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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A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

I am always curious about other people’s routine, and my favorite section in the French magazine ELLE is the page near the end where a personality shares a typical day in their life. I recently had the opportunity to do just that for an Instagram takeover of One Woman Shop, a community of female solopreneurs, and I thought I would share that little photo essay with you here.

Ready to go behind the scenes and experience a day in the life of a Parisian food writer? Here’s what it looks like.

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Raw Buckwheat Crackers

Raw Buckwheat Crackers

With the nicer weather taking us out of the house more — springtime in Paris is no time to stay indoors! — I become a more frequent practitioner of picnic meals.

These are meals for which we just plop a bunch of items on the table for each of us to compose our own plate: imagine crunchy crudité sticks, a simple green salad, buttery avocados, perhaps a jar of chicken rillettes or a can of sardines, some roasted nuts, a quick dip or spread, and any leftover bits and pieces from previous meals.

I love the loose structure, the joy and spontaneity of it, and I never tire of this format.

With this we may have some fresh baguette from the corner bakery, but lately I’ve been making these absolutely irresistible raw buckwheat crackers, leveraging the power of my high-power blender (more on that below!).

The process is very simple: you soak some buckwheat groats and almonds over night, then blitz them in the blender with a few spices. I use cumin and cacao but the formula is very flexible.

You get a fairly smooth paste that you spread on two baking sheets, and dehydrate in the oven or a dehydrator until you get crisp, rough-around-the-edges, high-flavor, raw buckwheat crackers that are up for anything.

I’ve enjoyed them dipped into my simple tahini sauce, to scoop up some hummus, or spread with cashew “cheese”. And when bell peppers come round again I’m sure they’ll be magical with romesco sauce.

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