Archives for posts with tag: coconut oil

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Any dish that ends “…with ginger and chili” I am predisposed to like. It’s kind of my current favorite flavor profile. I generally like heat over sweet, and there is something medicinal, healing, about the combination. When I can remember to, I like to start my mornings steeping ginger and chili in hot water, sometimes with a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon, and if I’m feeling a stuffy nose coming on, a tiny bit of honey.

So when I stumbled upon a recipe for a spicy butternut squash soup I perused the ingredient list and liked what I saw: coconut milk, fresh ginger, fresh chili, cilantro, turmeric. This was a recipe for October, for crisp weather and fending off colds. It is warmth in a bowl.

I’m in Vermont for a few days watching over a two-month-old kitten named Sam—short for Sammy Davis Jr., naturally. While born feral and therefore fearful of humans, she surprised me this morning when I woke to discover her resting peacefully on my chest. Up, down, with my breath. I picked long red chili peppers with my stepmother from her garden before she headed out of town, putting the better part of one to good use in this recipe. Now I just need to find something to do with all the Swiss chard, white eggplant, and green tomatoes we picked. In the meantime…

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Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Chili
adapted from Brooklyn Vegetarian

2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil works well too)
1 medium onion, diced
Knob of fresh ginger, approx. 1 inch, peeled and minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh red chili pepper, minced, to taste (I used a piece 2 inches long)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parsley or cilantro, to garnish
Scallions, to garnish

In a large saucepan heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until it turns translucent. Add the ginger, garlic, and chili and sauté for about 1 minute, then add the cumin and turmeric. Stir, then add the carrot and celery and sauté for several minutes until they begin to soften. If the pan gets too dry you can add a spoonful or two of water, so the onions don’t stick. Add the squash, broth, and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper, and slowly bring to just before the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the squash is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow the soup to cool some before transferring to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, in batches if necessary. You can reheat the soup in its pan before serving if you’d like. Garnish the soup with sliced scallions and parsley or cilantro.

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I could not get through the fall without posting about something or other involving pumpkin now could I?

I remember when, for about a month one fall during college, it was de rigueur in the shared house I lived in to make various versions of milkshakes with pumpkin pie. That’s right. Just toss a slice of pumpkin pie into the blender with your milk, ice cream, and whatever else you wanted whirling around in there. I was not a participant in this particular culinary extracurricular (I may have missed out), but I do like a) eating lots of pumpkin in things this time of year and b) a sense of adventure when it comes to new food combinations.

The following is a simple and not overly sweet recipe for loaf bread (or muffins if you’d prefer) that my mom shared with me earlier this month when I was visiting her in North Carolina. It does not involve pie or ice cream or a blender, but is super easy to make, can employ many substitutions to suit what you have on hand, and makes for a great breakfast spread with a thin layer of peanut butter (but that’s just me).

Instead of olive oil, which my mom’s recipe called for, I made it with coconut oil this time and it turned out great. For the 1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe called for 1 cup, I’ve reduced by half and it’s just right in my opinion), you could use honey, maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar. This version I made with brown sugar. And as for the spices, up to you. This time I used pumpkin pie spice because it contains ginger and lemon peel in addition to nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. If you’re gluten free I imagine you could use a gf flour here. And next time I’d like to try chopped walnuts or dark chocolate chips. I can’t decide. (Maybe I should just throw it all in a blender.)

I brought the cake into work this morning and it got gobbled up pretty quickly. I managed to snap this pic of it before it was all gone.

[An aside: I’d love to try this recipe from Minimalist Baker for vegan pumpkin bread, with a pumpkin cashew frosting.]

Pumpkin Spice Bread

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar (could be brown sugar, maple syrup, etc.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp each allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/4 c water
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c chopped walnuts, optional (or chocolate chips, pecans, cranberries, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a loaf pan or muffin tins. Set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate, large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently combine. (Add the nuts, chocolate chips, etc. at this point if you’re using.) Be careful not to over mix. Transfer to the loaf pan or muffin tins and bake for 45–50 minutes if using a loaf pan; less if muffins (my guess would be 20–25 minutes, just keep your eye on them). They’re done when a thin skewer or toothpick comes out clean. Rest in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yes. I. Did. I so went there. In my last post I solicited ideas for using the leftover almond pulp from making almond milk. And wouldn’t you know my friend Monica wrote in with a great recipe from the Wishful Chef blog. Thank god, because who wants to throw out a pound of perfectly good organic ground-up almonds? Not I. Also, thanks Moni for introducing me to this great blog by a fellow Brooklynite.

So, here goes. One reason I made this, in addition to wanting to use all the leftover almonds, I had all the other ingredients on hand. Flax seeds: check. Coconut oil, almond milk: check, check. I didn’t actually have the two dates called for, but improvised by using dried apricots instead. This is a fast and forgiving recipe—I didn’t even quite measure everything exactly. And feel free to substitute if you don’t have all the right ingredients. No vanilla sugar? Just use sugar and vanilla extract. No coconut oil? You could use walnut oil, grapeseed oil, canola, etc. No dates? Any dried fruit would do.

These are great for a not-so-sweet accompaniment to your late-afternoon tea/coffee run. (Full disclosure: I’ve been eating these for breakfast.) It’s sort of like having almond butter on toast. Sort of. And the dark cocoa powder satisfies chocolate cravings, sans dairy, flour, or eggs. Magic.

While I really like the way these turned out, I will not be bringing them to my grandmother’s on Sunday. I think these definitely fall in the “too scary” category for her taste. Also, they are barely sweet at all. Kiss of death. (More for me.)

Actually, you could add some agave syrup to the mixture to increase the sweetness factor if you want something more desserty, but I kind of like these just the way they are.

Coconut Almond Cookies
Adapted from The Wishful Chef

2 c almond pulp, leftover from making almond milk
2 dates (or apricots, prunes, etc.) chopped and soaked in 2 tbsp hot water, then mashed to a pulp
1/2 c dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1/3 c almond milk
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tbsp raw cane sugar plus 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave syrup, optional
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll mixture into balls using about 1 tbsp of dough. Flatten out with the back of a fork, and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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