Veggies on the counter

Carrot and Tahini Muffins

Posted in baked goods, desserts by veggies on the counter on March 11, 2013

muffin

Some of my culinary experiments don’t turn out as well as I thought they would, either by lacking flavour and/or photographic charisma. Lately, there were at least three dishes I conceptualized, took notes of and photographed, but ended up not posting up here because, well, they weren’t good enough. A weird tasting celeriac and roasted garlic soup, a watery korma, some herb crusted tempeh that turned out too dry after being baked… I’m well familiar with failure and I’m not defeated by it, as I try to evaluate what went wrong, what could have I done better, and so on – the worst part is, I guess, to actually eat those not so well succeeded attempts.

muffins

So, when things go wrong, I turn to what I know it’s good – and I’m here talking about these carrot and tahini muffins. I have a (healthy) obsession with tahini. I just love it. I always keep a jar of it in the fridge and another one in the pantry. I have the nasty habit of opening up the tahini jar, take a teaspoon of it, top it up with a few drops of agave nectar, and in it goes. These muffins are dense and nutty in flavour, punctuated by shreds of carrot and toasted sesame seeds. They’re the perfect accompaniment for a cup of tea in the mid-afternoon when, sometimes, that sugar cravings just start to pike up.

muffin collage

Carrot and Tahini Muffins

(for 8 muffins)

Dry mix:

1 cup / 140 g buckwheat flour

1 cup / 120 g brown rice flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

wet mix:

1 tablespoon flax seed meal mixed with 5 tablespoons water

1 cup / 250 ml unsweetened nut milk (I used almond milk)

½ cup / 135 g dark tahini

¾ cup /  185 ml agave nectar

1 cup / 108 g shredded carrots (about 1 large carrot)

melted coconut oil or sunflower oil to grease the muffin tins

1. Pre-heat the oven to 175º/350ºF. Grease with sunflower oil or melted coconut oil 8 muffin tins.

2. In a large bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the sesame seeds and stir well to combine.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the flax seed mixture, nut milk, tahini and agave nectar, until well incorporated.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients stirring well to combine. Finally, add the grated carrots.

5. Pour the mixture into the greased muffin tins. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took exactly 23 minutes). Let the muffins cool a bit in the tins before unmolding and transferring them to a cooling rack. Eat!

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Tahini Cookies

Posted in baked goods, cookies by veggies on the counter on September 3, 2010

These tahini cookies might be one of my favorite cookies right now. As I’ve told in a previous post, I like my cookies with not too much added  fat and sugar, and I guess these ones fit the bill just right. They have tahini in there, which is their main source of fat, but at least it’s that of a good and healthy type. The taste of these cookies is quite nutty and dense, and the fact that they are coated in muscavado sugar and sesame seeds, adds crunchiness and extra flavor to them. I encourage you to use organic, dark tahini in here, as it is the variety that packs more flavor – the white one is usually a bit mild and bitter. An extra bonus: the cookies are also gluten free.

Tahini Cookies

(makes about 18)

1 and ¼ cups (125 grams) spelt flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (60 grams) plus 1/3 cup light muscavado sugar

1/3 cup sesame seeds

½ cup (115 grams) dark organic tahini

1/3 cup (75 grams) apple purée

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1. In a large bowl, and with the help of an electric mixer, combine the tahini, apple purée, ½ cup of muscavado sugar and the sesame oil, until you have a smooth batter.

2. Sift the flour into another large bowl. Add the baking soda and salt and mix well.

3. Slowly pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture, mixing everything with a spatula as you go, until you have a soft dough. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC – racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. In a bowl, mix the sesame seeds with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar.

6. Cut two rectangles of parchment paper. Place one of the sheets of paper on a clean surface and evenly spread half of the sesame seeds and sugar mixture over it.

7. Unwrap the dough and place it in the center of the sheet of parchement paper in which you’ve spread out the sesame seeds and sugar. Now, you want to use the other sheet of parchment paper, and roll out the dough between the two sheets, to a rough circle 24 centimeters in diameter.

8. Spread the remaining sesame seeds and sugar over the circle of dough, and gently press it down with your hands to make them stick to the dough.

9. With a cookie cutter, stamp out rounds of dough and place them in the prepared baking sheets. The cookies won’t spread out that much while baking, so you can put them close together.

10. Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes. Don’t overbake them, or they’ll get dry.

11. Let them cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. The cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

Chickpea and Shredded Cabbage Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Posted in salads, side dishes by veggies on the counter on August 30, 2010

I haven’t been in the kitchen that much in the past few days, hence the lack of posting around here. I have to confess I’ve been feeling lazy to cook, also because here in Portugal we’ve been under extremely hot temperatures –  around 35º degrees -, and all I don’t want to do is to spend time in front of an hot stove. So, nothing better than a great and easy salad recipe such as this one, that will only take you a few minutes to prepare.

The only trick in here is to make sure the cabbage is sliced very thinly; if not, the salad will not be as light as it is supposed to be. As far as the dressing goes, it was my first time putting together tahini and miso, and I was surprised by how well the combination worked out: the nutty taste of the tahini seems to soften miso’s typical saltiness, without actually masking its taste. If you shred the cabbage and make the dressing ahead of time, you can put this salad together in less than five minutes. I served this at room temperature, but I bet it would be delicious served cold too. If you’re planning to do the latter, place the salad in a large bowl, cover with cling film, and refrigerate it for 1 to 2 hours or until chilled to your liking. This method will also help the flavors meld together, contributing for a tastier salad.

Chickpea and Shredded Cabbage Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

(serves 3, as a side)

260 grams canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small cabbage (180 grams)

1 teaspoon minced chilli

for the dressing:

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon mugi miso

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons agave nectar

1. Start with the cabbage: cut it into halves, remove the hard core, and shred each halve into very thin strips. You don’t want to have very long strips, so cut them in half if needed.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas and shredded cabbage. Set aside.

3. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl, and whisk them together until you achieve a creamy consistency. At this point, you can add a bit more water if you want a thinner dressing, although I like mine on the creamy, slightly thick side.

4. Add half of the dressing to the bowl with the chickpeas and cabbage and toss everything together. At this point, you can refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour or, as I did, serve it at room temperature.

5. To serve (either cold or at room temperature), divide the salad among 3 plates, sprinkle with the minced chilli, and spoon the remaining dressing over the top of each serving. Serve immediately.