Thursday, October 9, 2014

coconut popcorn with mustard seeds

it's fair to say that i alternate between wishing
that i could spend all of my free time - and
time that i don't have - cooking,
and asking larry to ring for the butler to make us 
dinner. as you can imagine, when the former
comes to fruition, it's better for everyone.

i am typically home, not working, only one
weekend day. that means that the other day is spent
running around cooking, doing laundry and getting ready
for the week.

lately, since easton's naps have become more regular,
we've tried to fit all of our cooking into that two hour period.
(we're usually not successful. two hours is tight.)

but, sometimes: we're just tired. 
sometimes, we really need to use easton's napping time to...
do nothing. and, sometimes, we let ourselves.

we spent last saturday's nap:
eating lunch,
watching top chef duels,
finding out that teen mom is still on tv,
all from the couch.
and, after all that, 
easton was still asleep.

i kicked myself for not throwing that giant
blue hubbard squash, that i bought too many
weeks ago, into the oven before laying down.
i realized i could have put together the dry
ingredients to prepare for tomorrow's
batch of weekly oatmeal. i could have pressed
the tofu for sunday night's dinner (spoiler: still
have not pressed that tofu or cooked the squash.)

because i was feeling guilty,
and because melissa clark's
coconut and mustard seed popcorn 
had been in my head for over 24 hours,
since i first spotted the recipe,
i decided that making a snack - 
no where to be found on the to do list -
needed to be completed immediately.
(by the way: totally love the new
cooking page over there.)

i stuck pretty true to the recipe.
unsweeted coconut, which is toasted
in a dry pot, mustard seeds (i used yellow
instead of black - preference) heated in
coconut oil, until they became a popping burn
hazard, popcorn kernels and salt. at the
end, i sprinkled in chili powder for a little
kick, which i was grateful for. (next time,
i have my eye on garam masala, instead.)

the results, i thought, were ok. 
a lot of the coconut fell to the bottom,
which is always the price i seem to pay
with popcorn toppings. i wanted lime juice,
or more salt, or more spice, or something.

with my project completed, and the baby
now awake, i was done, and over
the burning desire to make this popcorn.

and, then it was monday.
i had packed a couple handfuls to bring to work.
when i took a bite it was completely different.
with time to sit, the coconut oil had permeated
the popcorn in a completely desirable way. 
everything tasted more coconuty;
the chili powder and the salt were finally
doing their thing.
yes, there was still a pile of 
mustard seed-speckled coconut 
on the bottom of the container, but 
even those messy finger-fulls were more 

clearly, the last thing i need is to pack 
one more must make recipe to our hectic day.
but, this batch's supply is starting to meet its
end, and i'm strongly considering the addition.

coconut popcorn with mustard seeds
adapted from the new york times, cooking

i did not measure the salt and i'm pretty sure that i used more than the recipe called for. i did cut down slightly on the coconut oil used to cook the kernels, and i would not advise it: i think they needed the full amount to cook properly, without getting too dark. 

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
3-4 shakes chili powder

in large pot over medium heat, toast coconut flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt 3-5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden brown, stirring occasionally. transfer to bowl.

wipe pot of any remaining coconut. over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and popcorn kernels. shake pot to coat; cover pot and let sit. once the popcorn starts to pop, don't go too far away. wait until the popping slows to every 1-2 seconds, between pop. remove from heat and immediately transfer to bowl with coconut. 

meanwhile, place remaining coconut oil in small saucepot or small skillet, over medium-low heat. once warm, add mustard seeds and cooking 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to pop.

pour mustard seed oil over popcorn. add remaining salt and chili powder; toss immediately to coat all the popped corn and to incorporate the coconut. if you can hold out until the next day, wait to eat then.

Friday, September 19, 2014

well, that was unexpected

it's been almost two years since this blog went silent, which not so coincidentally, is almost two years since I found out everything was changing.

that's almost two years since i suddenly could only stomach pasta with butter, plain slices of bread and tortillas topped with melted cheese. it's almost two years since i started hating the smell and taste of vegetables and began an intense love affair with all things fruit.

it's just over 15 months since we met easton:


it's been just over 15 months since i no longer was so interested in eating and worried that i'd never figure out how to possibly cook again with this new responsibility.

and, it's been just two weeks short of a year since i went back to work (with homemade cookies in hand!). have i been cooking? yes. has it been good? decently. 

but, cooking is now done in large batches, over the weekend, freezing teeny portions into ice cube trays, and larger portions in containers to make sure that we eat decently - without falling dependent on takeout - throughout the week. taking pictures seems silly and wasteful, while we're trying to finish as much as we can before our very active baby wakes up from her nap.

but - i've missed this space, this recipe diary. and, i'm determined to come back, in some way.

when i started to cook today, while the baby was in my arms and i was placing tiny fingerling sweet potatoes into a large pot, i thought, i should blog this. and because i haven't thought that in a very long time, I went with it. so, here we are. i'm not focusing on the fact that i'm writing in my car, on my phone, letting a very overtired baby finish her nap or that the pictures were taken with the very same phone and not my camera.

and, maybe while i was trying to clean cilantro, to make this potato salad, this happened. 

but, whatever. i'm back.


last week, i picked up those adorable potatoes. and then, i ignored them. lest losing them the way too many pieces of produce have gone in the past, i woke up knowing they needed to be cooked before  i let myself get back into bed.

i'm in the midst of a sweet potato-miso-scallion obsession, so the plan was easy.

once the potatoes were in the pot, i sprinkled them with a bit of salt and covered the lot with a couple inches of cold water. the lid went on, i brought the water to a boil and, then, let them cook for 5 minutes. when they were drained and cool enough to handle, i halved them lengthwise, placed them cut side-down on a very lightly oiled sheet pan. they roasted about 10 minutes, until they were tender and the skin started to pucker.

meanwhile, i stirred together big scoops of tahini and white miso (about 1/4 cup of each), a decent splash of sesame oil, 4 spoonfuls warm water, a small palm-full of toasted sesame seeds and two quick shakes cayenne. into the bowl, i added 2 small bunches scallions that were cleaned, trimmed and sliced and a medium handful of that cleaned and chopped cilantro (stems and all). i did not stir.

when the potatoes came out of the oven, i gave the pan a shake, dumped them into the bowl and let the whole thing sit for a few minutes before gently tossing together.

and then, i scooped a few into a small bowl, took a picture and gave one to the baby, who quickly ate two more, and threw none of it on the floor.