tahini-espresso chocolate chip cookies {with sesame smoked sea-salt}

At the end of every day, I feel like I deserve a treat. ¬†I mean, I know I am home with my toddler all day so how hard could daily life really be? ¬†But I am at home with my toddler alllll day. ¬†Though I love my little man to the moon and back, he¬†is like the Energizer bunny- always going, and going and going…

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So after dinner has been served, dishes have been done and kitchen has been wiped down, I turn the oven back on because the day is never really over until I’ve had my cookie for dessert. ¬†I’ve gotten in the habit of freezing a freshly-made batch of cookie dough so that I won’t eat half the cookies throughout the day.¬† It’s the perfect solution curb my¬†mindless snacking and allows me to really savor the one cookie I’ve baked for myself after dinner. ¬†Because it really is a treat.

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This cookie dough is special. ¬†It’s not gluten-free. ¬†Nor is it vegan. ¬†And I definitely wouldn’t consider them a health food. ¬†But sometimes a special chocolate chip cookie is just what we need to put a period on the end of the day. ¬†I’ve made this recipe numerous times and have fallen in love with the addition of tahini in the batter because it creates a subtle depth of flavor even though the tahini itself isn’t really that pronounced. ¬†This time there was a higher¬†chocolate-to-dough ratio so they were super gooey, almost falling apart when taking a bite. ¬†Feel free to use less chocolate if desired. ¬†Just because, I also threw in some espresso powder since¬†coffee is never a bad addition with chocolate. ¬†Finally,¬†I whipped up sesame smoked sea salt to top the cookies, as one does. (say that three times fast).

All I gotta say is…make these cookies.


tahini-espresso chocolate chip cookies {with sesame smoked sea-salt}

A tahini chocolate chip cookie spiked with espresso powder and topped with sesame smoked sea salt.  The very best treat to end your day!

  • ¬Ĺ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¬Ĺ cup tahini
  • 1 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¬Ĺ tsp baking soda
  • ¬Ĺ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbs espresso powder
  • 1¬†¬ĺ cup chopped dark chocolate

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, tahini and cane sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.  Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and continuing mixing on medium for another five minutes.

In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder together to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.  Toss in the chopped chocolate and stir them into the mixture by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and place them on the sheet.  Wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 12 hours.  This step is important because it allows the gluten in the flour to relax, giving way to a more tender and chewy cookie.

At this point, you can bake 1 or bake them all.  I love storing cookie dough in the freezer to have on hand when the craving strikes.  Plus, not having a jar of chocolate chip cookies on the counter to snack on which to snack freely helps with self control.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325¬ļ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. ¬†space cookies at least 3‚ÄĚ apart to allow for them to spread. ¬†Bake for 13-16 minutes, until just golden around the edges. ¬†Even though they may look underbaked, this is actually perfect. ¬†Sprinkle with the smoked sea salt/sesame mixture and allow to cool for at least 10-20 minutes before eating.

sesame smoked sea salt

  • 1 tbs smoked sea salt
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds

In a spice grinder, add smoked sea salt and sesame seeds and pulse until combined. ¬†You don’t want to pulverize the mixture, just coarsely chopped enough so that it’s fully mixed together.

 

 

 

tahini-espresso chocolate chip cookies {with sesame smoked sea-salt}

Spaghetti with Olives & Capers

Some would say pasta is the ultimate comfort food and I am not here to disagree. ¬†Sometimes it’s as easy as throwing pasta in some boiling water and tossing the noodles with a jar of pre-made sauce and calling it a day. ¬†Though it may be intimidating at first, making sauce from scratch is not that difficult and if you have the¬†inclination to do so, it really is¬†worth the extra effort.

This is a take on a puttanesca sauce, which includes the briny tang of capers and Kalamata olives, however, with a simple pomodoro sauce in mind, I¬†added a bit of ghee (or you could use a pat of butter) to really round out its flavor¬†and then stirred in about a ¬Ĺ cup of pasta water to make the sauce cling to the noodles. ¬†You can pump up the nutrition a bit by using whole wheat spaghetti or even zucchini noodles or toss in some extra veggies such as squash, broccoli or spinach. ¬†This time, I just wanted a simple pasta dish with a sauce¬†that I could call my own.


spaghetti with olives & capers

Whole-wheat spaghetti tossed in a slurp-able sauce and punctuated with the briny tang of olives and capers really doesn’t get much better! ¬†Unless you top your bowl with Parmesan cheese and basil…and then it does.

(serves 2-4)

  • 2-4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in a blender
    • I used Muir Glen’s fire roasted tomatoes which, to me, are the best!
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • ¬ľ cup capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs kalamata olive brine
  • 1 tbs caper brine
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 3 large fresh basil sprigs

 

  • 8-10 oz. whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half
  • 1 tbs ¬†ghee (or unsalted butter)
  • ¬ľ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Heat olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-low heat.  Add minced shallot and cook, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes until soft.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring,  for 2-4 minutes.  Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook another minute longer.

