pop! pop! pop!

Popcorn really is the perfect snack. There is definitely a time and a place for movie theatre butter popcorn but as we all know, it’s not often. I wanted to share my method for stovetop popcorn cooked in coconut oil! Coconut oil has a very high smoke point (higher than olive oil!) so it’s perfect for popping and as an added benefit, it provides a wonderful nutty flavor to the popcorn that allows you to skip the butter. And to top it all off, coconut oil is a good-for-you fat.

You’ll Need:
5 quart cast iron dutch oven with lid (or the heaviest bottomed pot you have)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (personally, I like the flavor of white popcorn)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Put the coconut oil in the unheated pot. Bring the oil to the correct “popping point” by heating the oil over medium high heat. Add salt to pot. While the oil is melting, put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels in the oil. As soon as all of the kernels pop, your oil is ready to go!

As soon as the oil is ready, put all of the popcorn kernels into the pot and cover. Remove pot from heat for 30 seconds. This allows the popcorn kernels to all come to the same temperature which will result in even popping and less burning. 

Return to heat and offset the lid by a half an inch or so (not wide enough for popcorn to pop out of the pot) to allow steam to be released. Less steam means that the popcorn will come out crispier. Get ready to use some muscle for this part! Shake, rattle, and roll the pot all around while the popcorn begins to pop. The popping should start happening in about 30 seconds or so. It will take about 3 minutes of shaking at the most for all the popcorn to pop. Remember, don’t stop moving it all around! There is nothing worse than burnt popcorn, blech. As long as you keep it moving, it’s virtually foolproof.

Voila! Now, add your favorite toppings. I promise, butter is not necessary. The coconut oil has a way of coating the popcorn that eliminates the need for butter. I tried adding butter once using this method and it was way too greasy to eat! But hey, maybe that’s just me. Do what makes you happy!

My latest popcorn creation is Spiced Dilly Popcorn:

6 cups of freshly popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped)
3 springs of finely chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons of celery salt
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Mix dill and spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle over bowl of popcorn and toss. 

Dilly Popcorn!


one potato, two potato

Have you ever heard of a Byelorussian Kolduny? I hadn’t until recently when I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (don’t judge, I know you all watch it too) that featured a Russian restaurant in Arlington, TX. It is essentially a potato pancake stuffed with ground meat. Here is my take on the dish–Scallion and Herb Vegetarian Kolduny.

Ingredients (makes 4)

Scallion and Herb Mixture
2 scallions
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Potato Batter
3 medium sized russet potatoes peeled and cubed
1 small white or yellow onion in pieces
4 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 vegetarian sausage patties cut down the middle to create 4 thin patties (I used Morning Star hot and spicy breakfast sausage)
1/2 of a beaten egg

Sour cream
Flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

First task is to create the scallion and herb mixture that will be incorporated into our potato batter. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and roast the scallions in a little bit of olive oil until soft. Food process the roasted scallions with the parsley, garlic, and salt & pepper. Set aside.

one potato, two potato

Now, onto our potato batter.

one potato, two potato

Purée potatoes and onions until smooth. Stir in the beaten egg and flour. The consistency of the batter should be pretty thin so restrain a bit on the flour if it appears too thick. If your batter is too thick, just add a little water. To complete the batter, incorporate the scallion and herb mixture.

one potato, two potato

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. You want the oil to be pretty hot so that you get a nice sear on your kolduny. Test the oil heat by putting a tiny bit of batter in the pan and if you don’t get instant sizzle, the oil isn’t hot enough yet! Spoon batter into a pan in a thin layer. You’re going to use about a 1/4 cup of batter for each one but you can absolutely eye it. Place your veggie sausage patty in the center of your batter. Spoon a little more batter on top so that the sausage is no longer visible.

one potato, two potato

Cook over medium heat for two to three minutes on the first side or until golden brown. After you have flipped your kolduny, put a lid on the skillet and lower the heat. Cook for 5 more minutes to make sure the potato is cooked all the way through.

To finish it off, top with a little sour cream and more parsley.

one potato, two potato

one potato, two potato



A couple weeks ago, I was at dinner with a wonderful friend of mine chatting about the principles of love. In an attempt to capture my view of what love is, I told her about one of my favorite movie scenes.

Summer Stock (released in 1950) stars Gene Kelly and Judy Garland–it was their last movie together. The film is most known for introducing the song Get Happy, which has now been (close to) ruined by the Home Goods commercial that sings "Come to Home Goods / Come on get happy".

Jane owns a farm and her sister, Abigail, comes to the farm with her many actor pals needing a place to rehearse their stage show. Jane lets Joe, the show's director, and the cast use the barn for rehearsal in exchange for chores around the farm. With the show quickly approaching, Abigail runs away with the lead actor leaving Joe and Jane to star in the show in their place. Jane, who isn't exactly a star, rehearses like crazy under Joe's strict direction to prepare for her debut. Needless to say, all the while, Joe is falling for Jane without her even realizing it.

The night of the show, Jane is in her dressing room a ball of nerves when Joe comes to see her.

Joe: Relax, you're going to be great tonight.

Jane: I'm going to be awful. You better start yelling right now because I can't remember a single line.

Joe: It will all come back when the curtain comes up and remember, if you need me, I'll be right there beside you.

Jane: Will you Joe?

Joe: Every second. And, when the show's over and it's the success I hope it is, we got a lot of talking to do.

Jane: What about?

Joe: Oh, all kinds of things. First, I want to hear the story of your life–everything that's ever happened to you since you were so high. Then I want to know what you eat for breakfast, what's your favorite color, what comic strips you're reading…then we'll talk about shoes, and ships, and ceiling wax…shows, farms…families. Oh, it may take hours…weeks…years, I want to know everything.

Jane: Now, I won't remember a word.

There is something so beautifully simple about his little speech. Isn't it so true? That when you love someone, you just want to know every single thing about them? That you can never know enough? Good and bad? Big and small?

How's that for a happy thought?