May 29, 2019

Umami Lovers Salad


4 oz smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz watercress
2 roasted beets, sliced
2 6 1/2 minute eggs, halved
3/4 lb thin asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
2 "baby" cucumbers, sliced into coins

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon "everything" seasoning*
1/2 teaspoon Dijon
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers


Toss together the salad ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. Place the dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake until emulsified. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

Serves 2, as a meal. Can be easily doubled or tripled.

* DIY it: "everything" seasoning mix:
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
pinch kosher salt

My thoughts:
I've had the idea for a vaguely bagel platter inspired salad for a while now. Finally, I just had to make it. I'm not a huge green salad person so I loaded it up with everything I love: lox, beets, cucumbers, asparagus and peppery watercress vs the typical "salad mix" or lettuce. Then I made a bold, pickle-y dressing loaded with flavor from the everything seasoning. The result is a wonderfully flavor-packed salad. So many bold flavors in every bite--smoky, savory, salty. It is an umami lover's delight.

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May 24, 2019

Deviled Egg Smashed Potato Salad


2 lb whole baby Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup small diced thin asparagus
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hamburger dill pickles
2 tablespoons Dijon
1/2-1 teaspoons hot paprika (plus more for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs
freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Drain. Return to the pot and Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to crack and slightly smash the potatoes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the asparagus (or leave out, I don’t care. I’m not making another side) onions, and celery in a large bowl.  Stir to distribute the asparagus. Set aside to cool.

Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half. Chop the whites and place them in the bowl with the potatoes.

Place the yolk into a small bowl and mash it with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the mayo, onion, dill relish, mustard, vinegar, and spices until a dressing forms. Pour over the potatoes, stir to evenly coat the potatoes and asparagus. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.

My thoughts:
This week marks the 15th year of creating recipes here on Coconut & Lime! Can you believe it? It seems like a long time and short time all at once. It's basically been my entire adult life. I was still a teacher back then and had just started dating my now husband. Now we've been married 14 years and I've written several cookbooks and develop recipes full time. There are just shy of 2,500 recipes on this blog.

I still like creating recipes that are classic with a twist so I guess it is fitting to post this recipe this week! Memorial Day is right around the corner and who doesn't need a potato salad recipe? We are planning to get crabs but you still need a side dish. Or so my husband tells me. Growing up we just had crabs.

This dish is quickly becoming one of my favorites because while it has a pretty classic flavor profile, the texture is softer and I've added asparagus so you get a bit of veggies in there too--eliminating the need for a second side dish, I think. And is there a better pairing than deviled eggs and potato salad? I think not!

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May 17, 2019

Mortadella Home Fries

1 1/2-2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1/4 lb thinly sliced (imported) mortadella, cut into bite-sized pieces
freshly ground black pepper
pinch salt


Parboil the potato in a medium pot. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large skillet. Melt the butter. Add the onions and mortadella and sauté until the onions are softened and starting to brown around the edges. Add the potatoes. Arrange the potatoes in as flat of a layer as possible. Cook until golden then flip and brown the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I have always been a home fries person. My grandpop always made them for me growing up (often alongside his meat cakes) and I think they are so much better than hash browns. Unfortunately,  a lot of restaurants don't seem to know the difference between hash browns and home fries so when I order home fries, I am often very disappointed.

I make them at home not terribly frequently but every time I do I wonder why it has been so long! Normally I make them with bacon but we had bought way too much mortadella shortly before our trip to NYC last week so I thought I'd swap some for the usual bacon. I'm so glad I did! The mortadella (the fancier, Italian cousin to bologna) crisped up around the edges and added a ton of flavor to the potatoes. It was a revelation. I think I might buy "too much" mortadella on purpose next time.

The trick to good home fries is to parboil the potatoes. I don't always do it, my grandpop never did, but it really is the easiest way to guarantee crispy, perfectly cooked potatoes.

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May 15, 2019

Spaghetti with Sardines, Asparagus and Capers


1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion, sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons nonpareil capers
2 4.4-oz canned sardines in oil, drained
juice and zest of one lemon
3/4 lb spaghetti
2/3 (loose) cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Parmesan for sprinkling
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

In a large skillet, toast the bread crumbs until golden brown. Set aside. Heat some olive oil in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onion softens. Add the asparagus, capers, and sardines. Saute, breaking up the sardines with the back of the spoon until the onions are fully cooked. Stir in the cooked, drained spaghetti, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss in bread crumbs. Divide over four plates and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
One of the best things about our trip to Portugal a few years ago was really exploring the world of tinned seafood. We went to two different restaurants that specialized in recipes using tinned seafood in interesting ways and a store that only sold canned seafood. It was so much fun!

