actually just finished doing yoga! I love the way I feel when I am done, but would you believe that I have never done hot yoga? I love this Otsu recipe…so healthy and I bet it tastes delicious! :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:06 pm

      Well, isn’t that a neat coincidence?! Now your day is off to a good start. Hot yoga is perfect here in the (brrr) winter!

      ReplyCancel

  • Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - January 19, 2012 - 7:46 am

    That looks so intriguing! What a cool recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Just Add Attitude - January 19, 2012 - 9:07 am

    Since I got back from my retreat I have been looking for healthy recipes; this one fits the bill so I am going to make it at the weekend. Thanks for sharing.;)ReplyCancel

  • spree - January 19, 2012 - 9:10 am

    Loved your salutation to the sun! I love soba noodles, and Smidge, I love what you’ve done with them. A beauful post, altogether. (now, off to yoga!)ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 3:07 pm

      I love that part too… Hands at heart center… Feels so calming, doesn’t it?

      ReplyCancel

  • kathryningrid - January 19, 2012 - 11:29 am

    Another delicious recipe; I’ve never used my black sesame seeds for anything other than a simple add-in, but now will look at them differently! (Not that I don’t enjoy them “straight up” too.) I would think this “pesto” would work beautifully with the nutty taste of buckwheat soba as well.

    Bikram yoga is intense!! I did it for a couple of months, years ago, with R (who loves it and wants to find some place closer to us where he can study Bikram again), and was done in by it. But then, I was on the verge of meltdown at the time (pre-medication!) and probably wouldn’t have the same exaggerated struggles with its discipline now. All the same, I loved the meditative aspect of yoga a great deal, so *I’m* thinking of finding another kind of yoga class that I can take now, at least as a re-beginner. That mindfulness and careful movement appeals to me very much, sans the intense heat of Bikram (which I’ll be able to practice outdoors here soon enough ;) ).ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 2:46 pm

      I’ve only been in hot yoga at three centers here in town and found the temperature range varied widely, as did the skill of the instructor and the level of intensity of the moves. Although what I love about yoga is the absolutely non-competitive aspect of it.. I assume “child’s pose” quite regularly throughout the class… Sometimes at the gym too (grin).. Just kidding… I hope you find something that is a good fit:) I would love to find a meditation practice somewhere, but I don’t think it exists outside of a temple??

      ReplyCancel

  • kathryningrid - January 19, 2012 - 11:30 am

    And I meant to say that this poem captured all that I *do* love about yoga! Sweetly said.ReplyCancel

  • munchow - January 19, 2012 - 11:36 am

    A beautiful poem in a post full of wisdom. I have never done yoga, but I know the experience you are talking about from being out in mother nature, away from everything and being only with yourself.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 2:47 pm

      That is definitely true.. My girlfriends and I did yoga by the ocean in San Diego… Whale watching the entire time… It was so special:)

      ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - January 19, 2012 - 11:52 am

    Lovely!! I still need to try yoga – I think I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t. :) ReplyCancel

  • Sawsan@ Chef in disguise - January 19, 2012 - 1:10 pm

    I really need to try yoga, everyone around me is so happy they started.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 2:50 pm

      It sure seems to help with everyday activities as well.. Plus it makes you feel just plain old “happy”, as you say:)

      ReplyCancel

  • ceciliag - January 19, 2012 - 5:42 pm

    I do my yoga stretches every morning and i have never had black sesame paste before, good food is hard to beat. how is it out there .,. do you still have piles of snow!?.. cReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 19, 2012 - 5:52 pm

      Oh.. Just piles and piles.. Hard to believe I was wishing for snow:) It is pretty though…

      ReplyCancel

  • Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com - January 19, 2012 - 7:10 pm

    This look very enticing, Barbara. I am entirely in love with the flavours in your recipe, but have not combined them in this way, and soba noodles…do I really need another noodle I love? I think not, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I will have to try this, damn it, another noodle dish to crave. Thank you, really, I mean it. I know I’m going to love it.ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 20, 2012 - 5:47 am

      Noodles… yes, I understand… I have a thing for noodle anything! This is one to crave that’s for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - January 19, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    This looks fabulously delicious Smidge! And now I even know what soba noodles are! I know the kids would love this too. It’s right up their alley. And I’m with you – nothing better than yoga. I do hot yoga at least twice a week. It provides me with sanity. :) ReplyCancel

    • Just A Smidgen - January 20, 2012 - 5:49 am

      Isn’t it just the best? Although in the summer I’m not as fond of the hot room, but nothing is cozier in the winter. Yes, wish I had had yoga when my kids were younger and life was crazier. Who am I kidding, life is still crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Geni - Sweet and Crumby - January 19, 2012 - 8:12 pm

    Yum! Love soba noodles and this sesame paste sounds fantastic! Loved the poem!ReplyCancel

  • Kay aka Babygirl - January 20, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Can you believe I never tried soba noodles before.. and I’ve never heard of this Black Sesame Otsu dish either.. but that won’t stop me from making this. You always inspire me when I come here :) ReplyCancel

  • The Conservative Hill Billy - January 20, 2012 - 4:36 pm
  • yummychunklet - January 20, 2012 - 5:41 pm

    This healthy dish looks delicious. And, I love yoga. I want to get back into the practice soon.ReplyCancel

  • thedrivencook - January 21, 2012 - 2:22 pm

    This noodle dish looks unique and tasty!ReplyCancel

  • Gems - January 21, 2012 - 3:25 pm

    Browsing your blog and fell in love with it. I’ve added it to my blogroll as I think my group of blogger friends will love it too. I have recently tried restorative yoga…hot yoga sounds fun!ReplyCancel

  • G - January 21, 2012 - 10:09 pm

    lovelyReplyCancel

  • rsmacaalay - January 22, 2012 - 12:03 am

    Wow look at all of those flavours in that plate, I love this very unique and sounds appetizingReplyCancel

  • Amy - January 22, 2012 - 1:17 am

    Beautiful! I’ve only made her regular sesame-ginger otsu from her first super natural cooking book. I have been dying to try out this black sesame version… love your pictures of it.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - January 22, 2012 - 5:26 pm

    Tomorrow is day 120 of my year-long commitment to practice yoga every day. I love your poetic description of a morning practice. I haven’t tried hot yoga yet, but I have practiced in front of the fireplace with a fire going. It’s wonderful.

    Thank you for another great looking recipe. Can’t wait to try this one. I just bought a jar of black sesame seeds, not at all sure what I would do with them. Now I know. :) ReplyCancel

  • The Hook - January 23, 2012 - 6:52 am

    This dish looks awesome! The colors are incredibly vibrant.ReplyCancel

  • Aimee@clevermuffin - January 23, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    What a lovely zen like post :) I opt for pilates over yoga, but find it gives me the same peaced out feeling and makes me want to fill my body with good food, like this yummo dish!!ReplyCancel

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