Culinistas's Kitchen,  Health

Open Sesame with Seed + Mill

Rachel Simons stands at a countertop with a jar of tahini

by The Culinistas

The right diet is key to brain health. To improve your mood, memory, and focus, brain experts recommend getting a healthy dose of antioxidants, B vitamins & folate, glucose, and polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 & Omega 6. Sesame is an excellent source of Omega 6, which is what your body needs to absorb Omega 3’s. Sesame seeds are high in amino acids, one of the few substances that break through the blood brain barrier, transporting key energy to the brain, tyrosine, which produces dopamine and keeps your memory crystal clear, and calcium, fiber, and thiamine to keep you energized and sharp. If that isn’t enough, sesame seeds are loaded with magnesium known to prevent oxidative damage to brain cells & regulate neurotransmitter levels. Enter Seed + Mill, our superlative sesame source. Founder Rachel Simons specializes in tahini, halva, and spice blends like togarashi, ideal for mixing & sprinkling with your savory sesame snacks. The tahini is a Culinistas’ HQ favorite; it’s nutty, creamy and the consistency is perfect for spreading or drizzling. If you're now craving sesame, you're in luck, stock up online and use the code THECULINISTAS15 for 15% off your order. We sat down to chat with Rachel about her sesame and non sesame based culinary staples, and tips for calming an anxious mind.

What ritual do you have that helps you get or stay focused in under five minutes?

If I have a growing list of deadlines and I am juggling too many tasks, I find it helps me to stay focused if I take 5 minutes to handwrite a task list. I find going back to 'old school' tools like pen and paper is a way of re-focusing my mind and getting off a screen for a few minutes!

What helps you calm an anxious mind?

I drink a lot of herbal tea! I also have a great network of entrepreneur friends who understand my world of juggling people, relationships, tasks and deadlines. Calling one of them definitely helps keep me calm!

What is your ideal focused environment?

No kids, dogs or husbands needing me to administer their lives, take them to pee, share my Amazon login or prepare sandwiches :)

Three people whose brains you envy?

My husband, Chris Green! He is easily the smartest person I know. I am constantly amazed at his memory recall and his ability to synthesize complicated information.

My long time manager, Janinka van Bennekom! Jan has worked with me at Seed + Mill for almost 5 years. She is so organized, calm under any amount of stress and always so humble! I don't know how I would run my business without her.

Author, Malcolm Gladwell. His Revisionist History podcast is brilliantly researched, produced and so entertaining.

What is your first memory?

Climbing avocado trees in my grandparents' backyard in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

What have you forgotten that you’ve been trying to remember?

What it felt like to be looking forward to a trip abroad!

Culinary staples in your kitchen?

Seed + Mill Tahini, of course! I use a lot of olive oil and love finding or trying new brands. I will always invest in good quality olive oil and have been fascinated by all the research now coming out about the purity and quality control issues in this industry. My all time favorite brand is Brightland. The founder Aishwarya is really inspiring - she is thoughtful, calm and very focused! That Californian olive oil must be doing her some good! If you open my fridge, you will always find greek yogurt, capers, olives and kombucha. I also have a vast collection of spices and speciality salts that I collect from travels around the world. I found some amazing black lava salt in Iceland when I was there last year and use it a lot in my cooking for taste, texture and color! Can't wait until we can all safely travel again.

What’s on tap for 2020?

My friend, Michelle, just launched a natural wine brand with designer, Rosie Assoulin, called Vivanterre! It is so refreshing and delicious! 

Feed Your Brain Menu Picks

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower (with cauliflower, sesame seed, golden raisin, chive, thyme, lemon)

Because tahini is liquid gold!

Walnut Pesto Sweet Potatoes (with sweet potato, parsley, walnut, lemon)

My mum always told me that walnuts are "brain food" because they look like mini brains and are full of amazing health benefits.

Asian Seared Tuna Salad (with tuna, kale, edamame, green bean, sesame seed)

Tuna + sesame is such a winning flavor combo and love the crunch of the toasted sesame!

Poached Salmon with Raisin Scallion Sauce (with wild salmon, scallion, raisin, lemon, urfa)

You had me at 'urfa' :)

Herb Dressed Butter Beans (with butter bean, onion, cilantro, basil, mint, jalapeño, lemon)

My taste buds are tingling thinking about this dish! I love the brightness of the herbs, the zingy lemon and spicy jalapeno!

So-Cal Citrus (with oranges, grapefruit, kumquat, pomegranate, walnut, basil)

Anything with citrus gets my vote! I love the combination of sweet and a bit of savory with the nuts and basil included here.

Thank you to Rachel for providing the beautiful photo.