Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tahini- my new favorite ingredient

Do you have a random ingredient sitting in your fridge or pantry? The one you use in that one dish....enough to keep it around, but it shifts to the back because it's been a while since you made that dish.

Mine was tahini. I tend to have it around periodically for making hummus. Hummus is so easy to make that I feel guilty buying the prepared hummus in the grocery store (not to mention that I make mine with considerably less salt). But until recently, that was the only use I'd found for it.

I've been making an effort to really maximize what I get out of my grocery shopping by utilizing everything in my kitchen. So when I was looking for something to season kale, the tahini appeared to be a reasonable candidate.

So what is Tahini?

According to Cookthink:
"Tahini is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. Common in Middle Eastern cuisine, tahini is what brings that nutty richness to hummus, baba ghanoush and halvah. You can find tahini in a jar or can at most grocery stores. A fresh can usually needs stirring to mix the oil and paste."

Since that initial experiment, I've used tahini as the base for spice rub, tossed with veggies in an omelet, in an onion and potato saute, and in a vinagerette. I'm planning on dipping back into some of cookbooks- where I know I've seen recipes using tahini- to revisit those possibilities for this verstile sauce.

So, what's your under-utilized ingredient?

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