Tag Archives: coconut oil

TNP, vol. IV(egan) – Pumpkin Stew

  • 1 c mashed pumpkin, chunky
  • 1 can lentil soup
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 L kale leaves or 1/2 c blanched/squeezed
  • 1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 M onion, diced
  • 1 S-M jalapeno, diced (with seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

pumpkin-lentil-stewI know what you’re thinking — “you have an 11lb pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin and all you can do is puss out with soups?” And for that I’ve got three responses:

  1. A stew is an entirely different animal than a soup. Well, not entirely. It’s just much more about the solids than the liquid.
  2. I also made pumpkin oatmeal, which is a good step above soup.
  3. Be gentle; this is my first pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 425. Start your garlic and onions on ML in the coconut and 3 tbsp olive oil. While they become friends go ahead and blanch your kale and ready those cherry tomatoes (I wasn’t planning on using them but by Thor’s Hammer I was not about to let them get a day wrinklier on the counter). Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tsp olive oil and place in a baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for 20m, or until their skins begin to split.

While those roast, go back to the pan and turn heat to M. When hot, add spices and jalapeno and stir for no longer than 1 minute. Add pumpkin; mix. Add lentil soup and kale, mix gently until hot. When done add the tomatoes to the pot and serve. I did a pretty good job covering up that inside-of-an-aluminum-can taste that no soup on a grocery store shelf can hide… even with a little processed food in its foundation, this stew gets 5 spoons! The chunky pumpkin is an excellent stand-in for the potatoes usually found in this recipe and the cherry tomatoes provide an unexpectedly flavorful bite. Make sure, however, to look for a low-sodium can of soup to offset that sea salt.

There is still 1/2 c puree in the fridge, and a quart of cubes in the freezer… something else will have to be made. I will continue to sally forth, roughly handling gourds wherever I go.

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Parsley-Kale Pesto (or, “I can’t believe it’s kale!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c (cooked) whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 c parsley
  • 1 c marinated kale
  • 4 L cloves garlic
  • 1 c walnuts
  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste, y’know?)

Kale-Parsley PestoWell we had spaghetti sauce and salad stuff, but neither one of us necessarily felt like being transported tonight via flavor to the isle of Sicily. Maybe something a wee bit lighter (-seeming, at the very least) like olive oil and garlic? Then a bulb came on above both our heads at the same moment — pesto!

Since kinda-recently learning of coconut oil’s health benefits I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my cooking — the trick there is not to make coconut pasta, so tread lightly. It, the whole wheat pasta and walnuts are the main proteins here (unless you wanna count the Parmesan too, but ’tis a mere pittance), nevertheless feel free to add chicken or shrimp if you don’t believe in things like that.

Parsley-Kale PestoAlso, ha! Made ya like kale, right?

Put all that stuff in the food processor and let it whirl until — magically — pesto appears! Adjust the oil if you want it more/less soupy. With the minimal amount of coconut in a dish that roars of garlic, there was a faint hint of Thai in this dish… just enough to make it delicious and foreign, but not enough to make it taste counterintuitively unfamiliar.

I had enough left over from our [2 person] meal that I used 2 tbsp of it to make a pesto vinaigrette (this stuff, red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil) and still had 1/3 c of it to put in the freezer. 5 spoons.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Bread (ft. TWO kinds of chips)

In my pantry today:

  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 2/3 c rice flour
  • 1/3 c flax meal
  • 3 L eggs
  • 1/8 c coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c walnut pieces
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c butterscotch chips

bananabreadomega3sDespite trying to remain mindful of how my dietary choices affect my health, when it’s cold I seem to be on a constant, instinctual hunt for the most comforting foodstuffs a hot oven can offer. In trying to marry these two seemingly at-war concepts I am now dedicated to uncovering the healthiest ways to be unhealthy. I feel this one loaf can be glorious illustration of such a wondrous union.

This will all be way easier if you’re using a food processor, so let’s assume you will.

Put in the food processor: oil, butter, sugar, honey. Blend. Add dry ingredients in between eggs with a little loud, mechanical punctuation on each account. When you get to the nuts-n-chips, add them in and blend for 5-10 seconds. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350° for 30-55m (or until knife comes out of the center clean).

The coffee pots are set up and now breakfast for tomorrow morning is cooling on the counter, just beaming with gluten-free fiber, protein and omega-3s [flax, walnuts, coconut oil]. I’ll be better able to ever-so-gently sidestep any of that nasty Baked Goods Guilt knowing that not only is it a healthier option (than, say, a fast food biscuit + ??? + cheese), it is just as tranquilizing to my taste buds as something from a drive-thru with all 5 spoons on its sweet, sweet side.

Coconut-Walnut Quick Bread (Gluten Free)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c rice flour
  • 1/2 c oatmeal
  • 1/2 c golden flax
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • 3/4 c evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c flaked coconut
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts

coconutwalnutquickbreadOn an evening so algid I better love the oven, but my wife has the car today and we’re out of butter and milk, and have no bananas, sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin. Working off of this recipe as a basic quick bread template, I substituted what was on hand for what the cupboards lacked… all to a delicious, gluten free and health(ier) loaf of easy-to-grab-in-a-frozen-morning-hurry bread.

