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Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp


Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp

A little while back I was looking though old photos, as it's always fun to revisit the little snippets of life that can so easily get lost in the hustle of the everyday (especially if you take as many photos as I do!). I was totally halted by the below photo of Boss Mouse Cheese's smoked butter - an ingredient that regularly graced my table when we lived in Michigan.

The kick-ass Sue Kurta makes some crave-able cheeses, but she also cold smokes these beautifully tied packets of butter in a custom built smoker her sweet dad helped her create. It's the most magical ingredient for, well, just about anything you might use butter for! Sautéed morels, smokey tempeh strips, slathered on toast with peach jam, the options are endless. 

So after stumbling upon this photo, I couldn't help but start to crave that smoky buttery goodness. A quick search didn't result in any discoveries of smoked butter happening in Portland (and they say this is a food city...), so I had Sue mail me a magical bounty of butter. You too can have her mail it to you, just visit the website! This is the first of the creations, but I'm so looking forward to having a stash of smoked butter in the freezer to indulge myself in. 

You'll also see it with this pretty red string - a pile of magic! 

Find her at the farmers market, and Sue rightly recommends you slather your spring asparagus in smoked butter... in fact writing this post is a reminder that I have both smoked butter and asparagus in the fridge - why don't I have a plate of smoked butter asparagus next to me?! Better write faster so I can indulge! 

Anyways, smoked butter has long been a favorite ingredient of mine and baking with it takes things to a whole new level of special! This recipe is all about the simplest of fruit desserts, the humble crisp, dressed up a bit by simply replacing our butter with Sue's smoked butter. 

It's packed with jammy blueberry goodness and a subtle smoke. 

We pile all our berries into a baking dish (I'm obsessed with this beautiful pie plate my babe's aunt bought for us on her annual venture to the Fiestaware tent sale). Then toss them with a few other simple ingredients and set it aside while we make the topping. 

The topping gets sprinkled on top of the blueberries... 

You really can't go wrong with a crisp topping packed with smoked butter : ) Once we have a nice littler layer on top of the berries we toss it in the oven, set a timer, and get on with whatever else we need to do... or watch a little netflix while we wait... whatever floats your boat. 

And voila - crisp! 

Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp 

notes: While smoked butter makes this simple fruit crisp a decadent and special treat, this recipe will also work well using unsmoked unsalted butter. You can use frozen or fresh blueberries to make this, but I suggest defrosting the blueberries before starting. Baking from frozen blueberries will likely lead to a wetter, yet still totally delicious, crisp). 

about 5 cups blueberries 

1/3 cup sugar 

1 Tbsp lemon juice 

3 Tbsp cornstarch 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or all purpose flour 

1/2 cup brown sugar 

1 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp sea salt 

8 Tbsp smoked butter (I used Boss Mouse Cheese butter), or unsalted butter 

  • Fill a 9in pie dish or 8x8 baking dish with blueberries. I like to fill it just about to the top for as fruity a crisp as possible. 
  • Add sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch to the blueberries and stir to coat the berries. Set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. 
  • Cut the butter into cubes, then add it to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives), cut the butter into the flour until only pea sized clumps of butter remain. If needed, use your fingers to break up any bigger pieces of butter. 
  • Spread the topping evenly over the blueberries. 
  • Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling away and the topping is a golden brown. 


Meyer Lemon Curd


Meyer Lemon Curd

My obsession with lemon curd began many many many years ago with the amazing lemon and lime curds made by American Spoon Foods (purveyors of the most impeccably flavored preserves you've ever encountered). Growing up in Petoskey, their products were staples in our household and no trip downtown was complete without stopping in to sample their latest creations. 

While I could go on and on about the wonders of Spoon, the lemon curd has long been the one product I can't resist eating straight from the jar. Spoonful after spoonful after spoonful. When not in northern Michigan, I would buy other lemon curds from the shelf at the grocery store, but nothing could compare to the fresh creamy citrus of American Spoon Foods' curd. 

The first time I made lemon curd in my own kitchen, it was a total game changer. I discovered the reason I was so obsessed with that particular curd - it was the closest I could get to the flavor of freshly made lemon curd without actually making it myself. The amazing news is that curds are SUPER easy to make at home, all it takes is about 15 minutes and some constant stirring! Serious danger for this curd-lover. 

The citrus selection at my local grocery spot, New Seasons, is currently bordering on out of control. They're boasting 60 plus varieties of citrus, and that endless bounty of color is beyond magical during this cold, grey, and rainy time in Portland. Just as the mid-winter blues are starting to set in, I can't help but get excited to explore the endless opportunities of citrus flavors! I wanted to start with something classic - the meyer lemon. 

meyer lemons

Meyer lemons were created by crossing a mandarin orange with a classic lemon, gifting us with a sweeter and more deeply flavored type of lemon. I consider these to be the perfect citrus for baking (although, there may be another 50 varieties to explore this winter!), as well as for curd-making. These days meyer lemons can be found in most grocery stores with an ample produce section for a few months each winter starting in December. 

I'll be honest - when the meyer lemon season arrives, I go all meyer all the time until they're no longer available. Regular lemons just don't measure up in my mind! 

Meyer Lemon Curd, Food Photography, Food Styling, Recipe, Food Blog

This recipe is specifically written to make use of meyer lemons. If you're not able to find them, you can still make an absolutely amazing curd from regular lemons. Just be sure to increase the sugar to about 1/2 cup as your juice won't hold as much sweetness as meyer lemon juice. 

