Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coconut Milk

Coconut is ridiculously easy to make. Hot water, coconut, and a blender. Whenever I would randomly feel like making some Thai dish that required coconut milk, I would never use it all and it would spoil. Since I order dry goods in bulk for my bread business I have access to a 25lb bag of coconut. I use shredded and unsweetened.  But you don't need a 25 lb bag of coconut to make coconut milk.
This recipe is perfect for using in soups, stir fries, or to drink (just add vanilla, or honey, or whatever flavor you are looking for).

2 cups of shredded coconut
4 cups of hot water

Place the water and coconut in a blender and puree for a few minutes. Let sit for about 1-2 hrs. Place in a colander or cheesecloth to separate the coconut from the liquid. Squeeze as much liquid from the coconut as possible. Place in the fridge and use within a week.

~3 1/4 cups of Coconut milk

With the leftover coconut you can dry it for coconut flour (gluten free) or use it for body scrubs.

Coconut Lentil Soup

This soup is fantastically flavorful and something new to add to your soup repertoire.  I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks and interchanged a few things. I use onions vs scallions, green split peas vs yellow, and regular white lentils vs red split lentils.  It doesn't take too long to throw together and an easy tasty meal during the week.

1 cup  yellow or green split peas
1 cup red split or white lentils (masoor dal)
7 cups  water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter or ghee
8 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced or regular onions
1/3 cup golden or regular raisins
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
one small handful cilantro, chopped

Rinse the split peas and lentils until the water is clear. Place into a large pot and cover with water. Once it comes to a boil, add carrots and 1/4 of ginger. Turn down the heat and let simmer for ~30mins or till tender. 

I use a large dutch oven cast iron pot because it does great with sauteing onions and I like to cook the final soup in this pot. Place butter in a pan and saute onions till almost caramelized. Add in the rest of the ginger and onions. Saute for a few minutes and then add in the curry powder. Next add the tomato paste and saute for another 2 minutes.

Combine the lentils and onion mixture together in the same pot and add in the coconut milk and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes or till desired consistency/thickness. 

*** Another addition to the soup that is delicious is a jalapeno sauteed in with the onions.  
Serves 6.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Broccoli Slaw

Because I haven't posted in a while and I actually have a moment, I'll post another favorite recipe. Plus I just made this the other day and realized I hadn't posted this one yet.  This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. She has a lot of great recipes that changes up what you bake/cook.  Perfect during the summer or whenever you can get fresh broccoli.

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken (or milk, which I typically use)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Toast sliced almonds if they are raw. I place them on a baking sheet at 350 and keep an eye on them till they turn golden. Trim broccoli and cut it into bite sized pieces.

Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl.

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.


This recipe comes from a cookbook that I picked up when Chris and I were on our honeymoon in Norway titled Norwegian Cooking for Everyone. It's a great cookbook, although it does have a recipe for whale :( but we will ignore that one. Honestly it is one of my favorite ways to use eggplant; the mix of ground lamb or beef with cinnamon, tomatoes, thyme, and rosemary matches so perfectly that it's hard to only make this when eggplant is in season.

2-3 eggplant
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions
2 garlic cloves
1 lb ground lamb or beef
1 cup stock
14oz chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon

Bechamel sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 2/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 eggs

1/2 cup grated mozzarella or swiss cheese

Cut the eggplants into thin slices (the long way) and place on a paper towel and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let marinate for 1 hr, then rinse under cool water and dry.  Brown eggplant on both sides (either in a frying pan, grill, or if I have a lot then I'll use the oven).
Mince onion and garlic and brown lightly. Add in the meat and fry till golden. Add stock, tomatoes, and seasonings. Let simmer over low heat for 25-40 mins.  Add more liquid if necessary.
Preheat your oven to 450 F

Bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Whisk in the milk and seasonings. Cook until thickened. Whisk in the eggs.

Layer the eggplant, meat sauce, Bechamel sauce, grated cheese in a casserole dish.
Bake for 30 mins