Tag Archives: coconut milk

Silky Rich Coconut Milk Chocolate Pudding

 

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Chocolate pudding. It is smooth, creamy and comforting and just one bite brings me back to my childhood. Growing up, however, instant J-ello pudding was all the rage. Simply add milk, stir and dessert was ready. Fortunately my taste buds and preferences have changed a lot over the years and now instant pudding simply won’t cut it. Actually any pudding from a box isn’t up to snuff but when real, cooked from scratch pudding is so easy, why would you even need the box?

This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen and is rich and flavorful and is fast to make. Because there are so few ingredients, be sure to use the best ones you can find. I’m partial to using a combination of chocolates because I think it creates a more complex flavor profile. Or you can use a single type; the choice is yours. I’ve also used coconut milk as the base of my pudding but a whole cow’s milk can be used instead. Either way you will be rewarded with a rich and not too sweet pudding that will bring you back to your childhood as well.

SILKY RICH COCONUT MILK CHOCOLATE PUDDING

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups coconut milk

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons vanilla extact

 

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt.
  • Slowly whisk in the coconut milk, in a thin steam at first so that lumps don’t form, then more quickly once the cornstarch mixture is smoothly incorporated.
  • Place the mixture over medium-low heat and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form.
  • After approximately 15 minutes, before it starts to simmer, the mixture should begin to thicken, enough that it will coat the back of a spoon.
  • Stir in the chocolates, and continue stirring for another 2 to 4 minutes, until chocolate is fully incorporated and mixture is quite thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Allow to cool completely before serving.
  • To prevent a film from forming on top of the pudding, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pudding surface.

 

Serves 8

Coconut Milk Nutella Swirl Bread

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I love Nutella. There is just something about that creamy chocolate – hazelnut spread that is simply delicious. I’ve been known to slather it on toast or even eat it by the spoonful right from the jar. But it is also a wonderful ingredient to cook with, taking baked goods from ordinary to extraordinary. I’m also a huge fan of coconut and cooking with coconut milk. It is rich and flavorful, providing dishes with a subtle sweetness and baked goods with a moist and slightly tropical consistency that you simply can’t get from other types of milk.

So given my love of both Nutella and coconut, when I found this recipe from NoblePig.com there was no question about my not trying it out. And I’m so glad I did. This quick bread is everything its name promises to be and was such a hit the first time I made it that I immediately got requests for another loaf. I’ve even baked this in the form of muffins following the same method for filling the cups as for making the bread but reducing the baking time to 15-18 minutes. Essentially any way you bake this, it is delicious.
COCONUT MILK-NUTELLA SWIRL BREAD
For the bread:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup Nutella, slightly warmed until easily spreadable

For the glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Up to 4 tablespoons coconut milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 x 5 x 2.75 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl beat egg with a fork and stir in melted butter and coconut milk.
  • Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just enough to combine. Fold in flaked coconut.
  • Spoon one third of the batter into the bottom of the loaf pan. Add half the Nutella, covering the batter as best you can without mixing the two together.
  • Add another 1/3 of the batter and cover Nutella completely. Finish with the other half of the Nutella and then more batter to top it off.
  • Use a table knife and stick it down, all the way through the batter at one end of the loaf pan. Work your way from one side of the pan to the other in a zigzag motion. Make just one pass for the swirl effect.
  • Bake 55-65 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  •  Let cool 20 minutes in pan before flipping over and letting cool completely.
  • For the glaze, add confectioners’ sugar to a medium sized bowl and start with 2 tablespoons of milk poured into the sugar. Mix until it is a thick, pourable glaze, adding more milk as necessary in order to achieve the right consistency.
  • Pour over bread and allow to sit.
  • Slice when the glaze is completely dry.

Yields 12 slices

German Chocolate Cupcakes

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I blame it on a partially opened bag of shredded coconut but I’ve been on a coconut kick these past few weeks. Actually, maybe it is my love of coconut that has me using it in everything from sweet treats to savory dinner dishes. Regardless of why, I think that coconut, whether in shredded or milk form, is one of the easiest ways to add flavor, texture and moisture to whatever I make. Plus it simply tastes delicious. So what other reason do you really need?

So when I needed to make treats to share at a recent gathering I naturally found myself searching for coconut based recipes. And bite-sized cupcakes were exactly what I was looking for. I adapted this recipe from bakingmoment.com and these morsels of chocolatey-coconut goodness are sure to please your crowd as much as they pleased mine. And from a baker’s perspective, they are incredibly easy and quick to make. All in all that sounds like the perfect recipe for a winning dessert.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups cake flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

To make the caramel:
  • Heat the cream, butter, vanilla, and salt gently, in a small pot, until the butter is melted and the salt is dissolved.
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, and water swirling occasionally, until bubbling and amber-colored.
  • Remove both pans from the heat and whisk in the cream mixture until well combined.
  • Transfer to a heat-safe container and cool completely.
To make the cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine the egg, coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract in a separate small bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Line a miniature cupcake pan with cupcake papers.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake papers, filling until they are 3/4 full.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before adding the topping.

