Coconut & Lime recipes & cooking tips by cookbook author Rachel Rappaport Mon, 10 Aug 2020 13:19:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Coconut & Lime 32 32 176983765 Chocolate-Butterscotch Butter Mochi Sprinkled with Coconut Mon, 10 Aug 2020 13:15:51 +0000  

coconut chocolate butterscotch butter mochi

Chocolate-Butterscotch Butter Mochi with Coconut

A rich, chocolatey version of Hawaii's easiest and possibly tastiest dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
cooling 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 40 squares


  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 12- oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 13.5- oz can coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut also known as dessicated coconut


  • Butter a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together mochiko, sugar, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  • In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and both chips together until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the pan is set and when the tip of thin knife is inserted into the middle of the pan it comes back basically clean with no raw batter.
  • Cool completely, in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with coconut, slice.


  • Store at room temperature in a covered container.
  • If your chocolate/butter mixture is too hot and it cooks the eggs a bit when you whisked it in, Strain the whole mixture through a sieve, discard the solid bits and then pour it into the prepared pan.

I made these during a particularly difficult time this weekend (detailed here if you are interested) and if I can do that, you can totally make them in just a few minutes today.

I think butter mochi is one of Hawaii’s tastiest sweet treats and since we are all staying home right now (or should be) it’s a good excuse to make them at home. Apparently in Hawaii, they are sold all over and are at every bake sale but here in Baltimore, we have to make them ourselves anyway so why not now? They are sort of the Hawaiian equivalent of a brownie or blondie but with a texture closer to–but not quite– that of Japanese mochi. I can’t find a super clear history of them but they seem like sort of a mash-up of dango, bibingka and of course, mochi to me but made even easier (gotta appreciate the American love of convenience) with easy to find shelf-stable ingredients like canned milk and coconut milk and the fact that it is made in a huge pan so you can just slice and serve it. So simple!

Using the right flour is key. They have a slightly chewy, bouncy texture and to get that, you need mochiko sweet rice flour. It’s the same flour you use to make mochiko chicken so I always have some on hand. This recipe calls for about a box of flour. Make sure that if you don’t use Koda Farm’s mochiko sweet rice flour, the rice flour you use is (mochiko) sweet rice flour and not just “rice flour”. Sweet rice flour is made with short-grain, sweet glutenous rice and you need it to get the correct texture. There are other brands out there but I do highly recommend Koda Farm’s Mochiko Rice Flour. It’s very easy to find here, even Safeway has it.

Traditionally butter mochi is plain/vanilla flavored but I went wild and added chocolate and butterscotch because every non-chocolate dessert I eat just makes me wish for chocolate. I’m really not in the mood for making something I don’t 100% want to eat. I decided to top them with a fine layer of coconut to bring out the flavor of the coconut milk, which really gets covered up when you add chocolate and butterscotch. It also makes them a little easier to eat because they are slightly sticky, especially the next day when it’s so hot and humid out.

They are very rich so I recommend cutting them into small squares and using them to buy friends and make your neighbors like you so you don’t end up eating a whole pan yourself. Or eat them all yourself, I don’t judge. I don’t think they would freeze well and they only keep for a few days at room temperature so bear that in mind.

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Berliner Kartoffelsalat (Creamy German Potato Salad) Sat, 01 Aug 2020 04:09:24 +0000

Berliner Kartoffelsalat (Creamy German Potato Salad)

The creamy German potato salad you didn't know you were missing. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Keyword potato salad, side dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
refrigeration time 1 hour
Servings 6


