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Consolation prize

Oh people. What a time I’ve had.

So, remember that fresh coconut pie I mentioned last week? The one I recalled so fondly ten full years after first tasting it? The one that you begged to hear more about? Well, I called my mom, and I got the recipe. Then I bought a coconut. Then, yesterday morning, Brandon and I drained, cracked, chipped, peeled, and grated the thing, a task only marginally easier than breaking into an armored truck. Then, after sufficient rest and recuperation, I made the pie. And it wasn’t very good.

Even now, a day later, I still feel sort of sad. I hardly know what to say. In the pie’s defense, I think we grated the coconut a little too coarsely. We did it in the food processor, with the grating blade, and the resulting shards were on the thick side – less like standard shredded coconut and more, let’s say, like those jumbo matches, the long, fat kind you’d use to light a gas stove or grill. Consequently, the coconut never really cooked in the oven. It wilted a little, but that’s about it. The finished pie tasted alright, but it had an odd, starchy crunch that reminded me of Swiss chard stems, and soggy twigs, and undercooked potatoes. None of which, I should note, makes a nice dessert. It wasn’t awful, but it was wonky. You know it’s bad when you prefer a pot of lentil soup to a slice of coconut pie. Seriously.

But all’s well that ends well, as they say, which brings us, for better and for worse, to this week’s recipe. I know it’s kind of crappy of me to give you yet another lentil dish, but I didn’t set out intending to, I swear. Blame the pie, not me. Anyway, it’s a very good recipe – and with coconut, no less! – so I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.

A couple of weeks ago, back when we were talking about lentils and rice and onions around here, Julie wrote to tell me about a soup she’d made, a green lentil soup with Indian spicing from the cookbook Once Upon a Tart. I was very intrigued – not only because of the bottomless supply of lentils in my pantry closet, but because a copy of that same cookbook had been sitting on my shelf, ignored, for years. I’m not sure why, either, because Once Upon a Tart, the bakery that birthed the book, is a lovely little spot, a place where I once shared soup and scones with my mother and father and sister on a chilly late-December afternoon in New York. The book was long overdue for a little attention, and a good, healthy crack of the spine. So, with a nudge from Julie, that’s what I gave it, and in return, it gave me a very, very good soup.

The only thing it lacks, I’m afraid, is looks. I tried to spare you by eating most of it before the photo shoot, but still, it’s not pretty. Lentil soup is not something to make when you want a handsome meal. It’s something to make when you want a satisfying one, along with, say, a cold beer, some crusty bread, and a few Muscat grapes from the icebox. This particular take on the lentil theme is unusually good, one for the keeper pile. For a homely thing, it’s almost delicate – elegant, even, trailing a lacy perfume of spices and coconut milk, a whiff of India and a slip of Thailand. It reminds me in some ways of dal, but better than any I’ve made at home, and with a Southeast Asian bent. And until I can have my coconut pie the way I remember it – which, with some tweaking, damn it, had better be soon – well, it’s a pretty darn good consolation prize.


Also, I know that many of you have seen me and Brandon on the Food Network recently, and before another day goes by, I wanted to thank you for writing to me with your cheers. Pretty crazy, isn’t it? Our video is part of a series of short promotional segments called “The Power of Food,” in which everyday people share stories about the ways that food impacts their lives. In our case, we tell the story of how we met – through this website, of course, but more specifically, because a friend of Brandon’s did an Internet search for a lemon yogurt cake recipe, came upon Orangette, read for a while, and then told him about it, saying, “I’ve found the woman for you.” As it turns out, she was right, and the rest, as they say, is history. Sometimes I can hardly wrap my head around it. Cake is a powerful thing. I’m telling you, never, ever underestimate what it can do.

Our segment airs during commercial breaks, so be on the lookout between ads and you just might see us. A longer version of the video will be online soon is available online, and you can watch it here. (And no jokes about that funny blinking I was doing, okay? I was nervous.)

We hope you like our story as much as we like living it. Thank you for being a part of it.

Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm Spices
Adapted from Once Upon a Tart

If you’ve got some decent vegetable stock lying around, this thick, warming soup comes together in a snap. It’s delicious eaten plain, but I also like it with a squeeze of lime, and Brandon, Mr. Hot Sauce, likes it with sambal oelek. It would also be lovely over some fragrant rice, maybe jasmine or basmati, and with some cilantro sprinkled around. If you’d like to see how Julie, who first told me about this recipe, makes this soup, hop over to her thoughtful write-up here.

Also, about the butter: if you want to use less, I think you could. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll bet it wouldn’t make a wink of difference, flavor-wise, if you added all the spices in the beginning, with the garlic, rather than adding some then and some later. That way, you could nix the clarified butter – a bit of a fussy step, anyway – and scratch three tablespoons of butter from the recipe.

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tsp. turmeric
6 cups vegetable stock, preferably from this recipe
1 ½ cups French green lentils, picked over for stones and other debris
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
A few grinds of black pepper
1 ¼ cups coconut milk
¼ tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, warm 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, thyme, and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the stock and the lentils, bring to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and tender.

In a small saucepan, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter is entirely liquefied, there will be a foamy white layer on top. Skim it away and discard it. What you’ll have left is clarified butter – a clear, yellow liquid – and a bit of white sediment at the bottom of the pan, which are the milk solids. Carefully pour the clarified butter into a small bowl or cup; then rinse the sediment out of the pan. Return the clarified butter to the pan, and place it over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and warm them, stirring, until they are very fragrant, a minute or two.

Pour the clarified butter and spices into the soup. Add the coconut milk, and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste, and adjust the salt as necessary. Serve.

Note: Like many things with complex spicing, this soup improves with time. It’s great on the first day, but it’s even better on the second.

Yield: 4-6 servings


Blogger Aubrey said...

molly, sorry this has nothing to do with your post BUT i just went to boat street cafe and am in LOVE. you recommended it to me a while back for vday but it was booked, so my hubby and i just barely went this past friday and i think i want to LIVE there. and eat every meal there. so, this is just a quick, and very heartfelt, THANK YOU!

10:36 PM, April 02, 2007  
Anonymous MichelleSY said...

Hello Molly, what a sweet (pun intended) way to meet the love of your life. If we all would be so lucky.

I'm sorry to hear that your fresh coconut pie didn't work out the way you wanted. I am inclined to agree with you that the matchstick sized coconut shreds were the culprit. Coming from Malaysia and having been reared on a steady diet of kuih muih http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuih, I have yet to try a version of Malaysian pastry/ cake/ dessert that did not have finely grated coconut within.

But if it's any consolation the lentil soup looks yummy though =)

12:40 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Sophie said...

Shame about the pie Molly. It's upsetting when things don't taste like you remember them, a bit like when you have great local beer on holiday but it tastes rubbish when you find it at home! But, the soup sounds absolutely lush - I'm dying to try it. With those spices and the creaminess it sounds like it has a bit of chai tea vibe.

12:54 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Luisa said...

You're a champ for trying that coconut pie, and deserve a medal, it sounds like, for eating it once it came out of the oven. Oh, I hate kitchen disappointments like that! Especially when there are so many good recipes to try.

4:28 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger tara said...

So sorry to hear about the failure of the coconut cream pie; I must admit, I've been toying with making one myself recently ... but now I'm a bit fearful! They are the stuff of childhood memory, no?

Lentil soups on the other hand, those are the stalwart ally of the comfort-food seeker. Truth be told, I sometimes take my love of spicy comfort even further. I will often take chana masala or other curried vegetables and purée them along with some vegetable or chicken stock. Add a bit of yogurt and I'm set.

Congratulations on the Food Network feature; I look forward to seeing it. And you know you and Brandon already have our congratulations on your happiness.

4:28 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw you on food network and thought it was such a great story that I immediately got up from the TV to see if I could find your website. I fell in love with your site and couldn't stop reading and much to my surprise, I found a fellow Oklahoman. Congratulations on meeting your true love through food! Such a great story. I definitely will be reading your blog a lot as we seem to have the same great taste in food ... I read a past post where you recommened restaurants in Oklahoma City (seems like people from Oklahoma City never call it OKC)and The Mediterranean Deli is not fancy, but they do serve great falafal. I also like Saturn Grill and the other restaurants you mentioned.
Can't wait to read more ...

