Sunday, April 5, 2009

Coconut milk

I'm back. It's been a long two weeks with spring break, some fun stuff, and some sad stuff and very little cooking at home. But, now I'm back to real life, cooking, and my blog.

I've liked coconut for a long time but recently have discovered two easy coconut recipes that I'm really getting addicted to: Coconut rice and Coconut oatmeal. The coconut rice started as a side dish for a chicken curry crock pot recipe that I found online. The first time I made it (and, I admit, every time since) I ate the cold leftovers standing in front of the refrigerator the next day. I couldn't even go to the table and sit down like a civilized person before I wolfed them down.

The coconut oatmeal is new. I put some shredded coconut on our oatmeal the other morning and it was wonderful. It probably has something to do with the fact that my shredded coconut is sweetened and I usually eat my oatmeal unsweetened (I put cinnamon and dried cranberries or raisins in the water before adding the oats). It was so good and I asked my sisters and sister in law if they've ever tried making it with coconut milk. They had. How was I just now thinking of this? So this morning, I made a bowl and while not too sweet, it was delicious.

Coconut milk is made by simmering together the meat of the coconut and some water and then straining out the solid parts. I sometimes use "light" coconut milk which is sort of like using 2% or skim milk - less flavor and less fat. While I was researching using coconut oil topically for my daughter's excema, I came a lot of information on the health benefits of coconut in diet. From what I read, the idea that coconut milk or oil is unhealthy because of saturated fat is a myth - it's a "good" kind of fat that is similar to what's in breast milk and can improve brain development. Check this out if you're interested in more of that information.

Two simple recipes:

Coconut Rice

Cook rice according to package directions but substitute half of the water for coconut milk, omit any other fat (olive oil) and don't use salt. I think it's great with brown rice but I've also made it with regular white rice and jasmine rice.

Coconut Oatmeal

Cook oatmeal according to package directions but substitute 1/2 to 3/4 of the water for coconut milk.

This morning, I heated 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. coconut milk, and 1/4 cup raisins to a boil. I added 1/2 c. rolled oats and cooked, stirring, until it was the consistency that I like.

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