Sesame Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

sesame hazelnut chocolate truffles Here’s a very simple recipe for sesame hazelnut chocolate truffles. These little guys require few ingredients and make a great afternoon snack.

 

Ingredients (for about 15 truffles):

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/6 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/6 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

 

Directions:

  1. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring cream and butter together to a quick boil and immediately pour over the chocolate.
  3. Let the chocolate sit for a minute, then stir to make a homogeneous mixture. (If you still have chocolate chunks you can’t get rid of, heat the mix briefly over a pot of simmering water). Cover and cool in the fridge for about 3 hours.
  4. Toast the sesame seeds and hazelnuts in a 350-degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes.
  5. With a melon baller or a spoon, scoop the chocolate out of the bowl and form into balls with your fingers (you’ll get your hands seriously dirty here!).
  6. Roll the chocolate truffles in the hazelnut/sesame mix.

Sesame Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

Universal Stir Fry Sauce

stir fry

Stir fry is what I fall back on whenever I don’t have ideas/time/motivation to make actual dinner plans. I always make the same sauce because it works equally well with meat, seafood and any vegetables I’ve ever tried it with. I used chicken, scallions, carrots, chili pepper and cashews here but shrimp, bok choy, bell peppers, broccoli, asparagus, napa cabbage, onion, mushrooms and whatever else you find in your fridge will be good too!

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less or leave them out if you don’t like it spicy)

 

Directions:

  1. Put all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and stir until combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil on high heat. Once shimmering add your meat or seafood. Fry until brown on the edges, then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Heat a little more vegetable oil (again on high) to the pan and add your vegetables. Fry until tender.
  4. Add the cooked meat (and accumulated juices) back to the pan and pour in the sauce.
  5. Cook on high heat until the sauce turns translucent and thickens.

Recipe: Asian Noodle Salad

asian noodle salad

I’m a big fan of Asian-style noodles. Udon, rice, ramen, you name it, I love it. Here’s a recipe involving soba noodles, which are made mainly from buckwheat flour. The dressing for this salad is sweet, sour, salty and slightly spicy. I infused shrimp with the same flavors and finished the whole thing with some fresh scallions and mint leaves. It’s a great spring dish!

grilled shrimp

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small chili pepper, finely chopped (remove some or all ribs and seeds if you want the dish less spicy)
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • about 15 medium-sized shrimp
  • 4 ounces of soba noodles (uncooked)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • smattering of mint leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, honey, chili pepper, sesame oil, cilantro, lime zest, ginger and sesame seeds together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Transfer half of the mix into another bowl and set aside. This will be the salad dressing.
  3. Peel and devein the shrimp and marinate them in the remaining half of the mix for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  4. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions.
  5. Drain the noodles, briefly rinse them under cold water and toss them with the salad dressing.
  6. Take the shrimp out of their marinade and grill. Mix the shrimp with the noodle salad.
  7. Sprinkle scallions and mint leaves on the salad and serve.

Recipe: Sesame Tofu

sesame tofu

My husband is a real master in the art of tofu-making so I am lucky to often find a delicious, large brick of it in the fridge. Usually I use it in a stir-fry but last week I figured out how to make a sweet and sour sesame sauce for it. It turned out very tasty (and quick and easy as well) and is sure to become a mainstay in our house. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • about 1 pound firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • about 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying

 

Directions:

  1. Put the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, cornstarch and honey into a bowl and whisk well until fully combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Roll the tofu cubes in the flour, making sure you are coating them on all sides.
  4. Fry the tofu in vegetable oil until golden brown on all sides. Set aside.
  5. Pour the sauce ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a full boil. Keep boiling the sauce until it becomes transparent and thickens. Take off the heat and pour over the tofu.
  6. Serve with rice and sprinkle chopped scallions on top.

Next Spice: Sesame

white sesame  seeds

Next up on The Spice Train will be sesame! The tiny seeds are one of the oldest known spices and sources of oil, dating back to at least 3,000 B.C. Their high oil content makes sesame seeds delicious but also causes them to go rancid after a few short months so be sure to keep them in the fridge. Recipes coming soon!

This entry was posted in spices.