  • 2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 tablespoon dill relish or German-style sweet and sour pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 sweet-tart apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • In a large pot, boil the potatoes until fork-tender.
  • Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until the sugar has dissolved and the apple and onion are well coated. Set aside.
  • Drain the potatoes and allow to them cool slightly.
  • Add to the bowl and toss to evenly distribute all ingredients.
  • Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving but preferably 3-4 hours or overnight.
There are many types of German potato salad. In the US we mostly hear about the hot, vinegar-spiked kind that is made with bacon but there are so many other styles to explore.
Germany really likes potato salad. Some are made with beef broth and oil, some are hot, some are served cold, some have mayonnaise and others don’t. This style is Berlin style and it uses mayonnaise and is served cold, after a stint in the fridge to meld the flavors. It’s similar to American style potato salad–creamy, has pickles, served cold–but with a sweet-tart twist thanks to the addition of apples and a touch of sugar and vinegar. The trick is to add the potatoes to the bowl when they are still slightly warm so they really absorb the dressing.
I had some frankfurter würstel (smoked wieners in natural casings) from Aldi that I was eager to try so this seemed like a logical accompaniment. I was a little skeptical about the apple but all of the books I’ve read said it was essential and you know what? It was much better than I expected. It added the crunch that I’d normally get from celery and worked with the whole sweet-sour vibe so many German dishes seem to have. Who knew? I still draw the line at raisins but I’ll accept apple if done well.
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Tuna & Spinach Stuffed Banana Peppers Mon, 27 Jul 2020 18:47:50 +0000  

tuna spinach stuffed banana peppers

Tuna & Spinach Stuffed Banana Peppers

Try this unexpected and delicious use of tuna for a light lunch or appetizer. 
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, European
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4



  • 5 oz can albacore tuna in water, drained
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 oz baby spinach, steamed, drained and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon nonpareil capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground black pepper

the peppers:

  • 8 banana peppers, halved with ribs and seeds removed
  • shredded mozzarella for sprinkling about 1/8 cup


  • Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the filling mixture with a spoon or mixer until a fairly uniform mixture forms.
  • Place the peppers cut side-up on the lined parchment. Fill with tuna mixture until it is roughly level with the sides of the pepper. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 7-10 minutes or until browned and bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.
  • Cool for 5 minutes prior to serving. Use a spatula to lift them out of the pan. Don't use tongs! Ask me how I know!


  • Banana peppers can be unexpectedly spicy! Take care to wash your hands thoroughly after handling.
  • Frozen, chopped spinach is a great sub for fresh, just drain it thoroughly. 
  • Cutting a tiny slice out of the bottom of the pepper can help it keep it from rolling around on the pan as you lift it in and out of the oven--I didn't have this issue with these peppers but I have with other peppers in the past. 
  • The leftover filling is great on crackers.
I came up with a ton of fun ideas for my (yet unsold!) tinned seafood cookbook that I never actually made. I made the recipes I included in the actual proposal, of course, but I have the whole notebook of other recipe ideas and notes using everything from tuna to canned octopus in really fun and sometimes unexpected ways.


A lot of the recipes were deliberately planned around using ingredients anyone could easily find and probably already have around the house. These ideas are really coming in handy for me now when I am trying to shop less and we are making every meal we eat (nearly 140 days and counting!).


We get a produce delivery of all local produce from various farms and right now we can’t choose what we get–normally the real perk of the service is that you can swap out any item in the box for something else they have in stock but right now we are at the mercy of what they give us. It’s not a CSA so we don’t end up with a box of just kale but it’s limited to what’s in season and/or available. Which is fine, it’s a pandemic, it’s understandable but I do end up with ingredients I would never willingly choose.


I’m not sure I even have had a fresh banana pepper before–we are hot pepper fans–but we ended up with a bag. I got a few good suggestions on Instagram (including a pork chop-pineapple combo that sounds amazing and I am filing away for later) but since it is not my week to go to the grocery store and these peppers aren’t going to last forever, I had to improvise.


I did learn something new, banana peppers can be very spicy! Who knew? I thought they were on the sweet pepper list. Much like shishitos, 7 of them were very mild but that last one was at least jalapeño hot. My hand is still a little tingly. Anyway, if you can handle a jalapeño popper then this will be no big deal, but I thought I’d warn you. Of course, you might not get any hot peppers in your batch.


