garlic

Lemony Yogurt Tahini Sauce made with a black whisk in a white bowl

Lemony Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Lemony Yogurt Tahini Sauce made with a black whisk in a white bowl

This sauce was a surprise that came out of nowhere. I needed a sauce to plate my smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes. I was fiddling with items in the kitchen for the sauce. Suddenly I remembered I had tahini in my cupboard. This is the origin story of this lemony yogurt tahini sauce.

I am writing this particular lemony yogurt tahini sauce recipe as much for you as for me. Just like I am writing this blog as much for me as it is for you. I am not even sure if it is for you. To be honest, as at the time I am writing this, this food blog is really nothing other than a project to soothe my anxiety. By embracing the idea of writing and creating food once again, I am finding control in some place. Every other part of my life is out of my control at the moment. But, this blog is within control.

A whisk coated with Lemon Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Yes, I don’t control if anyone would see this. But I control my creativity. Everyday when I go into my kitchen and I cook another item for the blog, it is another modicum of control over a situation that has escaped from my grasp. Perhaps making lemony yogurt tahini sauce is the way I will get unstuck from my life. Or maybe it will just be another thing that I do and quit when it gets too hard. Who knows? All I know is that at this moment the process of creating this space is making me happy and that is the only valid metric.

Okay! I have said too much. This is a food blog after all. This lemony yogurt sauce is just the right amount of tangy and nutty. It is what I imagine I would make if I like eating crudites (I don’t) But I’ll definitely use this on chickpeas and maybe that chicken shawarma bowl.

Give it a try! Let me know if you like it.

Crispy potatoes with lemony yogurt tahini sauce on a white plate
A whisk coated with Lemon Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Lemony Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Sinmi
An easy sauce that makes a wonderful dip not just for crispy potatoes but also crudites and falafel balls.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt I prefer whole milk yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 clove Garlic grated

Instructions
 

  • Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Or you could also dump it in a blender and let it do the hard bit.
Keyword greek yogurt, lemon, tahini, white sauce, yogurt, yogurt sauce
Smoky Shrimp Confit on Mashed White beans

Shrimp Confit with Mashed White Beans

Shrimp confit served on mashed white beans and drizzled with oil.

I did not realize until a few years ago that black eye peas are actually a thing for New Year’s Day. The importance of black eye peas became apparent when I worked in a grocery store. All year, the frozen black eye peas just never seemed to go anywhere. Then, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, they disappeared. Suddenly, customers are asking if we have more black eye peas in the back. I was flabbergasted but I found myself picking up this distinctly American tradition, in my own way. This New Year’s I am tapping into this tradition by eating beans on the first day of 2019 with this delightful smoky shrimp confit.

As an immigrant, my life is a blend of what I grew up knowing as my culture and what I have found in my odyssey away from my birthplace. There are parts of my new heritage that are intentional because I try to be very specific in who I am becoming. There are other parts that I have found and adopted through curiosity. My palate is very much about curiosity. There are many foods I did not understand at the beginning of my journey. Now, I find myself eating foods that amaze the woman that I am now.

Smoky Shrimp Confit in Oil

Since I am not a big fan of black eyes peas, I am serving the confit shrimp with white beans. The idea to mash my beans comes from my love of ewa agoyin. Ewa agoyin is one of those Yoruba meals that nobody makes at home. Ewa agoyin is best eaten from the pots of a food hawker that parading the streets. There is something mythical about the deeply fried sauce is ladled in the well created within the plated mashed beans. I could tell you what the flavors in the sauce harken to but I can guarantee that nothing made at home is like the hawker’s sauce. A good ewa agoyin hawker’s sauce is not only dark, but it is also smokey, salty and gritty in texture.

I have tried to capture some the mythical nature of this dish by serving the black eye peas with an intensely flavored shrimp confit. The oil for this confit is where all the flavor exists. It is deeply flavored from the use of garlic and herbs. The smokey nature is pronounced from the addition of a sweet paprika powder that lends it a vibrant color as well.

Smoky Shrimp Confit on Mashed White beans

Don’t be afraid of the oil in this dish. The seasoning to cook the shrimp means the oil is deeply flavorful. If you don’t soak up all the oil with bread while eating, store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It can be used on savory oats, to sauteed vegetables for a quick meal or even used to poach salmon.

The shrimp confit is a dish that requires patience but the result are so worthy of the time it takes to create. Why not start the new year off by coming to investing time in yourself? Cooking and exploring the different flavors that can exist in one meal is a good starting point.

