Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan Mofo #5 - Lauren’s Cranberry Tahini...

Vegan Mofo #5 - Lauren’s Cranberry Tahini

The Book - "Vegan Yum Yum"
The Author - Lauren Ulm
The Recipe - Cranberry Tahini
Page # 91
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - 10 minutes of soak time, + however long it takes you to blend the sauce

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, and is used extensively in Middle Eastern cooking. As well as in the cuisines of North Africa, Greece, and West Asia. It’s the kind of thing I notice people either love or hate. Some people love it for it’s nutty flavor and thick creamy texture, others hate it for it’s edge of bitterness. For a very long time I was of the mind that Tahini was best when used in moderation, and rarely did I use it for anything other then making humus. Over the past couple of years though my taste for tahini has developed, and I’ve become more experimental in using it. Even still when I saw Lauren Ulm’s recipe for Cranberry Tahini I was skeptical to say the least. It just sounded so... well... strange, but believe me when I tell you that Cranberry Tahini is a revelation!

I mean it. Cranberry Tahini is pure magic! I can’t believe no one came up with it sooner. I know it sounds strange, I know you’re probably still skeptical, but I’m totally serious this dip will blow your mind. At least it did mine. Once again I made it based purely on the picture, which was just lovely. That and my almost masochistic desire to cook anything and everything ‘weird’ even if I don’t think I’ll like it. Turns out cooking by photography isn’t always a bad thing, because as I’ve already said this dip was phenomenal! It has a wonderful thick, creamy and smooth consistency and a very bold flavor that’s a perfectly balanced combination of nutty, sweet, slightly tart, and slightly bitter. The sweetness of the cranberries really goes a long way in mellowing out the bitter edge that tahini often has. The other wonderful thing about this dip is that the recipe contains very few ingredients, which means it’s quick and easy to prepare. It’s just a matter of collecting the necessary items and then blending them in a high-speed blender until smooth. Another bonus is that all the ingredients are ones that can be commonly found in most grocery stores. As far as alterations go the only thing I did differently was add a little extra water to thin.

In the recipe Ulm pairs her genius cranberry tahini with a twist on the Greek dolmathes. Collard Dolmas in which she used collard leaves rather then grape leaves. Which is indeed what I ended up serving my cranberry tahini with as well. Except I didn’t have collard leaves and so I used Swiss Chard instead. It was definitely an interesting switch. Unfortunately I’d been in such a whirlwind, and so short on time I only managed to capture a single picture of the cranberry tahini before our dinner was devoured. Until next time dolmas! Speaking of which, you might think serving cranberry tahini with Greek Dolmas is weird. Especially if you’re Greek or part Greek like me. As an omnivore you likely ate your dolmathes with tzatziki or more commonly Avgolemono sauce but trust me when I tell you, that despite your reservations the cranberry tahini actually pairs really beautifully with the dolmas. It’s a really good match for the lemon rice filling of dolmas.

However if you want to try this dip but don’t want to go to the trouble of making dolmas you can do a variety of other things with it. The recipe made much more then my husband and I could eat and so for days afterwards I was thinking of creative ways to devour the leftovers. One of my favorite ways was to smother it on a wrap or use it as a salad dressing. In fact you could even make the lemon rice filling for dolmas, and spread in a tortilla with a drizzle of cranberry tahini. Yum!

Whatever you decide to do with this dip make sure you share it with some friends because it’ll have all of your mouths watering while simultaneously blowing your minds, and who doesn’t like to impress their friends a little on occasion right?

1 comment:

  1. It's been so long since you made this but I vaguely recall devouring the meal despite my reservations about the cranberry tahini. lol Weird but good! - Matt