5:32 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Mary said...

This soup looks great, well it looks like it would taste great. There always seems to be an excess of butter and oil in Indian recipes, so I always just try to cut it down to about 2 Tbs and it always turns out. I'm sorry about the coconut pie.

6:10 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous aimee said...

A friend of mine, who grew up in India, told me how one of his chores as a child was to grate the coconut for the chutney. This is the tool he used, it might work for your pie. Maybe there's an indian grocery near you that sells them?


6:29 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Il Fornaio said...

I feel a bit like a stalker, but... you have made something from this book once before, and it caused me to buy the book! The chickpea tomato soup you made, then I made, was delicious, and since then, this has been one of my favorite cookbooks (try the chocolate chip dried cranberry cookies :)
I haven't tried this soup yet, but I can't wait to, especially as a means to clean out my ten year supply of lentils.

6:49 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger amisha said...

your photos do manage to make the humble daal look lovely!
and i am swooning because i've just gone back and read your earlier entries about meeting brandon. such a beautiful story... and congrats on the food network spot!

7:10 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

Molly, as always a wonderful story and a recipe that sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing your life through your blog.

7:18 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger hannah said...

oh, soggy matchstick pie??? suckety. well, i know you will put that new tenacity to work, but in the meantime, this soup is looking good. real good. another "mind blower" perhaps?

7:56 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Julie said...

Isn't this a fantastic soup!! If I didn't have a blog that compelled me to frequently try new recipes, I would honestly make a batch of this every week or two. I just love it for lunch. I admire your attempt to crack a whole coconut, but I'm glad that is NOT required to make this soup! As far as the pie goes, I am always very sad when a complex recipe is a dud...especially when I'm trying to recapture a food memory. Well, I'm glad my post prompted you to turn to Once Upon a Tart and resulted in a very nice consolation prize. I'm enamored of that cookbook, though I've been eliminating butter from their recipes left and right. I'm a butter lovin' girl, but too much is too much:)

9:18 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger christianne said...

Bummer about the pie -- I can feel your pain. I'm quite famous for botched pie recipes. I can make a great cake, and some delicious cookies, but pie is my nemesis. I'll never forget the Thanksgiving where I attempted a caramel pumpkin pie recipe out of Gourmet and my mother took one bite, spit it into her napkin and then slowly pushed her plate away when she thought I wasn't looking!

9:50 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Julie said...

It always makes my heart sink into my stomach when I spend a huge amount of energy making something and it doesn't turn out to be the something of my dreams. At some point I'm going to take on that pie (it's on Rick Bayless' website, and it sounds pretty delicious), heeding your experience and trying to grate more finely than the food processor will allow for. But it's not going to happen any time soon, since addressing invitations and dickering with caterers is more on my agenda at the moment than grand cooking experiments. But the soup -- aah, the soup. Since we're great lovers of mulligatawny, which has the lentil/spice/coconut thing going on, this sounds just right.

10:24 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Anna said...

Should you need to open a coconut again, here's the best method I've found. When I was a kid, my dad would sometimes bring home a coconut as a treat and I would painstakingly pry the meat out of the shell with a butter knife, but since then I've discovered a much improved (lazy) way to do it:

Use a hammer and nail to punch holes in 2 of the coconut's 3 "eyes," and drain the juice out. Bake the whole coconut in the oven (about 20 minutes at about 350 degrees F); this may make the smoke detector go off, so be warned! Then put the coconut in a plastic bag and smash it with a hammer. The meat shrinks in the oven and comes right off the shell.

10:36 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm so glad to hear it, Aubrey! And I know just what you mean - I want to set up camp in there! Not only for the food, but the decor too. Love it, love it. So happy that you and yours did too.

