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Pumpkin Coconut Soup

 

Something odd has happened lately: all I want to eat is Asian influenced dishes. Growing up in Vancouver this isn’t wildly surprising since examples of excellent food from every imaginable Asian locale is available. I have sushi on the regular, I frequent a hole in the wall Thai place but usually, especially at this time of year, I’m roasting hunks of meat and root vegetables, basting and braising and using more rosemary than seems sane. For whatever reason, maybe the chilly, foggy, damp-to-soaking weather, my palate is all about the hot, sweet, salty, sour of Asian cuisine. (more…)

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cookies

Back to school is just around the corner!

That means that lunch box and after school snacks are a consideration again and there is no sweeter lunchtime treat than cookies. These petite chocolate cherry coconut cookies are a cinch to make and fully deliver as a special bite-sized indulgence.

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Raspberry Coconut Macaroons

I recently read an article that suggests that the centre of the Milky Way may taste distinctly like raspberries and smell like rum. The very idea makes me smile – what could be better?

“Astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it tastes vaguely of raspberries. The unanticipated discovery follows years of work by astronomers who trained their 30m radio telescope on the enormous ball of dust and gas in the hope of spotting complex molecules that are vital for life. Finding amino acids in interstellar space is a Holy Grail for astrobiologists, as this would raise the possibility of life emerging on other planets after being seeded with the molecules… While they failed to find evidence for amino acids, they did find a substance called ethyl formate, the chemical responsible for the flavor of raspberries … and the smell of rum.”

What a beautiful world we live in. (more…)

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Blueberries

I’m sneaking this recipe in right before the weekend, because even though it might be roasting hot where you are, it’s also likely still blueberry season and I couldn’t let this tasty breakfast slip by undocumented. I just couldn’t.

I know you’re thinking “OATMEAL?!? In this heat?!” but just trust me (and maybe cool it down with milk, soymilk, etc.).

Besides making this gorgeous breakfast, what else are you doing with your weekend? We are expecting some warm sunny weather (at long last!) so I plan to sponge up all the vitamin D I can and hopefully put up a few more recipes – perhaps ones that feel more seasonally appropriate. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll post chicken stew! Not really.

Have  great weekend, make this oatmeal a part of it!

 

Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Blueberries

If you don’t have steel cut oats, I recommend you get some. However, for this recipe if all you have is rolled or quick oats, use them. Just prepare them as you usually would and adjust the liquid accordingly. 

1 C water

1 C milk

1 tsp vanilla

½ C raw steel cut oats

½ C unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for garnish, if desired

honey, jam or syrup – to taste (I used agave and it was excellent)

fresh blueberries

In a small saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the vanilla, oats and coconut. Turn heat down to medium so the mixture is simmering. Cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until the oats are tender, stirring occasionally. Divide between two bowls, sweeten to taste with honey, jam or syrup. Garnish with blueberries and extra coconut. Serve immediately.

Coconut Lime Macarons and Mojitos

What do you do when there’s no room in the calendar or the bank account for a tropical beach vacation during the darkest, wettest, coldest months of the year? You bring the tropics to you! Since making the original batches of macarons and having such success I have considered dozens of possible flavour combinations, some tame but pleasant and others that are more on the edge of compatibility. One of my all time favourite flavour combos is lime and coconut, so that was a no-brainer as I set out to measure and mix more macarons.

With the excitement of my successful maiden voyage into the nerve wracking world of baking French macarons, I have been itching to try making them again and of course, coming a teensy step closer to perfecting them. So far I have learned a lot by trying macarons. They demand a much more exact execution than many baked goods, which as you know, is inherently more exacting than most cooking techniques. Macarons really remind you that baking is a science. With this particular batch I took a risk and tried using already separated and pasteurized egg whites from a carton. I had read that according to some bakers they were equally good as whites you separated yourself, others claimed they were inferior and would not give the same lift and elasticity. As a macaron novice, I was curious to see for myself. In my opinion, they worked just fine, however, they did not have the lofty height that previous batches with separated and rested whites had. I’d use them again if I was in a pinch, but if I plan ahead I will use egg whites I separate myself, from organic, free run eggs that have 24 hours to rest away from their yolks and are brought to room temperature before becoming meringue. See what I mean about exacting?

Another hint as I learn more about these delicacies is that to achieve the colour you desire you really do need to use gel or powder colors. I have come to learn that intense, convincing colours can be achieved with liquid colour but that the risk of compromising your batter, especially if you use a liquid flavour agent too, is very high. If the batter is thinned by too many drops of colour or flavour it loses some of its sturdiness and the little macarons will not have as strong a “foot” (the bubbly sides that give it height) as you would like it to. It will also require slightly longer to dry them in the oven, potentially resulting in browning the meringue, which will cancel out your efforts for pure, true colours. Like so many recipes, you will need to make them many times before you get the feel for your equipment, ingredients and appliances. Consider these tests investments towards mastering a mini art form.

A cup of hot tea is an obvious pairing for these tiny delights, but if you are feeling particularly celebratory about your baking accomplishments, whip yourself up a mojito, they make a perfect and refreshing compliment to the coconut and lime of these macarons. What the Hell, make yourself a couple mojitos. After all that finicky baking you deserve to put your feet up and enjoy a cold, tropical tasting cocktail. Paper parasol optional.

The recipe and ‘how to’ for macarons can be found here. For this lime and coconut version I added 1 tsp coconut flavouring to the basic batter and to the basic butter cream filling I added 1 tsp of fresh lime juice and the zest of 2 limes.

For each mojito you will need:

ice

the juice of a lime

4-6 fresh mint leaves

a pinch of sugar

1 oz. of rum

sparkling water or lemon/lime soda to top it up

In the bottom of a tall glass, “muddle” or bruise the mint leaves with the sugar using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon add the ice and rum. Top up with the soda or sparkling water if you prefer it less sweet. Stir well and enjoy!