Tag Archives: coconut milk

Coconut Milk Creme Brulee – Easy, Spot-On and Dairy Free!

Coconut Milk Creme Brulee

Life is delicious.  After a packed weekend of family and amazing food and lit fires and lots of hugging, I sat back at a desk Monday morning, worked the day away, then packed Mitra and my Christmas loot into my little blue Subaru and booked it back to NYC.  Because I had a guest coming over.  A man.  Who was cooking me dinner.

I’m not the easiest person to cook for, having this whole gluten and dairy free diet thing.  My last two boyfriends were great eaters and practically non-existent cooks (Ruark, three bf’s ago, makes a meat sauce to die for).  Being domestically bent, I easily fall into the role of kitchen wizard (so a friend once called me) in relationships.  I now have a “no cooking for you before the 4th date rule” (a loose rule, but there nonetheless).  So a guy offering to come to my place to cook on our second date… was a first.

(Side note: I’m getting distracted writing up this post because there’s a horrible holiday movie my roommate recorded playing and while it’s truly wretched Mark-Paul Gosselaar is a-DOR-able. Definitely aging well.)

While I made some fancy cocktails (ginger ale, fresh sweet lime and zested ginger with bourbon for me and vodka for him), date man made us an incredible dinner.  Flavorful, tasty, relaxed, and much appreciated.  I made dessert.  A dairy-free creme brulee with loads of vanilla and a perfectly torched crust.

We didn’t end up eating it.  Cocktails with neighbors led to a late evening and full bellies.  So tonight my under-slept self enjoyed the crap outta it while watching Mad Men (and said horrible/adorable Christmas movie)  and cuddling with the dog.  Neighbors upstairs got the rest.  It’s dense and just sweet enough, with the perfect little crunch.  Using vanilla bean gives it an incredible punch.  I’ve so missed creme brulee, and now I’ve been satiated.

Let me know if you make it, and who you share it with, and how you adapt it, and what you think.

Cheers to second dates, Christmases full of goodness, Mad Men and little dogs.

Crunchy crust and lightly lemon scented biscuits

This recipe made FoodBuzz’s Top 9 on December 29th! Thanks for all the buzzing love!

Dairy-Free Creme Brulee

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

Equipment:

  • 4 5oz ramekins
  • glass or ceramic baking dish
  • kitchen torch

Method:

Preheat oven to 300° F.  Set a pot or kettle full of water on to boil.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth.  Add coconut milk and blend until smooth.

Pour into ramekins.

Place in ceramic baking dish and pour hot water until it comes halfway up the ramekins.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until just slightly jiggly in the middle.

Cool until ready to serve or chill until cold.  When ready, sprinkle with about 2 tsp white sugar and torch until crispy and brown.

Notes: It’s a bit dense.  I based the recipe on one that used lemon to cut the thickness.  But unlike some other dairy-free creme brulee recipes you won’t have to worry about it not setting.  While I was totally pleased with this turnout, you could probably omit one yolk and still find success.

Also, HERE’S THE TORCH I HAVE. You’ll use it more than you think you will. Charring marshmallows and browning meringue are just two fun things…

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding – Gluten and Dairy Free

Mmmmm... rice pudding...

Growing up, I’d come home from school to find a tray of little glasses filled with a creamy, sweet mixture, dusted with cinnamon and garnished with raisins, chilling in the fridge.  I knew, then, that my Avo, my Portuguese grandmother, was somewhere near by.  And I knew how much my father loved her rice pudding.   Avo learned everything by tradition: she gardened, plucked chickens, baked bread in a brick oven in her garage, and fed her 15 grandchildren and countless relatives at an endless table on holidays.  If I ever have half the skill of my Avo, I’ll be one happy, dusty baker.

That rice pudding looked so delicious.  This rice pudding tastes so delicious.  And I can eat it. Because it’s dairy-free!

A friend left New York City the other night to move back London, and shared her last meal in the states at my apartment: cheap and delicious Mexican food from up the block.  And before that meal, we had this for dessert.  She proclaimed it her favorite of any of my creations.  I always know I’m onto something when someone makes that statement.  I miss you horribly already, Mel.  And I don’t care who knows it!!!

This recipe is incredibly easy: gluten and dairy free, it contains only 2 tablespoons of maple syrup as sweetener.  It’s delicious warm from the stove, at room temperature or chilled.  A vanilla bean really adds incredible flavor to the small list of ingredients, so I highly recommend it instead of using vanilla extract.

Make it for people you love, please!

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 Tbsp cachaca, dark rum, brandy or cognac
  • Scant 1/2 cup long grain white or arborio rice
  • Scant cup water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (full fat and preferably organic)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 egg, beaten well

Method:

In a small bowl, soak raisins in alcohol and allow to sit while you prepare the pudding.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, toast rice until it becomes fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add water and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until absorbed, about 12 minutes.