MichelleSY, I'm glad you agree about the coconut. When I made this with my mom ten years ago, we grated the coconut by hand, on the box grater, and it was just the right size. Brandon and I were seduced by the ease of using the food processor, but it just wasn't the same. Luckily, we bought a second coconut, so as soon as we work up the energy, we'll have at it again...

Sophie, the soup really is delicious. I'm going to have some more leftovers for lunch today, and I can't wait. So good.

Oh Luisa, I know! I was so disappointed. Seriously mopey. Harumph.

Tara, I know it sounds unlikely, coming from me(!), but don't be fearful of making a coconut pie! I think this mess-up was purely technical - we didn't use the right tools, that's all. (Or I hope that's all, anyway!) But messes and disappointments aside, cheers to lentil soup, right? I'm so excited about the leftovers.

Thanks so much, Anonymous! So glad you found your way here. And how funny that we're both Oklahomans - what a small world!

Thanks, Mary! Yeah, there is really a lot of fat in this recipe, and I'm not convinced that it's all necessary. The next time I make it, I plan to do some tweaking...

Thanks for the tip on that coconut tool, Aimee. Sounds very, very promising.

Oh, Il Fornaio, I'm so embarrassed! I can't believe I forgot about that soup - it is a good one, isn't it? When I was writing this post, it completely slipped my mind. Looks as though it's been waaaay too long since I made it. Gah. I'll have to rectify that soon. But in the meantime, I've amended the post above. Yikes!

Thanks so much, Amisha. I can hardly wrap my head around it all...

You're very welcome, Cookie Baker Lynn. Thank you for coming here and reading, and for giving me a reason to write.

Well, I think it's darn near a mind-blower, Hannah, and I think you might agree. But I can't speak for the little Huffsters. How do they feel about Indian spices? And ugly soups?

Julie, I hear you. Can you believe how much butter there is in their scone recipes? 20 tablespoons for 8 or 10 scones? I just can't do that. It might taste delicious, but that's scary stuff. There's just no need.

Christianne, that sounds like such a traumatic Thanksgiving! That's awful! For what it's worth, I think pies are incredibly difficult. They seem so down-home and old-fashioned and simple, but it's so hard to get one right.

Julie, I hear you on all the wedding madness! It never ends, does it? Even though I wouldn't do it any other way, I'm really sort of ready to get this show on the road and over with! Argh. Good luck with those caterers and invitations, my friend. And in the meantime, where on Rick Bayless' website did you see this recipe? I can't find it there. Help!

Those are great suggestions, Anna. It's very similar, actually, to the method that Rick Bayless suggested. He called for the coconut to be drained and then put in a 325-degree oven for 15 minutes to loosen the flesh from the shell. Still, though, ours was a bear! We had no trouble cracking it open, but to get at the meat, we had to get out a sturdy knife and pry. Exhausting. Next time, we'll try your plastic bag idea.

11:39 AM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Max said...

Molly, Sorry to hear about the pie... very disappointing, but I'm sure you'll give it another try.

I just watched your Food Network video and it was adorable!! I've only begun reading your blog in the last few months and the story of you and Brandon is fantastic! Perfect story for a hopeless romantic like myself. Congratulations on all the success with the blog and with love! :)

11:44 AM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Kirsten said...

Molly - I have had the same experience with Tom Douglas's coconut cream pie. I could not replicate the joy at home - UNTIL Cook's Illustrated article on putting the coconut back in coconut cream pie.


Maybe you will become a convert, too.

Will try the soup - a new way for lentils is always welcome!

12:00 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just watched the video. Awww... you too are so darn cute! And don't worry about that blinking thing, I only noticed it because you brought it up! Love the way you two met, obviously you are both incredibly passionate about food and it shows.

12:24 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Meryl said...

What a cute name for a cookbook! I'll have to look for it next time I'm out... this soup sounds delicious!

12:32 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous courtney said...

Thank you for posting the link to your food network spot,and consequently Shauna's (gluetin free girl) spot. It is really nice to get hear your voices, as I read so much of both of your writing.

12:51 PM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Il Fornaio said...

Thank you for linking to the video-- it was so lovely! And like Courtney said in a previous comment, so nice to see and hear a favorite food blogger.

