Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun



 



Tahini Dressing and Memory Lane

June 26th, 2017 · No Comments

I received an inquiry email from Shawn Holahan who was at Tulane University, New Orleans in the 1970’s and remembers dining at Nature’s Way Salad Shop, which at the time was located on Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans. He did some searching online for their original Tahini Dressing recipe and found a blog post of mine that mentioned some work I did at Nature’s Way. His inquiry and email thread are copied below for everyone to enjoy and as a formal record of food and restaurant history in New Orleans.

If you want to follow the email thread in chronological order, start from the bottom.


Hello Shawn,

You are welcome, and thanks for the approval for the blog post!

The address on Magazine street where Nature’s Way was located is now known as Taqueria Corona. I cannot remember when Nature’s Way closed, but it was sometime in the late 1980’s, and according to this “About” page http://taqueriacorona.com/about the taco restaurant started sometime in 1988. So it would seem that Nature’s Way was most likely running until around late 1987 to early 1988. Not sure if the owners did anything else, I do remember hearing that they were looking to retire, so I’m guessing that they decided to hang up their hats and get out of the restaurant business. Nature’s Way may have closed up sooner than 1987, as I do remember the location was vacant for sometime before Taqueria Corona started up.

Regards,

Ryan Boudreaux


From: Shawn Holahan
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 12:37 PM
To: Ryan Boudreaux
Subject: Re: New Message From Boudreaux Family Farms – Get In Touch

Ryan

Wow! What a response!! Thank you very very much! I’ll be trying your tahini dressing recipe, and certainly will report back successful tweaks, if any.

That steamed vegetable plate was simply nirvana to me back then. I’d get an extra helping of tahini dressing – and depending on who was taking the order, I’d be charged extra. I googled Nature’s Way restaurant in hopes of finding the tahini recipe and wound up with your blog post. You brought me back in time with your perfect description.

Do you know whether the owners remained in the food biz?

And you absolutely have my permission to post my inquiry with my name on your blog (and yes, with the email address removed).

Thank you very much for taking the time for such a detailed response. You love food – I can tell. I’m a foodie at heart too – I mean, how can I not be after a life in NOLA?

Shawn


On Jun 26, 2017, at 10:52 AM, Ryan Boudreaux wrote:

Hello Shawn,

So great to hear from you and that you were a patron of Nature’s Way on Magazine Street in New Orleans back in the 1970’s. My family would frequent the shop on occasion when we were Uptown, (we lived on the Westbank in Algiers), I remember the wonderful smoothies, my favorite was the banana or strawberry, I loved the place then, and was so happy when I got to work there in the 1980’s.

I worked at Nature’s Way during night shifts only for a brief period of time in 1983 and possibly in 1984. Most of the prepared recipes were made by the owners/managers during the day shift, so I did not get many opportunities to prepare the dressings and such. Only if we got busy and ran out of something, and if I had the chance I’d whip up a small batch of whatever it was to get us through that shift, there were only two of us working the shop for the mid-afternoon to dinner hours. Unfortunately, they held all of their recipes close to the vest, and while I may have made the tahini dressing recipe once or twice I never recorded any of the preparations for my own use. I do however remember how all the smoothies were made. They also ran cheese enchiladas as a special and that is easy to replicate.

If I remember correctly the tahini dressing was a combination of the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, tamari, water, a bit of sesame oil and a touch of salt.

I’d try starting with this base recipe and see where it takes you:

Tahini Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: Whole Foods
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1¼ cups
 
Easy to make this dressing is perfect on fresh lettuce, spinach, or steamed vegetables
Ingredients
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process till it reaches a smooth consistency. Add more water to thin the dressing if you prefer a thinner texture. It will thicken as it sits, so you can add water to thin as needed, and it will keep for a week or so refrigerated.

 

While I worked there the steamed vegetable plate over brown rice was fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, with options for the white cheddar cheese and turmeric on top after the vegetables were steamed. Not sure if the recipe had evolved over the years, but during my short time there it was just those three vegetables on the plate.

Please let me know how the recipe comes out for you, I’d be curious if you tweek it a bit. Off the top of my head the ingredients I would adjust are the tamari and lemon juice. Maybe make a batch with more tamari and less lemon juice, depends on the flavor profile you are after. The physiology of taste is an amazing thing, and how a particular flavor or taste can bring back a specific memory.

Hope this helps!

I am going to post this Q&A on the Cajun Chef Ryan blog so I have a record of it, just your name if that is ok with you.

Bon appetite!

Ryan Boudreaux

—–Original Message—–
From: Shawn Holahan
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 12:35 PM
To: Ryan Boudreaux
Subject: New Message From Boudreaux Family Farms – Get In Touch

Chef Ryan – My inquiry comes from a trip down memory lane, or rather down Magazine St. and Nature’s Way Salad Shop during my Tulane years in the 70s. I saw a blog post of yours describing perfectly the steamed vegetable, brown rice, white cheddar , tahini plate. That was my “go to” meal on those infrequent occasions that I had a few extra dollars. Here’s my question (just when was I going to get to the question?!?): Any chance you remember the tahini dressing recipe? Loved that dressing and can’t replicate it. Also were the only vegetables in the dish broccoli, carrots and cauliflower? THANK YOU!!

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Tags: Dressings · Heritage · History

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