Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where We Should All Be

At the Fountain

These days, I am being pulled outside like a magnet is drawn to a refrigerator.  I can’t control it.  I want to be outside more than anything else—more than food, more than sleep.  When Matt comes to visit me in a few weeks, the only way he will see me is if he follows me out the door, so I’m planning poolside chats and a walk in the park for us.  I just want to feel the sunshine and the warm breeze of a Texas spring on my skin.  I’d also like to feel his hand in mine, palms together and fingers entwined.

As you might imagine, this insatiable need to be outside is starting to get in the way of other important things.  My kitchen time is taking a real hit, along with my desire to cook.  My desire to eat remains pretty much intact.  Last week, I wrote an e-mail to Matt, telling him, “I fear I may be a little plumper the next time you see me, as I feel I could be content making meals out of cheese, peanut butter, and apples.”  That’s still true, but I’d like to add carrots and tahini sauce to the list.

Dipping Their Toes in Tahini Sauce

This tahini sauce comes to us from Nigel Slater and his kitchen diaries, a book that I’ve had on loan from the library for several months.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love this book.  Inspiring, beautiful, and funny, it is a book that could make itself very much at home on my cookbook shelves.  As fortune would have it, I have the book on loan for a whole year—crazy!—so I don’t have to decide to buy my own copy for a while.  But the decision is looming because there is much cooking to be done from its pages.

I’ve made the tahini sauce at least half a dozen times now.  It is delicious—rich and a little tangy, with thyme flecked throughout and the deep flavor of tahini to intrigue the palate.  It’s perfect for dipping carrots into it, or for slathering a wrap filled with spiced chickpeas, cabbage, and shredded carrots.  All this flavor comes together with just five ingredients and one bowl, making it one of the easiest ways of dealing with the dinner question.  I imagine it would be fabulous as a topping for chickpea burgers—I can’t wait to try out that combination.  It is, of course, more work to make an honest-to-goodness meal with an entree and everything, so I’ll have to wait to eat my chickpea burgers until this spring fever settles down into a low-grade indoor apathy.  Or maybe, just maybe, Matt will convince me to stay inside so we can cook dinner together and then I’ll drag him outside with me to look at the stars.  When the weather is as beautiful as this, outside is where we should all be.

That's My Fountain

Tahini Sauce

Adapted from the kitchen diaries by Nigel Slater

Makes about 1/4 cup

Nigel calls for fresh thyme in his tahini sauce, but I hardly ever have fresh thyme on hand, so I use dried instead.  He serves it with roasted eggplant, but really, this is a great all-purpose sauce in a size that’s just right when you are cooking for one or two people.  If your crowd is larger, I don’t see any reason why this recipe couldn’t be doubled or even tripled.  So have at it!

2 tbsp. plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk yogurt

1 tbsp. tahini

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1/8 tsp. salt, or to taste

1)  In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, and olive oil until smooth.  Crumble the thyme leaves between your fingers as you sprinkle them into the bowl.  Add the salt.  Mix everything together.  Taste and add more salt if you like.  Serve or store in the refrigerator until serving time.


Laurie said...

I'm going to tell you a secret. Are you ready? Thyme is a rather easy herb to grow. Other herbs can be rather finicky, (at least they are when I try to grow them) but I haven't managed to kill a thyme plant yet. I have one in the garden that's more than 8 years old and one in a pot (right next to the dead rosemary) that's approaching its first birthday. I don't think that one has been watered since September, and the one in the garden has had to learn to swim this winter, yet still they live on.

Can't wait to try this recipe. Looks easy and yummy!

Rosiecat said...

Laurie, that is great news! I had no idea that thyme was so hardy. And I love your garden stories.

The tahini sauce is a perfect recipe when you're in a no-cook kinda mood. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Shannon said...

i bet this would go well on roasted butternut squash OR sweet potatoes ;) i'm going to go out on a limb and say you should add a few raisins to the wrap you described, too! i stared longingly outside today (first day with a blue sky in soooooo long), all the while being busy in lab until after 6 :/ luckily we have a few more nice days in the forecast and hopefully i'll be able to enjoy!

Rosiecat said...

Ooh, Shannon! I bet this sauce WOULD go well with some spicy sweet potato fries! I need to try that ASAP. And I could see raisins working in the wrap. Their texture and sweetness would add extra layers of interest.

Oh, I remember what spring is like in the north! I wish I could slide some of our sunshine into an envelope and mail it to you. But spring will come around in Boston--I have faith!