Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. “You can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.” yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Main Dishes, Sides

162

Carrot Salad w/ Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas (V, GF)

Can I tell you about my new all-time favorite thing? Productive procrastination. AKA anything that isn’t incredibly necessary to being a functioning human, but still is very useful/important/meaningful. Taking a walk. Writing a blog post. Making cookies. Doing laundry (okay, that one might actually be a little more essential.) But I am all about it. If I spend all my time doing what NEEDS to get done and letting the stuff that makes me feel good fall to the wayside, it always ends the same way: me lying awake at night, making lists, obsessing over all the things that still need to get done. I’ve been stuck in this pattern for easily the past month. I know, a month doesn’t sound like very long at all in the grand scheme of things. And I do like being busy. But recently, finding a free couple hours to bake or go downtown has been nearly impossible, except for the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning. And the more I do, the harder it is to turn my brain off. And as much as I like to churn out a good pan of midnight brownies, the idea of doing all those dishes after writing a paper until 10 pm is just not the dream. So while cooking might be on the back burner, I’ve really been trying to take at least 20 minutes a day to breathe deeply and do some good old fashioned procrastinating. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’m so committed to making this happen I’ve actually started setting my alarm earlier. If I’m up earlier, I can get a little bit of homework done and still have some time to write a blog post or read a few pages of something I actually care about.  Let’s see if I can keep this up once we Spring forward this weekend?

So anyway, speaking of 20 minute things, this salad. As long as your oven doesn’t take 45 minutes to heat up (ahem, Smith college apartments) you have plenty of time to throw this together! It’s a large recipe, so it can either feed several people for one meal as a side dish, or one person for almost a week! It lasted me for quite a few meals (which is impressive, considering I nearly devoured the whole thing at 7 am while taking pictures…), but just remember if you’re not eating it all in one sitting, add the chickpeas and sunflower seeds right before munching so they stay crunchy!

PS- the Saveur Food Blog Awards are coming up….can you think of anyone you’d like nominate? Heh.

Salad (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1  garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2+ tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)

For the chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with oil, salt, and spices until coated. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast until they’re browned and crisp (about 15 minutes) tossing occasionally. Listen for the sound of them popping up out of the pan, and tent the pan with foil if need be. There are more than you need for the salad, so take this opportunity to much on a few, you know you wanna. Set aside remainder.

For the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together, adding a scant 2 tbsp of water first, then adding more as needed. Set aside.

For the salad: Grate the carrots and toss in a bowl with parsley. Add most of the dressing and coat evenly, adding more to taste. Top with sunflower seeds, a handful of crispy chickpeas, and a grind or two of pepper!

 

 

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Desserts

155

Tahini Cookies

Tahini is currently my favorite condiment. It’s very similar to melted peanut butter in texture, but much stronger and not sweet, so one jar seems like it will last forever. If I find myself unable to make peanut sauce at dinnertime because I finished the jar of Jif last night in bed with a spoon (it’s happened before), it’s okay, I can just swap in tahini and a little honey/maple syrup and there will be virtually no difference. This entire past semester I’ve used it every chance I can get. I make this dressing in bulk for salad days; I’ve made several adaptations of this meal at least tri-weekly (minus the goji berries because when I drop $39.95 at Whole Foods it’s going to be on fancy cheese/pink salt, srynotsry) because it’s so simple and chopping things is soothing. I also realized this recipe of mine got instantly better the moment I put a spoonful of tahini in the dressing. I got super excited when I saw Molly Yeh put tahini in *wait for it* hot chocolateYes. It’s amazing. And I thought two tablespoons of Nutella was pushing my luck with hot chocolate- SO glad I was wrong.

In other news, I joined the YMCA in my town for the past month so I could continue to run as winter progresses. Although apparently Jersey thought 47 degrees was okay for late December, so I obviously would’ve been fine outside. At least the past several days have been freezing, so I will make the final days the membership worth it. Emily even taught me how to use the weight room! Which was a funny joke Now I’m totally an athlete!! As if. I think I look much more graceful (a relative term) while running outside. The track is so tiny it’s actually pretty hilarious. I think 33 laps = 1 mile..geesh. I feel like a dog chasing its tail, which must present me as an incredibly coordinated individual. But it’s all worth it when I get to come home and eat cookies. However, this may be the last batch of the seemingly endless collection of holiday cookies to emerge from my kitchen this season. What a sad revelation. I think I should probably make more to tide me over for the next week, don’t you?

Cookies (from Bon Appétit)

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c pine nuts
1/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c tahini
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
2 tbsp raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat, stirring often. Place all ingredients except sesame seeds and raw sugar in a food processor. Pulse until a smooth dough forms a ball around the blade. Mix sesame seeds and raw sugar in a small bowl. Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sesame seed/sugar mixture. Place cookies on parchment-lines baking trays about 2 inches apart from each other, flattening slightly. Bake 20-25 minutes.

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