For the quickest way to get your bread on, start out by blending sugar/oil in the food processor. Add eggs, milk; blend. Add flour, oatmeal and flax; blend (this will help chop up that nasty texture-betraying oatmeal). Put in 1/4 c  shredded coconut and 1.4 c walnuts; pulse the machine so as not to chop those nuts unnecessarily. Pour into greased loaf pan, sprinkle remaining coconut/walnuts on top and bake at 350° for 30m (or until a butter knife inserted comes out clean).

The deployment of flax and use of coconut oil instead of butter assuages my potential guilt, whether it be carby or sweet. Sugar was still involved in the making of this loaf, but at a reduction from previous quick bread recipes. It earns 4 spoons, with a one-spoon reduction only for its sorrowful lack of dark chocolate chips. We were out of those.

Cabbage, Corn and [K]ale Cream Cheese Casserole (or, “An Alliterative Affair”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 c chopped red cabbage
  • 1/2 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 c corn kernels
  • 1/2 small sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 14 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6 oz cream cheese, in chunks
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c fried onions
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • dash asafoetida

P1100650Ok, so you’re going to need to do a couple of things first: blanch the kale for 5-9m (taste test it for chewability-without-suspicion) then add cabbage to the boiling water. Taste test for texture; I went about 3m. Drain everything well then line the bottom of a 8×6″ glass baking dish with the strainer contents and corn.

P1100610Now that everything is done boiling, you can use the same pot to start garlic and onions in the oil/ghee. After cooking on ML for 5-10m, add the chunks of cream cheese and smoosh them all around until melted. Sprinkle on seasonings and mix in with the can of cream of mushroom soup. Pour mixture over vegetables, spreading until even. Once you’ve adorned it further with panko and french fried onions let it bake at 350° for 40m. This would have been great served over rice or alongside other dishes at a dinner table, but we ate it almost directly out of the pan. 4 spoons for not entirely knowing its consistency (5 in my heart).

 

Aloo(ve Affair) Gobi

In my pantry today:

  • 3 c cauliflower florets
  • 3 c cubed potatoes
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 medium green chile
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

I forgot to get a prettier picture before this was all there was left in the pan. My bad.

After recently falling in love with this dish from my favorite local spot, I have had the usual seemingly-never ending infatuation with all of the reasons beyond its deliciousness why I am in love with it:

meatless! dairy-less!
cauliflower! potatoes!

Because though I am not a staunch vegetarian, I have been cutting back on meat enough to know what a difference it makes in my health to do so. To naysayers who decry vegetarians for that lack of essential dietary elements (protein! calcium!) I posit that you either click the links above, or research on your own what’s actually available as nutrients in all the stuff that grows outta the ground.

That being said, let me continue into this current love affair.

Ok, so prep is gonna take a bit over the skinny minute. Finely mince your onion, garlic, cilantro, chile (I just used a jalapeno) and tomato. Put oil in a pan on ML with chile, garlic and onions. Let cook until the onions are translucent; stir in turmeric so that everything begins to glow like the sun. Add mustard seeds, tomato and cilantro and dial it up to M until you hear the seeds crackling. Turn the heat back down to ML and stir in the ginger-garlic paste, cumin and coriander. Add tsp by tsp of water to this process if at any point you begin sticking to the pan (well, not YOU. You know what I mean.).

This is what my dish wants to resemble when it looks in the mirror.

So in the 15-20 minutes or so it takes for those onions to get translucent, get the stars of your show ready. Disarticulate a medium head of cauliflower, set aside. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-size pieces (I tried to strive for cubes, but I am also realistic about my fine motor skills).  Stir them into the (assumed ready) almost paste-like mixture in the pan. Once coated, it’s the florets’ turn. Stir in about 1/3c water to make their union more pleasurable. Add another 1/3c water and let the pan come to a gentle boil on M, then stir and reduce heat to ML until everything is fork-tender. Even were you to make some of the grievous missteps which I did not mention here (I am still learning you, potato.), this dish will garner silent smiles and 4 spoons!

 

Corn Curry Creates Comfortable Contentment

In my pantry today:

  • 1 c chana dal, cooked
  • 1 c kale, de-stemmed
  • 1 c corn
  • 5 vine tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2/3 c evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c ground flax
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

What’ll be great about this is not worrying about perfect mincing, because everything will be equalized in the food processor halfway through the process. What won’t be great is cleaning the food processor afterwards but at least you’ll get a draw. And that’s something.

Regardless, cut up your onion and garlic enough to transluce-ify in the oil/ghee along with mustard seeds and kala jeera. Leave on ML while you boil water for blanching those tomatoes (if you are unfamiliar with tomato blanching, fear not with these directions.). Once the huge pile of stuff in your pan looks half the man it used to be, add the turmeric (I like doing this because it turns everything bright yellow, and that makes me feel it is better utilized; I claim no scientific knowledge surrounding this.) then the tomatoes. Increase heat to M for 2-3m. Stir, then top the pan contents ever so gracefully with kale, reduce heat to L and cover for 5 minutes or so. This steams the kale just enough to go into the food processor while giving the tomatoes a little time to mingle in the pan.

