Coconut Margarita

Coconut Margarita

I added a little cream of coconut to a Margarita and fell in love with the results. OMG, why have I not done this sooner?

Margaritas are notoriously high in calories. Some can go as high as 600 calories per drink. Yikes! Triple sec and cream of coconut can add a lot of calories to a drink. By using only a small amount of triple sec and cream of coconut and by not adding sugar (or using a drink mix…which I would never do anyways), I was able to get this Coconut Margarita to come in at 172 calories.

Coconut Margarita

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) triple sec
1 heaping teaspoon cream of coconut (like Coco Lopez)
juice of 1/2 lime

Shake ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a glass and serve with a wedge of lime.

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

This is another dangerous (in a good way) recipe because I almost always have the ingredient to make these gluten-free cookies on hand. Luckily, this makes a small batch so I don’t have to feel guilty about baking cookies.

Coconut Macaroons (2)

Coconut Macaroons

1 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Drop by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Variation: Add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (or similar dried fruit) to the ingredients before baking.

Coconut Macaroons with Dried Cranberries (640x480)

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

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I am continuing to experiment with coconut flour. These gluten-free and grain-free brownies using coconut flour were a big hit in our family. They are pretty terrific. I bet most people would not be able to tell these were gluten-free. Quite impressive.

Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Brownies

1/3 cup butter (or non-dairy alternative)
6 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
1 cup coconut sugar (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 8 X 8 baking pan (or spray with cooking spray) and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with a whisk. Whisk in the cocoa powder and then add the melted butter. Stir in the coconut flour and mix until the batter is no longer lumpy. Add the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Allow brownies to cool before cutting into squares.

Adapted from the recipe on the package of Let’s Do Organics Organic Coconut Flour

Gluten-Free Coconut Blueberry Muffins

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I am working on eliminating wheat and ultimately, gluten from my diet. I have had thyroid disease for 10 years now. I take medicine every day, but my thyroid issues persist (despite blood test results in the “normal” range) and continue to get worse. I’ve been reading lately that a gluten-free diet can be beneficial for those with thyroid disease. I’m willing to try it. This isn’t my first dance with a gluten-free diet. In my 20’s I went on a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet for a year. I never felt better in my life. I think it will be much easier this go round since  there are so many more gluten-free convenience products available.

The kids and I went to Whole Foods the other night to pick up a few gluten-free things. I got some coconut flour and coconut palm sugar. Came home and got busy pinning coconut flour recipes. After reading through half a dozen coconut muffin recipes, I came up with this one. I think they turned out well. My family wasn’t too impressed. They are not coconut fans. I liked the texture. Not bad for gluten (and grain) free.

Gluten-Free Coconut Blueberry Muffins

3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder (Rumford and Clabber Girl brands are both gluten free)
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (melted)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh (not frozen) blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a blender, combine the eggs, coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, melted coconut oil, and salt until smooth. Pour batter into a bowl and stir in the blueberries.

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Line 6 regular-sized muffin tins with baking cups and divide the batter equally between them.

Bake the muffins at 400 degrees F for 17 minutes or until done.

Serve muffins warm with butter.

Lime in the Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

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This is a quick and flavorful soup. It has the flavors of Southeast Asia, but all of the ingredients can be found in the ethnic foods aisle at the local grocery store. You do not have to be super particular about the rice noodles you use in this soup. There is a dizzying array of variety when it comes to Asian rice noodles. I love the thinner rice vermicelli. Rice noodles do not contain gluten, so they are perfect for those on gluten-free diets. I think sliced white button mushrooms (thrown in the same time as the chicken) would be a nice addition to this soup.

Lime in the Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

6 ounces dried thin rice noodles (vermicelli or rice sticks)
4 cups chicken broth
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 can (approximately 13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 pound, boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 limes
3 tablespoons fish sauce (I recommend Three Crabs brand fish sauce, found at Asian markets)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 jalapeno, stem end removed and thinly sliced
1//2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the noodles and set aside.