The one thing that has saved me when making all those meals is the ability to cobble together something truly delicious out of random ingredients. I don’t meal plan, I just buy food we like with good expiration dates and that vaguely goes together and figure out what to do with it later. In this case, we had a tiny bit of fresh spinach left so I steamed that in a skillet and drained it. I had a brick of cream cheese leftover from –I really want to say February– when I made my parents a cake for their anniversary. Cream cheese has some amazing expiration dates. I always have tuna and capers on hand. The mozzarella was leftover from at least a few pizza-making sessions over the last few months and various other recipes. These are all ingredients that luckily are very delicious together.


This recipe is basically a tasty, vaguely Italian dip scooped into peppers and roasted until it is creamy and piping hot. What’s not to love? I had this as a light lunch but I think if we were allowed to see people outside of the house, it would make a great snack or appetizer.

]]> 0 10982 Cherry-Blueberry Ricotta Muffins Thu, 23 Jul 2020 19:48:06 +0000  

blueberry cherry muffins

Cherry-Blueberry Ricotta Muffins

Two of July's real stars--blueberries and cherries--in one muffin. What more could you want?
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
cooling 20 minutes


  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup sweet cherries, quartered quartered
  • 1-2 tablespoons coarse sugar optional


  • Preheat oven to 375. Line or grease and flour  12 muffin cups (see note).
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and mace. In another bowl, stir together the oil, milk, ricotta, egg and vanilla until well-blended.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Stir until just mixed (batter will be thick) then fold in the fruit. Spoon batter into the prepared tins and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the center muffin comes out clean.
  • Remove to rack and let cool at 5 minutes. Invert on to rack and cool completely.


  • If you have large blueberries your yield may be more than 12, plan accordingly. 
  • Sour cream can be subbed for the ricotta
  • If using frozen blueberries instead of fresh, don't defrost! Use them from frozen and slightly increase the baking time as needed. 

Fresh blueberry muffins are delicious but look disgusting. If you make a muffin with frozen blueberries you can end up with a fairly cute muffin because the blueberries stay pretty whole until they are baked so the juices don’t run. With fresh blueberries, the skin breaks pretty easily and you end up with blueberry juice everywhere, turning the muffin green. I think this is why so many blueberry muffins have crumb toppings.

I could be fooling myself but I think blueberry muffins made with fresh blueberries are a little tastier than ones made with frozen. I know frozen berries are picked and frozen at peak freshness so that’s not the issue. I think the spread of the juice adds extra flavor. It stands to reason, right?

These muffins are even funkier looking because I tossed in a bunch of chopped up cherries too. July is one of the best months for fruit because so much is in season! All the berries, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries. All of the good stuff. Fall just has apples and pears and spring has strawberries. July is the lucky month.

I’m still making muffins for my husband’s breakfasts (lucky him!) but I did have one of these before they were packed up. The batter is so light and the fruit is so juicy! The mace really sets it off too.  Muffins really are a quick, easy way to make a homemade breakfast and use up random odds and ends. I had some cherries and blueberries leftover from general snacking, half a container of ricotta leftover from a tomato-beet green-watercress pasta the other night, and the rest was just basic pantry ingredients. Now they are all baked up in a tasty muffin and ready to go each morning.


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Peanut S’mores Rice Krispies Treats Tue, 14 Jul 2020 14:41:35 +0000  

peanuts s'mores rice krispies treats

Peanut S'mores Rice Krispies Treats

The ultimate no-bake, picnic-friendly summer dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword pantry cooking
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
cooling time 1 hour


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 cups miniature marshmallows, divided use
  • 6 cups puffed rice cereal aka Rice Krispies
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 graham crackers, coarsely broken


  • Butter a 13x9 baking dish. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed, whisk in the vanilla.  Add 4 cups of marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
  • Add the puffed rice cereal and the remaining 1 cup of marshmallows. Stir until well coated.
  • Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish using the back of a spoon.
  • Sprinkle with graham crackers and peanuts, pressing them slightly into the mixture to anchor them.
  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips over low heat. Drizzle over the treats.
  • Cool completely before cutting into squares. This always takes a lot longer (at least an hour, normally more like 2) than you'd think so be prepared.
  • Slice into about 20 squares.