2:29 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey molly-hated the coconut "flop" pie try. would you consider using bought shredded coconut ?
i believe baker's has good moist coconut(blue label).
one more lentil soup to enjoy!

6:58 PM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Melindy said...

Molly- I watched the clip of you and your guy on the food network. I don't have TV so I had never seen or heard of its existence and I have to say--It was a trip to see the two of you!

I noticed no funny blinking- and Brandon- he's not what I expected somehow- but he's a cutie! Not that I mean I thought he wasn't a cutie, but anyway...okay, I'll take my foot out of my mouth...

We opened a young coconut the other night out of curiousity and Rob drank the apparently electrolyte-rich 'water' inside and ate the gummy lining. The Coconut seems to be a challenging one...
Ah...but lest we forget its glories...

7:38 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous caroline said...

Oh molly, such an experience would make me cry. I get so upset when recipes I have dreamed of don't turn out. But, you made the most of it with this delicious looking lentil yum yum. I love all things coconut which probably means lentil recipes too!

9:17 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the video. You and Brandon and the cake all look fabulous! -Aylin

9:42 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That video was excellent. You seemed chic and elegant! I bet you'll end up with an amazing coconut pie, too.

5:00 AM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous mittie said...

I make a sweet noodle pudding from a verbal recipe my Grandmother gave me and it turned out awful. Grandma's noodle puddings were the best. Sometimes it's the hand that bakes the pudding. Sorry about the coconut pie and my noodle pudding.
I still make one of the best feta pies on earth. Happy Holidays.

8:00 AM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is one hell of a consolation prize! Reading through your archives made me realize that food could be healthy and tasty as well. It really opened my eyes, and so I love it when you post your day-to-day stuff that shows how you eat. It's very eye-opening for me and I've made tons of your stuff. Special recipes, while delcious, are a dime a dozen. But daily inspiration is priceless.

12:29 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Helios said...

What a touching story. I've read your blog for over a year and a half now, so it wasn't new to me. But it's always nice to see the faces and hear the voices that accompany it. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, and thank you for being one of the blogs that inspired me to create my own. :)

2:18 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Megan said...

adorable. the food network segment is just adorable.

4:40 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous stef said...

I don't know what kind of coconut pie you're looking for, but just in case this might help you, have you ever tried Filipino buco pie? It's made with young coconut and is heavenly. Of course you'll have to travel to the Philippines to eat "the real thing", but buco (young coconut) is available frozen here in the US, and makes a lovely pie -- the texture will be different (buco pie in the Phils. is usually made with large pieces, almost sheets of the young coconut meat, here you can only get it shredded, or at least where I am), but I think if you're looking for a coconut pie to love, it's definitely a must-try.

oh, and loved the video btw. i don't comment here much but i've always admired your writing and was touched by your and B's story.

9:52 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Jen said...

This recipe looks yummy - can't wait to try it. I bought the ingredients this afternoon but then ran out of time. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, and I think this dish would be the perfect antidote. I discovered your blog a while ago and have since become a devoted reader. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your life as well as your love for food. I also watched the video and yours is about the sweetest story I have heard in a long time.

I am in awe of your patience for trying recipes until you get them right, but I have to admit to reaping the rewards of your persistence. The chocolate chip ginger molasses cookies you wrote about recently were perfection. Thank you so much!

10:41 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Michelle, Maltese Bacon said...

That lentil soup looks lovely, brown bits and all. If you are ever in the Soho area again you should try the lentil soup at Hoomoos Asli.

6:42 AM, April 05, 2007  
Anonymous Julie said...

Hey Molly -- here's the Rick Bayless link for Yucatecan-style Fresh Coconut Pie: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=42

I guess I'm assuming that it's your recipe, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I honestly didn't think when I was congratulating you and Brandon in June at the Boathouse Cafe that well before a year was out, I'd be making my own wedding happen...just a few days now, really...

7:36 AM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Aww, thanks, Max!

