Sesame Tahini Cookies

ACS_0115

A few weeks ago I made killer tahini cookies; these are not them. This is what happened: When I made the cookies a few weeks ago, I didn’t print out or bookmark the recipe, so when I wanted to make them again, I looked through my browser history & searched all sorts of keyword combinations, but didn’t come up with the ones I was looking for. But, I did find this recipe which while it wasn’t what I was looking for, looked good enough to try. So I did; this is them. It was only when these cookies were in the oven that I realized what happened: The first cookies were HALVA cookies, and I was searching under tahini — d’oh! These are those cookies, which I am definitely going to make again STAT.

ACS_0116

Tahini Cookies adapted from Bon Appetite (via Mamaleh’s)

The recipe used butter, but since I’m serving these after a Rosh Hashanah (meat) meal, I adapted by using Earth Balance vegan butter.

ACS_0122

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted (vegan or regular) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey (can sub maple syrup if you don’t eat honey)
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

PREPARATION

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in tahini, then add dry ingredients in 2 batches, beating after each addition until fully combined. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Place sesame seeds in a small bowl. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough (about 1 oz.) and roll into balls. Dip tops of balls in sesame seeds, pressing to adhere, and place, sesame side up, on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2″ apart. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 13–15 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool).

After cooled, these can be frozen in a tin/container for up to a few months.

Tahini Carrots

ACS_0107

This is a side that I serve often yet never gets old. I always have carrots on hand, whether from our CSA box, the local Greenmarket or the supermarket since carrots stay fresh in the crisper drawer for weeks. I consider them a pantry staple! I do lots of things with carrots, including this shredded Moroccan carrot salad (which I posted in 2011 and is missing some pics now that I look at it again!) and this amazing hot or cold carrot soup, but this tahini carrot dish has become one of my recent favorites.

If the carrots are farm fresh, I don’t even peel them and instead give them a good scrubbing. The rainbow ones I used Friday we picked up at a roadside farm stand in Guilford Vermont, and I scrubbed some and peeled others since I also used some grocery store carrots.

Scrub (or peel) the carrots then roast them in a 350F with a thin brushing of oil, sprinkled with salt and sesame seeds until they’re nice and brown, around 30 minutes. While they’re roasting, make the tahini sauce. I looooove tahini, especially when it’s extra lemon-y and garlic-y, but on this particular day I was out of lemon (how does that even happen in my house?!) so I reached for an orange instead and it was surprisingly tasty, as orange and carrots are such a complementary combo. The tahini sauce is super simple: tahini paste, orange zest, orange juice, fresh garlic, salt and a little olive oil and water to smooth out to the consistency you prefer. When the carrots are out of the oven, top with some more sesame seeds, drizzle with tahini sauce and sprinkle on some fresh mint. Here is another version I made a few weeks ago with thin carrots that I didn’t cut in half.  Think this is a combo you’ll try?

ACS_0112

Sesame Green Beans

ACS_0090

You know those addictive sweet, sesame Chinese restaurant “dried green beans”? Well, these are them but better, not fried and so, so easy.

This season’s Golden Earthworm CSA has delivered week after week of tender, organic green beans. Honestly, I’ve mostly been snacking on them raw but last week we received 2 bags of them and I decided to branch out and try my hand at re-creating those addictive, Chinese green beans at home. Well, let me tell you they were so easy and the final result was very true to the beans I was craving.

Sesame Green Beans

  • Green beans, washed and trimmed
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Minced garlic
  • Tamari
  • Mirin
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • EVOO
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Toss green beans with EVOO and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan; season with salt. Roast.
  3. Meanwhile, mix ginger, garlic, tamari, mirin, sesame oil. I used about 1T grated ginger, 2 small garlic cloves, 1T tamari, 2t mirin and 1t sesame oil, but you may want it less gingery or sweeter (up mirin for sweetness).
  4. When green beans are bright green and slightly wrinkled, pull the pan out and toss the green beans in the bowl with the sesame mixture. Place green beans back on the sheet pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and roast for another 10 minutes or until they look caramelized.
  5. Try not to eat them all at once.

