Tag Archives: coconut milk

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

How time does fly!

This recipe is from 2011, and it’s still one of the most popular ones on this site. It produces a quick, thick creme brulee that’s great for beginners. Want something a touch above? Try my updated version with Chef Joe Murphy as part of my Pro Pastry, Gluten (and dairy!) Free series.

And for the adorable original text, scroll below the recipe.

Happy torching!

– Jacqueline

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…

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 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’m satiated.

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

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

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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!

Coriander Cinnamon Carob Candy

Coriander Cinnamon Carob Candy

Rustic.

That’s a word I’ve been throwing around my kitchen lately.  My ambitions with allergy-alternative baking are to make gorgeous treats just as delectable for those without sensitivities as those with, that are as appealing to the eyes as they are to the tastebuds.

But sometimes things just look…rustic.  They taste delicious but look a bit like the ugly duckling pre-swan-age.

This recipe is one such recipe.  I’m playing with molding carob powder with spices and fat into a hard candy that is satisfying and palatable for even the most sensitive stomachs.  Once again, this combination tastes delicious – with citrusy tangs of coriander and a cinnamon spice – but it took a while to get them to release easily from the molds.  Like the little engine, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… but for now I’ll enjoy my “rustic” treats.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground decaffinated coffee
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 cup coconut creme
  • 1 cup carob powder

Directions

  • Lightly grease mini-cupcake tins and dust heavily with cinnamon
  • Place a small pot on low heat and melt ghee or butter
  • Add 2 Tbsp cinnamon, coffee and coriander, and whisk to combine
  • Let sit on low heat for about 5 minutes to infuse
  • Slowly whisk in coconut creme, doing so until thoroughly combined and the mixture is a light brown with all the butter absorbed
  • Add carob, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly with each addition.  By the second addition, the ghee may separate from the creme and start to lump with the carob: don’t sweat this.  It should absorb back into the final mixture, which should be rather lumpy.  The mixture should not be smooth like chocolate, but almost look like a big pile of used coffee grounds.
  • Use a scant tablespoon to fill each mold, and pat the tops down flat.
  • Heavily dust with two coats of cinnamon.
  • Refrigerate until hard, about 1 hour, then let sit for about five minutes to soften a tad.  Use a very thin knife to work around the mold and slowly ease candies from pan.  Dust with cinnamon.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Buck Up with Buckwheat!

It’s cold in New York City.  I sit at the computer, writing away at articles for my job, gobbling hot tea constantly.  And as I puttered around the kitchen this morning, I realized my normal breakfast of eggs and veggies wasn’t gonna cut it. I need something warm, filling and slightly sweet.

Enter BUCKWHEAT.

buckwheat kernals

This gluten-free grain is often overlooked when compared with its massively produced cousin, Oatmeal, but it’s now readily available in health food stores large and small.  It’s not actually a grain, but a seed somewhat related to rhubarb.  It cooks very similarly to oatmeal, though, is as deliciously versatile and is wonderfully filling on mornings when there’s a lot of day to face.  It’s completely gluten-free and a very healthy-happy food.

Healthy-Happy Buckwheat!

  • Completely gluten-free as it’s a seed, so it’s digestible for those with celiac and gluten sensitivities
  • Contains a very high level of magnesium, which relaxes blood vessels and therefore contributes to healthy blood flow and is good for the heart
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol (that’s a good thing…)
  • Helps lower and regulate blood-sugar levels by containing chiro-inositol.  Researchers are not sure why this does what it does quite yet, but in humans and animals alike, whole grains containing this compound lowered blood-sugar levels by 12-19% when compared with those given a placebo (check it out at WHFoods)
  • Generally high in antioxidants, so is generally an on-your-side superfood

Let’s Cook It!

Some cook buckwheat as an alternative to rice.  I prefer it as a porridge, all gooey and slightly sweet.  Below is my recipe for a coconut-buckwheat cereal.  Alternatives would be to cook with water or an animal milk, then add any variety of vanilla extract, cinnamon, dried or fresh fruits, carob powder, fresh nutmeg, chai… the list goes on.  I prefer coconut milk on some mornings because it makes the porridge thicker and naturally sweet and creamy.  I pressure cook my morning grains normally, as it adds to the digestion ease and also makes the grains that much more moist and fluffy.  Toasting them for a few minutes on dry heat before adding the liquid increases their digestibility.  Directions for pressure-cooking and stove top cooking are below.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of buckwheat
  • 2 cups of liquid – I used a can of light coconut milk and then topped off the rest with water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (per serving)
  • dried cranberries, golden raisins or blueberries (preferably sugar and nitrate-free)
  • raw or toasted nuts (I used pecans, but hazelnuts or almonds would also be delightful)

Directions:

  1. Pressure Cook Grains: Add grains and liquid into a pressure cooker, bring up to full heat (you’ll know because it’ll be sizzling away, making lots of noise and releasing some steam), cook for 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and let pressure release naturally.
  2. Stove-top Cooking Grains:  Toast the grains in a dry pot on medium heat, stirring continually, until they become nutty and fragrant.  Add the liquid, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.   Cook about 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Serve with 1 tsp of maple syrup per serving, and a small handful of raw nuts and dried fruit.

Note: Adding a non-animal protein such as nut-butter or eggs is a great way to make this breakfast a perfect protein and aid digestion.  I actually rarely do such heavy grains first thing in the morning as I can’t digest nuts well in the early day, but as a sweet-treat and with some extra digestive boosting supplements, it’s a great way to face the rain.

