This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge, our ingredients were Carrots & Curry. I knew immediately that I wanted to make a soup, so I looked back through my archives and found three soup recipes that I'd previously made. I used these three recipes to help me come up with a new one: Spiced Carrot Soup with Chickpeas and Tahini, Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, and Thai Pumpkin Soup.
I started by cooking madras curry and grated ginger in olive oil (though it occurs to me now that I could have used coconut oil), then adding carrots, onion, and garlic. I seasoned with salt and cooked for 15 minutes, until the vegetables started to brown. Then I added chicken broth and coconut milk and simmered covered for 20 minutes. You can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian/vegan.
I was approached by a representative of Nuts.com to enter their healthy summer snack contest! Woo! People are finding my blog and I get an excuse to play with cool ingredients and make a healthy snack.
I knew I wanted to do some kind of bar, but I am not enough of a baker to create a recipe on my own, so I turned to the best baker I know - Melissa from Smells like Brownies. Together, we came up with a granola bar recipe that included cacao butter, cacao nibs, dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut, almond flour, chia seeds, and oats. Sweetened only with honey, these bars are a powerhouse of energy (they also have great texture and flavor).
To get the most flavor, roast the hazelnuts at 350 for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan at 10 and 15 minutes to ensure that they roast evenly. You can then rub most of the skins off with a towel. If you really want to get rid of all of the skins, you will have to blanch them and the skins before roasting.
You will need a food processor for this recipe, but it comes together very easily. Then you just press into a pan and bake. The bars are a little crumbly, so if you aren't a fan of that - try soaking the chia seeds in a bit of water before adding them.
The real MVP of this recipe is the cacao butter. My goodness, does it smell and taste delicious. It's like vegetable oil (or more like coconut oil in terms of healthiness and uses) that tastes like chocolate - I might be a little obsessed now. You can wrap these individually to travel or to freeze. You can also sub in whatever nuts you like, add more dried fruit - whatever you want!
Oh, yeah - if you make sure to use GF oats, this is totally Gluten Free! And if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup, it's also vegan! Enjoy!
This is True Food Kitchen's Chia Seed Pudding Pudding, made with banana and coconut milk, it is one of my favorite desserts ever. I crave it, I dream about it, I love it so much! I used to stop by after working out to treat myself (it's a healthier dessert, but still sugary). And then I moved from 5 minutes away to 35 minutes away. Sad day!
So I hit the web to find a recipe to make it for myself at home and it turns out that it was incredibly easy to find! Success! Then it turned out to be incredibly easy to make, too - double success!
Please try this wonderful treat for yourself, and enjoy!
Chia Seed Pudding
adapted from Dallas News
2 1/2 to 3 large ripe bananas (divided use)
18 oz canned coconut milk, or coconut cream if you can find it (not cream of coconut, just unsweetened coconut cream)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 small pinch kosher salt
6 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp toasted coconut chips, for garnish
Combine 2 large bananas with the coconut cream, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in a blender. Purée until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the chia seeds; blend on low speed to combine. Place mixture in a sealed container to set; stir after 20 minutes. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving (may be prepared to this point up to 48 hours in advance). Top with banana slices and toasted coconut chips.
One Year Ago - Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Two Years Ago - Miso Tahini Soup
Three Years Ago - Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Broccolini
Four Years Ago - Lasagna with Cinnamon
Five Years Ago - Spiced Pumpkin and Lamb Tagine; Thai Pumpkin Soup; Spiced Carrot Soup
This innocent looking container holds a magic ingredient that will take your food to the next level. What is it? Miso butter. Two ingredients - miso and butter - combine to make a perfect substance. So simple, but so good. You could just slap this on some toast and call it a day. But if you want to get a little more creative, I have a bunch of ideas for you.
First up - scallops seared in miso butter. That's it, it's that easy. I served these with my other miso obsession - miso creamed kale.
Next - broiled salmon topped with miso butter, served with miso butter glazed baby carrots and coconut-miso barley.
Moving away from seafood for a bit, I made this coconut chicken recipe and replaced the regular butter with miso butter. It made it so much better than the original, which I was already a fan of. I also used cherry preserves in the sauce because that's what I had, but apricot or peach would work better. I made a side salad with romaine, sliced radishes, blanched green beans, and a carrot-ginger dressing to go with it.
