Jasmine rice pudding

Rice pudding can be a great way to use up left-over rice (unless, of course, you’re me and typically cook your grains in a savory meat stock).    It’s a little sweet and a lot creamy and, this version at least, full of a variety of textures.  I particularly like to use Jasmine rice because of its fragrant floral notes, but really you can use any grain that you like- be it white, brown, or purple.  If you use something other than jasmine rice, I would suggest adding a splash of pure vanilla extract.

Ingredients:

1 cup jasmine rice

2 cans coconut milk (lite if that’s your preference)

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup raisins and/or currants and/or dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped raw cashews

1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Put the jasmine rice and 2 cups of coconut milk in a small sauce pan with the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, immediately reduce the heat to low, give the rice one stir to be sure that it’s not suck to the bottom of the pan, cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes
  • Place the cooked rice in a mixing bowl, remove the cinnamon stick, and add the raisins/currants/cranberries, half of the cashews & half of the coconut, and stir
  • If the mixture is dry, add additional coconut milk until it looks creamy
  • Scatter the remaining cashews & coconut over the top of the pudding and either serve warm immediately, or cover and chill overnight

Personally, I think that this dish makes a wonderful dessert but is equally as good as a breakfast.  It also travels well and is easy to make ahead.

J

Rocky cookies

I have a dear friend named Roxanne.  Those who know her well call her Rocky.  Rocky is a giving and loving person, always there to listen to a friend, offer advice, lend her opinion.  Rocky also happens to be famous for her cookies, and I mean that.  She’s been asked to make them for parties at a salon, for people’s backyard shindigs, she’s made them for co-workers.  She willingly shares her recipe and I’ve used it over and over.  In fact I have a family member who swears that Rocky cookies helped her survive through a rough patch of menopause.  My weight-lifting friend asks me to make them as her cheat after competitions.  I’ve made them for constipated children who don’t get enough fiber in their diet, and for adults after surgery.  I make them for myself as a snack.  Unlike conventional cookies, they’re packed with healthy fats and fruits, nuts, and energy-supplying seeds.  No butter, no brown sugar, no white sugar- you get my drift.

This cookie is hearty.  It can be made with every ingredient in the list, or only a few of them.  You can play with combinations for flavor such as pumpkin and walnut, or chocolate and cherries, or sunflower and raisin.  Personally, I love to have a little bit of dark chocolate, lots of different fruits (prune, fig, raisin, cranberry), some wheat berries, a mixture of flours (barley and whole wheat)- a little bit of everything.

The recipe may confuse some as it calls for a handful of this and that ingredient.  It means that, literally.  The dough should not be terribly stiff when complete, but if it’s too runny just add a bit more flour to the mix.

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup steel cut oats

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (or oat or barley flour)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon cinnamon (can also add a dash of cloves and/or nutmeg)

Sprinkle of sea salt

Handful of bittersweet chocolate chunks

Handful of raisins

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of walnuts

Handful of wheat germ

Handful of flax seed meal

Handful of seeds if you like them (sunflower, pepitas, flax, sesame, etc.)

the dry ingredients

1 egg

¾ cup real maple syrup (or any variation of, honey, agave, and/or molasses)

¾ cup plain, unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup coconut or olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup canned pumpkin (or a well-ripened banana)

1 large scoop of peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter)

the wet ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix

the mixture

  • Scoop the batter by the tablespoon onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (cookies will not spread)
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  You want a finished cookie that is golden brown around the edges and a bit on top

the Rocky cookie

J

Carrot (and so much more!) cupcakes

A stand-up carrot cake recipe is always a good thing to have in one’s repertoire, in my opinion.  This recipe is stand-up.  It’s flavorful without being over-done.  It’s moist without being heavy or greasy.  It’s loaded with fruits and, therefore, fiber (which must mean that it’s healthy-right?).  And to top it off, it gets frosted with goat cheese.  Yum!