Thanks, Kirsten, for the tip on Cook's Illustrated! The link seems to require me to be a subscriber or something, but I'll find a way to get my hands on that recipe, rest assured. Grrr.

Glad you liked it, Anonymous!

I know, Meryl - isn't it a cute name? The bakery itself is just as cute - with a sweet little awning, as I recall, and lovely windows out front...

My pleasure, Courtney! Glad you enjoyed the videos.

And thank you, Il Fornaio! Glad you liked it.

Anonymous, I know what you mean - Baker's shredded coconut is really exceptional. So moist! It's heavily sweetened, though, and has a very different flavor from fresh coconut, which is more mild and nutty. With a little tweaking, I'm sure it could work, but Rick Bayless might not approve...

Ah yes, Melindy, I hear you. There's nothing better than a good coconut macaroon. Nothing. But what's this about Brandon? HMMM?

Caroline, the flavor of coconut milk really is delicious in this soup. Brandon finished the last of the leftovers yesterday, and I'm so sad that it's all gone...

Thanks, dear Aylin! xo

Aww, thanks, Anonymous!

Mittie, a feta pie sounds right up my alley. I LOVE feta. Might you be willing to share your recipe?

Thanks so much, Anonymous. Your comment made my day. Sometimes I wonder if the food I post here is too simple, or not "fancy" enough, but it's the way we eat, and I want to share it. I'm so glad that it's inspired you. Knowing that inspires me.

Thank you, Helios! I just hopped over to your blog, and it's lovely. So many great-looking baked goods! I'm honored to know that Orangette helped to inspire it.

Thanks, Megan!

Thanks for the great suggestion, stef. I'd never heard of Filipino buco pie, and it sounds fantastic. Seattle has lots of international markets, so I'll bet I could find some buco without too much trouble...

Well, thank you, Jen! And as for the soup, it's perfect rainy-day fare. I'll make your kitchen smell fantastic - cozy and warm and spicy. It's not cookies, of course, which, in my opinion, are the ultimate rainy-day food, but it's pretty close.

Michelle, I keep a running list of places to go the next time we're in NYC, and Hoomoos Asli has officially been added. Thanks!

Yep, Julie, that's the recipe! I don't know why I couldn't find it on Rick Bayless' site earlier. Harumph! Thanks for sending it over. And good lord, my friend, your wedding is already days away?! I had no idea it was all happening so fast! I can't wait to hear more. Hugs and congrats to you and G.

10:49 AM, April 05, 2007  
Anonymous Sophie Spence said...

CI's Coconut Cream Pie recipe is also online here:

11:54 AM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger shari said...

oh! bloglines doesn't seem to be working and i'm several days late to this lentil soup party. loved the video of you and brandon so much! lentil soup with coconut milk sounds amazing. so sorry the pie didn't live up to your expectations. i have a feeling though that you might be able to craft a coconut pie a la molly and brandon that is even better! xoxo

2:27 PM, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Aileen said...

Hi Molly - Thank you for a very delicious recipe. I don't own this cookbook, but I have very fond memories of lunches at the cafe a few worlds ago. In any event, I just wanted to say that your Consolation Prize was the perfect thing for this Alaskan spring evening of mud, cold winds and exhillerating sunshine. Delicious - comforting and novel to the senses, which is perfect for Spring. This recipe - like so many of your ones - is sure to become one of my standards. I also wanted to say that your interview sounds wonderful. I can't quite persuade my rural Alaskan dial-up to let me watch it. Goodness knows we have feisty satellites! But it sounds adorable, and your story of finding each other is incredible. So thank you, congratulations and best wishes for all your adventures to come - cookbooks, weddings and stories about food!

9:44 PM, April 05, 2007  
Anonymous Sam. That Sam. said...

Dear Molly,
It can be said with neither exaggeration or hyperbolicity that you are one of the two best friendcooks I have in my worlds. I've appreciated every minute of it.

1:57 AM, April 06, 2007  
Anonymous Taryn Roeder said...

