Tag Archives: tahini

Roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za’atar

13 Oct

Here is a great recipe from the fabulous Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I love this cookbook, because everything I have made from it has been delicious – but I admit I have not made too many of the recipes because a lot of them are very involved and use a lot of sometimes-hard-to-find ingredients.

This one is relatively simple, and these days, tahini and za’atar (a Middle Eastern herb/spice blend) are relatively easy to find. If you don’t have a Middle Eastern grocery in your area, you can order them online.

The book calls for the squash to be roasted with the skin on. I did not do this because I started with a gigantic butternut squash. In addition to this dish, I made a batch of Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili and froze a bunch of squash cubes to make another soup when the chili is gone. So I used butternut squash cubes instead of wedges and they work perfectly fine. You can save some time and energy by buying pre-peeled and pre-cut squash cubes.

The dish has an interesting combination of flavors, colors and textures. It works well as an appetizer or as a side dish.

I changed the directions slightly, because the onions take less time to roast than the squash, so rather than starting them at the same time, I suggest roasting the squash alone first, then adding the onions.

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (about 2¼ lb.), cut into ¾-in. x 2.5-inch wedges
2 red onions, cut vertically into 1¼-inch wedges
3½ Tbs. olive oil
3½ Tbs. light tahini paste
1½ Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. water
1 small clove garlic, crushed and chopped fine
3½ Tbs. pine nuts
1 Tbs. za’atar
1 Tbs. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Put the squash in a large mixing bowl, add 3 Tbs. of the oil, 1 tsp. salt and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes (peeled cubes may take a little less time).

After 15 minutes, add the onions, and stir well to get the onions coated with the oil. Stir frequently so everything cooks evenly. When the squash and the onions are fully cooked and have browned somewhat, reove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make the sauce: place the tahini in a small bowl and add the lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ tsp. salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.

Put the remaining 1½ tsp. oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and ½ tsp. salt and cook for about 2 minutes until the nuts are golden brown (be careful, because they can burn really easily!) Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking.

To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

Serves 4


Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Tahini

8 Nov

eggplant-tahini-sauce.jpgThis is a good dish to serve as an appetizer, salad, or to accompany a main dish.

If you’ve never used tahini paste, be aware that it behaves in a very weird fashion. Usually the oil separates from the rest in the jar, so before you measure it, be sure to stir it well.

When you add liquid to tahini paste, it gets very stiff. Keep stirring and keep adding liquid (usually water or lemon juice) slowly while stirring until you get the consistency you want. It should be easily spreadable but still thick, a little like sour cream.

You can prepare this several hours in advance of serving and just keep it at room temperature.

Ingredients:

1 large clove garlic
Pinch salt
⅓ cup tahini paste
2 Tbs. lemon juice
⅓ cup water
4 to 6 small eggplants (“Italian” are good, or baby eggplants)
¼ cup olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
4 sprigs rosemary
¼ cup chopped parsley
Kosher or coarse salt and ground black pepper
2 to 4 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Directions:

Mash garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle until it forms a puree.

Combine tahini paste, garlic and lemon juice; the tahini will become stiff. Whisk in the water until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roast the eggplant: cut each eggplant in half and score the flesh with the tip of a paring knife in a cross-hatch pattern at 1-inch intervals.

Place eggplant halves on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and brush each with oil, letting each brushstroke get absorbed before brushing on more. Season with salt and pepper and put a piece of rosemary on each.

Roast eggplant until completely tender and well charred, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Toast pine nuts in a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently (be careful, they burn easily).

Arrange the eggplant halves on a serving platter and spread with tahini sauce. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, parsley and rosemary, and drizzle with a little additional olive oil (optional).

Serve at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8

Tahini Grilled Chicken

30 Aug

Tahini chicken

I like to keep tahini, the Middle Eastern sesame paste, on hand, but it’s not something I use often. My last jar sat in the fridge for years before I used it up (and no, it didn’t spoil!). Now I have a new jar, so I’m on the lookout for interesting new recipes. This one was very tasty. We ate it fresh off the grill one night and then enjoyed the leftovers sliced on top of a green salad a few days later. The taste is intriguing and I liked it a lot even though my husband said it reminded him of Marmite, the awful English “yeast extract.” If you can find tahini, give this a try!