Stirring in whole marshmallows with the cereal gives you big, soft pockets of marshmallow in every bite.

Is there a better time than summer to make Rice Krispies treats? I think not. Some of us do not have central air conditioning and welcome any chance to make something quickly on the stove vs having to bake a dessert. These are even better right now because they 100% used ingredients that one, I bought at Aldi for a fraction of the price and two, that I had sitting around the kitchen slowly going stale. I know I sound like a broken record but now is not the time to be running to the stores all the time. Stay home. I haven’t grocery shopped in a month. I’ve been making the most of what we have on hand.

Luckily Rice Krispies treats are delicious, even if you make them with $1.20 “puffed rice cereal” and 89¢ marshmallows. My husband really wanted me to put peanuts inside of the treats but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I really like the texture of RKTs and don’t really enjoy nuts in baked goods or desserts. To make both of us happy, I sprinkled them on top and pressed them in slightly so they didn’t roll away when I cut them. I had some chocolate chips leftover from making brownies so I thought I’d drizzle that on. Chocolate and Rice Krispies treats always makes me think of S’mores so I added some graham crackers too. It all came together to create what my husband now claims is his favorite Rice Krispies treat configuration–the best he’s ever had.

Each bite has a bit of peanut, marshmallow and chocolate but you still have that classic Rice Krispies treat flavor and texture below. Now I need to think of more topping ideas for next time.

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Sardine Croquettes Fri, 10 Jul 2020 04:43:07 +0000
sardine cakes

Sardine Croquettes

Sardines and leftover potatoes combine to make something delicious in this pantry-friendly recipe.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, European
Keyword pantry cooking
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 4-oz cans skinless boneless sardines in water, drained
  • 1 lb leftover roasted Russet potatoes, skin removed, about 2 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon
  • 1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion


  • Heat about 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet.
  • Place the sardines, potatoes, mayo, and mustard in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, mash until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.  Form into 3-4 inch cakes, using a firm hand to really compress the mixture together.
  • Fry, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel-line plates.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • If your mixture is very wet and not sticking together, add in some bread crumbs.
  • Too dry? Add a little more mayo.

The last time we grocery shopped it was mid-June. We get a box of misc produce delivered each week (since mid-April) but we’ve been doing the majority of our grocery shopping in person. My goal is always 3 weeks between shops. This time I wanted to see if we could make it a full month to help rotate out some pantry items and items we’ve frozen since March.  Part of what makes it easier to shop less is making a real effort to use up everything that comes into the house even if they are inexpensive or seem insignificant. We don’t (normally) get basics like potatoes or onions in our produce delivery so we have been trying extra hard to make sure we don’t waste either. No one wants to run out of onions halfway through a recipe!

In this case, I was at the end of a bag of baking potatoes and didn’t think they’d last too many more days in the bag. So I decided to have baked potatoes for dinner and bake up the last two (huge!) potatoes in the bag. You don’t want to store leftover baked potatoes in foil (botulinum risk) but they are fine to stick on the shelf in their skin until they are ready to use. A couple of days later I scooped out the insides and made these croquettes.

Sardines are a favorite of mine in any form but boneless, skinless sardines are perfect for anyone a little nervous about trying sardines and aren’t sure what to do about bones or are nervous about the texture of the skin. They mash up really well. If you can handle canned tuna, you can handle these sardines. Sardines have more omega-3 fats than salmon and are a great source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and protein.

Potato-based croquettes can be a little on the bland side so I added some major flavor via mustard and capers, and red onions. Sardines have a rep for being “fishy” but they really are just savory and have a very meaty texture. A lot of croquette recipes call for eggs but since we are shopping less, eggs have become pretty precious! In this case, I used a mixture of mayo and mustard as binder instead. Not only did it save an egg for another use, but it also added flavor. I love eggs but they don’t add much flavor-wise in recipes like this. The croquettes really reminded me of pan bagnat but in patty form. So good!