I'm a publicist at Houghton Mifflin - I'd love to send you this completely food-obsessed novel called THE LAST CHINESE CHEF that comes out next month. Do you have an address where I can send it?
I've looked everywhere on your site to try to find an e-mail for you. But I have been unsuccessful.
Let me know how to proceed.
Thanks, Taryn

1:20 PM, April 06, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Thanks, Sophie. I just hopped over and took a look, and I love that the crust calls for animal crackers! I haven't bought those things in twenty years. I'm long overdue, for sure.

Shari, I know you and T are soup people, and I'll bet you'd love this one. xoxo

Thank you, Aileen, for such sweet words! I'm so glad this soup fit the bill for a spring evening in Alaska.

Sam, you are too kind. We are honored to still be in your good graces, sir, given that we've a) drunk a bottle of expensive wine that was supposed to be yours, and b) made you dance to Prince. Too kind.

Taryn, I'm sorry to make you search so hard! My e-mail address is cheeseandchocolate (at) gmail (dot) com. It used to be in my profile in the sidebar above, but the settings must have changed when I did some work on the site recently. I didn't notice until I got your comment, so thank you. I've just rectified the matter...

2:20 PM, April 06, 2007  
Anonymous Corie said...

Oh Molly! I watched the Food Network clip and I was moved to tears. I've been following you for over a year, and haven't decided yet if I enjoy your recipes or the stories about Brandon, and now, I'm more confused than ever. But I do know that I will be forever your follower, hopefully, a book owner of your recipes soon, I can't wait!

4:18 PM, April 06, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

That's so sweet, Corie! Thank you.

6:05 PM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger Sam said...

Things have changed so much. It seems like only yesterday when I first started reading you but it must be well over 2 years. COngrats on the video - it couldn't be more charming!

11:45 PM, April 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, I made that soup this weekend and it was absolutely the best lentil soup I have ever tasted!!! Thank you thank you. Note: I diced half a red pepper very small and threw them in from the very beginning - upshot being that they didn't actually impart a tremendous amount of flavor, but they somewhat did address the it-looks-like-glop lentil soup issue....

7:08 AM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger melanie said...

what a FUNNY & WARM video you've created - i actually just squirted a tear out (here at my desk). it's lovely, this thing about lemon cake.

congratulations to you on all your successes (and obviously, future successes too). you are quite an inspiration molly!

12:47 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger katie said...


i'm sorry about your week o' kitchen tragedy. some weeks are just like that. (if it's any consolation, i killed--but killed!--a batch of roasted vegetables last week. roasted vegetables! i mean, really. having a fight with the man in one's life--while cooking nonetheless--apparently can ruin even the easiest of things. alas. at least i had an apple pie to tide me over. THAT, i did not--and, oh sad day! will not--kill. but i digress.)

the point here is that i made your lentil soup on sunday, and it was wonderful. i'm a girl who likes her lentils (over the years, i've begun what is now mounting into a rather irrationally large collection of lentil soup recipes, techniques, and...guidelines), and i've just fallen in love with this. it being a bit frigid suddenly, i added in about a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin and just a pinch of good ground red pepper for additional warmth and ate it with a (non-ruined) batch of roasted veggies. it was positively lovely. the bf and i took leftovers for our lunches today, and i'm already eyeing the last serving or two anxiously. it's entirely possible that it will be made again, next weekend. (i have no shame.)

what i'm saying here, molly, is thank you. it was so tasty! and even more comforting! and even if nothing else lately has turned out how you wanted, this was a triumph of yumminess.


7:22 PM, April 09, 2007  
Blogger Nandita said...

Saw that soul stirring video online on Foodtv.com
A perfect story that brought two people-destined-to-be-together, face to face. Wishing you and Brandon the best of everything in your life together...
Best wishes for your wedding!

4:05 AM, April 10, 2007  
Blogger Ms Molly said...

Hi, another Molly here. I took this recipe as an inspiration and made an approximation of it in the crockpot the other day, and it's delicious. I pretty much just tossed everything in together and let it cook, cause I'm lazy like that. :) Next time I'll probably brown the onions before I put them in. You're definitely right about this getting tastier on subsequent days! Thanks!

11:08 AM, April 13, 2007  
Blogger Peggy said...