Increase the heat to medium and season with kosher salt.  Then add in the pureed tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, olive brine, caper brine and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and flavors come together about 20 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and stir in basil sprigs and set aside.

Meanwhile,¬†bring a large pot of water to a boil. ¬†Season with kosher salt and cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally until about 2 minutes before noodles are tender. ¬†Reserve about¬†¬Ĺ a cup of pasta water while draining pasta.

Discard basil in skillet and warm¬†sauce over high heat. ¬†Stir in pasta water to loosen sauce, and bring to a boil. ¬†Add noodles and cook, stirring so sauce coats the pasta, about 2 minutes. ¬†Remove pan from heat and add ghee and¬†¬ľ cup of parmesan cheese. ¬†Toss together until cheese and ghee melt.

Serve into warm bowls and top with more parmesan cheese if desired.

 

(inspired by Cookie+Kate and Bon Appetite)

 

Spaghetti with Olives & Capers

Loaded Ceviche

When the temperature breaks 100¬į for at least five days in a row, the kitchen is one of the last places even I want to be.

Ok, that may not be a completely true statement since I can’t stay away from cooking for more than a day. ¬†But what better way to combat this crazy heat than with a super refreshing ceviche?? ¬†This dish satiates my need to be in the kitchen without turning on the stove or the oven. Win-win.

Ceviche is a dish ordered often around these parts and my husband and I typically eat it as an appetizer or snack whenever possible.  That being said, it is extremely easy to make yourself and completely customizable to suit your tastebuds, so why not give it a go?

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If you’re not familiar with the ceviche, it’s a dish comprised of raw seafood that are essentially “cooked,” or cured, by marinating¬†it¬†in a bath of citrus juice for at least two to four hours. ¬†In this recipe, we opted to marinate three types of seafood: wild-caught Alaskan salmon, snapper and shrimp, finding¬†the flavor was better the longer they marinated. ¬†Since you’re working with raw fish, the dish will only be as good as your ingredients so I¬†recommend purchasing the best quality available. ¬†It is a waiting game with this dish, so plan accordingly!

Once the fish/seafood are done “cooking,” it’s time to get creative with your add-ins. ¬†I loaded mine up with fresh tomatoes and a cucumber for some freshness, onion for a crunchy bite and a roasted poblano for a hit of smokiness. ¬†Finally, a generous bunch¬†of chopped cilantro to garnish, which is absolutely necessary. ¬†Dare I say perfect?

At least for this home cook it was!


loaded ceviche

(makes about 4-5 cups)

This is a no-cook dish and perfect for summer.  Serve as an app with a bowl full of tortilla chips or top some butter lettuce and eat as a side or even an entrée.  Feel free to switch up the fish, use only one type or all three.  Either way, this ceviche is the perfect accompinament to a warm summer evening and and ice cold beer.

  • ¬Ĺ lb wild Alaskan salmon, cut into¬†¬Ĺ inch cubes
  • ¬Ĺ lb snapper filet, cut into¬†¬Ĺ inch cubes
  • ¬ľ lb medium to small-sized shrimp, cut into thirds or quarters depending on how big they are
  • 1 generous cup lime juice (approximately 4-5 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 scant tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 serrano chiles, diced (feel free to sub 1¬†jalape√Īo¬†for a little more heat)
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes (approximately 1¬Ĺ tomatoes)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ¬ĺ cup diced white or red onion
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, cut into ¬Ĺ inch cubes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • more sea salt, to taste

The idea is to chop all ingredients roughly the same size.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salmon, snapper and shrimp.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, garlic cloves, sea salt and serrano chiles and blend until smooth. ¬†Pour the mixture over the fish and toss a few times to make sure everything is completely incorporated. ¬†To marinate the fish, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. ¬†Typically the fish will be ready to eat in about two hours, however, the fish will be completely “cooked” in about four (which is how long I waited for mine).

Once the fish is “cooked” to your desired doneness, toss in the remaining add-ins: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, poblano pepper, avocado and cilantro. ¬†Mix everything together. ¬†Taste and add more salt as desired.

(adapted from Rick Bayless’¬†Mexican¬†Everyday)

Loaded Ceviche

soused & sun-dried tomato soup

Soup in the summer?? ¬†It doesn’t seem right¬†but when you’re in need of a quick dinner, this one comes together in a cinch (as long as you have your soused tomatoes ready). ¬†It’s also one of the most flavorful soups I’ve ever made, thanks to a combination of slow-roasted Roma tomatoes with tons of herbs and garlic and some sun-dried tomatoes for fun.

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soused & sun-dried tomato soup