Homemade Cold Brew Concentrate


2/3 cup fresh, ground coffee

2 cups cold water


Add the coffee to a large large measuring cup or jar. Pour in the water. Stir until all the grounds are moistened.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger it will taste.

Remove from the fridge and stir.

Place a filter in a pour over cone (I use a pour over cone I bought from a local potter (here is her etsy shop) and line it with unbleached #2 sized paper cones–they are compostable!)

Place the cone over a quart jar.

Pour the coffee/water mixture into the pour-over cone.

Wait for all of the liquid to pass through and repeat as needed. This normally takes under 10 minutes start to finish.

Cover the jar (I use the black Ball Jar brand leak proof lids) and refrigerate for up to a week.

Discard (compost!) the coffee and liner.

When ready to serve, pour into a cup and dilute with cold water or dairy/non dairy beverage of your choice. Personally, I like stirring in a bit of sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese iced coffee style.

Yield: about 5 cups of cold brew coffee, with ice.


Stove Top Pork Chops with Zucchini and Sambal Oelek


4 boneless, thick cut pork chops

1 small onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced 2 small zucchini, sliced into coins

2 tablespoons sambal oelek (can use sriracha or other spicy sauce)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon hot sesame oil (can eliminated or use regular sesame oil)

Sauté the onions, garlic and zucchini, in a large skillet, until the onion is soft. Push the zucchini over to the side of the skillet and add the pork chops. Cook 5 minutes on each side. If needed, cover and cook until nearly fully cooked. Then continue to cook until the liquid is reduced and the pork is fully cooked (145°).

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 3 Recap: Chicken and Corned Beef, Cabbage & Potato Cakes (3/15/20)

I’ve decided to make our “big” meals at lunchtime vs dinner time since we are home. I’m much fresher during the day and I’d rather just chill and make something easy for dinner than start cooking some main dish at 6 pm. I don’t often eat breakfast so having a larger meal earlier in the day really works for me. Maybe I won’t do this every day but for days when I’m starting from scratch or it’s more involved I think I will.

Today I made bone in chicken thighs (expiration date 3/16/20) over a bed of sliced zucchini I bought 2 weeks ago (!) that was on the verge of spoiling. I love cooking thighs this way because the vegetables keep the chicken super moist and the onions flavor it a bit. The trick is to brown the skin first so it gets crispy. I used berbere seasoning but any spice mix really works. I served it with a white rice and wild rice pilaf Matt made from a box. I can never successfully make boxed foods (even Jell-0!) so I left that up to him. Here is the recipe for the chicken.

We are only two people so we had a lot leftover (as planned). Matt picked the leftover chicken off the bones and cut up the remaining zucchini. He also made rice so we can make fried rice with the leftovers and the end of the coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrot) from the cloak and dagger sandwiches and corned beef/cabbage/potato mix we made for the pierogi and tonight’s potato cakes.

For dinner we took the leftover corned beef/cabbage/potato mix from yesterday’s pierogi added an egg, salt, pepper, paprika and a bit of baking powder and made potato cakes. We served them with steamed asparagus (leftover from a meal last week) and fried eggs.

Non-food related activities:

I finished reading The Tenant by Katrine Engberg. It was only okay. I read Robin Ha’s graphic memoir, Almost American Girl which was excellent. Matt practiced “Mad World”, “Satellite of Love” and “Teenage Dirtbag” the ukulele. I started listening to the Family Ghosts podcast while making the chicken. We are watching The Mandalorian after signing up for a Hulu/Disney + deal. I’m not sure if we will keep it but for $6 it seemed worth it while we are home with not much to do. Finally saw baby Yoda in action. Matt set up our “craft room” to become his home office since my computer is downstairs near the kitchen. We upgraded our internet service (we still had DSL, faster service is a fairly recent development in my neighborhood–yes, I live in a major city) last week. I’m excited because in the past when he’s worked from home I basically just sat and read because because the internet was too slow for both of us to use it at the same time and we were two feet from each other. It was fine for a day here or there but not sustainable for weeks on end. Now he can be upstairs working and I can work on the computer or stream my Rachel-only shows on the first floor.


