Tahini — Going For A Sweet Spin

Tender, buttery shortbread made with tahini.

Tender, buttery shortbread made with tahini.

 

We use tahini liberally in hummus and salad dressings.

But why not take it for a spin in a sweet preparation?

After all, peanut butter swings both ways, in sweet and in savory dishes. With tahini being ground up sesame seeds, it has a beguiling nuttiness that also makes it quite versatile.

“Tahini Shortbread Cookies” does it justice in sandy, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery cookies that have the merest whisper of sweetness.

SoframizCookbook

The recipe is from “Soframiz” (Ten Speed Press, 2016) by Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Cafe in Cambridge, MA. Sortun, a James Beard “Best Chef in the Northeast” for Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, and Kilpatrick, who was named “Best Pastry Chef” by Boston magazine, showcase 100 recipes of both sweet and savory offerings at their popular modern Middle Eastern cafe.

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Let Michael Mina Jazz Up Your Backyard Burgers

Home-made bison burger flavored with the new Bourbon Pub burger seasoning.

Home-made bison burger flavored with the new Bourbon Pub burger seasoning.

 

Bay Area Chef Michael Mina has so many restaurants around the country now that I can hardly keep track of them all. Now, he’s bringing a taste of his Bourbon Pub in Santa Clara to your backyard barbecues with his new line of burger seasonings and relishes sold at Williams-Sonoma.

I had a chance to sample one of the seasonings, the Classic.

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Crunch-A-Licious Indian-Style Crisp Garlic Shrimp

These addictive shrimp are crisp enough to eat with your fingers.

These addictive shrimp are crisp enough to eat with your fingers.

 

If you’ve ever shied away from cooking Indian food at home, fearing a long list of ingredients not easily available at your neighborhood grocery store, this is the recipe for you.

“Crisp Garlic Shrimp” could not be easier.

Nor more delicious.

It is from the new “The Indian Cooking Course” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy.  The lavishly photographed, comprehensive cookbook is by Monisha Bharadwaj, who runs the Cooking With Monisha cooking school in London.

IndianCookingCourse

Inside, you’ll find a bevy of recipes that showcase the breadth of flavors from North to South, from “North Indian Chicken Biryani” to “Sindhi Pomegranate Chutney” to “South Indian Lentil and Milk Pudding.”

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Real-Deal Italian Food at Ca’ Momi

Ca' Momi holds three certifications for authentic Italian pizza.

Ca’ Momi holds three certifications for authentic Italian pizza.

 

Veneto-born Chef-Restaurateur Valentina Guolo-Migotto proudly says that when Italians dine at her Napa restaurant, Ca’ Momi, they tell her the food is better than what’s in Italy.

That pleases her to no end.

It’s easy to agree heartily after eating there, too, as I did earlier this spring when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

This is one of those places, where you want to shout to the rafters, “Where have you been all my life?”

Because it is that glorious.

It is a touch of Italy — the real Italy — in the Napa Valley.

The fun bar, well stocked with Italian amaro.

The fun bar, well stocked with Italian amaro.

It's always "movie night'' here.

It’s always “movie night” here.

The rustic downtown restaurant makes most everything in-house, even its own wines, beer, vodka and gin. They’re also experimenting with making amaro, the bitter Italian herbal spirit, of which they have a large selection to choose from.

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Asparagus in Coconut Cream Sauce

Enjoy asparagus in a velvety coconut sauce with lemongrass and garlic.

Enjoy asparagus in a velvety coconut sauce with lemongrass and garlic.

 

The countdown is upon us for the impending end of asparagus season.

Sigh.

So there’s no time like now to make this super easy asparagus dish.

“Asparagus in Coconut Cream Sauce” is from the new “Farm to Table Asian Secrets: Vegan & Vegetarian Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season” (Tuttle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by food writer Patricia Tanumihardja, who was born in Indonesia and lived in Singapore before moving to the United States.

The book is full of inspired recipes that showcase the bounty available each season at the market. Try your hand at everything from “Vegetable Soup with Rhubarb” to “Vietnamese  Noodle Salad Bowls” to Tofu, Spinach and Fennel Wontons.” There’s also a helpful guide (with photos) about Asian herbs and pantry ingredients that will aid you in finding them at an Asian or international market.

FarmToTableAsianSecrets

Asparagus spears are simmered in a sauce of coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and chili paste. It’s seasoned with a dash of soy sauce, but fish sauce would also work. As the sauce cooks, it thickens to coat the asparagus spears. Velvety, citrusy and just a little spicy, it’s made for spooning over a mound of fluffy steamed rice.

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