tahini and apricot green goddess salad

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

When I was a little kid, my mom grew nasturtiums, and my sister and I used to pick and eat them right from the ground to freak out the other neighborhood kids. Nowadays, I don’t often buy edible flowers, because they’re a bit of an expensive habit if you don’t grow them yourself. But a couple weeks ago, my friend Mai gave me a bunch of chive blossoms from her garden, which made me feel like I was back in my parents’ backyard, with a little patch of nasturtiums and no regard for the effort it took to get them growing there. This time, I used Mai’s chive blossoms for a much better purpose than a practical joke—this tahini and apricot green goddess salad! You certainly don’t need your own chive blossoms to make this salad special, but if you’ve got them growing right now, throw them in. The dressing itself is super delicious and adaptable—feel free to increase the amount of tahini a smidge, but I just love this particular balance.

tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad
tahini and apricot green goddess salad

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

serves 6
total time: 20 minutes
download a PDF to print

  • 1 small clove garlic (3g)

  • 1 medium bunch chives (30g)

  • 1 small bunch basil, leaves only (30g leaves)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (115g)

  • 2 tablespoons mayo (30g)

  • 2 tablespoons tahini (30g)

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (45g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6oz bag spinach (170g bag)

  • 3 large apricots (315g) (can sub peaches or nectarines)

  • 6 small tomatoes (230g)

  • 3 Persian cucumbers (215)

  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and strained (400g can)

  • optional: a few minced chives and/or chive blossoms for garnish

  1. Place the garlic in a food processor fitted with the blade (or in a blender), and pulse to finely mince. Add the chives, basil, and sour cream, and blend until the sour cream turns green and the chives and basil are completely puréed. Add the mayo, tahini, lemon juice, and salt, and continue to blend until combined.

  2. Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Slightly toss with some of the dressing. Top with the apricots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and chickpeas. Top with more dressing, and garnish with chive blossoms.

To make ahead: The dressing can be made for guests up to a day ahead of time (and keeps really well leftover for a few days). All the veggies can be prepped ahead of time, and everything tossed together at the last minute. If you’re slicing the apricots ahead of time, coat them in a little bit of lemon juice to keep them from oxidizing.

tahini and apricot green goddess salad

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apricot and pine nut cake

apricot and pine nut cake

Last month when we were visiting family in Chicago, I cooked a big dinner for my in-laws, my family, and a bunch of friends. My husband, Simon, volunteered to bake a cake, and I recommended a simple upside down one since he had literally never baked a single cake before. Upside down cakes are super easy, because the cake batter is essentially a sweet quick-bread, and doesn’t require a lot of fancy butter creaming or egg beating. It’s all just stirring, pouring, and baking. He did the whole “inspired chef” schtick where you go to the market and see what looks good, and he happened to find some really delicious looking apricots. He used my persimmon upside down cake as a base, and substituted some small apricots that he sliced in half and pitted. And I have to say, for a first cake, or even for a thousandth cake, that was a good one.

apricot and pine nut cake
apricot and pine nut cake

A few weeks later, I revisited his apricot cake to write up a recipe to share here, and I decided to add some pine nuts to the brown sugar bottom, which was a delicious addition. The basbousa-esque styling on this one is kind of a funny story. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this blog post, Salma Hage posted to her instagram story that she was developing a recipe for a filo almond tarte tatin, which was styled with a single blanched almond in the center of each stone fruit. I sent her a photo of the one I was working on because I was super curious if we were both inspired by the same thing—it turns out Salma also took inspiration from the beautiful pattern of almonds on top of perfect basbousa diamonds. I love that so many of us share the same visual vocabulary and history, and find the same things inspiring. Check out Salma’s books if you haven’t already—she is a marvelous chef and a beautiful soul.

apricot and pine nut cake
apricot and pine nut cake

apricot pine nut cake

yield: an 8-inch single-layer cake
active time: 20 minutes
total time: 1 hour
download a
PDF to print

for the apricot pine nut bottom

  • Butter for greasing cast iron skillet*

  • 55g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1/2 stick / 4 tablespoons)

  • 100g brown sugar (1/2 cup)

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 330g firm-ripe apricots (about 7 small)

  • 40g pine nuts (1/3 cup), optional**

for the cake batter

  • 200g all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

  • 5g baking powder (1 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1g baking soda (1/4 teaspoon)

  • 0.5g salt (1/4 teaspoon)

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (110g total)

  • 100g sugar (1/2 cup)

  • 50g brown sugar (1/4 cup)

  • 55g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1/2 stick / 4 tablespoons)

  • 120g buttermilk***, at room temperature (1/2 cup)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

  2. Butter one 10-inch cast iron skillet. Cover the bottom of with a parchment round.

  3. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pour it over the parchment-covered cake pan. Use your fingers to spread the brown sugar out evenly over the bottom until it's completely covered.

  4. Cut the apricots in half and pit them. Arrange them cut-side-down over the buttery brown sugar, placing 1 pine nut under each one as you go. Sprinkle the rest of the pine nuts around the apricots, and make sure they’re pressed into the brown sugar/butter mixture. Set aside.

  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

  6. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar together until the brown sugar has mostly dissolved. Add the melted butter and buttermilk to the egg mixture, and stir together until combined very well.

  7. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture, and stir just until everything is combined. It won't be completely smooth, and there might be some tiny lumps; this is completely fine—do not overmix!

  8. Carefully pour the batter over the apricots, smooth out the top with a spatula, and bake for about 30-35 minutes. It's done once you can insert a toothpick into the center and batter doesn't stick.

  9. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the skillet. Then trace around the edge with a thin knife. Place a plate or cake stand upside-down over the cake. Put on your grippiest oven mitts, and hold the plate and cake together so that your thumbs are underneath the cake pan. Carefully and quickly rotate it away from yourself and give it a quick up-and-down shake to release the cake from the pan. Remove the pan and parchment, slice, and serve.

* No worries if you don’t have a cast iron skillet. You can instead use an 8 or 9-inch cake pan (cast iron skillets are measured from their widest point, so a 10-inch pan is more like 8 or 9 inches at its base). The cake will take more like 25 to 30 minutes to cook through if you use a regular cake pan.

** I’ve made this both with and without the pine nuts, and it’s delicious either way. If you don’t have them on hand or if you don’t like them, no worries.

*** You can instead use plain yogurt thinned out with a couple tablespoons of milk (but don’t use Greek or strained yogurt). Measure 120g (1/2 cup) of thinned yogurt in place of the buttermilk.

to make ahead

This cake is best baked the day you plan to serve it (store it at room temperature for less than 1 day), but leftovers keep well in the freezer (cut pieces into individual servings, wrap them tightly, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use a microwave or toaster oven to thaw and slightly warm them). All cakes stale more quickly in the refrigerator than they do at room temperature, so try to avoid the fridge if possible.

apricot and pine nut cake