July 4th, 2009

Coconut Recipe Island

Coconut on a Beach

The Coconut. Its scent brings to mind idyllic memories of sun, sand and azure blue waters–perhaps windsurfing, boating or romancing, perhaps exploring a new and exciting paradise, perhaps just lounging on a beach or poolside with a favorite novel. Its flavor instantly transports one to the exotic Tropics or the mysterious Orient.

There are many more aspects to this delectable nut (actually a seed–the largest on this planet) than most people realize. Aside from its irresistible taste, it is known to have healing properties. Its nutritional qualities are unique and unsurpassed. It has inspired legends, music and artwork.

You’ll find here a wide variety of coconut recipes, from soups to salads to entrees to desserts to soaps. (Yes, soaps!) You’ll find ways to prepare coconut meat, virgin oil, flour, water, milk and cream. And you’ll find all sorts of informative morsels on the extraordinary coconut.

Welcome to Coconut Recipe Island. Enjoy!

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April 9th, 2009

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk, like all things Coconut, is not only packed with health benefits, but is also a delicious and versatile ingredient in countless recipes.

Dr. Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, as well as director of the Coconut Research Center and editor of the Healthy Ways newsletter, says in his book, Coconut Cures: “Coconut milk is not the watery liquid you find sloshing around inside a fresh coconut. It is a product obtained by extracting the juice out of coconut meat. Its taste, appearance and nutrient content are very different from coconut water.
Coconut water has almost no fat or protein. Coconut milk is rich in fat and protein. It has a thick, creamy texture and is solid white in color, giving it an appearance similar to cow’s milk. Coconut milk contains about 17 to 24 percent fat, depending on how much water is used in processing. The higher fat milk is often called coconut cream and is very thick and rich, just like dairy cream.
Another difference between coconut water and milk is the sugar content. Coconut water is sweet. Coconut milk is not. although coconut milk has a pleasant taste, it contains little sugar. It even has less sugar than dairy milk. Because of its low carbohydrate content, coconut milk is ideal for low-carb diets. . . .
A variety of coconut milk products are available commercially. . . . Coconut milk usually contains about 17% fat. Coconut cream contails about 21 to 24% fat. Some coconut milk is watered down to reduce the fat content. This is called low-fat or light coconut milk.. . . Another product you may come across is cream of coconut. This is not the same as coconut cream. Cream of coconut is coconut cream with added sugar, and is very sweet. . . .”

Coconut milk is readily available in most supermarkets and health food stores. Thai Kitchen brand, which comes in 14 ounce cans, is my favorite. If you plan on cooking a lot of dishes with the milk, you can purchase a twelve-pack of Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk by clicking here for an excellent price.

You will find many wonderful recipes that call for coconut milk and its variations on these pages.

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April 9th, 2009

Coconut Virgin Oil

Coconut Virgin Oil is a suberb addition to any kitchen. Aside from its marvelous flavor, it is an ideal high-heat cooking oil (up to 350 degrees), a nutritious substitute for baking, and a better-than-butter spread on bread, vegetables or popcorn.

Because of its stability, coconut oil is very slow to oxidize (go rancid), even at room temperatures in the tropics!

It is also associated with myriad health benefits. Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports a healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungal (kills yeasts such as candida), anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Overall, coconut oil contains 92% saturated fats, and only 1% Omega-6, the fat Americans get way too much of.

Following is an excerpt from an article, Coconut Oil, on the Wellness Directory of Minnesota website:

  • Coconut oil is called the ‘low fat’ fat. It actually acts like a carbohydrate in that it is quickly broken down in the liver and used as quick energy. It is NOT stored like other fats. It boosts one’s energy and endurance.
  • Coconut oil improves digestion and absorption of fat soluble vitamins, minerals (especially calcium), and amino acids. It improves the body’s use of blood glucose and improves insulin secretion and absorption (great for Type II diabetes).
  • Coconut oil helps the body to heal and repair faster. It aids and supports immune function, protecting us from a variety of cancers.
  • Coconut oil . . . is good for your heart. It keeps our blood platelets from sticking together (and causing dangerous clots). Regular users of coconut oils have a much lower chance of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and strokes. Coconut oil can lower your blood pressure.
  • Coconut oil is a natural antioxidant.
  • Finally, coconut oil is the best massage oil on the planet. It forms a barrier against infections, softens and moisturizes your skin, and prevents wrinkling, sagging and age spots. It promotes healthy hair and complexion, protects from any damaging UV rays.

