Frozen Halva Slice

Ingredients

1 cup tahini
1 cup full-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
2 large organic eggs
1/2 cup fine raw cane sugar or coconut sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pistachios or walnuts

Method

  1. Line standard loaf pan with parchment or plastic wrap, making sure none of the metal is exposed (the mixture will stick to metal) and leaving lots of overhang.
  2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, add tahini, yogurt, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, until combined and beginning to lighten, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl once or twice.
  3. Stir in chopped nuts. Pour into prepared loaf pan, fold overhanging parchment or plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. To serve, remove from freezer and leave frozen halva at room temperature for 10 minutes or until you can easily remove it from the loaf pan.
  5. Unfold overhanging plastic or parchment, invert onto serving platter, and remove remaining plastic or parchment. Dip a chef’s knife into hot water, dry it, and then slice and serve halva; repeat cutting technique for each slice. Store leftover halva, wrapped, in the freezer.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Alive magazine

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Pistachio Saffron Pops

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios (about 4 ounces), toasted and chopped
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
6 to 8 thin orange slices (optional)

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar, orange zest, saffron, and pistachios. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour to infuse the milk with flavor.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly to blend. Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the yolks. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens just enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Refrigerate the custard or place in an ice bath and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap to the surface to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.
  4. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds. Slide in the orange slices (if using) and insert sticks. Freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
  5. To unmold the pops, run hot water over the outsides of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.

Makes 6 to 8 pops.

Source: Perfect Pops

Sichuan Chicken with Kung Pao Sauce

Ingredients

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 12 ounces
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons salted soybeans
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice wine or medium-dry sherry
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons peanut oil or sunflower oil
2-3 dried chilies, broken into small pieces
4 ounces roasted cashew nuts
fresh cilantro, to garnish

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  2. Lightly whisk the egg white in a dish, whisk in the cornstarch and salt, then add the chicken and stir until coated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mash the beans with a spoon. Stir in the hoisin sauce, brown sugar, rice wine or sherry, vinegar, garlic and stock.
  4. Heat a wok, add the oil and then fry the chicken, turning constantly, for about 2 minutes until tender. Drain over a bowl in order to collect excess oil.
  5. Heat the reserved oil and fry the chili for 1 minute.
  6. Return the chicken to the wok and pour in the bean sauce mixture. Bring to a boil and stir in the cashew nuts. Spoon into a heated serving dish and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Makes 3 servings.

Source: Asian Cooking

Grilled Brie with Pecans

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 dashes hot pepper sauce
8-inch wheel of brie cheese
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional)

To serve:

toasted French bread
bread sticks
skewered ham cubes
crudites

Method

  1. Preheat grill (broiler).
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter, mustard and hot pepper sauce to taste and spread evenly over top of brie cheese.
  3. Place cheese on a heatproof serving plate or grill (broiler) pan and grill (broil) about 6-inch from heat for 3-4 minutes until top just begins to bubble.
  4. Sprinkle surface of cheese with chopped nuts, and brown sugar, if liked.
  5. Grill (broil) for 2-3 minutes longer until topping is golden and nuts and sugar begin to caramelize and cheese is bubbling.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. If necessary slide on to a warmed serving dish. Serve cheese immediately with accompaniments of your choice.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Source: Dips and Salsas

Middle Eastern Couscous and Spinach Salad

Ingredients

1 cup Israeli couscous (also called large couscous)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1/4 cup golden seedless raisins
finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smashed and minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbsp crumbled feta

Method

  1. In large, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, add couscous and toast for 2 minutes or until pearls begin to turn colour. Stir often.
  2. Stir in cumin seeds and continue to toast for 1 to 2 more minutes, stirring often.
  3. Slowly add vegetable stock, as it will sputter, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and simmer couscous for about 10 minutes, or until couscous has absorbed all the liquid and is tender-cooked but still has a little bite.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for another l0 minutes. Drain, if necessary.
  5. In small bowl, combine raisins with 1/2 cup hot water and set aside to soak and become plump, about 10 minutes.
  6. In large bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to blend. Add warm cooked couscous, spinach, red onion, cilantro, and mint. Drain raisins and add. Fold together to evenly blend and slightly wilt spinach.
  7. Taste and add more lemon, salt, and pepper if you wish. Scatter walnuts and feta overtop. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Or cover and refrigerate and serve chilled the same day or next.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Alive magazine