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Jerusalem’s Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

One of my roommates recently picked up the Jerusalem cookbook. It’s always been one of my favorites to peruse, along with Ottolenghi’s other book, Plenty. I’ve never owned either of the books but have many friends who do, and from their pages, I have loved pretty much every recipe I’ve had the pleasure of helping to recreate.

Mediterranean cuisine may just be my favorite. And Jerusalem is packed with quality ingredients that bring this style of eating to life.

Winter Butternut

The first Ottolenghi recipe I ever made was essentially the non-pureed form of the one typed out below. That initial dish, a baked butternut and roasted red onion side, is one I make often. It introduced me to the heavenly combination of creamy tahini and nutty squash, which I knew wouldn’t let me down in this recipe.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread

Here, that duo is topped with an intriguing addition – date syrup, or as an alternate, molasses. The cookbook explains that date syrup is an intense, natural popular sweetener in the Middle East, and is great for salad dressings, to sweeten stews, or to drizzle over morning porridge. While I am curious to seek that out, the recipe says that the date syrup can be also be swapped for molasses. I decided to go with the latter, one, out of convenience, but also two, because I love molasses yet feel it’s a rather underutilized ingredient in my kitchen. It, too, felt like a surprise ingredient for the dish, and I thought it worked quite well.

Winter Still Life

Creamy and intense, this essentially turns tahini into something that I would eat by the spoonful. However, it’s rich, and is even better when smeared across a crusty bread. Next time, I might add cayenne for some heat, and possibly even a bit of lime or balsamic to cut it a little bit further. Overall though, this was a hit, and would certainly act as a conversation starter if serving to guests. It has this whole sweet-meets-savory dynamic that begs for questions, and also double dipping. Definitely adding this one to the repeat list. Again, another one from Jerusalem that doesn’t disappoint.

Jerusalem's Butternut Squash and Tahini Spread Continue Reading…

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini It’s funny. I am always advocating the novelty that comes from reading an actual physical book. Forget the Internet’s endless library. Forget e-lit. Forget iPads. Forget Kindles. I want to read a real book. I want to turn pages, and breathe paper, and step away from the computer. Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini Yet these days I rarely look at cookbooks. I scan a handful of food blogs almost daily, instead, and shun the research for one of my greatest passions – food/cooking – away from my off-screen, unplugged glory time. Ridiculous. I do subscribe to Vegetarian Times mag, but that’s about it for my recipe-to-paper reading unless I’m stumbling through a bookstore or sitting on the couch at my mom’s house. My mom has loads of old school cookbooks, and it always feels like an adventure to scan through the hand-written pages of Moosewood’s first publishing. It also feels like an adventure when I randomly come across a cookbook elsewhere, and take the time to read it. I.E., how this recipe made it into my kitchen. Sesame tahini paste
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem was not new to my ears. Throughout last year, this cookbook received a ton of hype, as did Ottolenghi’s previous book, Plenty. That says something. With so many gorgeous food blogs sprung into creation, I’m not the only going against my own advice and shifting away from cookbook reading. These days, if you want your cookbook to go viral, you better guarantee it offers something NEW to the table. butternut_tahini_blog My friend had Jerusalem laying around her house, thus giving me the opportunity to finally scan its pages. Glorious. It’s definitely one in which I’d like to cook through all of its vegetarian inclusions. And has me wondering about Plenty, which Ottolenghi comprised entirely of meat-free recipes. Roasted Butternut and Red Onion with Tahini Thank god a few of my friends enjoy, and actually buy, cookbooks. When I have more space, hopefully I’ll invest in more of them too. Don’t, but also please do, hold me to that. Scanning through a stack of them aside Jerusalem in quest to create a Saturday feast, this recipe here made the night’s multi-course menu. Of all of the recipes we chose — Carrot, ginger, mulled apple juice; Arugula, kale, persimmon, tahini salad; Beet and lentil borscht; Pear & Almond muffins; — this one was one of the simplest. It was also my favorite. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini

Round 1

The creaminess of the tahini with the velvety roasted butternut squash and caramelized red onions literally blew me away. So much so that I made this again, 2 weeks later, for my family at Christmas. So good. Definitely a must-try for yourself. Continue Reading…