THE TAHINI TABLE: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal

Amy Zitelman with Andrew Schloss

Agate Surrey
November 10, 2020
$29/Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1572842892

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Amy Zitelman is CEO of Philadelphia-based Soom Foods, the leading purveyor of tahini and tahini products in the American market, which she cofounded in 2013. Soom was named the best tahini according to industry experts by New York magazine in 2019 and has been featured in The New York TimesFood & WineBon Appetit, and other publications. She was named to Forbes magazines’s “30 Under 30” class of 2018.

 

 

Photo © Jillian Guyette

Most people who know about tahini understand the sesame paste as simply one of the building blocks of hummus. But for Amy Zitelman, CEO and cofounder of woman-owned Soom Foods—the leading purveyor of tahini and tahini products in the American market—the culinary potential of tahini goes far beyond hummus. In The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal, tahini is introduced to home cooks as a new pantry staple that can be used in recipes from dips to desserts.

Tahini, made from pressed roasted sesame seeds, is a healthy, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and low-sugar superfood rich in Omega fatty acids, protein, and calcium. Although tahini’s historical roots are in the Middle East, Zitelman aims to stretch the culinary borders of tahini outside of traditional Middle-Eastern fare. The Tahini Table contains 100 recipes that showcase tahini’s wide range of uses. This “cult condiment” is mild enough to step in as an inspiring replacement for the eggs, cheese, mayo, and cream called for in recipes that American home cooks are making for their families every day. The Tahini Table provides tahini hacks for reimagined classics, including vegan “queso,” eggless mayonnaise, and gluten-free brownies.

From Vegan Mac and “Cheese” and Tahini Chicken Schnitzel, to Chocolate Halvah French Toast and Tahini Flan, Zitelman writes with the home cook in mind, incorporating tahini into every day cooking in delicious and unexpected ways. With beautiful color photos, contributions from top chefs, and easy substitutions for a variety of diets, The Tahini Table proves that tahini is the next must-have pantry staple for home cooks everywhere.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Orange Tahini, Walnuts, and Za’atar

Serves 6

 Wildly pretty and so easy, these vegetables can be roasted ahead. Simply refresh them in the microwave or a warm oven and finish with the sauce, freshly toasted nuts, freshly chopped herbs, and toast made from a crusty artisanal bread.

 

  • 1 (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large leeks, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and pale green parts)
  • ¼ cup premium tahini paste
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1–2 tablespoons water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  •  ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Za’atar (page 69) or store-bought za’atar
  • Flake salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Turn the oven to 475°F.

Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a large sheet pan. Roast until the squash starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Toss the leeks with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and add to the pan of squash. Roast until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife, about 15 minutes more.

While the vegetables roast, whisk the tahini and orange and lemon juices in a small bowl. Add enough water to make the mixture the thickness of cream sauce. Season with the garlic, fine sea salt, and crushed red pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and stir until they darken slightly and smell toasty. Scrape into a bowl, cool for a bit, and toss with the parsley and za’atar.

When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a platter. Season with flake salt and black pepper. Drizzle with the tahini sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and scatter the walnut mixture on top. Serve right away.


Rachella’s Tahini Carrot Cake

 Serves 8

This recipe from Omri’s mom, Rachella, is the one that woke me and my sisters to the power of tahini. The cake is super moist and rich. The tahini gives it a nutty aftertaste, and because the tahini reduces the amount of oil in the recipe, this cake never gets greasy the way many carrot cakes do.

For the batter

  • Cooking spray, for greasing
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup mild vegetable oil, such as grapeseed
  • ¾ cup premium tahini paste
  • 1¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 7 medium carrots, peeled and shredded (about 2½ cups)
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts (optional)

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup premium tahini paste
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup black and white sesame seeds

Turn the oven to 350°F. Grease two (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.

To make the batter: In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until completely combined and thick. Beat in the oil, a bit at a time, then beat in the tahini.

Mix the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl until combined. Add a third of the flour mixture to the tahini mixture, stirring to combine. Add half of the carrots and mix well. Add half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining carrots, and then the remaining flour mixture, stirring between each addition to combine. Stir in the walnuts (if using).

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake on the middle rack of the oven until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting: While the cakes are baking, beat the butter, cream cheese, and tahini in a stand mixer (or large bowl) until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth. If the frosting is too soft to spread, chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

Set one cake layer on a serving plate. Top with a third of the frosting and 2 tablespoons of the mixed sesame seeds. Add the next layer and frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Top with the remaining sesame seeds (it’s fine if some fall down the sides). If the cake seems at all wobbly, refrigerate until the icing firms and the cake feels sturdy. Cut into wedges and serve.


Reprinted with permission from The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman, Agate Publishing, November 2020.

Contact: Jacqueline Jarik
jarik@agatepublishing.com


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