Archives for category: Coconut

Another honeymoon delight and re-creation of an Urban Solace dish. I think it was a pretty successful attempt, though the custard to chocolate ratio was off a bit (there should have been more custard). This version of the pot de creme is dairy-free but it is certainly not sugar-free. Which makes this recipe a once or twice a year venture for us.

Grocery shopping tips:

Make sure to buy some good quality chocolate for the ganache cap. I really like Valrhona 85% and Endgangered Species 88%.. If you want chocolate without soy lecithin then check out Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. For coconut milk, look for the Native Forest brand of coconut milk. The cans are BPA free… hard to find these days. For more information about the harms of overconsuming canned coconut milk, check out Chris Kresser’s little article about my favorite food: COCONUT!

I mean I really, REALLY love it

Recently I’ve been a bit startled at the sheer amount of coconut products that I consume. I mean really? How many kinds of coconut can one paleo adherent eat? Try coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat (mature and young), coconut sugar, shredded coconut, flaked coconut, coconut oil…. AHHH! I decided enough was enough and that too much of a good thing (that thing being COCONUT) is not good at all. So, in an effort to steer away from my obsession I am abstaining from coconut for this week. It’s the final week of my Whole 30 program and I thought it only appropriate to use this week as an excuse to really clear away the excess items from the diet.

When I began paleo, my only real coconut exposure was in the form of coconut oil (for cooking) and coconut water (for drinking). Since then, my knowledge of all things paleo has expanded and I’ve become more familiar with alternative ingredients for baking and cooking. Knowledge is good if you use it wisely. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of it. In the beginning, it was easy to be simple because I was also ignorant to all the possibilities of nut flours and coconut sugars and date pastes. One of the most attractive things about “ancestral living” is the simplicity of the OG plan…

Live Simply

It’s easy to get excited about new knowledge and employ new food strategies to cope with the loss of familiar SAD diet favorites like pancakes, cookies, pies, and dairy-based items like Pot de Creme. I strive to be  a healthy, balanced person but I also want to be a creative and innovative chef. There’s a time and place for the substitutes but there’s a great deal of value in the simplicity of the Paleo Diet. That being said, here I am, sans coconut, trying to strike a balance and reign in my addiction.

Here’s the innovative “yin” to my simplistic “yang”:

Chilled to Perfection

Salted Caramel Pot de Creme with a Chocolate Cap

Caramel Custard
3/4 cup coconut sugar, divided (1/2 cup for the caramel, 1/4 cup for the custard)
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
5 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Warm 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Moisten the sugar with just a few drops of water.
  2. Stirring constantly, cook sugar until it caramelizes. The sugar will liquefy, bubble and eventually thicken. Once the caramel turns a rich tan color, remove from the heat and add the cream and whole milk, constantly stirring to combine. It’ll get crazy bubbly… just keep stirring.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until smooth. At first, the caramel will have some lumps, but don’t worry, these will eventually smooth out. Once it is smooth, turn off the heat let it cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 300.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla until thick. Slowly, whisk in the cooled caramel until fully combined. Let the mixture sit for a minute then skim off any foam that has developed on the surface.
  6. Fill ramekins with the custard and place in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the ramekins. Cover with aluminum foil and poke some holes in the foil.
  7. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 30—35 minutes. They are finished once they are wobbly in the center but completely firm to the touch. Let sit 10 minutes covered. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 – 2 hours before adding the chocolate cap.

Chocolate Cap
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. ground coffee
1/2 c. chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch sea salt

  1. In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk with coffee to a near boil.
  2. Pour through a sieve over chocolate and stir until smooth.
  3. Add some vanilla and sea salt.
  4. Pour ganache into cooled ramekins over the custard. Make the chocolate cap about 1/4 as thick as the custard.
  5. Chill until ganache has hardened and garnish with sea salt flakes.
Advertisements

A delicious treat! Nuts optional.

This is an amazing recipe for those who want a “sweet” treat without completely derailing their sugar detox/cleanse/general avoidance. The combination of sweet potato or yam, spices, and coconut creates a really savory and finger-licking taste. No guilt involved, I promise. Even more, when you freeze these puppies, it’s almost like a little open faced ice cream sandwich! Say WHAAAT!? yup. Muy delicioso. So have fun with it… play with the spices, and while you’re at it, play with the filling too! It could be garnet yam, sweet potato, kabocha squash, okinowan sweet potato, butternut squash, etc.

In addition to being awesome, these are also NUT-free, SOY-free, GLUTEN-free, DAIRY-free, EGG-free, and SUGAR-free.

