Chocolate Chip-Coconut-Banana Oatmeal Cookies

oatmeal cookiesThese scrumptious oatmeal cookies are lower in sugar than conventional recipes; banana, raisins and chocolate chips add sweetness. I used a mix of coconut oil and butter. Whole wheat flour and a few spoonfuls of flax seed add to the nutritional value. Shredded coconut and walnuts provide delicious crunch and fiber. These cookies are great crumbled over your morning oatmeal or just enjoyed with a glass of milk.

Makes about 30 cookies

Preheat oven to 350◦
Have all ingredients at room temperature

½ cup white unbleached flour
½ cup finely ground whole wheat flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 Tb ground flax seed

4 Tb coconut oil
4 Tb butter
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 large speckled banana, smashed

½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup raisins
¼ cup semisweet and/or bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 ¾ cup oatmeal
coconut oil spray

Stir in flax seed to sifted dry ingredients.
Cream coconut oil and butter. Add brown sugar and beat until light. Add eggs and vanilla. Smash a soft banana with a fork, then beat into batter. With mixer on low, stir in dry ingredients until well combined. Add coconut flakes, raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts and stir until incorporated. Stir in oatmeal.

Spray a baking sheet with coconut oil. Drop batter by spoonfuls to make 12 cookies per sheet. Bake at 350◦ on center rack for 10 – 12 minutes, or until brown. Cool on rack. Too many cookies? These freeze well.

Tom Kha Gai ต้มข่าไก่ Thai Coconut Soup with Mushrooms

soup

This creamy coconut milk soup, fragrant with lime, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, cilantro and galangal, and a bit of chili heat, is one of my favorite Thai foods.
I am fortunate to live within shopping distance of Berkeley Bowl and several Asian markets that carry the authentic ingredients. I used low-fat coconut milk to cut down on the calories. If you can’t find galangal you can substitute its relative, ginger. Regular lime leaves can stand in for kaffir lime leaves.

Serves 3 large bowlfuls

ingredients

Ingredients:
2 inches galangal, sliced thin
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 tomato
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 Thai bird chili (bright red), finely julienned, seeds removed (unless you want more heat)
½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 cups of mushrooms, quartered
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup cilantro leaves
4 cups chicken broth (I used Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup)
14-oz can of low-fat coconut milk
½ chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces or cubed leftover roasted chicken breast

Bring broth to a boil. While broth is heating, trim ends from galangal and slice thinly. Cut a couple of inches from the root end of the lemongrass and remove the dry outer leaves. Slice the main stalk diagonally into 3 inch pieces, then smash both lemongrass and galangal slices with a mortar and pestle, molcajete, or other heavy object to release their fragrance. Add these to the boiling stock along with torn kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, julienned chili, and salt. Dip tomato in the boiling broth for a minute, and then cool. Peel the skin off, then slice tomato thickly and stir into the broth. Boil for 10 minutes.
Next, add the raw chicken and boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add coconut milk and gently stir for 5 minutes. When meat is thoroughly cooked, stir in lime juice. If using pre-cooked chicken, add it at this time. Discard galangal and lemongrass. Pour soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Coconut Pancakes

coconut pancakes
These tender, delicious pancakes are made with coconut milk, shredded coconut and coconut oil. If you can find coconut sugar, you can use it to sweeten them.
Coconut oil is all the rage, and my son Francisco talked me into buying some. Now he says “Sounds like you’re going kookoo for coco!” While I wouldn’t fry eggs it in, (I tried – weird), it’s excellent in pancakes. Because it has a high smoke point, you can fry your pancakes in coconut oil without it burning the way butter does. To retain the coconut flavor and have the pancakes golden brown, cook them on medium heat.

Makes approximately 10 medium pancakes

coconut pancake ingredients

Ingredients:
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup canned coconut milk (use low fat coconut milk to cut calories)
¾ cup finely ground whole wheat flour (aka white whole wheat flour)
1 Tb baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar or coconut sugar
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tb coconut oil

Beat coconut milk with eggs. Sift in flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix with wooden spoon just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in shredded coconut.
Heat coconut oil in heavy skillet over medium heat, just until melted. Stir oil into the batter. Pour large spoonfuls of batter onto skillet. Turn when bubbles begin to form and edges begin to dry. Add a little bit of coconut oil before frying each batch.

