Homemade Tahini!

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We have been doing a lot of cooking lately. Mostly it is thanks to the nice weather and the chance to grill. I think it also reflects that maybe things are slowing down just a tiny smidge and we can think a little more about meals. Which is a welcome change.

Everyone in my house likes mediterranean food–Garbanzos is a favorite restaurant that satisfies everyone. I have made homemade falafels for years, and what’s a good falafel without hummus? And what’s hummus without tahini–toasted sesame paste. The drawbacks to tahini are: 1–it is expensive, 2–sometimes you have to buy a large jar when you just need a smidge and it doesn’t keep forever, and 3–goodness knows what preservatives go into that jar. Of course, like everything else worth eating, you can make your own. I tried it and am pleased to say it is really not that hard and WAY cheaper than the jarred version.

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This made a smooth, creamy, just-runny-enough tahini that works great in recipes. The recipe I worked from said it will keep in the fridge for 3 months. The original recipe I found called for 5 cups of sesame seeds. I scaled it way back and wound up with about a cup and a third of tahini, which is a useable amount for my family. We can always make more if we need it.

Tahini
1&1/2 cups sesame seeds, white (buy in bulk at a natural foods/bulk food type place)
scant 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

That’s it. Two ingredients. Totally doable.

Heat the oven to 350. Place sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes, stirring with a spatula frequently. Do not let them burn. Nuts and seeds go from “not done” to “way burnt” really quickly so be careful. I got distracted by a kid issue while doing this and thankfully mine were fine, but I honestly don’t know how long they took. I’m guessing more like 10 minutes than 5. You want them just to turn golden. Put the sesame seeds and your olive oil into the food processor and process the heck out of it. It will first look more like a peanut butter but let it keep going. It will suddenly turn into this beautiful creamy, oily, runny tahini paste. Again, I don’t know how long it takes–kids. The recipe I worked from said 2 minutes. That’s probably about right, on high speed, depending on your food processor.

I have used mine already in a sesame-ginger salad dressing and in chickpea and sweet potato burgers. Recipes coming soon!

What do you like to use tahini in?

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