How to make this a dessert? Simmer about 2 1/2 cups coconut milk on the stove, adding 4 tablespoons maple syrup, 2+ teaspoons each of vanilla extract and cinnamon and, if you want to live dangerously, a little dark rum.  Add grains and cook on low until thick and sweet.  Whip a whole egg and add in just before the grains are fully cooked, stirring thoroughly.  Taste and add seasonings to your preference.  Remove to a wide pan and refrigerate until cold.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, raisins and (if desired) a little more agave.

Thai Shrimp Coconut Soup

Thai Shrimp-Coconut Soup

So last year I lived in Cincinnati, and the freezing cold temperatures of the city and my high-ceiling-ed apartment made me want to make soup everyday.  And a few resolutions for making my life better contributed to my making up a recipe for Thai Shrimp-Coconut soup: 1) Use more items from my pantry instead of jetting to the market when I’m inspired to cook.   2) Don’t buy EVERY ingredient a recipe requires.  Use my solid knowledge of food to make do (thank you Julia Child for the dose of confidence).  3) COOK MORE IN LESS TIME!  I usually plan elaborate meals when a half an hour can result in something warm and simple.  So, yes, this recipe only took about a half an hour!

Now, let me preface.  I’ve never cooked any Thai food before… never a curry.  But I love cooking with coconut milk and was craving a soup at a Thai restaurant I love in NYC.  So I literally guessed at this process and added things progressively as I went along.  The result was DELICIOUS! And it made a LOT of soup!

Ingredients – Soup

  • 1 lb bag frozen shrimp, peeled and tails removed… the rise in demand in the U.S. for shrimp has produced some dangerous sources across the globe.  Please buy responsibly.  Chances are the cheap bag from the local grocer has bad energy about it.
  • 2 cans coconut milk – I used one regular and one Lite.
  • Fish sauce – purchased in the Asian section of most grocers.
  • crushed red pepper
  • tumeric
  • Olive oil
  • a hot curry paste
  • 1 8oz bag bean sprouts
  • 1 small bunch of chives
  • 1 lemon, plus more lemon juice as desired

Substitution note: I used olive oil because it’s what I had, but sesame oil would be more authentic.  And I used bean sprouts because they’re inexpensive and I don’t use them enough.  But bell peppers, carrots or a green vegetable sliced really thinly would also be great.  And you can never go wrong with a little fresh ginger zested in.

Directions:

  • Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive or sesame oil in a large soup pot on medium/high heat.  When hot, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry paste and mash to dissolve.  Add the thawed shrimp and saute for about 4 minutes.  Strain the shrimp out in a colander set over a bowl, and return liquid to pot.
  • Add another 2 tablespoons of curry paste, about 1 teaspoon of tumeric, the bean sprouts and 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.  Blend and bring up to heat, stirring constantly.
  • Add the 2 cans of coconut milk and 3 cans of water.  Bring up to a soft boil.  Add the juice of one lemon, taste, and add more as desired.
  • When hot, add back in the shrimp.  Cut the chives into pieces about 2 inches long, and toss in.
  • Add about a teaspoon of freshly crushed red pepper.
  • Enjoy!

What I learned: Fish sauce is STRONG! It’s literally sardines, salt and a little sugar.  It gives food a delicious richness but should be used wisely.  I added 3 tablespoons and, when everything was put together, got brave and added a 4th.  It was WAY too strong and salty.  So I added some organic lemon juice I had in the fridge, which balanced it out. 3 would have been perfect… the more you know!

Side Dishing It:

Now I used Jasmine rice as a side dish and mixed it into the final result.  My favorite way to cook rice is in a pressure cooker.  This speeds up the cooking time, makes the rice more digestible and gives it a soft texture unmatched in any other method.

Pressure Cooker Jasmine Rice Directions:

  1. Put 2 cups of water, a few dashes of sea salt and about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pressure cooker and bring it up to a soft boil.
  2. Add the rice and cover.
  3. Once the pressure cooker comes up to full pressure (hissing and singing away beautifully), set a timer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Uncover when fully de-pressured.

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding

It’s freezing in New York City.  By the time this is posted, the snow will be falling once again and NYC will have gotten more snow in January than any January in history.

Which is why this weekend I’ll be grabbing the ingredients for this warm and filling dessert that I made up last year while similarly freezing in Cincinnati.  It’s not too sweet, and a delicious dairy-free alternative to that gorgeous pudding that too often stares at me from behind the windows at Italian and Portuguese restaurants, eying me up and down as I sip my espresso.

Health notes: This recipe contains coconut milk (with medium-chained fatty acids, it’s very anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and helps build strong bones), and cinnamon (which helps to regulate blood sugar, has been shown to help arthritis symptoms and has a whole load of other health properties).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup long grain or basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk with 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 additional cups coconut milk
  • golden raisins / sultanas (about 1/2 cup but to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • fresh nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • your favorite sweetener to taste

Directions:

  • Cook the rice in your favorite form (stove top, pressure cooker, rice cooker etc.) with the 1 cup coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water and raisins until all liquids are absorbed, the rice is soft and the raisins are plumped.
  • Add the extra 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, cinnamon stick, lemon rind, and vanilla and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • When the liquid has reduced by half, add about 2 tablespoons of sweetener, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and about 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and taste.  Add more sweetener as desired.
  • Simmer until the liquid is absorbed to almost an oatmeal-like consistency.  Any further and it will dry out before being served.
  • Serve warm or chilled, with additional cinnamon on top or with sprinkled raisins or coconut.
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