Posts Tagged ‘Coconut’

h1

Red Lentil Dal with Coconut Milk and Kale

January 24, 2016

This red lentil dal is another easy recipe I clipped out of Food and Wine (February 2015) during my recent magazine purge. Dal is the Indian word for dried split peas or lentils, and is also used to refer to the thick stew made from them.  We had it as an accompaniment at most meals when I visited India in 2010 (including breakfast!); I fondly remember scooping up mouthfuls with delicious homemade chapati. This recipe adds kale as a hearty green to bulk up the stew, so this would be suitable as a light main dish (accompanied by a salad and some crusty bread) as well as a side dish.

I never really jumped on the kale bandwagon of a few years ago (which still seems to be going strong, although I hear it mentioned more often now in the form of green smoothies), but I don’t dislike it and am happy to try recipes that make good use of it. This dal recipe doesn’t specify the type of kale to use; even though I have more familiarity with the Tuscan variety, I bought the more common curly-leaf variety this time. The recipe only used about half the bunch, so now I need to figure out something to do with the leftover kale in the next couple of days! The type of chile peppers is also unspecified: the recipe just calls for “small red chiles.” I ended up buying Fresno chiles, which have a kick but didn’t overwhelm the dish with spice.

Overall we really enjoyed this lentil stew! The coconut milk adds just the right amount of background coconut flavor without being overly coconut-y. Recipe has been pasted into my binder of ones to keep and make again!

IMG_9016_out

See recipe

h1

Inside-out German Chocolate Cake

April 7, 2014

We visited my husband’s parents this past Saturday to celebrate his mom’s birthday, and as a surprise, I made her a birthday cake! I wanted to make sure that that cake would be something she would really love, so I got some inside information about her favorite flavors from my sister-in-law: citrus (lemon or lime), chocolate, coconut, or pecans. Not all together, obviously. :) But the last three of those flavors most certainly mesh well, and what better way to present all of them together but in a German chocolate cake?

The last time I made a German chocolate cake was a few years ago when I was still in school, and while the version from ATK was good, I don’t remember it being a totally amazing knock-your-socks-off cake. So I went looking in Bon Appetit and Gourmet for an alternative recipe. This one from the Gourmet Cookbook, called “inside out” German chocolate cake, appealed to me because the directions said it could be made up to 3 days ahead of time. No last-minute baking that morning: Perfect!

The “inside-out” in the name comes from that fact that traditionally German chocolate cake is covered with the coconut and pecans in addition to the filling, but this version is coated with a rich chocolate glaze. I did make one modification to the recipe as written: the original calls for baking the sweetened condensed milk in a water bath in the oven for an hour and a half, but I find it way faster to just caramelize the milk in the microwave. It requires more attention and stirring every few minutes, but it cuts the time down to about 20 minutes.

So the end result? Amazing. My mother-in-law loved it, and my husband’s aunt even said that it was one of the best chocolate cakes she ever had! It’s a very dense, rich cake… a small piece is more than enough to satisfy a chocolate craving. Totally worth the time and effort; I definitely need to make it again once Lent is over and I can allow myself more than one bite ! :)

Inside-out German chocolate cake

See recipe

h1

Coconut Cream Pie

January 20, 2014

Last weekend I unexpectedly found myself in the middle of a very frustrating personal situation combined with no planned activities to keep myself distracted from obsessively ruminating on said situation. Solution? Baking. I’d already planned on making quiche that day, so without a plan in mind, I made a double recipe of pie crust and figured I’d come up with something to make with it by Sunday afternoon. I restricted my recipe options to “pies I can make without having to make another trip to the store in this awful weather,” which narrowed down my choices to one. This coconut cream pie in Bon Appetit Desserts. I think the first and last time I’d made a coconut cream pie was in high school (one of the homeschooling moms taught us all to make pies, maybe freshman year?), before I had the use of a food processor for crust. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you can probably tell by now how much I love my food processor… one of the best wedding registry choices we made, haha!

So I swapped out Bon Appetit’s crust in this recipe with Gourmet’s; I’ve made Gourmet’s crust many many times and I know I can always get consistent results. But if you have a favorite crust, feel free to swap that out too. It’s just your basic blind baked pie crust to start. The rest of the recipe was pretty easy, if a bit time consuming. If you’re familiar with making custard/tempering eggs, this is a piece of cake. If not, then this would be a good place to start! Basically you don’t want the eggs in your custard to scramble by heating them up too fast, so you whisk the hot milk into them a little bit at a time. This heats them up slowly and they don’t get all clumpy. For super smooth custards like creme brulee, often you’ll strain the custard, but this custard has flaked coconut all through it so it’s fairly forgiving.