Coconut-Crusted Yam Tart

Crust
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 1/2 c. unsweetened dried coconut

Filling
2 c. yams, mashed
1 c. coconut milk (full fat)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oil and coconut until thoroughly crushed into the consistancy of sand.
  3. Press crust mixture into a tart pan or muffin cups.

    Golden is good.

  4. Bake for 15-20 mins. Check it near the end to make sure it’s not burning.
  5. Make the filling by mixing flaxseed and coconut milk together in the food processor. Don’t process, just let them sit for 5 mins or so.
  6. Add remaining ingredients and process…. and process… and more processing. The longer it goes the better the texture.
  7. Once the crust is done, pour the filling over the crust and chill (or FREEZE!) until firm.
  8. I topped one batch with some sliced almonds, making it not NUT-free. Toppings are optional, feel free to express yourself.
  9. EAT… NOM NOM NOM NOM.

ALTERNATIVE FILLING ALERT! (AFA for short)

Here's what they look like: White on the outside, purple on the inside.

2 c. hawaiian purple potatoes (aka okinowan sweet potato)
1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. cardamom
1 1/2 tsp. lime zest
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

  1. Same directions as above. Expect pretty purple tarts.
  2. Add some zest and shredded coconut for garnish.

    Purpley!!

Perfect day for a brunch!

Another recipe from our honeymoon feast! The star of this dish is definitely the crust. It has a “lara bar” like texture and taste. Many agreed that the crust could stand alone as a dessert however, the addition of the fruit gives it a fresh and bright taste. It’s easy, gluten and dairy free, and delicious. A perfect addition to a weekend brunch with friends.

Raw Pear and Blackberry Tart

2 D’anjou or bartlett pears(firm), sliced

1 pkg. blackberries, washed thoroughly

1  1/2 c. sliced almonds (or any combo of nuts you like)

1/2 c. shredded coconut

5-6 dates

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

  1. In a food processor, blend nuts, coconut dates and spices until sticky. Add a date if it’s too dry and crumbly.
  2. Press nut crust mix in small tart pan or pie plate.
  3. Layer pear over the crust.
  4. Top with blackberries.
  5. Cut and serve.

    Satisfy the Sweet tooth

Caramel Sauce (optional)

1/2 c. honey or maple syrup

1/2 c. coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla

  1. In a saucepan, heat sugar on medium-high, stirring constantly until it gets close to a boil.
  2. Immediately add coconut milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Allow to cool.
  3. Serve over tart.

Just a quick little post involving my favorite ingredient : COCONUT!

I love macaroons and never feel (too) guilty for eating them. I dipped these in chocolate to make them super awesome.

Om Nom NOM says the Coconut Monster.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

6 egg whites
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. honey
3 c. fine shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate egg whites from the yolks, store away yolks in the fridge for later use. (see my upcoming post about pot de creme!)
  3. In a steel mixing bowl, whip egg whites and salt with a hand blender or whisk (quickly) until smooth and soft peaks form.
  4. Add honey and vanilla. Whip some more until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in coconut.
  6. Drop about 2 tablespoons of the batter onto the sheet, pinching the mounds at the top.
  7. Bake for about 15 mins until they turn a golden brown on the top.
  8. While baking, melt chocolate in a double boiler and stir until smooth.
  9. Once macaroons are cool, dip into chocolate halfway and let cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

The individual quest for knowledge should never be discounted, especially when it comes to health. I know that many people become disgruntled and borderline hypochondriac trying to diagnose themselves using WebMD, “health” magazine questionnaires, and the ever popular self-help section of the bookstore, however, an intelligent pursuit of scientific as well as anecdotal answers to biological concerns is a noble one.

Right now, as I finish up my culinary studies, I am well-aware that my learning and growing does not stop once I drive away from Santa Cruz. In fact, I have a lengthy list of books and topics to read and research once I have a bit more time on my hands!

As of right now, the best I can do is Robb Wolf’s The Paleo Solution. It’s a really great reminder of why I do what I do, why I cook what I cook, and why I preach it to everyone else. Reading the evidence, the scientific backing for Paleo creates a mindfulness that is shrouded when the world closes in with it’s questions, criticisms, and denials. I like to keep myself constantly in the intellectual circle of food and it’s effects on the body because without the reassurance that comes from other people’s stories and countless medical studies, I begin to lose sight of the greater importance of teaching others about their food choices. My personal experience definitely has helped me, but is that enough to change someone else’s mind. Well, the unfortunate truth is a resounding “no”. People need to be convinced. Believing is seeing, and seeing from all angles in all different lights.