To assemble the cupcakes:

  • Combine the toasted coconut and the chopped pecans in a shallow rimmed dish.
  • Using a small knife or spatula, spread the top of each cupcake with the cooled caramel.
  • Sprinkle the top of each iced cupcake with the coconut-pecan mixture.

Yields 48 miniature cupcakes

Almond Joy Bundt Cake

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As a child one of my favorite candy bars was an Almond Joy. Moist coconut topped with crunchy almonds and slathered in chocolate made for the perfect special treat. As I grew older my love for this flavor combination continued and here it has manifested itself in an amazingly moist and flavor packed cake that is sure to disappear all too quickly.

I’ve adapted this cake  from The Brown Eyed Baker. The cake is rich and moist and filled with coconut goodness thanks in part to using three different types of coconut. Coconut oil takes the place of traditional butter or vegetable oil thus making the cake both moist and flavorful. Coconut milk adds an additional punch ensuring that you taste coconut in every bite. And if that isn’t enough, you get a touch of crunchy toasted coconut on top of the cake. Its delicious.

ALMOND JOY BUNDT CAKE

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut oil
2½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⅓ cups unsweetened coconut milk

For the Glaze:
4 to 6 tablespoons coconut milk
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces dark  chocolate, melted and still warm

Shredded coconut & sliced almonds, toasted, to garnish

 

To make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs and the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Scrape down the bowl again, add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat until just incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined. Be careful not to overtax the batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top into an even layer.
  • Bake until a sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before continuing.

To make the Glaze:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk, the almond extract and vanilla extract.
  • Add the powdered sugar and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
  • Slowly stir in the melted chocolate. The glaze should be thick yet pourable; adjust with additional coconut milk if necessary.
  • Pour the glaze in large, thick ribbons over the crown of the cake, allowing the glaze to spread and drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Top with the toasted shredded coconut immediately and slivered almonds.
  • Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Yields 16 slices

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Curried Pumpkin Chicken

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I don’t use my crockpot very often but when I do, I’m reminded of the easy and delicious meals that can be made in it. After all, there is nothing better than walking in the door at the end of a long day and being greeted by the smell of a warm meal waiting for you. It really is so easy……

And because it is fall, my cooking inspiration has turned to all things pumpkin. I’ve been baking up a storm with pumpkin inspired dishes over the past couple of weeks so when I saw the extra can of pumpkin puree sitting in the pantry I was inspired to turn it into an entree. And that is just what I did.

CURRIED PUMPKIN CHICKEN

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

1 15 ounce can coconut milk

3 tablespoons red curry paste, more or less to taste depending upon your personal preferences

1 red onion, thinly sliced

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced

  • Combine the pumpkin puree, coconut milk and curry paste in the bottom of a medium to large sized crock pot.
  • Distribute the onion slices evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture.
  • Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce then top with the sliced apple.
  • Cover the pot and cook the chicken on the low setting for six hours.
  • Serve over basmati rice or rice noodles.

Serves 4

Chili Garlic Shrimp & Noodle Stir Fry

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Shrimp are one of my favorite fast food finds and this recipe, adapted from Cooking Light. highlights shrimp at their best. Not only do they cook up quickly but they are packed with protein and their mild taste makes it the perfect companion for bold flavors. Before stir-frying the shrimp I quickly pre-cook them in a coconut milk bath. This plumps the shrimp and infuses them in a slightly sweet flavor that readies the shrimp for what comes next. Then a soy and rice vinegar sauce tempered with honey makes for a slightly sweet and tangy base for this stir fry while the garlic and jalapeno peppers add a bit of punch. Add in some crunchy vegetables and rice noodles and you have dinner in a bowl. Enjoy!

CHILI GARLIC SHRIMP & NOODLE STIR FRY

8 ounces rice noodles
20 ounces medium sized shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
1/2 cup julienne-cut carrots
1 cup green onions, sliced
2 cup sliced bell peppers
8 ounces baby spinach

  • Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a large wok set over medium high heat.
  • When the coconut milk comes to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the shrimp and set aside. Discard the milk and wipe down the wok.
  • Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat half of the canola oil in the wok set over high heat. Add the crushed garlic cloves and sliced jalapeño pepper; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove mixture from pan and add to the reserved shrimp.
  • Add the remaining canola oil to the wok. Add the carrots, green onions, and bell pepper; stir-fry 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the vinegar and soy sauce mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the noodles, the shrimp, garlic, jalapenos and spinach to the wok and cook for 2 minutes.

Serves 4

 

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream, For Ice Cream!

Its National Ice Cream day and nothing tastes better than the homemade version. So pick your favorite ingredients and whip up a batch today:

 

A non-dairy option:

 

Technically not ice cream but cold and tasty just the same:

 

Thai Red Curry w/ Duck

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Duck is so plentiful here in Belgium that it has been making a regular appearance on our dinner table since we arrived in the country. I’ve been marinading, grilling and roasting it (and making good use of the resulting delicious duck fat) but have recently been expanding my horizons and cooking the meat in different ways. We are also fans of curry at my house, in particular red curry, so this recipe, adapted from Saveur magazine seemed like a natural fit. And I was right.