View the entire article here.

Keep in mind that different brands of organic coconut oil, while (purportedly) all maintaining excellent nutritional value, vary in taste. Some have a luscious coconut flavor, while others are practically neutral. Try a variety and choose one you like. (I find that the more ‘virgin’ any oil is, the more taste you’ll get.)

TIP: To acclimate your family to the taste of coconut oil, cream together equal parts of butter and coconut oil. Add a dash of salt if you wish. Serve the same way you would whole butter.

Dr. Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, as well as director of the Coconut Research Center and editor of the Healthy Ways newsletter, has written several excellent books. The Coconut Oil Miracle includes exciting facts on weight loss and disease prevention/cures, as well as a collection of fabulous recipes. To learn more about this book, click here.

Now that you know far more than you expected you would about what you’re serving your loved ones, let’s get to why you visited Coconut Recipe Island in the first place. . . . for Recipes.

 

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April 8th, 2009

Coconut Flour

Here are excerpts from an excellent article I found on Coconut Flour on the Wilderness Family Naturals website:

Coconut flour is uniquely different from all other wheat alternatives. It is naturally low in digestible carbohydrates, and contains no gluten. It has less carbohydrates than soy or nut flours while high in fiber and a good source of protein. Coconut flour is 4 times higher in fiber than oat bran, 2 times higher in fiber than wheat bran, and 3 times higher in fiber than ground flaxseed.  Unlike other fibers, coconut flour/fiber can be used as a flour to make delicious bakery products and main dishes that are much tastier than other wheat alternatives. Coconut flour also contains more protein than white or rye flour and cornmeal. It has about as much protein as you find in buckwheat and whole wheat flours. Breads made with coconut flour are light and soft, and have a wonderful taste and texture.

How to Use
Coconut Flour in Your Kitchen
:

Adding Coconut Flour to Your Favorite Recipe
: Because coconut flour does not contain any gluten, it will fall apart if you substitute it 100% for another flour in a wheat-based recipe. You can, however, substitute up to 25% (15-20% is best) of that flour with coconut flour. In addition, whatever amount of coconut flour you use, you need to increase the liquid in your recipe by that same measure. So, for example, if your recipe calls for 2 cups of wheat flour, you could use 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour, 1/2 cup of coconut flour, and 1/2 cup of additional liquid such as milk, water or juice. This will greatly increase the fiber content of that food.

Using 100% Coconut Flour: as a rule, you need to add approximately 6 eggs for every 1/2 cup of coconut flour you use in your recipe and will need to increase liquids because the fiber greatly absorbs liquid. Eggs will take the place of the gluten found in wheat, and help the fiber to stick together.

Other people who want to increase their fiber intake, but do not want to bake or make anything, add coconut flour to smoothies. Coconut flour is more palatable in smoothies than any other fiber, even though it supplies significantly more roughage than any other source.

You can purchase Coconut Flour at your local health food store, or online by clicking here.

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April 2nd, 2009

Coconut Water

Following are excerpts from an article compiled by John Kohler:

…If you’ve ever opened a fresh coconut, you will have seen the thin, opaque, almost clear coconut juice or water, which has a slight almond flavor. The water is consumed as a drink fresh from the coconut by many, and can also be used in recipes.

Coconut Water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid of life, so to speak. In fact, during the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water–siphoned directly from the nut to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers.

Most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical coastal areas; once exposed to air, the liquid rapidly loses most of its organoleptic and nutritiona characteristics, and begins to ferment…

Morton Satin, Chief of AG’s Agricultural Industries and Post-harvest Management Service (AGSI), says, “Coconut water is the very stuff of Nature, biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts and vitamins to ward off fatigue.” Satin sees coconut water as a natural contender in the sports drink market. “Just think of it,” he says. “What could be better than a natural beverage…with the delicate aroma, taste, drinking characteristics and nutritional value of pure, fresh, tender coconut water, plus all the functional characteristics required of a sports drink?”

If you’re momentarily running a little short on fresh coconuts, you can purchase an excellent packaged coconut water here. Vita Coco is 100% pure coconut water with natural fruit purees. With five essential electrolytes, more potassium than a banana, low acidity, no fat, no sugar added, and no cholesterol, it’s the perfect way to hydrate and replenish. Best of all is its taste…. “just like sticking a straw in a coconut!”

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