Meyer Lemon Curd 

1/2 cup meyer lemon juice 

1/3 cup sugar 

2 egg yolks 

2 eggs 

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed 

pinch of salt 

  • In a double boiler over medium high heat or a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, and eggs until thoroughly combined. 
  • Add butter and whisk continuously. The butter will melt, and after a bit more whisking the mixture will begin to thicken. Continue whisking until your whisk leaves clear lines in the curd as you stir. 
  • Remove from heat, and strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Store your lemon curd in the refrigerator, and eat it within a few weeks (though good luck having it last more than a few days!). 

Serving: I've definitely given away that my favorite way to eat lemon curd is straight from the jar, spoonful after spoonful... but there are so many wonderful things to be done with it! Spread it on toast, serve it with scones, fill your cake layers or individual tarts (check out my full-size lemon tart recipe for the appropriate curd for filling tarts you'll be slicing). 


black bean & squash tacos


black bean & squash tacos

My babe and I took this weekend as an extra long one to go for an adventure in Seattle, where we had so many wonderful meals out (most of which involved chopsticks). Some of our favorites were a sushi omakase (chef's choice coursed meal) at the sustainable sushi house Mashiko and a meal of amazing house-made soba noodles at Miyabi 45th. I'd highly recommend visiting those spots if you ever find yourself on your own Seattle adventure! 

Amazing meals aside, we're both always itching to get back in our own kitchen after being on vacation where we're eating out on a regular basis. Babe made some AMAZING tempeh green curry as his first foray back in the kitchen, and I spent the better part of a day slowly working through the creation of this recipe while taking advantage of long cooking times to get some housework done. 


Now, for the tacos! 

Tacos are pure heaven in my mind, and they grace our table on a rather regular basis as they can be a quick affair. While often the answer to what we put inside of our tacos is based simply on the status of what we can find in the fridge (there is always something that can be taco-i-fied in the fridge), these black bean and squash tacos are totally worth planning for! 

Black Bean and Squash Tacos with Lime Recipe

Black beans and squash are a match made in heaven, so when spiced to be paired together there isn't much that could possibly go wrong. The instructions for this recipe have you start with dry beans, and cook them with spices to ensure they're extra flavorful. That said, I understand completely that we don't always have the time to start from dry beans (or we don't plan that far ahead), so I've included an alternative note at the end with instructions for making these tacos with canned beans. Follow those instructions and you'll have dinner on the table in one hour flat with very little hands-on work! 


This recipe can be made totally vegan, vegetarian, or (as I prefer it) with some bacon grease depending on your diet and what you have on hand. As written, you'll have dinner for two, but the recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more if you want to serve more or have left overs. You can even just use one larger squash rather than lots of delicatas in that case! 


1 cup dry black beans 

1 Tbsp Better than Bouillon (or other bullion cubes) 

1 big pinches dry rubbed sage 

1 bay leaf 

1 tsp whole cumin seeds 

1 delicata squash, cut to 1/2 inch cubes (you can peel the squash or leave the skin on. the more mature the squash, the tougher the skin is going to be when it comes out of the oven). 

1 Tbsp olive oil 

1 tsp paprika 

1/2 tsp ground chipotle 

1/4 tsp cayenne 

salt & pepper to taste 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1/2 a medium onion, cut to a small dice 

1 Tbsp bacon grease or butter (or oil if you're vegan) 

fresh masa for homemade tortillas, or corn tortillas 

cilantro, lime, and grated cheese for garnish


  • First, you'll want to soak your beans. You can cover them in cold water and let soak overnight or for at least 8 hours, or you can cover them with boiling water and let them soak about 1 hour. Either way, make sure to add about 1 tsp of salt to the water. 
  • Strain and rinse soaked beans, then put in a medium pot along with bouillon, sage, bay leaf, cumin seeds, and some salt and pepper. Cover the beans and spices with water at least 2 inches above the beans then place over medium high heat. Give the bullion a stir using a fork to help break it up a bit. Once the water has come to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook for about an hour and a half, until the beans are very soft. Strain excess water and set aside until you're ready to cook the meal (this can be done days ahead of time!). 
  • About an hour before you want to eat, toss the squash cubes with olive oil, paprika, chipotle, cayenne, and a little salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the squash is soft and lightly browned on the edges. 
  • Heat a medium pan over medium heat, adding bacon grease/butter/oil when the pan is hot. Sautee onions and garlic in the oil until they're translucent and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Then add the cooked beans and 1/2 cup of water. Let simmer to reheat the beans, then use the back of a spoon to smash the beans to your desired consistency. I just like to smash some of them, but if you're into smooth refried beans you can even puree the beans to a smooth texture! 
  • Now, we're ready to assemble! If you're making homemade tortillas, cook based on the package's instructions. If you're using store-bought tortillas, warm them up in the oven wrapped in foil or in the microwave wrapped in a towel. 
  • Top each tortilla with a scoop of beans, some squash, cilantro, cheese, and a squeeze of lime juice! 

Canned Beans Alternative! 

Lets be honest... sometimes you just don't plan ahead to actually cook your own beans. I like to keep canned black beans and chickpeas on hand for those days when I'm craving beans but don't have any cooked or the time to cook them! Here's how to make delicious beans without cooking them yourself! 

Skip the bean cooking step, and just add 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, and 1 pinch of sage when the onions and garlic are cooked. Stir briefly until it starts to smell delicious (about 20 seconds), then add your canned beans and the water. Follow the rest of the instructions as is. Super easy and super fast!