Tag Archives: coconut

red lentil soup with coconut and aleppo pepper

A snow storm makes for a difficult departure! Last weekend, we flew down to Texas for a much anticipated wedding weekend. It was the first time most of our studio got together since graduation and it was so fun to see everyone. We had a lot of trouble getting out of Seattle, and basically had to fly out a day early or miss the entire trip. Eventually, we arrived in Houston and went immediately to Mai’s for a late dinner/midnight snack. Just like old studio nights! The wedding took place in San Antonio on Saturday and I am sad to say that I did not get to take any photos because I forgot to pack my camera during our packing frenzy. The wedding and reception were lovely, heartfelt affairs and we are all so happy for the bride and groom!

Before I knew it, it was Sunday and we were back in the cold, breezy Northwest. The snow turned in rain over the weekend, saturating the soil and making certain tasks like digging for potatoes difficult and muddy. When I come home from working at the farm, a soup like this is usually what I want for dinner. This lentil soup comes together quickly, is packed with protein and veggies, and is faintly exotic with flavors of coconut milk and chile peppers. I purchase Aleppo pepper at my local Penzeys and have really been enjoying the fruity, moderately spicy heat from these Turkish peppers. I imagine that you could also make this in a slow cooker. Leftovers keep well and make for a tasty lunch the next day.

**When I first posted, I forgot to link to this article by Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel, discussing the farmer and the eater. Thoughts?

Red Lentil Soup with Coconut and Aleppo Pepper

inspired from Serious Eats

2 tbsp olive oil

3 leeks, rinsed very well and sliced

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp ginger, grated on a microplane

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed if you want, and finely chopped

1 tsp EACH ground cumin and ground coriander. I actually used about 1 1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout, a Moroccan spice blend.

2 bay leaves

1 3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over

water or vegetable stock

about 1/2 can of coconut milk. I used light coconut milk, but full fat coconut milk should also be fine.

1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes. I used a fire roasted variety.

juice from 1 large lime

finely chopped cilantro to taste

Aleppo pepper and unsweetened shredded coconut to garnish

Heat the oil over medium high heat in your soup pot. When hot, add the leeks, onion, celery, and carrot and cook until soft. Add the jalapeno, garlic, ginger, and spices and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant. Add the rinsed red lentils to the pot and cover with water or vegetable stock. After you add enough liquid to cover the lentils and vegetables, add the bay leaves, coconut milk and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Check every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid and stir. When the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes), check the seasoning. Usually I have to add more salt. Turn the heat off and stir in all of lime juice and cilantro. Ladle into bowls and garnish generously with Aleppo pepper and coconut.



Filed under from the pantry, legumes, soups

Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass soup

Thanksgiving is less than ten days away! If you are still planning or tweaking your menu, I will have a couple festive recipes in the next week that you could add to your traditional rotation or bring to a holiday potluck.

Is Thanksgiving at your house traditional or not? When I was in school, our studio would get together, despite the looming pencils down deadline, and have a great assemblage of everyone’s family traditions. We would have JP’s mom’s delicious stuffing, full of dried fruit and nuts, Toine’s apple crumble, and Jason would brine and roast Alton Brown’s turkey. Last year was our last studio Thanksgiving, and while I do not miss being constantly stressed (between finishing my plots and watching the pumpkin pie bake), I do miss having everyone over at our house, eating the products of our hard work and drinking Shiner Bock.

This year, Thanksgiving is a lot less stressful and I am looking forward to experimenting with twists on traditional dishes. This pumpkin soup is creamy and rich, like the traditional soup, but has a kick of the Southeast Asian flavors of coconut, lemongrass, and galangal (a rhizome similar to ginger). Pumpkin (in this case a kobocha pumpkin) and corn are somewhat recent and quite popular imports in Asia and both of these vegetables work really well together in soup. I found everything in this recipe easily at my local Asian grocery, but if you have trouble finding galangal, feel free to use regular ginger instead. So, if can mix up Thanksgiving at your house this year, this soup is a great way to start, haha.

Pumpkin, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup

inspired by Gourmet

1 large stalk of lemongrass, trimmed and the outer layer(s) removed. I used 2 smaller stalks.

1 1″ piece of galangal or ginger

1 tbsp butter or olive oil

1 small kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups). You can use another other winter squash or pumpkin.

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups corn kernels, frozen is fine.

