Monday, February 6, 2017

Aaaack

You know, I've always said--tomato salads are my all-time favorite food, but something bad happens every time I make tomato salad. One time, Jeff was unexpectedly called away to handbell rehearsal, delaying dinner by a couple hours. Another time, I found out that my friend was in a car crash. And one time, I found out that Giada De Laurentiis got divorced.  But, still, nothing seems to compare to the tomato salad that I made during the first presidential debate last year.

It was, by far, the greatest tomato salad I have ever made, a perfectly elegant combination of familiar ingredients, the synthesis of a few different recipes I'd enjoyed. It was easily one of the top five meals I had last year, a healthy vegan delight decadent enough to convert an omnivore.  t was the only thing I could do to take my mind off presidential politics for a few hours in September.  And, well, here we are now.



So I'm not even going to say anything to jinx this pancake recipe. Here's a recipe for pancakes and I think we can all agree that there is absolutely nothing negative about pancakes.

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Tahini pancakes

Makes 6 large pancakes, serving 2-3
(easily doubled)

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks' master pancake recipe

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar, unrefined if possible
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1 1/4 cups milk or buttermilk, plus up to 1/2 cup extra
2 large eggs, beaten
olive oil
cocoa nibs (optional)

Place the sesame seeds in a small non-stick skillet without oil and toast over medium-high heat, shaking frequently, just until they become fragrant and begin to pop. The timing will depend on the stove and pan you are using, but this could take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk a few times to mix. Pour the tahini, milk, and eggs on top of these dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add the sesame seeds and whisk once or twice to distribute them evenly. Lift up a spoonful of the batter--it should have some body, but still flow easily off of a spoon. The texture will depend somewhat on the consistency of your tahini.  If the batter is too dense, whisk in a little milk, splash by splash, until you've got a nice, flowing batter.

Heat up 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet--I use two cast-iron skillets over two burners. Drop in a large spoonful of batter and let it spread out in the pan. If you're feeling decadent, drop some cocoa nibs over top of the batter while it's still runny. Once some bubbles begin to poke through the top of the batter, flip the pancake and cook for up to a minute on the other side, so that it's puffy and cakey but not dried out. Keep your pancakes warm and stacked in the oven while you prepare the rest.