It almost felt like spring this weekend, and we took advantage of the warmer weather to go on another epic NYC walking food adventure. With running a few errands in the morning before the adventure began, I walked 13.7 miles on Sunday! Which was excellent, because on Saturday we had friends over for a raclette party, and we all ate almost our weight in melted cheese. I took the idea for the party and the side dish recipes from the cookbook I keep raving about, Wine Food. We served lots of melted raclette with baby Yukon Gold potatoes, soft pretzels and seedy bread, juniper pickled pears, apricot tarragon mostarda, radishes and fennel, grapes and apples, and plenty of alpine wine!
Sunday we walked across the Manhattan bridge to eat dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Everything was delicious, but our favorite was the steamed barbecue pork bun, which was unlike any I’d ever had before. An online review I read referred to these as “pillowy balls of heaven,” and I think that assessment is very accurate. Amazing! Also delicious were the turnip cakes, steamed shrimp and pea shoot rice dumplings, steamed Chinese greens with oyster sauce, and pork soup dumplings. The scallion cilantro rice rolls needed a little more flavor, so I’d definitely get the shrimp rice rolls next time instead. All in all, the experience was a great success, and I’d definitely go back!
After dim sum, we walked across the Williamsburg bridge to Republic of Booza to try the traditional stretchy Middle Eastern ice cream. The ice cream is made stretchy with the addition of sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic gum (a resin). It was a really fun experience, and such a surprising texture in ice cream! I had the original qashta (candied cream) flavor, which has pistachios and highlights the flavors of the sahlab and mastic, and Andrew had chocolate. Both were delish.
Once we had walked that far, we figured we might as well walk the 5 miles home. Whew! Buffalo Brussels sprouts were a nice vegetable-centric dinner after all of the raclette, dim sum, and ice cream!
Now I’ve told you all about my weekend, and that has absolutely nothing to do with this recipe. Except that the foods we ate this weekend were delicious and this sesame halva cake is delicious too. I really hope you enjoy the recipe!
Sesame Halvah Tea Cake (gluten free)
adapted from Food & Wine
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour (about 4 1/4 oz.)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup)
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus a little more for greasing the pan
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup crumbled vanilla halva (about 4 1/2 oz.)
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the gluten-free flour and the baking soda, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, almond flour, sugar, and butter using a hand-held mixer (or a stand mixer). Mix until crumbly, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, mixing until just combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on a low speed until just incorporated.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the halva and sesame seeds over the top. Bake for 55 minutes to one hour, until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool slightly, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack before slicing and serving.