In a soup pot, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the ginger. Reduce the heat to medium and add the coconut milk. Return to a simmer and then add the chicken. Simmer until the chicken is cooked thorugh, about 3 minutes. Stir in the juice of the 3 limes, the fish sauce, the brown sugar, and the cilantro. Add the drained noodles to the soup and cook one more minute. Stir in the sliced jalapeno and serve. You can garnish the soup with additional fresh cilantro.

Sea Glass Candy

This makes a beautiful candy that really does look like sea glass.

You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe, but if you familiar with the sugar stages (you are looking for the “hard crack” stage for this candy), you could use the method in which you drop a bit of the hot mixture into a bowl of cold water and then check for desired result.

Candy flavoring oils can be found in craft stores. You can also use regular extracts but you will need to add slightly more because they are not as concentrated as the candy oils.  I made two batches of this candy.  For the first batch I used apple flavored candy oil and green food coloring.  I over-did it on the flavoring and coloring and the candy did not taste that great.  For the second batch, I used a 1/2 teaspoon of regular coconut extract and 5 drops of blue food coloring and was very happy with the results.

Sea Glass Candy

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
food coloring
1/2-1 teaspoon flavoring oil (or extract)
non-stick cooking spray
powdered sugar for dusting

Lightly spray a small metal pan with non-stick spray. Don’t use ceramic or glass pans or else you may end up with real glass mixed in your sea glass candy.

In a small non-stick sauce pan, add sugar, water and corn syrup and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. When the mixture begins to simmer, brush the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush.  Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and watch.  There is no need to stir the mixture.

When the mixture gets to the 250°F range, go ahead and add the food coloring. Start with 5 drops and let the food coloring spread throughout the mixture.  If needed, you may add more food coloring, a drop or two at a time, until you get the color you want. Do not stir the mixture.

When the thermometer reads 300°F pull the pan off the heat and then add the your flavoring and stir.  Be careful because it will bubble and steam. Immediately pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan and allow to sit until cool.

Once the candy has fully cooled, cover with a piece of parchment paper, plastic wrap, clean tea towel, or paper towel and hit it with a hammer or mallet.

Lightly brush the pieces with powdered sugar, shaking off the excess. Store the candy in an air tight container and keep at room temperature. Do not leave the candy uncovered as it will absorb moisture from the air and get sticky.

Tom Kha Het (includes Fried Tofu recipe)

Tom Kha Het

This soup is so flavorful.  It is not truly vegetarian because it contains fish sauce, but soy sauce can be substituted to make it so.  This soup can be made with chicken, by adding about 1/3 pound of sliced chicken and using chicken broth instead of vegetable.  I really like the fried tofu version.  I recently figured out the secret of fried tofu…..dredging in flour before frying.  Such a simple thing really makes the difference, creating a crunch coating, yet keeping the interior moist.  The fried tofu served with a dipping sauce (sweet chili sauce, a soy-cilantro sauce, or nuoc cham) is a great appetizer.   The galangal should not be eaten, it is for flavoring only.

Tom Kha Het

1 T. vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. finely minced lemongrass
1 tsp. dried red chili flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp. ground chili paste (or to taste)
1 1-inch section frozen or fresh galangal, thinly sliced and bruised with the back of a knife
3 cups vegetable broth
2 T. fish sauce (or to taste)
1 tsp. sugar
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups fried tofu cubes (instructions at end of recipe)
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 T. fresh lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly julienned
handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes, and chili paste and cook, stirring about 30 seconds.  Add the galangal, vegetable broth, fish sauce, sugar, and coconut milk.  Bring the soup to a boil and add the tofu and mushrooms.  As soon as the soup comes to a second boil, turn off the heat and add the lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Fried Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu
vegetable oil for frying
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Remove tofu from package and drain off any liquid.  Carefully slice into 1/2-inch cubes by cutting tofu
lengthwise in half, then widthwise into thirds, and then into cubes.  Place cubes on paper towels and cover with a few more paper towels.  Press gently to remove excess moisture.  The process may need to be repeated with different paper towels if there is a lot of liquid.

Heat oil in a pan. Lightly coat tofu pieces in flour, shaking off excess.  Carefully place in hot oil.

Fry tofu for about 4 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.