Serve with fresh fruit, a tad of maple syrup and a bit of coconut oil if you like.

Valentine Tart

photo

I made this fresh berry tart for Valentine’s Day. I used lemon-rosemary tart pastry, then filled it with pastry cream. I topped it with fresh organic strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, then glazed it with apricot preserves.

I made the pastry cream the night before. I based it on the recipe from Joy of Cooking, but used less sugar and more vanilla and also used 1% milk

1/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar

2 Tb all-purpose flour

2 Tb cornstarch

4 large egg yolks

1 1/3 cup 1% milk

1 tsp vanilla

Whip sugar, flour, cornstarch and egg yolks on high speed until light colored.

Heat milk in a medium saucepan until it just begins to simmer. With mixer on medium-low, slowly pour 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture until it is well combined. Then pour it slowly back into the pot with rest of the milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low-medium heat and continue whisking while the mixture thickens, then whisk for another minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Strain the pastry cream into a clean container,

Place parchment paper directly on the hot pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool on the counter then refrigerate until cold.

Spread pastry cream evenly on the cooled lemon-rosemary tart pastry

Wash berries, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the green tops off the strawberries and slice them lengthwise

Form a heart shape in the center with raspberries. Fill in the heart with sliced strawberries. Fill in the area outside the heart with blueberries.

Heat about 1/4 cup apricot preserves and 1 Tb water in a microwave. Gently brush it over the fruit for a shiny glaze. You can glaze the strawberries, then layer them to stick them together, then glaze again.

Lemon-Rosemary blossom Tart Pastry

blossoming rosemary

baked pastry

This delicately-scented pastry is ideal for making fruit tarts. Make it when rosemary is in bloom. It tastes like lemon butter cookies. Have ingredients as cold as possible. This recipe makes pastry to fit a 10” removable bottom tart pan. It’s good to keep a ruler handy.

lemon zest and rosemary flowers

Ingredients:

Ingredients:
5 rosemary blossoms
Zest of one large lemon (yellow part of peel only)
¼ cup sugar
1½ tsp cold lemon juice
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, frozen for at least 30 minutes
½ tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tb) cold unsalted butter
¼ cup minus 1½ tsp ice water

Directions:
Add ice to approximately ¼ cup cold water.
Pulse sugar, lemon zest and rosemary blossoms in food processor. Add flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix.
Cut butter into 8 tablespoon-size slices and add to ingredients. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Squeeze 1½ tsp lemon juice into a ¼ cup measuring cup. Add ice water to make ¼ cup. Pour into processor and pulse a few times.

dough in processor before forming

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Although the mixture may look loose and grainy, if you can squeeze a bit of the dough into a ball with your fingers, then you don’t need to add more water.

disk of dough

Pour into a large bowl and squeeze it together into a large ball, then flatten into a fat disk. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

rolling dough between parchment

Tear out two 14-inch sheets of parchment paper. Lightly flour one sheet, place the disk of dough on it, and then cover with the other sheet. Roll the dough out to 12 inches round.

measuring parcment with pan bottom

Carefully peel off the top parchment paper. Cut it into a circle, using the removable 10-inch removable bottom of the pan as a guide, and then set aside.

fitting dough into tart pan

Gently fold the dough loosely in half. Center the dough over the tart pan, and flip it into the pan, centering it if you are a bit off. Carefully unpeel the other parchment from the dough.

tart dough covered with parchment

Press the dough into the sides of the pan so it gets that pretty fluted look. Be careful not to stretch the dough, or it will shrink when it bakes. Trim the edges. Cover with the circle of parchment paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

About 15 min before taking the pastry out of the fridge, preheat the oven to 375◦.

pie weights on tart dough

Remove the pastry from the fridge and fill with ceramic pie weights. (You can substitute beans). Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes.

pricked pastry

Take the pan out and remove the pie weights and parchment paper. Prick the entire bottom of the pastry with a fork. Return the pastry to the oven for about 15 minutes until it is golden brown. Let it cool completely on a rack before filling.