What I will also point out is that this recipe is easier on the tongue than it is on the eyes.  The cupcake is not necessarily what I would call gorgeous, but it is damn tasty.  It holds its shape well, but the frosting on top is definitely what makes it look more appealing.

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

½ cup moist, plump raisins*

2 cups sugar

1 cup safflower oil

4 large eggs

re-constituting raisins, chopped walnuts & coconut- oh my!

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease & flour your muffin tins
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

flour, leavening & spices

  • In another bowl stir together carrots, nuts, coconut and raisins (and/or dried cranberries, currants, cherries, etc.)
  • In a stand mixer beat together the sugar and oil until smooth
  • Add eggs one at a time
  • Add the flour mixture and don’t over-mix
  • Mix in the chunky ingredients

this is one chunky batter

  • Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake for 25-35 minutes

be sure not to over-fill your tins

*Note: if your raisins are a bit on the dry side, re-hydrate them in a dish with some warm water (or rum, if you prefer) for 10 minutes before using

Frosting Ingredients:

6 oz cream cheese, at room temp

2 oz goat cheese, at room temp

1 stick butter at room temp

1 pound confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  • In a stand mixer beat together the cream cheese, goat cheese and butter until smooth and creamy
  • Gradually add the sugar and beat until super-smooth
  • Beat in the lemon juice
  • Frost your cooled cupcakes

*Feel free to change the cream cheese/goat cheese ratio or omit one or the other altogether

You could top the frosted cakes with shredded coconut, or toasted coconut, or chunks of walnuts, or even lemon zest

J

Recipe adapted from this cookbook authored by Dorie Greenspan

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Mango Basil Salsa and Jasmine Rice

Last week I had a special request for a coconut shrimp dish with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.  I got my fingertips to work scouring the interwebs and combined some recipes, then changed them up a bit, and came up with what’s below.  Sweet, spicy, crunchy shrimp over creamy coconutty Jasmin rice, and sweet mango salsa.

Ingredients

Salsa:

1 mango, peeled and finely diced (Frozen works just as well and Trader Joe’s carries them)

5 basil leaves, julienned

1 lime, juiced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shrimp:

2 fresh jalapenos, sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 lime, zested

1/4 cup coconut milk

Small handful basil leaves, torn

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

15 grinds pepper

1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp

1 Cup panko

½ Cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

Jasmine Rice:

1 cup jasmine rice

3/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup water

Pinch salt

Directions

  • For the salsa: Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Make up to a day in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator.
  • For the shrimp: In a mixing bowl, combine jalapenos, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, coconut milk, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours, refrigerated.

  • Roll the marinated shrimp around in the panko-coconut mixture to coat evenly
  • Spread coated shrimp out on a baking sheet and cover with remaining coating, spray lightly with oil or pan spray (to assist with browning) and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes (just long enough to create a browned, crunchy coating)
  • Put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  • Add reserved marinade to a pan, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour over the cooked rice and serve with Shrimp topped with Mango Salsa.

J

Banana Cocoa Cake with Toasted Coconut top

I love to bake, and I love to eat desserts.  What I do not love are overly-sweet and/or rich desserts that make my teeth ache and my conscience wish that I had said “no” after I begin digestion.  That is where this recipe comes in: a moist cake, rich with cocoa flavor, made indulgent by the addition of coconut milk and flakes, and sweetened with nothing but fruit, but won’t cause a heart attack.

I will admit that the batter is a bit on the thick side which can make it a bit difficult to work with.  Knowing this ahead of time allows you to set aside extra patience for this very deserving indulgence.  Topped with toasty bits of crunchy coconut I think that it would make for a great breakfast with a cup of coffee or snack with a glass of milk.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 very ripe medium bananas
8 dried mission figs
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, both of the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk or sift thoroughly to eliminate any lumps. Set aside.
  • Put the bananas, figs, coconut milk, water and vanilla into a blender. Blend until figs are chopped very small and the mixture is thick and smooth, about a minute.
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, taking care not to overwork the batter. This batter will be very thick.  Pour/scoop the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the baking pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.  Slice into 16 even pieces.

J