Lastly, we have a stir-fry made with miso butter. Fast, easy, and delicious. The salmon was broiled with a store-bought red miso and yuzu glaze. I'd say it wasn't any better than the salmon topped with the miso butter.
Best of all? All these meals are healthy and low-carb. Most of them are grain-free! What would you do with your miso butter?
This recipe I found claimed to be for vegan fudge brownies. Let's be honest - this is not a recipe for brownies. It is, however, a delicious recipe for cake - even more delicious if you use coconut oil to give it some extra flavor. Coconut oil is just the neatest product! Good for your health, good for your skin and hair, it's even good as a supplement for dogs! It turns from solid to liquid with a very small difference in temperature. Heat or chill for just a few seconds to achieve the different states. Of course if you don't like coconut flavor, use a neutral tasting oil and vegan spread instead. Vegan friends and chocolate lovers in general - make this right now, you won't be sorry!
Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cake
adapted from Southern In Law
makes 9-16 small servings
For the cake:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid form
1 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond breeze
For the frosting:
6 tbsp coconut oil, solid form
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 2/3 cup icing sugar/powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Preheat oven to 355°F; grease and/or line an 8x8 cake pan.
In a large bowl mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add in oil and almond milk and stir until combined.
Pour brownie batter into cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting: in a bowl combine coconut oil and cocoa powder. Gradually mix in icing sugar, vanilla, and add almond milk as needed to create your desired consistency.
Frost the cooled cake. Keep stored in the fridge in an airtight container and eat within 2 days. If you want to top it with some shredded coconut or slivered almonds, I bet that would be delicious.
This rustic beauty came about by accident. I had intended to make a cherry pie, but my plans for obtaining cherries fell through. So I ended up with some pie dough and nothing else. I went to the store to see what fruit was available and found some Turkish figs. "This could definitely work," I thought. Then I thought of a creamy smear of mascarpone underneath, and oh! What if I added in some goat cheese, too?
So I dumped a container each of goat cheese and mascarpone cheese into bowl with some honey and mixed them together. Then I got to thinking, "What about some cardamom in here?" So in it went.
I rolled out my pie dough and spread the cheese mixture over it. I only ended up using half of it, but it made a great dip for crackers and fruit so that was fine. I arranged the quartered figs over the spread and then had another thought. "You know what goes great with cardamom? Coconut!" So I dug out some sweetened coconut flakes from the pantry to sprinkle over the top. A brush of cold water and sprinkling of turbinado sugar later, and my masterpiece was ready to bake.
I threw a lot of ingredients into here, but they ended up blending perfectly. The spread sort of merged with the flaky crust to make a creamy base for the figs; and the coconut came out perfectly toasted. Bonus? My husband was out of town and I got to eat the whole thing myself! This recipe may have been an accident, but I will definitely be making it again.
In my ever-continuing quest to find healthier foods, I stumbled across this recipe. Cupcakes, that are diet-friendly, in my favorite tropical flavor combo, made with only 5 ingredients! Yeah - these are awesome.
For the cake part, you only need 2 ingredients (only 2!) - cake mix and canned crushed pineapple. That's it! The pineapple takes the place of the eggs and oil making these super low-fat.
It's a little late, I know. But I did some cool things for the holiday that I thought would be worth sharing.
First up, burgers:
I thought that mixing shredded cheddar and diced bacon into the burgers themselves instead of using them as a topping would be pretty tasty, and I was right! I also added in pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, and paprika (no salt b/c I figured the bacon would be enough). I didn't really measure, but you can get an idea for the proportions here.
Next up - jello shots!
I am kind of obsessed with jello shots right now. Not the kind you made in college in the little cups that tasted like Everclear, but the fun, creative, tasty kinds found on Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. These are solid enough to stand on their own in little cubes (or whatever shape you cut them into). I haven't gotten too fancy with cutouts and shapes yet, but I am getting pretty good at doing layers.
I love all things coconut, especially during the summer. I also love all things pancake - so when I saw this recipe for sweet and salty coconut pancakes posted on G+ I just had to try it.
Coconut milk is used in the pancake batter to give it coconut flavor. But what really makes these pancakes stand out is the coconut syrup made with maple syrup, coconut milk, brown sugar, butter, and a pinch of salt to bring in that Thai flavor combo of sweet and salty (like coconut sticky rice, or salted caramel).
These are some seriously tasty pancakes. Really. Make them. Right now.