Like most curries, the ingredients are simple and variable but the results are always packed with flavor in every bite. Here crisp pea pods, chunks of fresh pineapple and sweet grape tomatoes are simmered in a rich red curry ladened coconut milk. Basil–the Thai variety if you can find it–and kaffir lime leaves add complexity to the dish. (You can find kaffir lime leaves in most Asian markets or as I do, in the Asian section of my local grocery store). And of course there is the duck; other meats will work as well but the duck makes the dish taste that much more luxurious. And since the curry cooks up so quickly it makes for a perfect weeknight meal. Enjoy!

THAI RED CURRY w/ DUCK
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
1 pound duck breast, cut into bite sized pieces
10 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves
1 cup fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1″ chunks
1 cup pea pods
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar
6 Thai chiles, stemmed
20 grape tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, white part only
Leaves from 10 basil stems
  • Heat 1 cup of the coconut milk in a large pot over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk in the curry paste and continue to simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is very aromatic, about 5 minutes more.
  • Add the duck to the curry mixture and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the duck is cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the remaining coconut milk, lime leaves, and 34 cup water.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring, until the flavors have melded, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the pineapple, pea pods, fish sauce, sugar, and chiles and continue to simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pineapple is fork tender, about 5 minutes more.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, green onion and the basil and simmer the curry for 1 minute more; the tomatoes and basil should retain their shape and bright color.
  • Serve the curry with steamed jasmine rice.

 

Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

Orange creamsicle ice cream served with a brownie for extra decadence

Orange creamsicle ice cream served with a brownie for extra decadence

We’re on the verge of summer and that means it is ice cream season. Hard or soft, sorbet, frozen yogurt or full fat ice cream, I love all types of frozen desserts. I remember making ice cream as a child in one of those old fashioned wooden tubs packed with salt. Today I’m a bit more modern owning not one but two ice cream makers. I really started making my own ice cream when we lived in Albania since  ice cream quality was so poor and with electricity so temperamental even the better gelato shops were apt to sell their goods filled with unappealing ice crystals. Now, even though I can buy really good ice cream from local Belgian farms, I continue allocate some of my precious freezer space to always having an insert frozen and ready to churn away when my ice cream cravings strike.

But not all ice cream requires an ice cream maker. And for that matter, not all ice cream requires dairy milk. Case in point this orange coconut milk based ice cream from superhealthykids.com. Full fat coconut milk ensures that the ice cream is creamy and provides a slightly tropical undertone to the ice cream. Add in the fresh oranges and you have a treat that is reminiscent of the orange creamsicles of your childhood. And like I already mentioned, no ice cream maker is required. A blender, food processor or even stick blender is all you need. So get a jump start on your summer and whip up a batch today.

ORANGE CREAMSICLE ICE CREAM

1 3/4 cups coconut milk

3 medium oranges

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

  • Peel and section oranges.  Lay the sections flat on a parchment lined tray and freeze until hardened.
  • Place the coconut milk and half of the frozen orange sections in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
  • Pulse until smooth.
  • Add the remaining oranges to the mixture and continue blending.
  • Add the honey, orange zest and the vanilla and orange extracts to the mixture and puree until blended.
  • Pour the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Yields 2 pints

 

Coconut Milk & Lemongrass Chicken

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Roasted chicken is the ultimate in comfort food. There is something about the smells emanating from the oven that makes everything better. I also love just about anything made with coconut milk. So when I saw this Thai inspired take on roast chicken from The Kitchn I just knew that it would be good. And it was. Bathed in coconut milk, the chicken was so juicy and flavorful that I made a second chicken the next day because I couldn’t get enough of it.

COCONUT MILK & LEMONGRASS CHICKEN

1 whole roasting chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole pieces star anise
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
1 large lemon, cut into eighths
1 stalk lemongrass, 5 inches of white part only, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 (16-ounce) can coconut milk
3 cups torn kale
2 green onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Chopped cilantro, to garnish
Cooked rice, to serve

  • Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Preheatt the oven to 375° F.
  • Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil.
  • Put in the chicken, breast side up, and let it sizzle for about 30 seconds. Carefully flip the bird and crisp the other side for another 30 seconds.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and pour off the the fat in the pot.
  • Transfer the chicken back into the pot, breast side up, and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, chopped cilantro stems, lemon, lemongrass, garlic and coconut milk.
  • Cook, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes (depending on size).
  • Spoon the sauce over the top of the bird to baste every 20 minutes or so. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165° F.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Pull out and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.
  • Put the pot with the sauce back on the stovetop over medium heat, add the kale and stir until just wilted, about 10 seconds.
  • Carve the chicken and serve each piece over rice with sauce spooned over the top.
  • Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves.

Serves 4-6

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