Molly, I've been reading you for a year or so, but have never commented before. This soup, however, required me to write! MMMMMM! I agree with Brandon, a bit of Sambal Oelek kicked it up a delightful notch! We served it over brown basmati rice and I even copied the grape and crusty bread idea. My 80 year old uncle had 3 helpings! Thanks for the window into your life and kitchen!

8:00 PM, April 25, 2007  
Blogger Lillbet said...

Hey Molly,

I watched the FN segment. Your story is wonderful! I've read your blog from time to time (can't do it too often or it makes me feel like a slacker) and enjoy it very much. About the video- I didn't notice your blinking, until the video stopped- every 5 seconds- and each time it stopped you had your eyes closed. :) Congratulations and enjoy your mom/daughter trip! Having had my share of kitchen disasters I can say this- we all have your down days regardless of what shape the moon is!

5:58 AM, April 26, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Hello all, and thank you for your sweet comments! My trip has thrown me woefully behind in responding to comments, but know that I'm reading and loving and appreciating all you've said here. You guys are great.

6:52 PM, April 29, 2007  
Blogger Amy said...

I'm probably not the first to post this comment, but I was a bit too lazy to read through all of them (a true testament to the success of this blog!). I recently made the soup w/o the "fussy" clarification of butter step and you were right, it didn't seem to make any difference.

9:48 PM, May 24, 2007  
Blogger beach_bum said...

THANK YOU for posting the lentil soup recipe...it is simply fantastic. "Fantastic!!" I mean. :D

9:33 PM, September 01, 2007  
Anonymous Marjolein said...

Since a year, since my boyfriend and I moved in together I have become addicted to cooking, our most enjoyable moments are at our dinner table with our kids (who, to my deep regret do not (yet) appreciate my cooking. We talk, laugh, and enjoy each other. In my searches to once again surprise my dearest, I came across your site, and have visited often ever since. I loved seeing your story. Your site is truly wonderful, there is such a sense of warmth and it enspires me to keep cooking and try new things... such as lentils...!

11:40 AM, September 03, 2007  
Anonymous Alison said...

We had this soup for dinner tonight, and it was delicious! I discovered your blog this evening while searching for a green lentil soup recipe. What a delightful surprise! I loved reading the story of how you met your husband and about your background and current successes in publishing. I also look forward to trying out your Seattle recommendations when I'm in the area next summer. I'll be back soon to read more of your blog.

6:42 PM, December 21, 2009  
Blogger Julie said...

Is there anywhere current to see the food network spot? I'm new to the blog and the book and would love to see the video but the link doesn't seem to work anymore. Suggestions??

8:35 PM, August 05, 2010  
Anonymous Amanda said...

My boyfriend and I fell ill on the same afternoon. After work, wondering up the huge hill that took me twice as long to climb today, I pursued a tasty soup recipe from my favorite food blog. And again, you did not let me down.

I added some leftover roasted chicken and substituted chicken stock, and it was absolutely amazing.

My boyfriend looked up from his empty bowl and said, "this soup is better than I deserve, I've been so lazy."

Funny, this soup is so easy, that's just how I felt!

8:50 PM, January 09, 2011  
Blogger Kathy said...

Just made this, and it's delicious and somehow meaty. I followed the idea you floated, Molly, about halving the butter and adding the spices to the softening onions and garlic. Best lentil soup I've had in a long time!

8:00 PM, January 29, 2011  
Blogger Bev said...

You can never have too many lentil recipes and this one is a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

11:39 PM, March 19, 2011  
Blogger Faith said...

This has become a family favorite! My husband and I ADORE this soup. I'm making it tonight, yet again. Thank you!! Also, here's a link to a recipe passed down to me by my aunt. It's coconut custard pie. Not sure if it's exactly what you had in mind, but we love it (and it's super easy to make, too). :-)

11:44 AM, October 31, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just made this soup for the first time this winter, and had to force myself to leave the kitchen, or I would have eaten the whole pot before my guests arrived. And the house smells dee-vine! So easy!

12:17 PM, January 07, 2013  

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