If you haven't noticed already, I love sesame. Love might actually be an understatement, "am obsessed with" might be closer to the truth. I would rather have something with sesame in it for dessert than chocolate. In fact, when Emma and I found a sesame bar recipe in Nawal Nasrallah's book Delights from the Garden of Eden, I felt like I was in heaven. I could make sesame bars instead of brownies for the rest of my life! Anyway, though it is not a new discovery, it truly is a constant in my life and I wanted to share- Tahini Salad Dressing. In the Winter, I exchange my lettuces and salad greens for kale. I found a great salad mix at Whole Foods that is kale already chopped up and ready to eat, which is perfect for meals when you are in a time crunch. I make a tahini dressing by mixing tahini with a touch of olive oil, lemon juice, water, and salt. I don't have a direct recipe for this, because I just sort of mix it all together in a small bowl. It is usually equal parts tahini and water, then a tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of a lemon, and coarse sea salt. I also might add a teaspoon or so of Braggs Liquid Amino Acids, which is a great substitute for soy sauce. I toss together the kale, sliced avocado, fresh pomegranate seeds, chickpeas (canned or sprouted), and thinly sliced red onion, and dress with the tahini. It is also really rich, and full of healthy fats. I love the combination of flavors and textures that all of the ingredients provide, and the health benefits. Sesame is full of calcium and protein; the kale is of course a great source of vitamins A, K, and C, and is full of fiber; the pomegranates are full of powerful antioxidants; and the avocado is another great source of fiber and vitamin C, and also has lots of potassium. This is a powerful health salad that not only combats inflammation and oxidative stress, but also boosts your nutrients. You know I will be eating this all Winter long.
Sophia's Notes:The prospect of Sweet Potato Falafel was too much for me to bear. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks, but its originsin the Leon Cookbook, of the eponymous British restaurant group. I love falafel, but they are quite heavy, and they frying process is not something that I love to do in my own kitchen. However, these falafel are baked, and are very easy to make. They are also quite healthy, as they are formed only using roasted sweet potato, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs and spices, and garbanzo flour. I have been using garbanzo flour a lot lately, as I like using it instead of breadcrumbs when making chicken cutletsand the like. It is lighter and has more protein than regular flour. I stuck to the recipe, but added some minced ginger, which I think was a nice touch. The key here is really adding a lot of spices and the large amount of cilantro that the recipe calls for. I ate these in barley flat bread wraps with a tahini sauce and Mexican salsa Valentina. My friend ate them with me, and also really liked them. I feel like a whole new world of chickpea burgers and vegetable falafels has been opened up and I am excited to enter! Emma's Notes: I loved making these little balls, but I have to say that my favorite part was getting to make my own chickpea flour. I realized when I set out to make them that we didn't have any chickpea flour at home, and it seemed really key to maintaining the falafel-nature of the dish, so I got to power up my old grain grinder and make my own chickpea flour! It was fun, and I have some left over to experiment with now... Other than the home-grinding, I was faithful to the recipe, we served them as an appetizer on thanksgiving.
Last Thursday evening I went to the Grand Opening of La Boite in Hell’s Kitchen with Mastiha Shop NY owner Artemis Kohas. Lior Sercarz is the chef behind the boutique/gallery space, where he bakes his delectable biscuits, French for “cookies” (La Boite a Biscuits), and mixes his spice mixes (La Boite a Epice). His collection of biscuits change seasonally, and are developed in collaboration with a different artist each time. This Fall/Winter season they reflect the “Domestic Fables” of Colombian artist Marcela Cardenas. Sercarz chooses the term “biscuit”, as opposed to cookies for his creations, because of its more broad terminology. If you expect a regular American cookie, you will be surprised. If you expect something unique, interesting, and delicious you will not be disappointed.
The event was wonderful, complete with champagne and samples of the biscuits for all being passed around. La Boite a Biscuit has a sibling company of spice blends, La Boite a Epices, which was also present at the opening. Earlier that day I had picked up the Ana spice blend of sesame, sumac, and rose at a specialty food shop in the East Village. Cookie tins and spice mixes adorned the room, and Cardenas’ paintings decorated the walls. It was an interesting and exciting atmosphere where art met food, both visually and gastronomically. Although I loved all of the biscuits, my favorite was the Snow Cloud, a small Mexican wedding style cookie with a date filling in the middle. The name said it all, because it literally felt like a snow cloud in my mouth. I even overheard girls next to me rejoice when the waitress brought them around their way for the second time. The biscuit tins make excellent gifts for the holidays, and can be ordered by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to write a quick entry just sending all of our fans a Happy Thanksgiving. We didn't post any Thanksgiving recipes this year, but we hope you have spent time cooking with your families and have carried on traditions from your collective pasts. Spending time together with your loved ones around a table is of the most important things in life, and remember to take time to be present at your holiday gatherings this season, starting today. Of course, I wanted to remind you that we have great leftover recipes, the favorite being White Turkey Chilli, which uses robust white pepper and cannelini beans for a healthy, hearty, and easy to make stew: http://www.kitchencaravan.com/recipe/white-turkey-chilli-cannellini-beans-white-pepperAnother favorite is our Mediterranean style Leek and Eggplant Noodle Casserole, which uses left turkey and Greek Mastiha spice. If you don't have mastiha, it is not a big deal- you will still love the dish. http://www.kitchencaravan.com/recipe/leek-eggplant-pasta-casserole. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy your meal. And don't forget . . . no Blackberries/iPhones at the table!