1 cup coconut milk (or more, if you want a more velvety soup. decrease the water proportionally)

about 4 cups water

lime juice, thai basil, or cilantro
Bruise the lemongrass and galangal with the back of your knife to release some of the oils. In your soup pot, heat the butter or oil over medium heat and start to sweat the onion, lemongrass, and galangal. Once the onions are translucent, add the squash and corn and season generously. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is fork tender. Remove the lemongrass and galangal and puree the soup, either using a stick blender or a regular blender, in small batches. If you wish, you can put the soup through a strainer to achieve a smoother texture. Return the pureed soup back to the pot and add more coconut milk or water if you wish to thin it out more and taste. I wound up using a pretty generous amount of salt. The soup is on the sweeter side so a good hit of acid in the form of lime juice is welcome. Ladle into bowls and garnish with more lime juice or a chiffonade of Thai basil or cilantro. A fancy touch might be making a basil or cilantro oil and drizzling a couple drops on top of each serving. A spoon of Greek yogurt would be nice here too.

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Filed under holiday, soups, thai-ish

homemade (vegan!) samoa cookies

it is still girl scout cookie season here in houston and while i like to indulge once a year, i feel like the girl scouts still have nothing on a homemade cookie.  samoa or “caramel delites” (depending on where you are in the country) have always been my favorite due to the combination of coconut and chocolate.  you can take or leave the shortbread base, but the coconut and chocolate makes the cookie.  i also try not to look at the nutritional label or ingredient list of girl scout cookies.  making your own (and these are super easy) lets you control the quality of ingredients (65% dark chocolate and organic coconut).

next time i might add a tiny bit more flour to these so they are a bit more cookie-like instead of macaroon like and (if feeling especially indulgent) drizzle with a bit of salted caramel.  i like that this recipe uses coconut oil instead of butter to intensify the coconut flavor and uses toasted coconut (my most very favorite dessert type flavor in the world).  these cookies take about 10 minutes to mix up and 8 minutes to bake so you can on your way to girl scout cookie heaven in no time.


vegan samoa cookies

adapted from the baking stone

2 cups shredded UNSWEETENED coconut (i usually get it in the bulk bins at WF)

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

1 cup brown sugar or sucanat or 1 1/2 cups if you like it sweeter

1/3 cup non dairy milk (i used soy, but i think you can use dairy milk)

1 tbsp ground flax (if you do not need these to be vegan, i think 1 egg can be used in place of flax)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt (generous)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (i used 65% dark chocolate)

1 tbsp coconut oil

preheat oven to 350.

in a large skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut.  watch it and stir frequently!  when it smells very delicious and golden remove from the pan. and cool slightly.

meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the coconut oil, sugar, milk, flax, and vanilla.  sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt.  fold in the toasted coconut.

drop tablespoons of dough on a well greased cookie sheet.  bake for 8-9 minutes or until the edges are just starting to get brown.  the cookie should be very soft when it comes out.  use the end of a spoon or chopstick to poke a hole in each cookie when it comes out.  cool for a few minutes of the sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

when the cookies are cool, make the chocolate drizzle my melting together the chocolate chips and coconut oil.  i just used the microwave in 30 second bursts.  place the cookies of a rack over a sheet pan and drizzle with chocolate.  allow the chocolate to set (in fridge or other cool place) and feast!



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Filed under sweets

rice pudding

the weather this week in san francisco is pretty dreary.  i wanted to make something that could simmer away on the stove and fill the kitchen with a warm, rich smell.  rice pudding!  i love custards and this one you can eat for breakfast.  i tweaked by general recipe a bit to use up some leftover coconut milk and added a cinnamon stick, ground cardamom, and chopped pieces of candied ginger.  if you toast some shredded coconut or chopped nuts to use as a garnish, it would add another dimension to the dish, but i was content just eat it warm from the pot.

coconut rice pudding

i didn’t really measure out anything for this, but it is pretty difficult to mess up.  the proportion of liquid to rice can also differ depending on how loose you like your rice pudding.  also, in the end, there was more soy milk than coconut milk, but you could still smell and taste it and it added a good amount of richness to the pudding.

3/4 cup rice (i used short grain brown rice since that is what i had on hand.  this would be much more traditional and creamy if you used a short grain whit rice like aborio rice or use jasmine or basmati rice for more tropicalness)

up to 1 can of coconut milk (light is fine)

3+ cups milk of your choice (i used soy) you can also replace some of the milk with water

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp ground cardamom

your desired amount of chopped candied ginger

about 3 tbsp agave syrup (or maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar)  i dont like mine too sweet and wanted to use some unrefined sweetners

1/4 tsp salt

combine the rice, salt and the milk in a pot over medium heat and simmer.  once the milk starts to be absorbed, add everything else.  lower the heat a bit and simmer until the rice is tender.  keep an eye on the pot and add more liquid if it starts to dry out.  the pudding with set up in the fridge so add more liquid than you think you need if you want a loose pudding.  serve warm or cold for dessert or for breakfast.

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Filed under breakfast, grains, sweets