Coconut Butter

If you haven’t discovered the joys of coconut butter I implore you to check this out. Before you look it up on Amazon and think I’m insane: yes, a jar averages more than $10! This post is about an affordable alternative and leave it to Trader Joe’s to provide super cheap dried coconut. Coconut butter has many uses, straight from the jar is completely valid but my favorite so far is coconut “magic shell” frozen topping. First things first, the butter.
Makes one pint of butter :

  • 8 cups dried unsweetened shredded coconut 

Add half the coconut to a blender or food processor and pulse for three or four minutes pausing to scrape down the sides. Once the oils start to release and the coconut compacts you can slowly add the remaining coconut in again scraping down the sides…you will be scraping quite a bit so prepare yourself. After about 10 minutes or blending something magic will happen and you will have butter, 

depending on how chunky you want it blend for five minutes for fairly chunky and closer to 10 for smooth. Pour into a jar immediately, cover, and allow to come to room temperature.

Straight from the blender the butter will be warm and liquid but at room temperature it should solidify with a nice layer of coconut oil at the top. The coconut oil is what makes this ideally suited for frozen applications as well. Once the butter freezes it gets a crunchy quality that is downright addictive! 

That there is a pure coconut shell on frozen pineapple. No added sugar, 100% whole and delicious.
If this is your introduction to coconut butter, you’re welcome, if not tell me what you like to do with it!

Earl’s Frenchie Lentils

My first attempt at a recipe from Légumivore was a delicious success! The key here really seems to be the Le Puy lentils, not only do they taste great but they hold their texture well rather than collapsing into mush.


Don’t get me wrong, I love lentil mush but these are really special. In true French fashion a lot of these recipes call for bacon or some such nonsense so I had to make a few changes. Also, celeriac is difficult to find right now so I omitted that and used boring old normal celery for the flavor.

Earl’s Frenchie Lentils:

  • 1 1/4 C Lentils De Puy, (small green French lentils)
  • 2 Medium carrots, small diced
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, small diced
  • 2-3 Cloves, garlic
  • 2 Celery ribs, small diced
  • 6 Fresh thyme branches (~1 tbs dried)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4  Bags Earl Grey
  • 4 Cups water
  • Salt and Fresh pepper to taste


In a medium heat-proof bowl add tea bags and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil, pour over the combination and set aside to do its thing.

In the meantime  pick over the lentils making sure there are no stones or other such nonsense in the mix, give them a quick rinse to knock off any dust. You may want to take a moment here to appreciate how beautiful they are with their gorgeous speckled skin.

Meanwhile in a medium-large Dutch oven or pot heat a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat until shiny,add your veggies and a generous pinch of salt. I like to cook base veggies like this low and slow when I have the time. They can really cook for a looooong time before getting that dark brown caramel coloring however 15-20 minutes should do you more than well enough, just make sure everything is nice and soft. Once the veggies are ready add your rinsed lentils and stir to coat in the flavorful mix, add the thyme now as well.

Cover the lentils with the tea mixture (you can add the bay leaves but leave the tea bags out)  bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Cook with the lid on about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, and watching to avoid overboiling, it probably won’t wreck dinner but your stove will be a hot mess. After 20 minutes sample the lentils, I like to grab a small spoon and sample around 5-8 lentils (def not scientific) if the majority seem well cooked we’re good to go, if not give it a few minutes more.While more difficult to overcook than split lentils you can end up with mush so don’t get too bold with time extensions.


To serve, remove the bay and any remaining thyme twigs, top with a splash of your best olive oil. Enjoy with a side salad and feel virtuous all evening long!

It’s remarkably easy to make variations on this, some additions that are delicious:

  • add a tablespoon or so of dried mint before serving (a bag of peppermint tea would work in a pinch)
  • Add a can of whole tomatoes half way through cooking. Just make sure to reduce your water slightly, it’s easy enough to adjust up, not so much to adjust down. I like oregano in this stew-like dish.
  • Empty the root cellar: finely dice sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, whatever you want the additional bulk makes this more filling!



Let me know if try anything delicious with these!