 

Smoky Shrimp Confit in Oil

Smoky Shrimp Confit

Sinmi
Shrimp is slow cooked in a bath of oil seasoned with herbs, garlic, and paprika.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling Time 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound shrimp (deveined)
  • 1 tbsp Sweet paprika
  • 1/2 small onion cut into wedges
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 sprig thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 11/2 cups oil don’t use olive oil. Canola oil or a bland oil like safflower works best.
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized pot, add in the oil. Add in the rosemary, thyme, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the oil is fragrant. This process takes no more than ten minutes. Let the oil cool down and strain. This step can be completed a day or two ahead.
  • Pour strained oil back into the pot. Add in the paprika, chili flakes, and salt. Heat up until oil is just warm, around 200F. It should be at low heat.
  • Add in the shrimp in bulk, carefully. Doing this brings down the temperature of the oil so that it does not fry the shrimp. Keep oil on low heat. Monitor the heat to be sure it is not too hot. Cook until shrimp for about 20 minutes when it starts getting a pink hue.
Keyword confit, paprika, seafood, shrimp, shrimp confit
Tomato Pesto Sauce on Fettucine

Tomatoes in the Winter

I get those moments when I become obsessive about a particular idea. The pass few weeks (yes weeks!) I have been obsessively thinking about how to eat tomatoes in the winter. The rabbit hole I entered led me to this wonderful creamy cheesy tomato pesto sauce.

Tomato runs in my blood. As a Yoruba woman, who was born and bred in Lagos for the entirety of my childhood, the tomato is a thing. It has taken a long time to not compulsively eat tomato sauce/stew with every meal. Growing in Lagos, we had really good tomatoes year round. I mean, there were times when there was scarcity and you wondered why the whole country had to subsist on tomatoes. However, more often than not, there was abundance. So many baskets of ripe and juicy tomatoes spilling over the woven basket. The market floor was often littered with rotten and underripe tomato tossed out carelessly by the traders.

I left that place of abundance to come to America, where tomatoes are mostly just passable. At first,I did not realize what I had given up because I lived in California. It seemed almost season-less. And I mean both the tomato and the state. Then I dragged my life over to Massachusett and suddenly, tomatoes have seasons. There is a very short window where I allow myself to eat tomatoes. it is usually from the middle of summer to late summer.

This short window of time is when the tomatoes are just about right to be eaten raw. A good tomato is juicy, almost like a ripe peach. When you bite into it, the juice oozes out uncontrollably. It should have a nice acidic edge that is only mellowed by its own sweetness. There is no way to write fully in words the magic that happens when you get a truly ripe tomato of good pedigree.

So, as you can imagine, given the frigidness I live with in New England, the magic of the tomato is one that is hard to lay my hands upon in the winter. I have had to come to terms with this. Come to terms means I don’t eat tomatoes in the winter, except it is canned. That is until I discovered a way to have cheesy tomato pesto sauce in the winter.

Tomato Pesto Sauce on Fettucine

Lately, I have discovered a new class of tomato products for the winter. It started with Divina tomatoes last year and this year has escalated to the marinated cherry tomatoes from Trader Joes. Goodness me! When I first tried the Divina Roasted Red Tomatoes, I knew it was a love that might not stand the test of time. I could not justify to myself, and my bank account, the wisdom of buying eight dollar jars of tomatoes. I knew it was something I would only ever be able to eat when it is on sale (trust me, I keep my eye on the price sticker at my grocery store).

The Trader Joes semi-dried and marinated Cherry tomatoes has been a perfect way to ease the hurt of not being able to afford the Divina tomatoes. If I am being honest, I also realize that the Trader Joes and Divina tomatoes are best for different purposes. The Trader Joes semi-dried tomatoes are best for cooking sauces. The Divina roasted tomatoes work best as a topping.

I have recently been using the Trader Joes semi-dried cherry tomatoes in this quick cheesy tomato pesto sauce. It requires no cooking and it is a reliable 15-25 minute meal provider. Most of that time is spent cooking pasta or prepping vegetables. The sauce comes about quickly in a blender and works so well went add to hot freshly cooked pasta.

The tomato pesto sauce is super easy to make. The ingredients mostly come out of a jar. Plus, the sauce does incredibly well in the fridge, on its own or mixed in with food.

Tomato Pesto Sauce on Homemade Pasta in a white shallow bowl.

Tomato Pesto Sauce

Sinmi
A quick and easy tomato sauce that creates goodness from roasted cherry tomatoes and a few other items from a jar.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Trader Joes Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Roasted Medium Red Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup Pesto
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Smoked Gouda Cheese Optional
  • Salt

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients, except salt and cheese, in a food processor and pulse until it comes into a smooth consistency.
  • Taste the sauce after blending. Season with salt to taste.
  • Tomato Pesto Sauce tastes best when mixed into freshly boiled hot pasta. The heat from the pasta heats the sauce. A bit of pasta water can be added to loosen up the sauce to desired consistency.
  • Shred the gouda cheese and sprinkle on top of the pasta as desired.
Keyword Pasta, Pesto, Sauce, Tomato