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Carrot Top Corn Muffins Thu, 09 Jul 2020 19:22:32 +0000  

Carrot top corn muffins

Carrot Top Corn Muffins

Don't toss your tops! Add them to these light cornbread muffins.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 muffins


  • 2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled slightly
  • 1 (loose) cup chopped carrot tops (stems removed if woody)
  • pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 12 wells in a standard muffin tin. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour the milk and butter over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Beat in the egg. Stir in the carrot tops.
  • Ladle the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center muffin comes out clean.

We’ve been getting produce delivery for years now. It’s not a CSA but we opt for the “local” box which comes from a variety of local farms. It’s a little bit of a splurge but we get a better variety than the CSAs I researched because it comes from multiple farms. We might end up with 3 kinds of lettuce in the spring but never end up 6 lbs of squash and nothing else. In this box we ended up with these adorable thumbelina carrots with their greens still attached. I’ve found that the greens will wilt way before the roots spoil so I wanted to use them right up! I’ve used them three times before and knew they could easily be used like you would an herb. They have a light, fresh flavor that really does taste like carrots! I love creating recipes like this that use something that normally might be tossed. Carrot greens are perfectly edible and tasty. If you don’t have carrot greens, try a favorite herb like basil. Or even spinach would work, I’d think.

thumbelina carrots

I had been craving cornbread and wanted to make that but Matt, of course, prefers muffins for his breakfast so I thought I’d turn my idea into muffins and kill two birds with one recipe. It’s too hot to bake two different things in one day and we didn’t have dinner plans that would go with cornbread anyway. The muffins came out great, moist, and with a light carrot-corn flavor.

When I pulled the muffins out of the oven I realized I slightly underfilled the liners.  I ended up with a small amount of batter left and had tossed it because wasn’t enough for a muffin. Don’t so what I did! Divide the entire batter among the wells and you will end up with slightly bigger, more standard-sized muffins. My muffins rose fine and were delicious but were a little small, as you can see in the picture.


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Ensalada Campera (Spanish-style Tuna Salad) Tue, 07 Jul 2020 13:42:05 +0000  

Ensalada Campera (Spanish-style Tuna Salad)

Ensalada Campera (Spanish-style Tuna Salad)

Occasionally found served as tapas, ensalada campera (country salad) is a hot weather staple in many homes in Spain.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 oz pouch no water added tuna
  • 10 Kalamata olives
  • 10 Spanish olives with pimento
  • 1- pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt


  • Halve the potatoes if not really baby-sized, cook until fork tender in a large pot of salted water. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, gently, toss together the potatoes, tuna, olives, tomatoes, scallions, and pepper. Divide into two bowls, top with egg. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Drizzle on the salads. Serve.


  • If you have oil-packed tuna and are using that, you can drain it for the salad and use that oil for the dressing instead of olive oil if you'd like. 
  • Run the potatoes under cool water to cool them to room temperature or make them the day before and refrigerate them overnight. 
  • It's still slightly early for good tomatoes but cherry tomatoes are consistently good and work well here. If you have some homegrown or farmers market tomatoes, slice some up and use them instead.
  • If you have jars of Spanish or Italian tuna filets packed in oil, that is what is more traditionally used in this salad and of course would be a lovely substitution for the American style tuna I called for here. 


Last winter and spring, which seems like a different time now, back before my mother was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer and the current pandemic, I was working on a pitch for a new cookbook about tinned seafood. Unfortunately, the pitch hasn’t been sold yet and I was told there was a little interest in an American book about cooking with canned fish. Of course, that was back before everyone started hoarding tuna and perhaps pantry cooking is looking a little more attractive right now. I’d love so much to write that cookbook!