The filling initially has to refrigerate for 2 hours to cool, then also in the crust overnight, so you can’t make this pie the day you’re planning on serving it. I was taking it to work on Monday, so making it Sunday evening worked fine; I just had to get up a little earlier on Monday morning to whip the cream for the topping. I thought this pie turned out really well, and it definitely perked some of my coworkers up too! Enjoy. :)

Coconut cream pie

See recipe

h1

Apricot Rice Pudding Pops

June 12, 2013

A few weeks ago I finally purchased ice pop molds in anticipation of warm summer weather. Of course, the first ice pops that I decided to make over Memorial Day weekend weren’t something “normal” like strawberry; instead, I decided on this Asian-inspired recipe from the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit. These are a bit more involved to make than just pureeing a bunch of ingredients together and freezing them: ginger and lemongrass have to steep in a hot milk/cream/coconut milk mixture, then the mixture has to be strained before adding the rice and cooking for another half hour.

…Rice in an ice pop? It sounds really weird, but the texture, along with the diced dried apricots, actually works really well in my opinion. These pops are also not overly sweet, which I like a lot. I prefer desserts with more varied flavors than just straight sugar, which is why I’m fairly picky about the types of cake frosting I use. There’s only ¼ cup of sugar in this entire recipe, so if you’re looking for the equivalent of colored frozen sugar water, these aren’t it. Definitely a more adult-friendly than kid-friendly recipe. :)

An FYI about quantity: The pop molds I bought from Tovolo are called “Groovy” and are a bit larger than traditional pop molds. This recipe said that it makes 8 pops, but it only filled 6 of the Tovolo molds.

Apricot rice pudding pops

See recipe

h1

Peanut Butter Coconut Bars

March 24, 2013

Happy spring! (Well, technically… maybe not according to the weather we’ve been having here in upstate NY. Ha.) I was going through some of the food photos I’ve taken in the last couple of months, and I’m going to try to catch up on some older recipes before spring really gets here and I become overwhelmed with vegetables!

These peanut butter coconut bars, from the Gourmet Cookbook, were one of the new desserts I tried at our Christmas party. The combination of peanut butter and coconut is an unusual one; definitely a unique twist on the usual peanut butter cookies or peanut butter blondies that I’ve made in the past. I love bar cookies, especially during a busy time such as the Christmas party, because they tend to be less work-intensive that regular cookies. While drop cookies (like chocolate chip or peanut butter) are certainly easy, you still have to measure out individual portions and bake multiple sheets, and the extra time definitely adds up when you’re trying to prepare a lot of other recipes for the same event.

Because I didn’t have a 15½-by-10½-inch baking sheet, I used a lasagna pan that was slightly smaller than those measurements and increased the baking time by a few minutes. I didn’t want to buy a specially sized pan just for these! Maybe I’ll invest in one if I come across more recipes in the future, but for now everything else I’ve made calls for a basic 13-by-9 pan. Although the texture of these cookies turned out slightly crumbly (the triangles broke easily at the corners if not handled carefully), the flavor was fantastic! And I loved the texture that the coconut contributed along with the crunchy peanuts. Definitely give these a try if you like peanut butter and coconut! I had some left over after the party and they were perfect for a small after-lunch dessert at work.

Peanut butter coconut bars

See recipe

h1

Coconut Rice

July 6, 2012

This easy rice dish, from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, makes a perfect companion to Asian main courses. Cooking the rice in a combination of chicken stock and unsweetened coconut milk lends it a creamy (almost risotto-like) texture and infuses it with a hearty flavor. It takes about 30-35 minutes to make from start to finish; it can easily be made on a weeknight because it doesn’t require a lot of attention while it’s cooking. The perfect amount of time to throw together a quick stir-fry or some crispy tofu!

Coconut rice

See recipe

h1

Piña Colada Panna Cotta

April 26, 2011

Panna cotta is an Italian eggless custard usually thickened with gelatin. Because there are no eggs to temper, most panna cotta recipes are very easy to prepare, and this tropical version is no exception. The gelatin is the only ingredient that needs to be heated, and the rest of the ingredients are simply pureed in a blender or food processor! Because the only sugar in the recipe comes from the sweetened cream of coconut, be sure not to mistake unsweetened coconut milk for this ingredient at your grocery store. Cream of coconut is usually found with the alcoholic drink mixes or with Mexican cuisine, and unsweetened coconut milk is often shelved with Asian foods. These puddings make a fantastic and refreshing finish to a summer dinner party!

Pina colada panna cotta

See recipe