Here’s my Paleo Sunday

Coffee with freshly made Cashew Coconut Cream (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Raw Honey and Eggs

Curry Flax Crackers with Smoked Oysters and Avocado

Sautéed Italian Chicken Sausage and Kale with Garlic

Apple, Dark Chocolate, and Salted Marcona Almonds

Cashew Coconut Cream

2 c. soaked cashews
4 c. coconut water
2 dates, soaked
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
 
1. Blend cashews and coconut water, strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Discard or save solids (use in paleo pancakes or crusts.)
 
2. Put cashew milk back in blender with other ingredients and blend until frothy!

coconut milk in coffee

 

Here we go again! Sorry, no pics from today… but hopefully I’ll get some good ones tomorrow.

8:30 am – green tea

10:30 am – 1/4 papaya, 1/4 c. coconut flakes, and 1 Tbsp. pecan pieces

12 pm – Crossfit! ( I was forced to take a bite of a horrendous macaroon upon arrival… pshhh.)

2 pm – snacked on some walnuts while making a basil-artichoke pesto

2:30 pm – The always delicious skillet. Cabbage, 1/2 beet, 2 mushrooms, 1/2 onion, broccoli slaw, 2 eggs.

3:30 pm – unsweetened chocolate (or as the BF calls them = dirt. I call them delicious)

6 pm – sweet potato chips and blood orange

7:30 pm – 1 can tuna, 1/2 jar TJ’s salsa verde, 1 avocado, 1 cucumber, hot sauce and chili pepper flakes

9 pm – pink lady apple and a handful of almonds

Still a few too many nuts throughout the day but overall I feel pretty good about today’s eats. Papaya in the morning is my new favorite thing. It helps start my day with some good natural enzyme power!

Papaya with Coconut Flakes (this pic was taken in Hawaii!)

Papaya –  a wonderful source of carotenes, anti-oxidants present in orange colored fruits and vegetables. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties such as papain and chymopapai, digestive enzymes which help break down proteins in the digestive process. Papayas also provide immune supporting vitamins such as Vitamin A and C.

Had an early Crossfit workout today, but before I head to work I must refuel!

This means Paleo Breakfast time… My personal favorite.

Here’s what’s on my plate today

Fried Eggs and Papaya and Avocado Salad

3 organic jumbo eggs
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. jalapeno hot sauce (trader joes)
1/2 organic Papaya
1/2 organic avocado
3 Tbsp. coconut flakes
Juice of 1/2 small lime

1. In a skillet, heat coconut oil and fry eggs on both sides, drizzle hot sauce on top.

2. Cut up papaya and avocado into chunks and mix with lime and coconut flakes.

Saturday's Paleo Breakfast

Other items on the menu for today:
Turkey Jerky
My favorite trail mix: coconut flakes, goji berries, cashew pieces, and cacao nibs
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie (recipe forthcoming)

Have a great weekend everyone!

I’ve got truffle’s on my mind. Not only are truffles delicious, but I’ve recently discovered that they are also ridiculously easy to make. Check this: equal parts cream and chocolate… heat and mix, cool and roll. It’s just so simple.

Last weekend, an instructor at Bauman College held a truffle making class and I reluctantly attended. Right, reluctant about chocolate? Me? No, never. So I learned the fine art of making gananche and the candy chocolate coating of heaven that decadently enrobes these fine pieces of happiness. Needless to say, all us women were in a full on chocolate coma by the end of the 5 hour long instruction. Fortunately for us “lac-tarded” people (and dairy-free by choice), I made my truffles with full fat, organic coconut milk and 70% Scharffen Berger dark chocolate.
Since that weekend, it has dawned on me that most people appreciate a good truffle. This is my reasoning for engaging in chocolate madness yet again, this time in the spirit of Christmas giving. Yesterday I embarked on a truffle expedition and succeeded in creating varieties such as coffee, peanut butter, and peppermint. Rest assured, I will be sharing the wealth. 

I love chocolate, but my tolerance levels for all things sugar is drastically lower than most folks due to the Paleo lifestyle which I follow (well, on non-truffle making days of course). So what do you do when you have truffles on the brain but you prefer to have a truffle-free digestive system? Well, glad you asked!

Here I present the Breakfast Truffle of December 20th. I wanted truffles, but I also needed breakfast. Here is the marriage of two fine individuals:

Breakfast truffles
Cranberries (I used fresh ones that had been coated in orange juice and then partially dried in a dehydrator)
Raw Coconut flakes
Raw Cashews (or any nut you prefer)
Optional: honey, spices, etc… (make it your own)
Throw it all (carefully) into a food processor and pulse till combined. Roll into a ball and then roll in some unsweetened coconut shreds.

Voila! It’s breakfast in truffle form. Paleo-friendly. Kid-friendly. Christmas-friendly.

Ginger Peach Tea and Coconut Cranberry Truffles