Part of what went into writing the proposal (for me, I don’t know how other people do this) was researching how people around the world consume tinned seafood. When we were in Portugal far too long ago, we went to two different restaurants where tinned fish was the star of the menu. We ate it both straight from the can and turned into all sorts of fun croquettes, salad, and appetizers. I talked about it in this recipe for Portugal’s version of this salad and it really sparked an interest in exploring preserved seafood in me. Despite being a coastal country, a large portion of the seafood that was on menus was either tinned or salt cod and it was all delicious. I thought there would be interest in an American book about tinned seafood because even before the pandemic the sales of it had increased around 25% in the last few years and every grocery store I go into has a huge assortment of it from many different countries and style. Even now when people are looking for recipes to use up all that tuna they panic bought back in March, outlets like the New York Times are still posting recipes for American-style tuna salad in their weekly food round-ups (this week!) and pushing casseroles. I love tuna salad and I’ve never had tuna casserole (but I’m sure it’s tasty too) but there is no reason we are limiting ourselves like that!

There is a lot more you can do with tuna! Tuna in the US tends to be dry packed (in foil packets) or packed in water so it’s important to add some oily ingredients for optimum flavor. The simple vinegarette in this dressing does it for you. If you have oil-packed tuna and are using that, you can drain it for the salad and use that oil for the dressing instead of olive oil if you’d like. This salad is similar to the Portuguese salad I had come across and made awhile back. I’ve read many articles about this salad in Spanish about how it was a childhood favorite or how it was so good on a hot day for lunch or a picnic. The ingredients are very simple so make sure you use good potatoes (Yukon gold are tasty and hold their shape well) and nice olives for best results. I made this last year before tomatoes came in season while working on my proposal and saved it. It really is so simple yet so delicious! It’s still slightly early for good tomatoes but cherry tomatoes are consistently good and work well here. If you have some homegrown or farmers market tomatoes, use that! If you have jarred Spanish or Italian tuna filets packed in oil, that is what is more traditionally used in this salad (so feel free to use that instead) but much more difficult to find, and pricy than what I call for here.

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Spicy Sesame Soba with Kohlrabi Mon, 29 Jun 2020 04:48:48 +0000
sesame noodles with kohlrabi

Spicy Sesame Soba with Kohlrabi

A flavorful sauce and crunchy kohlrabi set this cold noodle salad apart from the crowd.
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2


for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sukang pinakurat spiced coconut (tuba) vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 inch knob ginger, grated

for the noodles:

  • 1 bunch scallions, whites and greens chopped
  • 2 100 g bundles soba noodles
  • 3 kohlrabi with greens peeled and chopped (ribs removed if tough)


  • sesame seeds
  • additional sliced scallions


  • In a medium skillet, heat some oil. Saute the greens and bulbs until the greens wilt and soften and the bulbs are fork-tender. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
  • Place the cooled kohlrabi and noodles in a large bowl drizzle with sauce. Use tongs to toss the mixture until the sauce is evenly distributed. Divide into 2 bowls and serve.


  • Recipe can be easily doubled. 
  • If you can't find sukang pinakurat (spiced coconut tuba vinegar), try some rice vinegar instead. I used Datu Puti Pinoy Spice (Tuba) Vinegar
  • Soba noodles are often sold in 800 g bags with 8 individual, tied bundles of noodles inside. Each bundle is a serving. 
  • Used a ginger grater to grate both the fresh ginger and garlic for the best results.
  • I love kohlrabi in this but spinach, zucchini, and/or cucumber would also probably be good. 

I am not making any claims to authenticity of any sort with this recipe. When I’ve had soba at Japanese restaurants it’s been served with a sauce to dunk it in or in soup, not tossed with sauce. When I’ve had Korean cold buckwheat noodles (naengmyeon) they’ve been served in a chilled broth with cold cucumber, egg and pear. This is clearly not any of that.