Add 3/4 can of coconut milk, maple syrup and scraped vanilla bean and cook until almost fully absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Beat remaining coconut milk with the egg.  Pour over pudding.  Stir in raisins and alcohol.

Spoon into four glasses.  Serve warm, bring to room temperature or chill completely.

Hurrican Irene Erosion – a Decadent Dairy-Free Dessert

Honeybun Ice Cream with Fruit Compote and Macarons

This dessert is incredibly happy-making.  Honeybun ice cream made with coconut milk, topped with stewed fruit and a French macaron – divine. It was the perfect conclusion to my FoodBuzz 24×24 Scarborough Fair Summer Supper Party.  Laced with lavender honey and infused with spearmint, it’s both sweet and refreshing at the same time.

Oh, and why is it named Hurricane Irene Erosion?  Because my lavish summer supper party poolside in Connecticut became a rainy dinner for seven in my apartment in NYC because of the impending doom of Irene that – gasp! – dropped a twig on my car.  Check out the post on the party.

The ice cream itself is incredibly creamy, silky smooth and just-sweet enough without being overbearing.  It’s made with a base of egg yolks and coconut milk tempered together to make a rich custard.  Sweetened only with honey and vanilla, it’s a healthy version of the classic for those of us with milk allergies.

The photos don’t quite do it justice – let’s just say if you make it you won’t be disappointed.

Oh, and the entire recipe is gluten and dairy free. 

I’m not going to put a macaron recipe up here – they’re not easy to make.  This was my first successful attempt after 5 failed tries.  It took my interviewing Jill Colonna of Mad About Macarons and a pastry class at Dessert Truck Works to get it right.  So I’ll let you explore those options if you want to tackle macarons, or suggest my Rosewater Lavender Shortbread.

Hurricane Irene Erosion

Ingredients: Ice Cream

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 5 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup honey – split
  • 1 tsp gelatin

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a simmer and place a large metal bowl on top in old-school double-boiler style.
  • Place coconut milk and vanilla in the bowl and heat until hot but not boiling.  When warm, add 1/2 cup of honey and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks.
  • Temper the eggs by whisking about 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk into the egg yolks.  Make sure you whisk continually so that the eggs don’t clump.  Repeat two or three more times until the egg yolks come up to temperature, and then add the yolk mixture to the bowl of milk.  Whisk together over just-simmering water until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin on top and let it dissolve slightly, then continue to whisk until incorporated.
  • Remove mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
  • Make according to the directions of your ice cream maker, or pour into a wide pan and stir every half hour for about four hours. When the mixture is just coming together, swirl in the remaining honey so that it remains in streams in the ice cream. I used honey infused with lavender, which was quite delightful.

For the Fruit:

I used a pint of black plums and two ripe peaches.  I simply stewed them with a teaspoon of gelatin over medium heat until they boiled down a bit, then cooled them to gel.  When completely cool, I stirred in two tablespoons of fresh spearmint.

Chicken Coconut Soup

Chicken Coconut Soup

It’s warm in NYC today, but the boyfriend and I are a bit under the weather.  So we need a soup that’s light but also complex in flavor and filling to our Day-4-cold bodies, and I need something that’s extremely easy to make.  Enter Chicken Coconut Soup.  The boyfriend doesn’t eat much meat (sniff), so he often requests chicken when asked what I should make for dinner.  Conveniently I had some boneless thighs in the fridge and a can of coconut milk and coconut cream as well as a bunch of leftover lemons.  A container of mushrooms, some green onions and some fresh basil – voila!  This is an extremely affordable soup that – when served over rice – can comfortably feed four hungry bellies.  Weakened condition optional.

Since I have a bit of baking to do and know my energy waxes and wanes on its own schedule when I’m sick, I’m preparing the soup early, then I’ll let it sit in the fridge and the flavors meld.  Tonight I’ll cook up some jasmine rice, bring the soup up to temp and we’ll be good to go.

I decided to poach the chicken as my new best friend Jacques Pépin learned from his buddy Danny Kaye (who I love, sigh).  I also added oyster mushrooms to this recipe out of inspiration from Jacques.  If you want to learn tricks of the trade, read chef memoirs.  And they’re just so much fun!

Ingredients:

  • About 1 – 1 1/2 pound chicken.  I used boneless thighs to give the soup a bit more fat and flavor, but breasts work as well.
  • 2 whole lemons
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3/4 can coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut).  If you can’t find this, just use 3 cans of coconut milk in lieu of as much water.
  • 1 bunch of green onions, tough greens removed, chopped.
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • About 3 oz mushrooms (optional).  I used oyster mushrooms, but any delicate mushroom will do.