Luckily, all sorts of canned and preserved seafood are available here in the US. Even the not so fancy supermarket had 10 different varieties and brands of sardines. Not to mention, tuna, anchovies, herring, even octopus!

It's easy to make a meal strictly from the pantry using sardines but since it's spring (despite being the 40s!! this week) I added some in-season asparagus and tons of parsley for a lighter, fresher dish. It was so good! Filling without being heavy and although sardines are a fishier smelling fish, the dish is surprisingly not pungent. The toasty bread crumbs and parm add a great depth of flavor as well. A truly satisfying weeknight meal.

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May 07, 2019

Dill Feta Ranch Dip

1 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/4 cup crumbled feta

for the ranch mix:
1 1/2 tablespoons dry buttermilk*
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
freshly ground black pepper


Place all ingredients, including the ranch mix, in a medium bowl and stir to combine all ingredients until fairly smooth. Refrigerate 20 minutes prior to serving.

*look for this in the baking aisle

My thoughts:
I've been cooking a lot lately but it's all been dishes too heavy to post in May or food that is terribly unphotogenic. So frustrating when you are trying to keep with a regular posting schedule as you move into the 15th year of this blog!

Today I made myself a mortadella sandwich and since I had some of these sesame Pressels  I thought I'd make some dip for fun. I've been obsessed with feta and dill lately so I thought I'd combine them with some Greek yogurt and homemade buttermilk ranch mix. So good and creamy with a bit of a tang. Perfect for your next lunch, snacktime or picnic.

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April 29, 2019

Salted Cashew Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup salted, halves and pieces cashews
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand or electric hand mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms.

Fold in the chips and nuts.

Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping tablespoon of dough two inches apart (I like this cookie scoop that hold 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough).

Flatten slightly then bake until light brown on the bottom, about 12-13 minutes.

Slide them out on the parchment paper onto a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment or Silpat on the wire rack before removing the parchment and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.

Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers.

My thoughts:
I am not a huge fan of nuts in baked goods. Walnuts remind me of baby teeth. I rarely use them unless I am making something for someone else or making bar cookies like these where they aren't hidden and stay crisp. Anyway, I had to buy some cashews to garnish a recipe I was testing and had a ton leftover. I haven't had a cookie with cashews before but why not try? I ended up liking them a lot! Cashews are pretty soft so the texture melds really well with the cookie dough. I guess it makes sense since it actually a seed and not a true nut? The chocolate chunks were around the same size as the cashews and it made for a really chocolatey cookie. 

I used salted nuts and didn't add salt to the dough but since my cashews weren't terribly salty, it only added a savory note, not a ton of salty flavor. If your cashews are saltier, you might have a stronger sweet/salt contrast. 

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April 19, 2019

Gnocchi with Ham, Watercress and Peas


1 medium onion, cut into half-moon slices
2 1/2 cups cubed ham
5 oz watercress
10 oz fresh, shelled peas
30 oz plain, potato gnocchi
freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan


In a large pan, saute the onion until softened. Add the ham and cook until warmed through. Add the watercress and peas. Add 3 tablespoons of water and saute until the peas are tender. Season with salt and pepper

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi to package instructions. Drain. Add the gnocchi to the pan and saute until lightly browned. Divide among 4 dishes and top with parmesan.

My thoughts:
I love coming up with recipes using up holiday leftovers! To be honest, we never host so I am almost always buying food just to make fun stuff with the leftovers! It's become a bit of hobby on its own, to be honest. We aren't people who mind eating leftovers, we normally make dinner for four so we can have the leftovers for lunch the next day but repurposing them into something new is so much more fun. For this recipe, I used a whole boneless smoked ham I bought at Costco. It's so easy to cube to use in other dishes but of course, you can use any leftover ham from any cut.

This recipe is super easy because let's be honest, after hosting, who wants to make another big elaborate meal? I used gnocchi I bought at Aldi but any supermarket or Italian grocery will have them. You can also make fresh gnocchi if you'd like but the vacuumed pack ones are pretty good and are even faster to cook than regular pasta. I love watercress with ham so much (this egg salad with ham and watercress is another great Easter leftover recipe), it has a peppery bite that offsets the often sweet and very smoky ham. Peas are classic with ham so I added some I bought at Trader Joe's (in the fresh department) to make it even more of a complete meal.

Normally, I am not one to eat gnocchi leftovers but (maybe because it wasn't homemade gnocchi and not saucy?) we had some leftovers (of the leftovers, ha!) and they really reheated well! I sauteed them in a skillet to reheat and they were quite tasty. Lightly browning the gnocchi adds a nice toasty flavor too.

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