Recipe: Berbere Chicken over Zucchini and Red Onions


6 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb)
1 1/2 tablespoon berbere spice mix (can sub in any spice mix)
1 large red onion, sliced
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375. Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet (no need to add oil).

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with spices. Place it fat side down on the hot skillet.

Cook about 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp, lightly browned and much of the fat has rendered into the pan. DO NOT FLIP THE CHICKEN!

Meanwhile, arrange the zucchini and onions in single layer in the baking pan. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

Top with the chicken, skin-side up.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

what we ate

Day 2 Recap: Pierogi and Tuna Melts (3/14/20)

I had two hard-boiled eggs I made earlier in the week for breakfast. Matt made himself a scrambled egg.

We made pierogi using this recipe for the dough and the potato-cabbage-corned beef mixture I made last night with leftovers from dinner as the filling. I’m planning to post the full recipe on Coconut & Lime next year as part of my corned beef and cabbage leftovers series I’ve been doing around St Patrick’s Day since 2008. It’s a little too close to St Patrick’s Day to post this year and I’ve already posted knishes and cottage pie. It made 32 pierogi so we parboiled and froze about half for a future meal.

Since we made a more elaborate lunch, we had tuna melts made with one can albacore tuna, lemon pepper, mayo, dill relish, celery, red onion with cheddar cheese on rye swirl bread leftover from our cloak and daggers last night for dinner. Normally we don’t eat so many sandwiches but I want to use the bread up before it gets stale. I had cucumber spears and celery sticks with dill pickle hummus to make it more of a meal and to help use up the cucumbers I bought last week before they go bad.

Non-food related activities:

We watched Harry and Tonto (we still get Netflix DVDs) which neither of us had seen before and was very cute. Matt cleaned the bathroom. We took a nap after the pierogi making. I read some of The Tenant by Katrine Engberg.

what we ate

Day 1 Recap: Cloak & Dagger Sandwiches (3/13/20)

My husband Matt got sent home early today because someone wasn’t feeling well. He was supposed to start working from home on Monday anyway. We decided to start the self isolation tonight. Neither of us is sick right now but I want to keep it that way and keep us from possibly infecting others.

Today I cooked the corned beef (expiration date 3/16/20) in the slow cooker all day. We had cloak and dagger sandwiches (a Baltimore classic!) with Russian dressing coleslaw and a side of colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage). I planned leftovers of both. I mixed together the leftover corned beef into the colcannon to use as pierogi filling for tomorrow.

Non-food related activities:

We watched Riverdale and Columbo. We taught ourselves cribbage using the Cribbage with Grandpa app.



I’ve had a recipe blog, Coconut & Lime, since 2004 and have written several cookbooks. Although I’ve always been fairly frugal and delight in using up leftovers in new ways I’ve always been able to go to the store whenever I wanted and get whatever I want.

I’ve been oddly fascinated by pandemics since childhood (my grandpop was 4 when the flu of 1918 sickened his father and shut down Baltimore) so I’ve been following the news of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for quite a bit now. Once it started to spread, I knew the US wouldn’t be far behind in cases. For the last month or so I’ve been buying extra food and making sure we had medications (for us and our two dogs), and other necessities like toilet paper, soda, and pickles in the house.

The last two weeks I did extra big shops at Aldi, where I do most of my every day shopping (you can see what I bought here and here) and filled in a little with items from Safeway and Costco. When I got home from Costco Thursday I made a list of all of the fresh meat I had and their expiration dates, what I put in our small upright basement freezer (not much, it was empty except for 3 lbs of cranberries) and plugged in our dorm sized fridge we use for drinks in the summertime leftover from my husband’s old job to hold the overflow produce. We have a newer fridge but it is an old fashioned top freezer no ice maker, small cubic feet model so it doesn’t hold as much as some of the more “modern” fridges most Americans seem to have.

Follow along here to see what we eat once we started self-isolating on the afternoon of 3/13/20.