Soba is interesting to work with because it is made with buckwheat, not wheat and it keeps it’s texture and shape despite being thin, making it perfect for cold salads. There are a lot of recipes out there for various types of sesame noodles using soba tossed with various vegetables and I’m not really sure how they became so popular but I think it is because of the properties of soba and some sort of amalgamation of the dishes I talk about above and Chinese-American take out style sesame noodles. I found this history tracing sesame noodles back to a place in NYC’s Chinatown but I couldn’t track down a link to why they are so often made with soba in recipes I find online when the take out versions use wheat-based noodles. Chinese noodles are also normally made with Chinese sesame paste which is a little different tasting than tahini. So, again, I am not making any claims that this is some authentic recipe of any cuisine. This is a real “make use of the pantry and what I have on hand” dish.


I can see the popularity because they are surprisingly light and since they are served cold and cook in minutes, it’s perfect for a hot day. I see a lot of recipes that call for the noodles to be served with just sauce but I am all about loading up dishes with vegetables to make a more complete meal.


I got kohlrabi in my produce box and the bulbs were still attached to the greens. The bulbs will keep for a few weeks in the fridge but the leaves start to fade fast. I actually had a huge bunch so I prepped it all (I discarded the ribs but you don’t have to if they aren’t very thick or tough) and sauteed it up very plainly and divided it up. Half for this dish and half for something in the future.


I love kohlrabi. It can be a little tricky to find, your best bet is a farm stand, farmers market or CSA, but its worth seeking out. A lot of recipes discard the leaves and focus on the crunchy bulbs but the leaves are pretty tasty too. Not as peppery as mustard or turnip and similar in texture to collards, they hold their shape and texture even after they are well-wilted down. That makes them perfect for tossing with these cold noodles! The kohlrabi bulbs (my husband thought it was potato at first glance) can be eaten raw but if you are going to leave them in chunks (and I would, for texture interest in this dish) vs shredding or matchstick-ing them, I think they are better cooked until they are about fork-tender. They are still quite firm and crisp but you can bite into them without worrying about needing a dental visit afterward.


I used a real mishmash of ingredients in the sauce from all over the world (Filipino vinegar! Indonesian chile sauce! Middle Eastern tahini!)  but they come together to make a simple but incredibly tasty and complex tasting sauce. It really was the perfect lunch for a hot summer day.



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Blueberry Coconut & Lime Muffins Fri, 26 Jun 2020 14:55:01 +0000  

Blueberry coconut lime muffin

Blueberry, Coconut & Lime Muffins

Fresh blueberries meet tropical tasting coconut in these quick muffins.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 muffins


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1- pint blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour 16 wells in a muffin tin(s). Set aside
  • In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the milk, egg, oil, zest, juice, and sugar. Beat in the flour, coconut and baking powder until well-combined. Fold in blueberries.
  • Divide the batter between the wells in the muffin tins. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center muffin comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan 5 minutes, remove to wire rack to fully cool.


  • Unsweetened coconut is sometimes labeled desiccated coconut, especially in health food stores. 
  • Blueberries are just coming into season here--but you can use frozen blueberries straight from the freezer for this. 

I know. Another muffin recipe! I am starting to feel like I am spoiling my husband by making all of these muffins. I don’t really eat breakfast so he’s basically the only one benefiting from weeks of muffin making. I did eat one and a half of these because if I am going to eat a muffin this is the kind I like–a lighter texture and free of nuts.

I figured out a long time ago when I made this fantastic jam that blueberries and limes are great together. Blueberries are so sweet, they can do with a bit of tartness, similar to how people like to pair strawberries and rhubarb. I added the coconut because, why not. I came up with the name for the blog many many years ago when I still had to explain what blogging was and never thought I’d be here SIXTEEN years later still posting recipes. It really is a good combination of flavors though. In this case, it adds some flavor, texture interest, and fiber to the muffins without taking away from the fluffy texture.

Blueberries are just coming into season here–I bought these locally grown blueberries at Aldi of all places for like $1.50–but you can use frozen blueberries straight from the freezer for this.

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