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The Real Deal: Fresh and Organic Tahini

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If you are a fan of ethnic food, you have probably tasted tahini. If you opt to go to ethnic restaurants. you have probably tasted tahini. If your choice of home-cooking centers around ethnic cuisines, you have probably cooked with tahini. Okay, that last statement might not be purely accurate as the store bought tahini is really not tahini!

So, what is tahini? Quite simple. Tahini is a sesame seed paste or sauce (depending on the amount of oil used). It is a staple of Mediterranean cooking as well as the cuisines of the Middle East. If you happen to be a fan of hummus, tahini is usually a major ingredient.

If you should happen to venture out to your local market in search of tahini, you should be able to find it in the ethnic food section. A small can will cost you anywhere from six to eight dollars. Yes, you are getting ripped-off. Fact is, you can make your own tahini for half that cost and it will be fresh, natural and organic (three things the store bought tahini cannot claim).

How easy is it to make your own tahini? All it takes is two ingredients and a few minutes!

Ingredients needed to make Fresh and Organic Tahini (makes 1 cup):

  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil (or more if you want it more saucy)

Steps:

  1. Place the raw sesame seeds into a skillet over medium heat to toast them. This will give you the best authentic flavor.
  2. Once the seeds turn golden (toasted) remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Place the toasted sesame seeds and the oil into a food processor and process until you have a paste (see the picture). If you want your tahini to be more of a sauce, add more oil.
  4. Place into an air-tight jar and chill until ready to use.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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