Adapted from Lentilles Earl Grey au Céleri-rave by Tommy Myllymäki.


In Paris over New Year I picked up this gem:


“Does he speak French?” I hear you say, and the answer is no however I know my way around Google Translate and so today I am trying my first recipe: Earl Grey Lentils. My goal this year is to restart the blog via my ever growing stash of cookbooks so why not start with one in another language? There’s a lot of contextual clues that hopefully I’ll understand and if not, let’s pretend OK?
More soon!

Soon I Must Tackle This Beast


I am unsure of where to begin but I figure that something this gigantic (~7 lbs) was a good way to restart posting on the blog.
My goal this fall is to try each winter squash I can get my hands on inspired by this Chow post. There is a stuffed carnival squash post in the works and everything else will come as I explore. I am excited to get back in to this and hope to learn more about these winter beauties (even the ugly beauties).

If anyone has any suggestions for this Hubbard let me know, until then it will stare menacingly from its perch on the counter.

Best Crackers Ever.


Holy crap these things are incredible. I can only find them in this ginormous bag at Costco but it’s worth every penny of the $7.00 for the bag. They’re gluten free, kosher, and as far as I can tell vegan. Most importantly they are tasty!

Today I used them to devour Falling Leaves jam from Doves and Figs over goat cheese. Delicious!

Mexican Coke (the Legal Kind)

Feeling Randy I bought a Coke and a Fanta at the grocery store this weekend. I’m not normally a soda person, preferring to get my excess calories from fun stuff like cake, but occasionally I make an exception for Mexican Coca-Cola products.


How is it possible that these are so much better than their American counterparts? I find Coke sickly sweet and Fanta makes my teeth hurt but these manage to be sweet and refreshing. That may have something to do with their small, by American standards, bottle size as well since they click in at 355 ml they are the same size as cans making them easier to consume in a sitting than HFCS sweetened versions. I know that the corn industry insists they are the same but I do not agree.


Come on America, we can do better! We shouldn’t have to import decent junk food from Mexico. On the other hand thank you for keeping my soda consumption to a minimum.

Stuffed dates

So about not being dead: I’ve been running a farmers’ market for a second summer this year and it has been a lot of fun. I get to spend the day outside with fun people around food, hard-knock life right? One of the many benefits of being around such abundance is that it is  inspirational in the kitchen! I have recently become obsessed with walnut butter from one of my great vendors, Fastachi. When I mentioned to one of the owners that I was eating the walnut butter drizzled with this amazing local honey* she suggested that I stuff medjool dates with the walnut butter and suddenly my world had changed. Naturally I had to use the honey since I am putting it on practically everything right now and it was a  match made in heaven! With three ingredients this treat could not be any easier.

What you will need:

  • Dates (I used pitted this time but they seemed a bit dry to me)
  • Walnut butter
  • Sweet honey


If needed pit the dates by slicing them down one side, this will allow you to open the date for stuffing. Otherwise, ‘butterfly’ the dates and set aside for stuffing. Add as much walnut butter as you like, I was using a bit less than a teaspoon but some larger dates may call for more you just want to be able to roll it back up without spilling everywhere.


The walnut butter is much drier than peanut butter but pliable and holds its shape nicely with a little pressure which will allow you to roll them back up into date shape. Once you have them in the desired shape drizzle honey over them and try not to dive head first in to the plate.

ios date plate

It’s as simple as that! I’ve thought about a little cinnamon or cardamom and a friend suggested chipotle but so far I haven’t been able to move past the simple deliciousness of these three ingredients. It’s really important that you use a sweet, runny honey. I tried with a chewier Greek honey and it was good but not as bright tasting. YMMV.

Here’s a close up of one of these babies.

date with honey

Naturally I would not normally spatter honey all over the plate, how wasteful! But trust me that not a drop went to waste. I was home alone slash have no shame when it comes to honey so all was consumed. Let me know in the comments if you come up with any fun variations and I will promise to try to update more with my farmers’ market finds (I am already working on pistachio stuffed figs!).

*So local it’s bottled a few doors down from a friend’s house in Cambridgeport.