Tag Archives: Coconut

Making Kale Sexy: Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut & Sesame Oil

Kale. You know kale, that thick, leafy green that all of the spandex-sporting hotties at Whole Foods frantically fill their shopping carts with as though it were the elixir of life. NEWSFLASH! It kinda is. Though its bulbous leaves and overall aggressive nature make it look like it belongs more in the Jurassic period than on your dinner plate, fear not! Kale’s bad rap has dissipated as modern chefs find sexy new ways to use it. Kale’s strong flavor is tempered in this truly fantastic recipe by the delightful and unexpected addition of toasted coconut and sesame oil. A big thanks to Heidi Swanson and her incredible new book, Super Natural Everyday, for being the bearer of such an awesome flavor combination.
Continue reading

Tales From the Other Side of the Baking Aisle: Gluten-Free Coconut & Banana Muffins

Haven’t you heard? Gluten-free is so hot right now. No, I am not gluten-free. I’m just not hip enough to align myself with Victoria Beckham, Zooey Deschanel, Rachel Weisz, and a whole host of Hollywood glitterati. Rather, I got a whole lotta love for coconut and alternative flours of all-stars and stripes (thank you, Kim Boyce!) My coconut lovin’ kicked into overdrive after a family vacation to sunny Puerto Rico, where coconut is practically the national emblem. Street vendors sell endless varieties of shockingly sweet coconut candies while coconut water, the health craze du jour of the moment, is readily available on most street corners where it is epically served to you by a man with a machete, who lobs off the top of a coconut for you, jams a straw through its spongy flesh, and hands you what must be a gallon of coconut water for a mere dollar or so.
Continue reading

“Samoa” Tart

Samoa. Yes, SAMOA, everyone’s favorite Girl Scout cookie. The box that disappeared waaaay before the thin mints were even opened. To counteract the naughtiness, the crust is whole wheat pastry flour (a bit o’ fiber here, a bit o’ fiber there.) Chocolate, caramel, and coconut – oh yes!

It can be eaten soon after cooling, or may even be better after being refrigerated overnight, as the goopiness sets to create a more cohesive tart experience.

“Samoa” Tart

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 generous tablespoon natural cane sugar

heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼” cubes

1-4 tablespoons ice water

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup natural cane sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted in the oven

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup cacao nibs

one 4 oz. bar good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped

1.) To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bow. Add the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter, fork, or even your fingers to break up the butter into small pieces the size of peas. Add the vanilla and water, as needed, until the dough just barely comes together. It will be very dry. Press into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill thoroughly; at least an hour. Remove and allow the dough to come back to room temperature.

2.) Grease bottom of a 9-10 inch tart pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Unwrap dough and, using the palms of your hands and whole lot of elbow grease, press and press and PRESS that dough out as thinly as your can, around the bottom of the pan, and up its hilly sides with your fingers. If you press a hole into the dough, not to worry, just patch it up with a bit of the overhang. Place in the freezer and chill thoroughly; at least an hour.

3.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove crust from freezer and bake for 20-30 minutes; until lightly browned. While crust is baking, make the filling.

4.) Heat the cream, sugar, and salt in a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. When it begins to foam and rise up, remove from heat, and stir in the coconut and vanilla. Scrape filling into the prepared crust.

5.) Bake for 10 minutes, then use a heat-proof spatula or the like to lightly tap all around the surface to break up any caramelization/setting that is occurring. This helps the tart to bake evenly and prevents it from wrinkling up. Bake for another 10 minutes, tap again, and then bake for a final 10 minutes or so for a total baking time of about 30 minutes.

6.) Remove from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and immediately sprinkle those lovely little nibs all around the tart’s surface. Wait a minute or so, and then sprinkle the chopped up chocolate bar across the tart. When completely cooled, remove the tart ring gently. Don’t even think about whipped cream.