Tag Archives: coconut

From Baking Overdose to Sweet Salvation

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An orange and a coconut walk into a bar….

Hahaha, apologies for the bad dad joke. I just couldn’t resist. My humor isn’t as sharp as usual – I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks and it’s left me a little delusional. The cause for my baking overdose? Well, a good friend and I just launched Jo&Jo – an LA-based florist/bakery partnership. Like any new project, it’s a ton of fun but there’s a lot of growing pains so we’re learning a lot along the way. Between catering a baptism for a very popular baby and getting all of our Mother’s Day packages out, I’ve been a brownie/cookie/muffin machine and consequential social hermit. Let’s just say that my oven and I are getting pretty intimate, which isn’t really how I pictured my mid-twenties.

Furthermore, baking the same recipes over and over again is putting a definite damper in my baking swag. My tried and trues are definitely that, but I miss the experimentation and the well-deserved / much anticipated bliss earned from the first bite of a new recipe. And then I made these glorious guys:

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Suddenly, my baking mojo was back! Using no recipes, no cookbooks – just me, my appliances and what was left in the fridge. Hey, it was more romantic than it’s sounds. And h-o-l-y lord strike me down if these golden squares of creamy heaven on earth aren’t the most delicious take on the cheesecake an orange could ask for. They’re even making me religious!

Enjoy my friends!

Orange Coconut Cheesecake Bars

Crust:
1.25 cup flour
.25 cup white sugar
.25 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
.25 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Cheesecake:
2 packs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 egg
1.5 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
.5 tsp cardamom
1 cup coconut
.25 tsp salt

Grease an 8×8 pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Make the crust. Combine coconut oil, butter, egg and sugars and beat on high until soft and creamy. Mix in flour and salt until combined. Add vanilla. Pat down mixture into pan and bake for 10-15 mins or until slightly golden brown.

Make the filling. Mix cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, orange zest/juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add coconut and salt and mix until just combined. Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 55-60 mins or until a toothpick comes out (relatively) clean. Cool completely and then chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Then, devour.

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Back in the saddle

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Ok, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I haven’t posted to this blog in…a while. It started off innocently enough – I was still cooking, but just didn’t have time to post and also had a brief lapse without a Photoshop license. Then that thing happened that always happens to me – where it’s so hard to come to terms with being behind that I ignore the issue and get way, way more behind. And then there’s no point in coming back from being way, way behind if you’re not going to have some perfectly epic comeback, right? Well, that doesn’t exist, so more time passes. This phenomenon is how I managed to not pay for a physical therapy appointment for a year and also part of my tortured relationship with guitar playing. Anyway, another confession I’ve avoided is that I get 3 meals a day at work. So, yeah. I’m not one of the people anymore. I’m a weekend cook. There, I said it.

Anyway, coming to terms with all this, I’m back. And I have lots of cooking to write about. Here’s one I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I actually made it while feeding a recently wisdom tooth-less boyfriend. It’s healthy, and filling, and yes, easy to chew if you’ve recently been through a dental procedure, but grownup enough for someone who hasn’t. If you live in San Francisco, soup is still a perfectly appropriate thing to crave in late March. No shaved asparagus salad yet! This one is actually very springy, with wilted spinach, bright green peas, a squeeze of lime, and fresh cilantro. It’s got a little curry to keep things interesting, but it stays squarely in the background and lets the veggies take center stage.

Friends, I challenge you to face that thing that you’ve been meaning to do. Here’s to being back in action!

Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from loveandlemons.com

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 cup peas (frozen is fine – is anyone not going to do frozen? no.)
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (2 cups)
  • 2-4 cups veggie broth
  • a pinch of brown sugar
  • squeeze of one juicy lime
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • salt
  • handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish

– In a large pot, heat coconut oil. Add onion and some salt salt. Cook, stirring, until onions become soft, about 5 minutes
– Add curry powder and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds while stirring.
– Add a squeeze of lime, coconut milk, veggie broth, chopped sweet potatoes, brown sugar and a little more salt. Turn heat down and simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes).
– At the end, stir in the peas and spinach and cook for another minute or two.
– Top with cilantro and serve.

 

 

 

 

Fueling for Panamania


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Sam and I just returned from a 10-day, 26-mile trek through the insanely beautiful Panamanian rain forests, beaches and headlands with one of our closest friends. It was, to say the least, a trip of a lifetime. We experienced fairy-tale like circumstances that circulated between The Jungle Book, Peter Pan and Cast Away (minus the Tom Hanks crazy), discovered the art of the salted rim on a perfect Chelada, sweated like mo-fos under 90+ degree weather and 100% humidity, and learned the many ways one can appreciate the kilt (don’t ask). Of course, waking up before the sun rose everyday (EVERY. DAY.) to embark on these treks left us insatiably hungry during the course of our trip, but being the Asian Martha Stewart that I am, I stocked us up with an arsenal of snacks that included dozens and dozens of power bars. We ended up needing every last morsel – I actually ate the last granola bar right before I boarded my flight back to LA.