Recipe: Sumac Chicken Lavash Pizza

Sumac Chicken Lavash Pizza

If you like your pizza crust crispy and thin as a cracker then you’ll love this recipe. I had been trying to figure out how to make a good pizza crust for years until I came across lavash, a tasty Middle Eastern flatbread. Lavash is soft, very thin and bakes up deliciously crispy in minutes. It also freezes well and thaws very quickly. In other words, it’s the perfect pizza base. For this recipe I topped the lavash with sumac spice-rubbed grilled chicken breast, a few vegetables and some cheese. I recommend you serve this pizza with tzatziki – enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • lavash bread (to be found in Middle Eastern or some natural food stores)
  • one boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • one tablespoon sumac
  • one teaspoon yellow mustard seeds, ground
  • one teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • canned artichoke hearts
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • sliced zucchini
  • grated cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and gruyere)
  • green onion for garnish

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk sumac, mustard seed, chili, salt and pepper together in a bowl and rub on the chicken breast.
  2. Grill the spice-rubbed chicken, then cut into chunks.
  3. Sprinkle the lavash bread with vegetables, cheese and chicken and bake in a 350-degree oven until the cheese is melted (about 10 minutes).
  4. Sprinkle with green onion and serve by itself or with tzatziki.

Recipe: Sumac-Marinated Chicken Kebabs

Sumac-Marinated Chicken Kebab

I’ll start the sumac series with this easy, quick and very delicious spice-marinated chicken kebab recipe. Sumac adds a wonderful lemon flavor here but is at the same time not as harsh as actual lemon juice would be. (It also doesn’t seem to break down the meat during the marinating process like actual citrus juice would). I recommend you serve these kebabs with salad, black olives, pita bread and maybe some hummus. Enjoy and if you decide to make this recipe let me know what you think of it!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used actual cinnamon and not cassia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon tandoori (you can substitute generic curry powder if you don’t have tandoori)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • vegetables of your choice (I used tomatoes and shaved zucchini)

 

Directions:

  1. Mix sumac, salt, pepper, cinnamon, tandoori and oil together in a bowl.
  2. Cut the meat into 1 1/2-inch chunks, add to the spice/oil mix and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Thread vegetables and meat onto skewers and grill until the chicken’s internal temperature registers¬†165 degrees F.

Next Spice: Sumac

sumac

Middle Eastern flavors are rumored to become a hot thing in 2014 (along with pigeon meat !?!) so I figured I’ll jump a month ahead of the trend and experiment with sumac. The dark red spice is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, packed with healthy flavonoids, and has a citrusy flavor. (In fact, sumac was the Romans’ acidic ingredient of choice before lemons arrived in Europe). Even though sumac is probably best known as one of the main components in the spice blend za’atar (a mix of sesame seeds, various dried herbs and sumac), it also works well as a spice rub or sprinkled on hummus and even salads. Recipes coming soon!

This entry was posted in spices.

Turkey Cranberry Grilled Sandwich with Orange Tarragon Mustard

Turkey Cranberry Panini

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, here in the U.S. and abroad! If you’re wondering what to do with turkey leftovers I suggest stuffing them into a grilled sandwich along with cranberry sauce, grated gruyere and a bit of homemade orange tarragon mustard. I threw in some fresh tarragon as well and used a walnut cranberry bread for extra fruitiness. It was really delicious. Enjoy yourselves and I’ll see you back here soon!

Stovetop Apple Crisp

Stovetop Apple Crisp

For this easy, no-bake apple crisp I did an actual side by side comparison between the real cinnamon and cassia. The difference was very apparent and for me cinnamon won hands down. Despite the modest amounts I used cassia was overpowering (as I think it always is) and one-dimensional. The real cinnamon added complexity while still letting the other flavors come through. Anyway, it’s an easy recipe for a quick but delicious dessert and you won’t even need to fire up the oven!

Stovetop Apple Crisp

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch chunks of peeled apples (about 4 apples; Gala work well)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds

 

Directions:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
  2. Add the apples, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar. Stir until well combined.
  3. Put the lid on and let the apples cook on medium to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft but still have their structure. (About 7 minutes).
  4. In a bowl, combine remaining sugar, oats, walnuts and sesame seeds. Mix well.
  5. In a small, non-stick pan melt the remaining butter, then add the walnut mix and brown for a few minutes until crunchy. (Do this on relatively low heat and watch closely, it will burn easily).
  6. Serve apples in a bowl and sprinkle the topping on.