30-Minute Spinach and Chicken Coconut Curry

30-Minute Spinach and Chicken Curry

This post is sponsored by Revol, a French manufacturer of top-quality ceramic cookware. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Chocolate & Zucchini.

It’s Confession Tuesday and I have one to make: I don’t really like spinach.

On my early twenties’ quest to rediscover and fall in love with the vegetables I’d grown up not liking (I’m looking at you, Brussels sprouts!) spinach was a total fail.

I blame years and years of school cafeterias and well-meaning summer camp counselors. Unless the spinach is of pristine freshness and cooked with fairy dust in really inspired ways, the metallic aftertaste makes me shudder and push my plate away.

So I hardly ever buy spinach at all. But on a recent trip to the Perche, when we got to the organic produce stall where we buy a week’s worth of marvels (and then some) the minute we arrive at the greenmarket, we saw he had gorgeous spinach that was selling out fast. Maxence was tempted, I relented, and we snatched up an armful.

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Edible Paradise: A Food Lover’s Coloring Book (Giveaway)

Edible Paradise

Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now, and deservedly so: with an increasing portion of our lives happening on screens and clouds, what could be more grounding than to sit down at the end of a long day with an actual paper coloring book in your lap and favorite pencils scattered around you?

Indeed, it’s an ideal activity to unplug and unwind: low-pressure (I mean, we can all color, right?), high-satisfaction (in just a few minutes, voilà, your page is all pretty and complete), and wonderfully meditative, as your fingers busy themselves and your mind is free to wander.

I have seen quite a few such books for sale in bookshops here in Paris, and I was thrilled when a talented Paris-based illustrator I know, Jessie Kanelos Weiner, released one of her own, titled Edible Paradise: An Adult Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables, celebrating the edible plant kingdom.

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Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker

Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker

This coconut spiced rice has been on heavy rotation in my kitchen lately, and it’s all thanks to Maxence.

A little while ago, he expressed the desire for us to acquire a rice cooker. I admit it: I scoffed. I argued that we could cook rice on the stovetop just fine, that we didn’t need a specialized appliance for that, and where in the world would we put it anyway?

But I could see he really wanted one, and considering that 90% of the stuff taking up room in our kitchen cabinets is, ahem, by all intents and purposes, well, my stuff, the least I could do was green-light the rice cooker. (And that’s the secret to relationship longevity right there. You’re welcome.)

So Maxence went off and researched the heck out of the rice cooker equation, because that’s what he does (I don’t have nearly as much patience for it) and he decided on this model from Cuisinart, which happens to be pretty good-lookin’, too.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m eating my words.

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Coconut Butter Bars with Sea Salt

Coconut Butter Bars

A little while ago, I told you how much I adore coconut butter. My passion has not abated in the slightest, and I continue to enjoy it as the divine treat that it is — here’s 20+ recipes to use coconut butter if you’re curious to know more.

But the tricky thing about coconut butter is how temperature-sensitive it is. Depending on the season, my jar of coconut butter can be super runny, which I don’t find the most pleasant consistency for eating with a spoon, or so solid you need a pickaxe to dig in.

So I’ve found a neat little way to make sure I have coconut butter available in a snack-friendly format at all times. You know, for emergencies.

I use my silicone chocolate bar molds — the very ones I bought to make these knock-your-socks-off caramelized sesame chocolate bars — to create these coconut butter bars, easily broken up into squares for popping into your mouth.

All it takes is to soften the coconut butter in a hot water bath (unless it’s summer and the coconut butter is creamy already), so you can pour it into the molds and put them into the fridge to set completely.

I sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, because it brings out the flavor of the coconut butter in the most flattering way. But I leave it at that in terms of flavorings, and pair my squares with banana slices, plump dates, or squares of dark chocolate.

You could, however, dream up all kinds of ways to guild the coconut butter bar lily by adding some delicious mix-ins:

  • Cacao nibs or chocolate chips,
  • Chopped nuts or seeds,
  • Freshly grated citrus zest,
  • Freeze-dried berries or banana chips,
  • Spices such as chili flakes, vanilla powder, or fresh cinnamon (I use fresh cinnamon from Cinnamon Hill),
  • Bacon bits (I’m only half kidding).

How would you eat these coconut butter bars?

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Terroir Products: What to Eat in the Jura

Montbéliard cows, just chillin'.

Montbéliard cows, just chillin'.

This is a guest post written by Anne Elder, my wonderful intern, about the recent class trip* she took to the Jura. The photos are also hers. Take it away, Anne!

When I drive through France, the roadside signs always make me feel like I’m about to meet a celebrity, bearing names of towns I only know from the perspective of my tiny Paris kitchen, and the labels on my favorite foods.

I felt that very excitement traveling through the Jura, a French region that’s just south of popular oenophile destination Burgundy, but one that is oft overlooked by tourists. It is a lush mountainous region near the Swiss border, where the land lends itself to the production of many delicious terroir foods.

The concept of terroir is pervasive in French cuisine (and increasingly in America, too), dating back centuries.

Eating a produit du terroir means you are indirectly tasting the ground in (or on) which it was made — tasting the soil, the climate, the craftsmanship. This notion ranges from cheese, and how the hay eaten by the Montbéliard cows impacts its flavor, to wine and how the precise fusion of soil and climate and skill meet to grow grapes that are pressed into such a complex beverage.

Jura is a goldmine when it comes to seeking out terroir. Equipped with rain boots and notebooks, my classmates and I were determined to learn how to taste France. We drove over hilltops, past rows of sapins (spruce trees, which are cut down into boards where the cheese will be left to age) and stayed in a gîte, a no-frills guest house.

During our five days there, we were afforded the opportunity to see the cheese production from the farm to the aging cellar, taste wine still ripening in oak barrels, and sample many more local recipes and products cooked by gracious hosts.

If you are able to travel to Jura on your next trip to France, here are the terroir products you must not miss.

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