(This recipe is adapted from one I clipped from the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.)

Ingredients:

¼ cup tahini
¼ cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
2 Tbs. honey
2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken and place in a sealable Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and move it around a bit so all the chicken is coated. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

An hour before cooking, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Heat a grill to high and sear the chicken for one to two minutes per side. Turn off the heat on one area of the grill and move the chicken to the unheated side. If you are using charcoal, push the chicken to the edges of the grill where there is the least amount of heat.

(We have an electric grill, and so I heated it up almost as high as it would go, cooked the chicken for a short time on each side, then turned the heat down to medium.)

Cover and allow the chicken to “roast” on the grill, about six minutes per side, until done.  Total cooking time should be about 15 minutes.

Remove to a platter, cover with foil and allow to sit for five minutes before serving, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if you like.

Serves 4 to 6

Sinaya

3 Nov

SinayaI don’t even know how to pronounce the name of this dish! Is is sin-A-yah? Is it sin-EYE-ya? No mattter really!

It is adapted from Balaboosta, by Einat Admony, an Istraeli American of Yeminite and Persian ancestry. She describes it as “Palestinian comfort food at its best.”

I must admit it’s a real “patchke” to make, so I’ve only made it twice, both times for big company meals. A friend who joined us last week made me promise to put it on the blog so here it is.

The recipe calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground lamb. Kosher ground lamb is really hard to find so I just used all ground beef both times.

You can buy baharat, a Middle Eastern spice mixture, at a Middle Eastern grocery, but the first time I made this, I made my own from the recipe Admony provides in her book. That was a patchke in itself! But if you make it using the recipe below the main recipe, you’ll have enough to make this dish several times. Actually, I reduced the quantities in the baharat recipe below by half and it still produced an ample supply.

You can also buy tahini (sesame paste) at a Middle Eastern grocery or specialty store.

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large, ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

Tahini Sauce:

3/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbs. kosher salt (use a little less if you like your food less salty)

Meat Filling:

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground lamb
2 tsp. baharat (see below)
2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Combine the spices for the meat mixture in a small bowl (the baharat, paprika, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper).

Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices and sprinkle each slice with kosher salt. Set the slices in a colander, weight them with a plate and let them sit for an hour in the sink or on top of paper towel to drain off some of the moisture. Rinse off the salt and pat the slices dry.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a large baking dish and place the eggplant slices in it, overlapping a little if necessary to cover the whole bottom of the dish. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. of olive oil.

Bake the eggplant for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.

While the eggplant is baking, make the tahini sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth and creamy (it’s not that large an amount, so I used an immersion blender instead, which worked fine.)

Slice the tomatoes thinly and place the slices on top of the eggplant. Set the dish aside.

Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the ground beef and lamb, breaking it up into small pieces. Add the baharat, paprika cumin, salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Drain off any excess liquid and place the meat in the baking dish with the eggplant and tomatoes.

Spread the tahini sauce over the top of the meat.

Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Garnish with pine nuts.

Serves 6 to 8

Baharat:

1 Tbs. ground black pepper
3 Tbs. allspice
3 Tbs. ground coriander
5 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. ground cloves
3 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cardamom
4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbs. sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Tbs. dried lemon zest (optional)
4 tsp. dried ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight jar.

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

11 Aug
Roasted cauliflower with tahiniI’ve never been a huge fan of boiled or steamed cauliflower, but I love this vegetable when it’s roasted. Roasting makes it slightly sweet, with a crisp outside and a tender interior.
Here is an easy recipe I got from Cooking Light magazine. You can find tahini (sesame paste) at a Middle Eastern grocery store if your local supermarket doesn’t have it. Note that the tahini tends to separate in the jar, so be sure to stir it well before measuring it out.
The tahini flavor is mild, and the capers, lemon juice and red pepper give it just a little zing.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cups small cauliflower florets
Cooking spray
Half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475°. Combine tahini, capers, olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cauliflower florets; toss to coat. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast 15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Remove from oven; squeeze juice of lemon over top. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and, if desired, additional red pepper.
Serves 4 to 6