Category Archives: Food

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.

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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.

Frenchie

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

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

I’m alive!

I’ve been remiss in posting and for that I am truly sorry. The farmers’ market, while amazing, sucks up a lot of time leaving me less than inspired to post but that’s all changing! Stay tuned as I will soon post the easiest, most amazing, snack / dessert you can find.

So delicious, so easy, and only three ingredients.

I’ve tested it out on several friends and the consensus is “OMG”. I’ll be making a fresh batch today and will update shortly thereafter with more to come!

Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

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At the grocery store this weekend and saw unsweetened baking chocolate thinking “there was something I was going to make with that”. Upon returning home I couldn’t for the life of me remember what that was so off to the cookbooks I went. I started with the most natural culprit, Flour and luckily that was the one. I decided that I wanted chocolate with peppermint frosting rather than the ‘magic’ stuff yet sadly my extract had…uh vanished and I was not about to walk back to the store so what else? Peanut butter!

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 Ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped.
  • 1/4 Cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I had Hershey’s and so it was)
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Stick butter
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup milk (I had half and half…)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Extra egg yolk
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • (optional) 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

In a large heat-proof bowl combine chocolate and cocoa. In a small saucepan heat the sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally until the butter melts and the sugar has disolved. Pour this mixture over the chocolate and cocoa, whisk until well combined and smooth.

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Let this cool for a bit then whisk in the egg and yolk, milk, and extract until well combined.

In a bowl stir the dry ingredients together, add these to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.

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Let the batter sit for an hour or cover and refrigerate for up to three days. While the batter is resting line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and heat the over to 350. Divide the batter amongst the cups and if you’re feeling randy top with peanut butter chips.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed with a finger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.

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For the frosting I turned to my dear friend Ina.

You will need:

  • 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 Cup heavy cream (I used half and half again)

Add everything to the bowl of a mixer. Start on LOW (or pay the price) only adding speed once the powdered sugar is absorbed in to the rest of the ingredients. Whip on high until frosting is fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed.

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Add a generous amount of frosting to the top of each, pretty them up as you see fit. I felt that this whole scenario called for chips and so it was done.

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I’m not normally a cupcake person. It’s usually crappy, dry, cake hidden under a mound of sickly sweet frosting; these babies are dangerous though. I made mine from my copy of the book but the recipe is also here. Enjoy!

Roasted Kale

I know I’m late to the kale party but here I am! I’ve had kale many ways, steamed, massaged (yes, really), even gratin, but this is my favorite method and it just so happens to be super easy. There’s no real measurements here, everything is to taste.

Roasted Kale:

  • 1 Bunch kale: washed, stemmed, and torn in to pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 375. Toss everything together on a lined sheet pan:

After five minutes stir kale to redistribute on the pan, tong are super useful here. Give the kale another 5-8 minutes depending on how crisp you want it. I go for about five, the kale comes out tender with super crispy edges and a nice spicy bite.

This preparation is so good that I have sat down to a big plate of roasted kale for dinner with no regrets. What’s your favorite kale recipe?

Compost Cookies

I love cookies and almost none more so than Compost Cookies. These cookies are basically whatever you want them to be. I adapted from this recipe, which is a from the original chef herself Christina Tosi! It’s so versatile and a great starting point for incorporating whatever you have lying around. This is what I started with:

I decided to ditch the Heath in favor of candy coated sunflower seeds though which was a much better  choice. The best thing about these cookies is that they can be whatever you want them to be. A friend was telling me today that he made his with Cap’n Crunch and goldfish crackers! Nearly the whole cupboard is at your disposal really. I also added Tamarisk honey is which I picked up at Follow the Honey in Harvard Square. It’s unlike any honey I’ve ever tasted, smoky, malty, intense so good! I’ve also made these without the honey and they are equally delicious.

The mise for these cookies is pretty intense but well worth it. Make sure to clear plenty of space for everything, there’s a lot of it but it all comes together pretty quick when mixing. Makes 15-20 cookies

  • 2 Sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2/3 Cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs corn syrup
  • 1/2 Tbs Tamarisk honey (optional)
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 Cups flour
  • 1/4 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 Cup chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 Cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 Cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 Cup candy-coated sunflower seeds
  • 2 1/2 Tsp ground coffee
  • 2 Cups kettle style potato chips
  • 1 Cup mini pretzels, plus more for topping

In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter, sugars, honey, and corn syrup. Cream together 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla and egg and beat another 7-8 minutes until fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add flour mixture. Mix just until everything comes together. Scrape down the bowl and get ready to add the rest. Still on low speed add coffee, chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, sunflower seeds, and oats. Mix just until incorporated. Now add your potato chips and pretzels. I let the mixer go one rotation with these and turn it off, you want large pieces, not dust.

Using a cookie scoop or 1/3 cup measure drop dough on a parchment lined sheet pan. Pat the dough down and if wanted, fancy up the tops a bit with a little of whatever is inside. Why not, right? I would stay away from the potato chips though, they might burn.

Wrap the pan and chill in the fridge overnight. You can get away with an hour or two when needed but if you have the time overnight is best .

To bake heat the oven to 375.

Place the dough on lined pans 4 inches apart from each other. Bake for 18 minutes until edges are lightly browned. The cookies should still look slightly undercooked. Cool cookies completely on the sheets before storing.

The baked cookies freeze beautifully just wrap them well in plastic wrap and then foil and they will be good for a month at least I can’t speak to anything longer than that, I was surprised they lasted that long!

If you make these please let me know what you come up with.