Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

Benne Seed Cookies

Benne Seed Cookies have been a part of my Christmas cookie repertoire for over 15 years now. These nutty little treats are a nice change from traditional holiday cookies. Since moving to South Carolina, I have found out that Benne Seed Wafers are a Charleston, South Carolina food tradition. Slaves brought benne seeds (sesame seeds) over from Africa and they became a part of the Southern food culture. They are thought to bring good luck, which I could certainly use right now. Charleston Benne Seed Wafers are thin. I like mine a bit more substantial, more cookie-like, so I add more flour than the traditional recipes.

Sesame seeds are super nutritious. You can find them in health food stores (bulk bins), Asian (Korean) markets, or order them online from places like Penzey’s.

Benne Seed Cookies 2

Benne Seed Cookies (Sesame Seed Cookies)

1 1/2  cups flour
1 1/4 baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sesame seeds (hulled), divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/4 cup sesame seeds. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar together with an electric beater until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing well.

With your hands, pull off pieces of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sesame seeds in a small bowl or dish. Dip the top of the dough balls in the sesame seeds.  Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, seed side up. Space the balls about 2 inches apart in 4 rows of 3. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies a bit.

Bake the cookies in a 350° oven for 6 to 9 minutes (7 minutes is perfect for me) or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit on the baking sheet a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 


Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup (640x465)

I’ve been making this soup a lot lately. It’s so easy and tastes so good. A one cup serving comes in at about 90 calories. I’m a big fan of adding toppings to my bowl of soup right before I eat it. Shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, more fresh cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips are nice additions to this soup.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken tenderloins (about 1 pound)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup frozen corn
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Add all the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.


Arugula and Tatsoi Salad with Grapefruit

Arugula and Tatsoi Salad with Grapefruit (640x490)

This simple salad was a nice accompaniment to teriyaki salmon and rice. I got the arugula and tatsoi in my CSA box this week. Tatsoi isn’t readily available in most grocery stores, but you could substitute spinach or just use an Asian greens mix.

This dressing is yummy. Segment the grapefruit over a bowl to catch the juices. Use the fresh grapefruit juice in the dressing. Read the rest of this entry »


Mujadara with Greens

Mujadara with Greens

Mujadara is a classic Middle Eastern dish consisting of caramelized onions, lentils, and rice. I’m always amazed at how something so simplistic can be so delicious. My husband loves this dish. This recipe makes plenty for leftovers, so that keeps him happy.

I had some kohlrabi leaves and radish leaves leftover from the Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw I made yesterday, so I added them to my basic Mujadara recipe. Goodness. I would think a variety of greens (spinach, collards, turnip, etc…) would be good as well.

Mujadara with Greens

1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup long-grain white rice (or you can use Basmati)
2 cups fresh greens of your choice, finely sliced
Water
salt and pepper

Place the lentils in a large saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the lentils are just starting to get tender and most of the water has cooked away. This takes about 10 minutes, but may take longer depending on the lentils. Sometimes they cook fast, sometimes they don’t.

In the meantime, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown. This will take about 10 minutes or more.

Add the cooked lentils (no need to drain them), rice, greens, and 4 cups of water to the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender. Serve warm.


Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables 2 (640x480)

I love this recipe. Not only is this dish beautiful to look at, it is delicious and healthy, as well. This dish is perfect for summer because it’s not too heavy and it is bursting with fresh flavors, but it is also good anytime of the year.  Frozen corn works perfectly well when fresh is not available.  If you are gluten free you can use the corn spaghetti (which I get at the health food store) instead of regular spaghetti. I like crumbled goat cheese over the top, but parmesan or feta is good also.

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables (640x480)

Spaghetti with Summer Vegetables

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons corn oil or butter
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 cups corn kernels, from 3 ears of corn
1 bell pepper, any color, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 tomatoes, halved, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 ounces queso fresco, feta, goat cheese, or parmesan

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and add the scallions, corn, bell pepper, and chile. Saute over high heat for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes, most of the cilantro, and a ladle of the pasta water. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little pepper and turn the heat to low. Drain the pasta, shaking off the excess water. Add it to the vegetables and toss well. Divide among pasta plates, crumble the cheese over the top, and add the remaining cilantro.


Roasted Poblano Sauce

Roasted Poblano Sauce
This sauce is wonderful! It goes well on a variety of foods including grilled chicken, eggs, burritos, or chimichangas. I like it on potatoes too. You can substitute any kind of green chile in this recipe, but I especially like using poblanos. Poblanos have a pretty wide variance in heat level. I like the really hot ones. : ) This sauce freezes well.

Roasted Poblano Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped roasted poblano chiles (see instructions below)
2 cups of vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander

In a heavy saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until well softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute, then add the flour and continue cooking for another 1 or 2 minutes.  Mix in the poblano chile.  Pour in the stock and add the seasonings.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until thickened but still very pourable.

The sauce keeps refrigerated, for about 5 days and freezes well.

Adapted from a recipe for Green Chile Sauce in The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison.

To roast poblano chiles:
Preheat broiler to high. Place poblano chiles on a baking sheet and broil, turning every 5 miutes until each side is blackened and charred. Place in a large bowl and cover with foil. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles, cut in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes, and coarsely chop. Use immediately or freeze for later use.

Roasted Poblano Sauce  (640x516)


Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw

Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw

I’ve made this recipe two days in a row with kohlrabi and radishes from my CSA. It’s downright addicting. It’s a simple and delicious slaw has the perfect amount of crunch and sweetness. There is no added fat and 1/4 of the recipe comes in at about 66 calories.

Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw

Makes about 4 servings

1/4 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 bulbs kohlrabi, leaves removed, ends trimmed, peeled, and julienned
6 radishes, ends trimmed, julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Combine the cabbage, kohlrabi, and radishes in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, and fish sauce. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss well.

Kohlrabi and Radish Slaw 2


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