So the next step is putting everything in the food processor. Add the flax and don’t even worry about pulsing — just turn the sucker on and let it run for a minute or two. Return it back to the pan of its beginnings and add in the evaporated milk and half the seasonings. Bring to a very delicate boil then add in the sour cream, yogurt and remaining spices. Stir in the corn and cooked dal and let everything simmer for 15m or so. Serve over Basmati rice. 5 spoons!

Lazarus Carrots (or, “Not Just Noses for Snowmen”)

In my pantry today:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 1 small Vidalia onion
  • 6 carrots (2.5 c ground)
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1/4 c ground flax
  • 2 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
  • .5 c water
  • 1.5 c cooked Basmati rice
  • .5 c cooked barley

I’ve been intending to roast all of those gorgeous carrots from my CSA with potatoes and onions and such… but at 3 weeks of good intentions, I am paving the road to hell with now-wilty carrots. I must put them to some manner of delicious use… perhaps by shoving their diced asses into the food processor: the phoenix-maker of iffy food!

While your carrots process to a nice mincemeat, start your onion, garlic and mustard seeds out in the coconut oil in a cold pan warming to M. When the mustard seeds begin popping, mix in turmeric and remove from heat. Transfer carrots from the food processor to a bowl and mix in flax; set aside. Pour cooled-ish pan contents into the processor and puree until a sauce-ish consistency. Put back in pan (now on ML) and stir in carrot/flax mixture and the remainder of your seasonings with 1 c water and bring to a low boil. Transfer immediately to the food processor and smoosh it all together one last time.

Transfer back to pan and slowly mix in 1/2 can of broth. Bring to an easy boil on ML for 10-15m. Mix in dal and another 1/2 can of broth and bring it all to a low boil on M. Let boil uncovered on M for 20-30 minutes, adding more broth in stages when it seems your sauce is becoming dangerously thick. Give your cooked rice and barley a proper introduction and serve underneath a sauce fit for a king. The sweetness of the carrots is heartened by that of the vidalia and the savory garlic and garam masala. Even wilty carrots can be made delectable with the right care — 5 spoons!

Another Fun Sauce Served Over Rice! With Kidney Beans!

  • 1.5 c cooked kidney beans
  • 6 blanched tomatoes
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 sprig basil (optional)

I never mean to start out with a list of ingredients wildly at odds with my socioeconomic standing. There are a lot of staples in the cupboard, and staples for me are the items you’ll see repeated — garlic, onions, curry, hot chili or cayenne pepper, different cooking oils. I find that maintaining a foundation of things like these makes making tasty meals possible on a budget… but it can force me into ruts. You all know I like sauces that go over rice — ah, but I am so much more!

…I say this as I go into another sauce/rice recipe, of course, but my intentions with it are good! I have just learned how to blanch tomatoes and I was hot to do another batch. In familiar tradition, these blanched and diced and drained tomatoes became another sauce. Their journey, however, was a noble one.

After blanching, dicing and draining off the more watery tomato juice, add your tomatoes (about 3c diced) to a pan that’s had garlic, onion, mustard seeds and kala jeera simmering in its oil foundation on [heat to M then reduce to ML after 5m] for a good 20-30m. Add remaining seasonings and stir, let come to a boil on M and keep it in ML-M uncovered for an hour or so — until everything has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a little before pouring into the food processor. Pulse until smooth then return to the pan, this time with a little coconut milk and lime juice. Mix everything together well as you fold in the beans, then top with a sprig of basil and cover. Turn heat back to M and let it steam for just a minute or two before serving over Basmati rice. 4 spoons!

Shakarkand Curry (or “A Shakarkand a Priest Walk Into a Bar…”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c lentils
  • 1 large sweet potato, baked
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 14.5 oz can [chicken or vegetable] broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1 tbsp ground brown flax
  • 2 tsp yellow curry
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida

So I’ve been roasting sweet potatoes at will lately — I hate that I’m inspired by anything a fast food chain does, but I can’t help but be by the sweet buttery spread that accompanies one of these “Signature Sides” from Wendy’s®. I’ve duplicated — nay, improved upon — their formula and that recipe is forthcoming. But back to the copious number of baked sweet potatoes in my refrigerator.

This one is gonna be a not-sinful-dessert-or-sometimes-meal option. It’ll be a curry! We’re gonna take the soft already-baked pulp out of the skin and set it aside. Start your minced onion and garlic in your oils warming to M. When full heat is reached, reduce to ML and let them cook until the onions become translucent. At that point, add your sweet potato and mash it into the pan. Add seasonings and flax and continue mashing. Once you feel good and smash-happy, add the broth slowly and dial it back to a more gentle pulverization. Once it’s a happy family, let simmer on M for just a minute then slowly stir in your lentils. Let the whole mess simmer together for 15-45m before serving over Basmati rice. 5 spoons!

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