Zucchini boats in tahini sauce

I think each and every person needs to keep a list of things that make them happy. Such a list comes in handy when your spirit need a little pick me up. Since today is the international happiness day, I thought I’d start this post with some of the things that make me happy and I do hope that this post will inspire you to start your own list and perhaps share some ideas with me in the comments 🙂

Things that make me happy

1.Watching the sun rise

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2.Taking a long walk by the sea

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3.or creek

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4.Visiting the farmer’s market, the fresh vegetables, the passion of the farmers, the smiles on everyone’s faces so early in the morning on the weekend then coming home with so many fresh produces and a world of possibilities to enjoy them!

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5.Watching the reflection of the mangrove trees on the creek water when it is perfectly still

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6.Walking in the rain (a rare joy in the past 4 years)

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7.The smell of the earth after the first rain

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8.Getting lost in a good book

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9.Human creativity
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10.Camping in  a natural reserve and waking up to this
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11.A walk in down town Amman

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12.(or the old part of any city for that matter, you can really feel the heart beat of a country in its old markets)

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Then there are those I don’t have pictures for but they bring so much warmth to my soul that I had to include them 🙂

13.Curling up with a cup of tea

14.Staying up listening to my mum’s stories (something that I miss dearly nowadays)

15.Writing a blog post and reading your kind comments or emails in response 🙂

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Today’s recipe is one my kids’ favorite main courses. Zucchini boats, filled with perfectly seasoned juicy minced meat, cooked in a velvety, minty and slightly tangy tahini sauce.  If you have never cooked with tahini, the idea might seem odd at first but this velvety smooth paste is good for so much more than hummus!
In the  middle east and in the Levant in particular, tahini is a pantry staple. It is used to make salad dressings, halva, cookies, and it makes the perfect sauce to cook meat and vegetables in. I have shared my go to recipe for tahini kofta a few years ago and today I am sharing another main meal to help you use up that jar of tahini sauce that you have hidden in your pantry.

These zucchini boats are super easy to make and you can even do the prep a day or two ahead of time, cook the zucchini, prepare the filling and the sauce and store everything in the fridge. All you have to do on the day you want to serve this is to fill the zucchini, pour over the sauce, bake for 30 minutes and ta da!

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Zucchini boats cooked in tahini sauce

6 medium zucchini
500 gm minced beef
1 Large onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried mint

For the sauce

2 cups water
6 tablespoons tahini sauce
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2  teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon to 2 lemons

1.Cut your zucchini in half length wise. Place them in a pot full of water, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cook for 5-7 min then drain the zucchini and set aside (You want to cook them half way because they will finish cooking in the oven)
2.Once the zucchini cools down use a teaspoon to hollow the center of each zucchini leaving the rim intact
3.Arrange your boats in an oven safe pan
4. In a pot over medium heat, cook your minced meat, stir to break it down, once the meat starts to release its fluids and change color add the salt, spices and then add the onions. Stir occasionally till the fluids almost dry up. Add the olive oil and stir for a few minutes, followed by the dried mint. stir for one last time and then turn off the heat.
5. Place one to two tablespoons of the filling in each zucchini boat
To make the tahini sauce

  1. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and dried mint to a bowl. Whisk to combine (the tahini will become lighter in color and thicker in consistency)
  2. Add  the hot water and stir till the tahini is completely dissolved then carefully pour it over the zucchini

 

6.Cover the pan in parchment paper topped with aluminium foil then bake on the lowest rack of a 180 C oven for 20-30 minutes. (You want the zucchini to cooks through and the tahini sauce to thicken)
7.Serve with rice and  enjoy

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