ACS_0091 (1)

 

Kitchen Status Day 1, Phase 1.

Well, first things first, about 2 hours after yesterday’s post I considered deleting and halting the #kosher5779 experiment because — what was I thinking?! So, that’s where I am today, day 1.

But after a deep breath, I realized I’m legitimately interested in what this process will be like. I’m curious about what I will learn and explore along the journey, but I’m also interested to see if I will exist differently in my kitchen and experience cooking, or myself, in a new way. I’m used to having other self-imposed constraints on my diet/cooking (like when I’m plant-based), but will this be different? I just don’t know and I’m curious enough to move forward (until my next “what am I thinking” moment).

So what’s the kosher status of my kitchen right now?

  1. I don’t cook shellfish or pork at home. Not that I haven’t ever, but I don’t currently as of probably 8 years ago.
  2. I don’t cook or serve milk and meat together however we do use the same pans, utensils, plates, cutlery, etc to prepare and eat both milk and meat.
  3. We keep kosher for Passover, but don’t do a full chametz (bread, etc) clean out pre-passover.
  4. That’s it.

A few weeks ago I did a cursory google search and came up with this article on Chabad.org. While I don’t generally look to Chabad as my authority about anything, I jived with the first line in the article, “I’m beginning to consider keeping a kosher home, but the leap seems too daunting to do all at once.” The suggestion was to divide the task into 3 phases, the first of which is to only buy kosher meat and stop eating milk and meat together.

I can deal with that as a start! We don’t eat that much meat as it is, but for the meat we do buy (and eat) and eat at home, 90% is from Grow & Behold (the other 10% of meat I buy from the Forest Hills Greenmarket or from Whole Foods). I choose Grow & Behold for many reasons and honestly, until now the least of all was that it was kosher! The meat and chicken happens to be delicious, it’s a small, local, family-run company (started by people I know), they sell pasture-raised, local, humane meat and they deliver right to my apartment (more about them here, and if you want 15% off your first order use this code). But, did I say it was delicious? Because it is, and this only buying kosher meat thing isn’t going to be hard at all with a freezer already stocked with Grow & Behold meat. And since I already don’t eat milk and meat together at home: voila, phase 1 complete!

OK, I feel accomplished! Reminder, I’m going sloooooowwwww. So for today, I took out some G&B chicken to defrost in the fridge for shabbat and I’ll figure out what’s next later.

image

#Kosher5779

ACS_0065

I’m embarking on a personal journey and I’m going to bring you along for the ride. Over the next year, I’ll be kashering my apartment’s kitchen and exploring what it takes, what it means and how I feel throughout the process.

Why? Honestly, I’m not even sure. I’ve been thinking about it for a while though and if not now, when? I’m hoping that through the process of investigating, learning and cooking, a bit of the “why” will slowly (or maybe all at once) reveal itself.

It may not be obvious from the sporadic posts on this blog, but I cook everyday. My meditation space is the kitchen. It’s where I lose myself, process my day and explore. I figured why not bring tradition into my most personal, spiritual domain: the kitchen? What will it feel like? How will things change or stay the same? How will this impact my life? My family’s lives? Will I find meaning and connection? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out.

I gave myself a full year because it’s complicated! I don’t want to rush anything and want to be super mindful about the process. I plan to read books, articles and source material about kosher guidelines from all perspectives. I plan to talk to people who keep kosher in all sorts of ways. Much of this is super-personal but if anyone is willing, I want to visit and cook in kosher kitchens. I already have a lot of questions and I want to use this blog as a way to document what questions I’m asking, what answers I’m coming up with and what it all means. I want to give this project a full year to allow the idea juuuuussst germinating now the space to grow. I don’t know where I’ll ultimately land but I’m really interested in embracing the process with an open & curious heart, mind and kitchen.

Elul, the last month of the Jewish calendar begins this weekend which means Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) is just around the corner. The year 5779 is approaching and here… I… go!

ACS_0064