Directions:

  • Spread chicken in a (preferably cast-iron) soup or stock pot.  Add coconut milk and enough water to cover chicken by 1/2 inch.  If you’re not using coconut cream as well, use 2 more cans coconut milk and add water to top.
  • Add salt, peppercorns and 1/2 of the chopped green onions.
  • Turn on heat and start to bring liquid up to a boil.
  • While the pot heats up, juice one lemon and add to the broth.  Take the other lemon and slice into 1/2 inch rounds, then dice.  Add to soup in entirety.
  • When the liquid is at a strong boil, remove from heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.  This should poach the chicken to a perfect level.
  • After fifteen minutes, remove chicken and check to see that it’s done.  If not, return to pot.  If so, remove all chicken and allow to cool.
  • Meanwhile, whisk in enough coconut cream to thicken the broth a bit and enhance the flavor.  I added about 1/4 cup at a time, and my perfect level was 3/4 of the can.
  • Add almost the rest of the green onions.
  • Chop 3/4 of the mushrooms and add.
  • Reserve remaining green onions, mushrooms and lemon rind.
  • When the chicken is lukewarm, shred it with your hands along the “grain” of the meat (much easier than cutting, promise) and return to pot.  Bring back up to a simmer and serve immediately or cover and put in fridge until ready to eat.
  • Garnish with remaining green onions, mushrooms and lemon rind.

Serving suggestion: try it over some rice noodles or jasmine rice.  Adding a bit of crushed red pepper would also be delightful.

Pink Swan Cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes with Pink Swan Icing

My roommate is a big movie buff, so she throws a (small) Oscar bash every year, and stylishly serves up food to go along with each nominated Best Picture.  To throw my contributions in, I made Irish Cream Filled Carob Cupcakes (for the Fighter, set in Massachusetts, which is all I could come up with) and these light and fluffy coconut cupcakes that I frosted pink and sprinkled with dried coconut, to elegantly mock the hot pink mess of a birthday cake that almost dies an early death in Black Swan.

Yes, the Oscars were two weekends ago already.  But I’ve been busy.  And I just finished watching the Fashion Police Oscar episode, which put me back in the mood to post these.  And I shamefully admit that, thanks to my roommate, I now watch that show when it’s left it on the DVR for me.  It’s probably the worst of the shows that I’ve picked up (infrequently) from living with her.  But they DID pick Natalie Portman as the “Best Dressed” of the night, so I can justify the “love” part of “love-hating” the show.

Oh, for the antithesis of my love for Natalie Portman in this film / in her Oscar dress and this pink, girly cupcakes, check out Black Swan Pie at Bittersweet Blog.

Now, these are completely gluten-free.  And I also made them completely dairy-free because I had some Earth Balance sticks in the fridge and was making a coconut cream frosting, so figured why add dairy in the mix if I didn’t need to?

I love gluten-free baking because it is relatively easy to play with ingredients and get a tasty result – the absence of gluten makes doughs tougher.  Which, yes, is what you DON’T want as an end result in certain recipes but which does give you more structure when experimenting.  The only reason I didn’t go completely vegan is because of how important eggs are when baking gluten-free: you’re already using a large amount of starch in the flour blend, so replacing eggs with potato starch and water (essentially that is what egg-replacer is) results in a grainy pastry that crumbles easily.  Rather simply to remedy when making a treat with, let’s say, almond butter or some sort of fat to help, but not so easy with cupcakes.

You could, of course, substitute regular flour in this recipe for the gluten-free mix, sugar for the xylitol and milk and butter for the non-dairy components.

Oh, and I based this recipe off one from Garret of Vanilla Garlic.  I must say, the specific technique produced a fluffy and delightfully almost chewy cupcake.  Paired with a rich coconut frosting that I played with until it was right, these were a hit.

Ingredients: Cakes

  • 12 Tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread at room temperature
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used the high-protein mix)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup xantham gum, sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  • Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the coconut milk and vanilla in another
  • In a third, large bowl, cream the Earth Balance until fluffy, then add the sugar and xylitol and beat until smooth and fluffy
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between additions
  • Start with dry and end with dry.  That is, add 1/3 cup of the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.  Then add 1/2 of the coconut milk and repeat until all ingredients are blended
  • Fill into 18 cupcake tins
  • Bake for 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool completely before glazing

Ingredients: Coconut Glaze

  • 1 can of creme of coconut (different than coconut cream)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch

Directions

Now, I learned through this recipe that there is, indeed, a difference between coconut cream and cream of coconut.  I was thinking that I had bought coconut cream, which is essentially a thicker coconut milk, with a higher fat content.  When in fact I had bought cream of coconut, which is a gel-like liquid that’s been sweetened with sugar.  Not having time to go out and correct my mistake before guests came over, and recognizing that this was simply another dusty opportunity, I blended the ingredients together to produce a delightfully thick glaze.  Now, this is not a frosting I, as a person who has hypoglycemia, will eat because it is all sugar (as frostings tend to be).  But since the cakes were not particularly sweet, this was a perfect companion.  And the coconut flavor came out that much more so in the glaze and therefore brought it out in the cakes.  Success!

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