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Our stockpile of adventure snacks included the granola bars here as well as two date-based power bars. My dad said (via text) that they were the “bombest protein bars in existence” and I can’t decide if it makes me prouder to say that he conveyed his approval over text message or that he colloquially uses “bombest” as an adjective more often than I do. Nonetheless, his wise words attest to the greatness of the recipes that follow:

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Spice Date Power Bars

Recipe adapted from here

1 cup almonds
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup Medjool dates
1 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon sea salt
Place nuts, dates and cherries in a food processor and pulse until well ground. Pulse in vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and salt and remove mixture from food processor and press into an 8×8 baking dish. Refrigerate overnight (6-8 hours) and cut into squares and serve.

Coconut Apricot Power Bars

Recipe adapted fron here

1/2 cup cashews
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside. Place cashews in a food processor and process until nuts are evenly chopped, set aside. Put dried apricots in the food processor and process for 3-4 minutes to finely chop. Add coconut, oats, agave syrup, coconut oil, hemp seeds, ginger and salt. Process until mixture comes together. Add the chopped cashews and pulse until well combined.

Put the apricot coconut mixture in the parchment lined baking pan and firmly press into pan. Cover the bars and place in a freezer for one hour. Unmold bars, trim ends and cut into even rectangles. Bars will last up to one month if stored in an air tight container in the fridge.

50 Shades of Green (+ a granola bar)

If you know me, you know my love affair with granola. If you know me well, you know I actually hate granola – that I despise myself for how I love it so: the power it has to weaken my knees as well as my will power to stop at one bowl. You also now know that I am crazy.

To mitigate such severe morning predicaments (and ridiculously important internal stuggles), I have created a new morning ritual: a green smoothie and an *individually wrapped and proportioned* grain-free granola bar. The green smoothie has been a standing ritual for a while now, but alone I tended to burn it off by 11 – my eyes involuntarily wandering to the top right corner of my computer screen, aching for a socially reasonable time to take a lunch break. We’ve all been there. I am a big believer in a respectable breakfast, so a supplement to the green smoothie was definitely in order. These bars are the perfect solution: suuuuper easy (no bake!) and have enough fat and sugar to keep you energized all morning long.

Every morning I tend to blend up a slightly different shade of green, making slight variations to keep it interesting – but the recipe that follows is definitely my favorite. Its pretty calorie packed, so definitely not an every day indulgence – I’d categorize it as a weekend smoothie. (Again, yes: crazy.) Typically, I just throw in almond milk, half a banana (or half an avocado), a more-than-generous handful or two of spinach or kale and a tablespoon of chia seeds. But we like to keep it exciting here, so I’m giving you the best of the best.

Make this your morning ritual and thank me when you finally glance at the clock mid-afternoon after an insanely productive morning has miraculously flown by sans hunger pains.

Breakfast of Champions:

1. Green Pineapple Coconut Smoothie 
(Adapted from here)

1½ cups fresh or frozen ripe pineapple
2 cups filtered water or raw coconut water
1 handful curly green kale (about 1½ large leaves)
1 ripe banana
2 dates
2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons cup raw almonds or cashews (optional for extra protein)
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional for them omega-3s)

Pour the coconut water in your blender, then pineapple (if using fresh pineapple, throw in some ice cubes) then the rest of the ingredients and blend, blend, blend! Add chia seeds at the very end so they don’t stick to the blender, making a bitch of a situation to clean. Pour and enjoy!

2. Grain-free Granola Bars
(adapted from here)

2½ cups assorted nuts and seeds
1 cup dried fruit
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
splash of vanilla extract
splash of almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
generous sprinkle of cinnamon

Roughly chop 1 cup of the nuts and throw the rest into a food processer. Pulse until you have finely chopped bits and pieces. Stir to combine with larger nut chunks and add dried fruit and coconut.

In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil and honey over medium-low heat. Add vanilla/almond extracts and salt and stir constantly until the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from the heat and pour over dry mixture. Stir to coat fruit and nuts completely.

Dump the mixture in a parchment or tin foil lined 9 x 13″ baking dish. With another sheet of parchment paper, press down the mixture REALLY HARD to condense and make the bars stick together. Like, use all you man-power to pack the suckers tightly.

Wait at least two hours to cool, or stick in the fridge for an hour or so. I left them overnight. The mixture will be hard enough to cut into bars.

Individual wrapping for the obsessive-compulsive and granola-addicts only.