Thursday, January 27, 2011

Butternut, Chickpea, and Tahini Salad

I have now eaten this about 4 times in the past week. It's by far my new favorite food. And it's cheap! If you already have tahini... She leaves out the allspice, but I've used it and I like it.

original link:

Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
Adapted from Orangette, who adapted it from Casa Moro

Yield: 4 servings

For salad:
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoons ground allspice (I skip this)
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

For tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Toss the squash pieces until evenly coated. Roast them on a baking sheet for 25 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavor, but also a little kick of lemon. You will probably need to add more water to thin it out.

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro or parsley in a mixing bowl. Either add the tahini dressing to taste, and toss carefully, or you could serve the salad with the dressing on the side. Serve immediately.

Do ahead: Molly says this salad, lightly dressed, keeps beautifully in the fridge, that you should hold a little of the dressing on the side and that it can be reheated in the microwave. I, for one, have never had any leftovers.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Emily's amaaazing chinese noodles

Last night I was craving the chinese noodles that Em made the other night, so I searched around online and found the recipe! (Happy for me...sad for all the people who write cookbooks and then have their recipes just re-posted online...which I'm about to do). Enjoy :)--and Em, let us know if you do anything different from the recipe as it's written...

Chinese Noodle Salad with Roasted Eggplant

For the dressing and the noodles:
7 Tbs toasted sesame oil
7 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
2 ½ tsp salt (or less; this seems like a lot, so I've experimented with using as little as 1 tsp)
1 Tbs red pepper oil
8-10 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
3 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 lb spaghetti (the original recipe calls for thin fresh Chinese egg noodles, but I’ve found simple spaghetti to yield just as tasty a result; please forgive the lack of authenticity)

For the eggplant and vegetable garnishes:
1 lb firm, shiny Japanese or Chinese eggplants
1 Tbs fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Reserved dressing
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
½ lb mung bean sprouts
3 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until lightly colored
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
Cilantro leaves

Begin by making the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients (except the noodles, of course) in a bowl, and stir them together until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring a large pot of (unsalted) water to a boil, and add the noodles. Cook until done but not overly soft; then immediately pour them into a colander. Rinse them with cold water to cool them, and then shake the colander to remove excess water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Stir the dressing again; then pour half of it over the cooked noodles, tossing them with your hands to distribute the dressing evenly. Set aside the remaining dressing. If the noodles aren’t to be used for a while, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate to allow the flavors to develop.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pierce the eggplants in several places, and bake them on a rimmed baking sheet until they are soft and their skins have shriveled, 20-30 minutes, depending on their size. When the eggplants are ready, slice them in half lengthwise, and leave them on the baking sheet to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin away from the flesh and shred the flesh into rough strips. Add the ginger and garlic to the reserved dressing, and then add the eggplant strips. Stir the mixture well to thoroughly coat the eggplant.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the snow peas, and cook them until they are bright green, about 20-30 seconds. Remove them with tongs or a strainer, and rinse them with cool water. Cut them into long, thin strips, and set them aside. Next, put the sprouts into the boiling water, and allow them to cook for about 30 seconds. Pour them into a colander, rinse them with cold water, and lay them on a layer of paper towels to dry.

If the noodles have been refrigerated, allow them to come to room temperature; then toss them with the eggplant and reserved dressing, as well as half of the sesame seeds. Mound them in a wide bowl or on a platter, and distribute the snow peas, mung bean sprouts, and carrots over them. Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds and a few branches of cilantro. Once served, guests can toss the noodles and vegetables together to thoroughly mingle the textures and flavors.

Serves four to eight, depending on accompaniments.