Tag Archives: coconut

Improv Tom Kha Gai

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I had most of the ingredients for tom kha gai but I just didn’t have time to skip out to the Asian grocery for traditional elements of this soup, like kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. Shiitake, oyster or maitake mushrooms weren’t available at my grocery but baby bellas are a nice substitute.

I had bought a jar of almond butter that had way too much oil floating on the top. So I poured it off and used it to saute my onions. SUCH amazing flavor. But ordinarily I would use EVOO.

There is no substitute for fresh ginger and cilantro. There just isn’t. So if you have them, use instead of ground spices. Sauté a sliced 1/2-inch nub of fresh ginger with your onions and add a handful of chopped cilantro at the very end.

If you want to use precooked chicken, add it at the mushroom stage.

Sambal oelek is my favorite way to add heat to a dish. But you can use red pepper flakes, Louisiana Hot Sauce or sriracha sauce as you like. I would advise not adding so much that you drown out the other spices.  But, hey, this is your soup, you can do whatever you want.

If you have more people than soup or want to stretch it out, ladle it over a bowl of rice noodles or vermicelli. IMHO, nothing is finer than finding noodles at the bottom of my soup.

INGREDIENTS
extra virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 fresh whole chicken breast, cubed
1 cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms

2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek, more or less.  Or none.

salt to taste

DIRECTIONS
Heat olive oil over high heat in a Dutch oven and sauté onion for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers and sauté another minute or so until the onions are soft.

Add cubed chicken and cook just until all the pink disappears. Add a little more oil if you need to. Don’t overcook. It will finish during the simmer phase.

Stir in chicken broth and coconut milk and when it reaches a simmer, turn down the heat to continue simmering.

In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, ginger and coriander. Stir in soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and sambal. Add a couple of tablespoons of the simmering broth to the bowl and stir well. Then add all this back to the pot and stir.

When your chicken has simmered for 10-15 minutes, add the mushrooms and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Then turn off the heat.

I like to let mine rest for 10-15 minutes. It’ll still be hot enough to eat but that allows the spices to continue to bloom.

Taste your broth and add salt, lime juice, soy sauce or sambal as you like. Garnish with fresh cilantro if you have it.

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Crunchy Oat Bars

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I’m never hungry in the morning. I’d always rather have breakfast for supper. Give me coffee with milk and I’m good until noon. However, I tend to get foggy by mid-morning, so I try to have a light snack. Nothing tempts me like granola bars, especially in the winter when cold fresh fruit seems like a bad idea.

Satisfying, high in fiber, these are also high in calories, a whopping 300 per bar. The culprit here? The almonds. They’re higher in calories than either the coconut or the condensed milk. You can make a lower calorie bar by eliminating some of the extras and increasing the oats and still have a great snack.

You can substitute any dried fruit, nuts or seeds. This is what I happened to have in my pantry the day I made them. You just want to end up with a sticky ball of dough that isn’t too runny and that presses easily into the pan.

INGREDIENTS

2 c oats
cooking spray
1 c chopped toasted almonds
1 c shredded coconut
1 c raisins
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 can condensed milk

aluminum foil
waxed paper

Preheat oven to 300.
Line 9×12 cookie sheet with foil.
Spread oats evenly and toast for 10 minutes.

Pour oats into bowl to cool.
Set aside foil-lined pan to cool.

Increase oven temp to 350.
Put open can of condensed milk on rack to warm.

Spray cooled foil with cooking spray.

Combine toasted oats, almonds, coconut, raisins and cinnamon.
Slowly pour warmed milk over mixture and stir in completely.

Spread evenly onto greased foil.
Cut length of waxed paper and use to press mixture evenly into pan to edges.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and lift bars from pan.
Flip upside down into pan and peel off foil.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then use pizza cutter into bars.

Allow to cool completely before storing.

Makes 16 bars.

P.S.  They were crunchy coming out of the pan.  After overnight storage in Tupperware, they’re chewy.  I like them either way.

 

Lemon Coconut Bread Pudding

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lemon, coconut, buttermilk, etc.

My little kitchen gets so hot that I had to come up with something that would bake quickly when I was craving something lemon-coconut.

Since all lemons are not created equal, you can add the glaze as you wish.  Mine came out pretty tart, so I dumped in the whole batch.

Ingredients

1 small sourdough baguette — about 6-8 cups of bread chunks
3/4 c powdered sugar
1 1/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c lemon juice
1 c coconut
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c soft brown sugar (not packed)

Preheat oven to 325.

Grease or oil spray a 2 qt baking dish.

In a large bowl, break up the bread into 1″ chunks. I prefer tearing the bread to cutting it with a knife.  The irregular pieces soak up the liquids better, I think, and make a nice texture for the pudding.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and then add buttermilk and lemon juice and toss.

Add coconut and mix well.

Allow 5 minutes or so for the bread and coconut to moisten.

Pour melted butter over the bread and then sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Toss well, just until brown sugar is dissolved. Spoon into baking dish.

Cover and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until top starts to brown.  Time isn’t exact — it depends on the softness of the bread you started with.

This results in a very moist bread pudding. If you like a firmer pudding, leave in another 5 minutes.

Glaze

Heat 2 T butter with 2 T milk in a 1-quart bowl until butter is melted. You can do this in the hot oven or in the microwave.  Then stir in 1-2 cups powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want.  Pour over the hot pudding and toss briefly, or serve alongside as a sauce.

Lemon Coconut Tea Loaf

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20140303_131914Make this when there are other people in the house
s
o you won’t just eat the entire thing.

Preheat oven to 350.

BATTER:
2 eggs
1/2 c oil
1/2 milk
2 t lemon juice
1-1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 t BP
1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 c grated coconut

With a hand mixer gently beat the eggs, add oil and mix, add milk and mix, add lemon and mix.

I used an old-fashioned non-electric mixer for this. It keeps the batter from becoming too frothy.

Sift the dry ingredients together and stir into the liquids with a wooden paddle, then stir in the nuts and coconut.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

While loaf is baking, make glaze.

GLAZE:
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 T lemon juice
milk if needed

Stir lemon juice into sugar and then add milk one T at a time until glaze is runny enough to pour.

Run a knife down the sides of the pan and punch holes in the loaf every 2-3 inches. Spoon glaze over top of loaf and let sit for 20 minutes or as long as you can stand it. Pop loaf out onto wax paper and close edges unless you plan to cut it right away.

*Note: wax paper is easier to unwrap than plastic wrap or foil. The acid from the lemon will also break down the foil and no one likes it when that happens.

You can store in a plastic bag or foil to keep it moist, but ours won’t last long enough to dry out.