Tahini Apple Snack Cake

I have to share this adaptation of a recipe from one I saw on Thrive Market’s blog last year, as I get this requested at least once a month by clients and friends.  I’ve reduced the sugar, subbed buttermilk with grass fed yogurt, and I use apple instead of pear since pear ripeness is so unpredictable.  I also like baking in mini loaf pans, as it’s easier to share and bakes much faster.

So here you have it!  A perfect balance of nutty and a hint of sweet, it’s a unique way to savor fall.

Tahini Apple Snack Cake

Makes 3 mini loaves or 1 regular loaf

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose mix (plus 1 tablespoon, separated)

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (sub 1 tablespoon with black sesame seeds if you can find), plus a little extra for sprinkling on top

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup softened butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil

1 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached sugar

1/2 cup tahini (if you keep yours in the fridge, bring to room temperature)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup European style grass fed yogurt

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

What to do:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans with butter, oil, or nonstick spray.

Toss apple chunks with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk flour, almond flour, sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk butter or oil with sugar until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add egg and egg yolk and mix again until pale and light, about 1-2 minutes.  Stir in tahini and yogurt.

Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until halfway incorporated.  Add apple chunks and fold gently, being very careful not to overmix, until the dry is fully incorporated with the wet.

Pour batter into prepared pan/pans and sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.  Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes for large loaf, or 45 minutes for mini loaves, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tahini Apple Snack Cakes - The Clean Gourmet

Adapted from: https://thrivemarket.com/blog/nutty-tahini-complements-delicate-pear-in-this-light-tea-cake


Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini + Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Bison (or Buffalo) is a sustainable alternative to beef, as bison don’t graze nearly as intensely as cattle and, since they are native to North America, are adapted to the American climate and natural food sources.  This means less land and energy needed for shelter/heating and we don’t need to spend gallons of water growing their food.

Aside from the ecological bonuses of eating bison rather than beef, the health benefits of bison meat include lower saturated fat, more omega 3s, more protein, and fewer calories. Another plus, it’s illegal to administer growth hormones to bison in the U.S and antibiotics are rarely needed since they’ve evolved to survive in North America.

So choose bison next time a recipe calls for beef!  Bison’s flavor is similar to, if not better than, beef and it’s becoming more and more readily available.

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Before you start working on the noodles, do the Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber.  It takes five minutes to prepare and it’ll be perfect within 30 minutes, just when you’ve finished your colorful bowl of noodles.

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This answer to take out is a fun way to enjoy ground bison, but feel free to substitute the meat with tempeh for vegetarians.

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Basil Thai Noodles with Bison and Zucchini

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 pound wide rice noodles

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 pound grass fed ground beef or bison (or tempeh if vegan)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut aminos, or 1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1 large carrot, thin matchstick cut or bias cut

1 large zucchini, medium matchstick cut

1 ounce Thai basil or regular basil (about 1 cup picked leaves), stemmed and left whole

juice of 2 limes

3 scallions, bias cut (reserve some of the green cuts for garnish)

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, to finish

What to do:

Cook wide rice noodles 9 minutes (may vary depending on the brand you buy- check package directions), and toss with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Sauté ground meat in oil in a large high sided skillet over high heat.  Break it up as it cooks, but be careful not to agitate too much- you want to allow the meat to brown.  Season with salt and remove from pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and add to noodles, trying to keep drippings in the pan.

In the same pan you used to cook the meat, sauté onion, ginger, and garlic in drippings and remaining 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, about 5 minutes.  Deglaze pan with coconut aminos and fish sauce. Add carrot and zucchini and continue to cook, tossing frequently, about 5-8 minutes or until softened.  Add vegetables to noodles, along with basil, lime juice and scallion.  Toss and serve.  Garnish with reserved scallion and more sesame seeds or some roasted peanuts.

Great with sesame roasted broccoli and spicy quick pickled cucumber (below).

Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumber

Ingredients:

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into quarter moons

1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled

pinch red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

What to do:

Combine all ingredients, cover, and let marinate 20 minutes or overnight.

 


Mustard-Orange Sprouted Tofu Stir Fry with Green Tea Noodles

I love the combination of green tea and orange, however if you can’t find green tea noodles, soba (buckwheat noodles) or udon work well too.  This dish is light, yet warming, which makes it good for all weather and seasons :).

Classically, a very high heat is used for stir fry, causing the oil to smoke, but when cooking at home, I tend to be a bit more conservative with such high heat, as vegetable oils are generally very heat sensitive, which means they oxidize easily under high heat and release carcinogenic free radicals, which you then consume.  To me, the whole benefit of cooking at home is that you have control over your meals and can reduce the amount of toxins in your life!

Sprouted tofu is easier to digest than regular tofu and is argued to neutralize the effect soy has on estrogen levels when consumed.  It tastes the same as regular tofu, so if you can find it, you might as well get it!

Mustard-Orange Sprouted Tofu Stir Fry with Green Tea Noodles - The Clean Gourmet

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 block sprouted firm tofu, cut into 1″ cubes and pressed between two towel-lined plates

1 tablespoon coconut or canola oil

2″ piece ginger, minced

1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4″ strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, cut on a bias 1/4″ thick

1 tablespoon mirin (I like Mitoku brand)

1 red bell pepper, sliced 1/4″ thick

3.5 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick

1 head bok choy (not baby), stems cut into 1/2″ pieces and leaves cut into large chunks

black pepper, to taste

7 oz green tea or soba noodles

black and white sesame seeds, toasted

For the Marinade:

1 tablespoon mirin

2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar

1/4 cup shoyu or other high quality soy sauce or tamari (again, I like Mitoku)

juice of 1/2 an orange (feel free to add a little zest in as well-unfortunately, mine had already been zested for something else!)

1 tablespoon unrefined (not toasted) sesame oil or canola oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

pinch red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Assemble marinade ingredients directly into a glass baking dish and whisk with a fork.  Add tofu chunks and toss to coat.  Place in oven.

In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil for the noodles.

While the water comes to a boil, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or cast-iron skillet.  Add ginger, onion, garlic and carrot.  Cook for a few minutes, tossing frequently.  Add mirin, mushrooms and bell pepper.  Cook another couple of minutes, until lightly browned and slightly wilted.

Flip tofu chunks and return to the oven.  Add bok choy stems to the vegetable pot and cook for about a minute.  Place noodles into boiling water and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While noodles cook, add bok choy leaves, toss and turn off the flame.  Remove tofu from oven and pour marinade into vegetables.  Toss vegetables.

Strain the noodles once tender and serve into individual bowls.  (Coat any remaining noodles with a touch of oil to keep from them sticking to themselves.)  Top with vegetables and a few pieces of tofu (make sure you get some of that sauce, too!).  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Mustard-Orange Sprouted Tofu Stir Fry with Green Tea Noodles - The Clean Gourmet

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