Calling Your Chicken Honey

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 25, 2007
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Marine Sgt. Anthony Thompson is stationed at Headquarters Battalion at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe with wife Sydney and their three children, Elijah, age 5, Joshua, age 3, and Elise, 3 months old.

Originally from St. Louis, the Thompsons have now spent more than five years in Hawaii, and have fallen in love with the natural beauty and the cultural diversity of our tropical paradise.


Anthony has already been deployed to Haiti and Iraq. While in Iraq he was seriously wounded, and spent four months in a hospital in Germany recuperating from surgery. While he was in Iraq, and recuperating in the hospital, Anthony began to draw charcoal sketches of both the horrific and heartwarming scenes he observed, and now has an entire sketchbook of drawings that he will keep with him for the rest of his life. In his spare time, Anthony works at Diamond Head Video in Aikahi Park.

Sydney stays home with their children, which is, and was, quite a challenge, especially when Anthony was deployed. In her spare time, she cooks and refines her Italian food recipes. This column is dedicated to a loving family that will have many wonderful years ahead to raise their three children.

Sesame was introduced into the southern United States in the 1600s, and it is used mainly as a condiment in the U.S. today. The largest producers of sesame are India, China and Mexico. The tiny seeds are covered with a thin edible hull and have a nutlike flavor. The pods of the sesame plant burst open when the seeds reach maturity, and it is thought that the exclamation “Open Sesame!” from the Arabian Nights tales was inspired by this.

Sesame seeds are the main ingredient in halvah, a candy from the Middle East. Plain or roasted sesame seeds can also be made into a thick paste called sesame butter, which can be used like peanut butter. The thinner version of sesame paste is called tahini, and is very popular in Asia and the Middle East where it is used to flavor main dishes and desserts. Tahini can also be combined with lemon juice, and seasonings for a tasty vinaigrette salad dressing.

Sesame seeds can be bought roasted or raw and are available in most supermarkets and specialty stores. Hulled sesame seeds should be stored in the refrigerator as these tend to turn rancid quickly. Whole seeds should be stored away from humidity, in an airtight container. Sesame seeds may also be frozen.

Dried sesame seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamine, niacin, folic acid and vitamin B6. They are a good source of dietary fiber and contain riboflavin.

HONEY SESAME CHICKEN WITH BROCCOLI

* 2 cups steamed broccoli crowns
* 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
* 1/4 cup unbleached flour
* pinch salt
* pinch ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons low-sodium shoyu
* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* cooking spray

For Honey Mixture:

(combine all ingredients and set aside)

* 1/2 cup honey
* 1/4 cup low-sodium shoyu
* 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees; coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.


In a shallow pie pan, mix sesame seeds, flour, salt and pepper until combined. Put shoyu in a small shallow bowl and dip chicken pieces one at a time in shoyu and then dredge in flour mixture, pressing mixture on the chicken. Place chicken pieces in sprayed pan, and coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, and then baste with honey mixture. Return to oven and cook about 15 minutes longer, (basting a few times), until juices run clear from chicken. Arrange on platter, with broccoli around chicken, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Makes four servings

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 280 Fat: 6 grams Cholesterol: 80 milligrams Sodium: 450milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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