baked pastry

Chili-Cheese-Bacon Cornbread

piece of cornbread

This rich, moist cornbread is flavorful with charred poblano chili, sharp cheddar cheese and bacon grease. The guilty pleasure of bacon grease is balanced by the healthy addition of olive oil! Sweetened with applesauce. Bake in the cast iron skillet used for frying the bacon.

baked pan of cornbread

Ingredients:

chili cheese
1 cup 1% milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 large poblano chili
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp paprika
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup unsweetened applesauce (I buy the little plastic containers.)
2 Tb bacon grease, melted but not hot, made from 3 slices bacon.
2 Tb olive oil
2 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425◦ and place rack in middle position.
Add vinegar to milk and let it curdle while you mix the other ingredients.

sweating poblano chili

Place poblano chili on comal or heavy frying pan over high heat, turning so that it burns in places. Place in a small covered pot to sweat.

While chili is sweating, grate 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and set aside.

bacon frying

Fry 3 pieces of bacon in a cast-iron skillet. Eat the bacon or add it to frijoles pintos, but save the grease. It should yield 2 Tb of bacon grease. Add the olive oil to the pan, and then scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cool while preparing the other ingredients.

Sift white flour with baking powder, salt, paprika, and baking soda into a medium bowl. Stir in cornmeal until well combined.

miniced poblano chili

Remove poblano chili from pot and scrape off the blackened skin. (Don’t rinse it, since you’ll be rinsing away some of charred flavor.) Mince the chili. Include the seeds if you like more heat.

Whisk eggs with milk in a separate bowl, then whisk in applesauce and bacon-oil mixture, including the browned bits of bacon.
Stir in minced poblano chili and ¾ cup cheese.
Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Slowly mix and fold with a large spoon, only until batter is combined.

sprinkle cheese on top

Pour batter into the skillet that you fried the bacon in. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

cornbread and frijoles

Excellent served with frijoles pintos.

Marinated Eggplant

marinated eggplant dishThis delicious Italian-style eggplant is marinated in olive oil, Meyer lemon and a touch of balsamic, with garlic and oregano. It makes an excellent side-dish for Italian food.

Make the dish a day before serving and marinate overnight in the fridge. Serve at room temperature.

eggplants3 medium or 4 small globe eggplants

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 leek

1/4 cup plus 2 Tb garlic infused olive oil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

12-oz jar Italian-style roasted red bell peppers

1 cloves garlic, minced fine

1 Tb balsamic vinegar

several grinds black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano

2 slices Meyer lemon (from blossom end)

Finely grated peel of Meyer lemon

Juice of Meyer lemon

chopped eggplant with leeksCut the eggplants at different angles into 2 inches pieces. Each piece should have skin on it. Put them on a rack above a rimmed baking pan, such as a jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the eggplant. Let it sit for 30 minutes. You will see it sweat. This improves the texture of the eggplant and is supposed to make it less bitter.

While eggplant is sweating, heat the oven to 350º F. Cut the white part of the leek length-wise and then into 1 ” pieces. Soak in a salad-spinner, then rise thoroughly. Spin until dry. Grease a roasting pan with 2 TB garlic infused olive oil and add leeks.

After eggplant sweats for 30 minutes, briefly rinse the pieces in the basket of the salad spinner, then spin, and pat dry with a paper towel. Add to the leeks in the roasting pan. Pour in the rest of the garlic oil and toss so that all the eggplant is coated with oil. Bake for 25 minutes at 350º F. Turn off the oven and let the baking dish sit in the oven until it is cool, about an hour. The eggplant and leeks should be very tender. Transfer to a deep casserole dish. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Cut two thin slices of lemon from the blossom end (opposite the stem end), then cut each in half and set aside. Finely grate the peel of the rest of the lemon, then juice it. Add peel and juice to the eggplant.

Pour the jar of roasted peppers into the eggplant, then fish out the peppers and slice them in half cross-wise, then into strips length-wise and stir into eggplant. Place the lemon slices on top.

Let the eggplant sit at room temperature. Adjust seasonings. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, then let sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.