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Tahini is a thick, oily paste similar to peanut butter but made from ground sesame seeds instead of peanuts. It is also called sesame paste or sesame butter.
Forms: Tahini comes in many different forms, including raw, roasted, that made from unhulled sesame seeds, and that made from hulled sesame seeds. (Tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds is more bitter than that made from hulled seeds.)
Storage: Tahini should be stored in the refrigerator.
Where to find it: Tahini can be purchased from natural food stores, through a co-op, food stores that sell Middle Eastern foods, or online.
The flour produced by grinding the seeds of the teff, a northern African grass cultivated for its seeds.
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An food made from cooked soy beans. Tofu is bland in flavor, but absorbs flavors very well so it is usually seasoned before using. Varieties of tofu varies from soft and creamy to firm and sliceable and many textures in between.
Forms: There are two main varieties of tofu: silken and regular.
Regular tofu is packed in water and must be kept refrigerated. It is more firm and spongy than silken and is good for slicing and crumbling. This variety of tofu is used in stir fries or in recipes that call for crumbled or mashed tofu, such as mock ricotta. This type of tofu retains its shape better than silken tofu.
Silken tofu often comes in aseptically sealed containers, but can also come in packages that need refrigeration. The texture is soft and slippery. This variety of tofu is used anytime you want to blend tofu, such as in dips, spreads, desserts like puddings, soups, shakes, sauces or in recipes as a replacement for yogurt, sour cream, or eggs in some recipes.
Both varieties of tofu are available in soft, firm, or extra-firm.
Storage: Regular tofu must be refrigerated and used before date on package. Silken tofu is shelf-stable, but must be used before date on package and refrigerated after opening.
Where to find it: Can be purchased from most major grocery stores and natural food stores, through a co-op, or online.
Selecting: Tomatoes purchased from the grocery store are far inferior than that grown in the garden. However, if you must purchase store tomatoes, select tomatoes that are firm, have shiny skins, and are a nice red color (not too light, not too dark). Avoid any with blemishes or dull, dark red skins, which indicates that the tomato is overripe.
Tips: Firm up overripe tomatoes by placing them in a bowl of cold salt water and letting them sit overnight.
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A raw sugar that has been steam-cleaned. The coarse crystals are blond in color and have a delicate molasses flavor.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Where to find it: Can be purchased from some major grocery stores, from natural food stores, through a co-op, or online.