Homemade Coconut Butter

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Coconut butter really is one of the greatest things on earth.

Really.

It’s thick, it’s smooth, it’s sweet, and it’s just so delicious.

I rave about the delectability on a regular basis, and am often asked about the difference between coconut butter and coconut oil.  Apparently this information is rather confusing to folks ~
Neither my heart nor my soul is able to understand the confusion, simply because of my dedication to each product and adoration of for individual use.  Coconut oil is great for high heat cooking and baking. Coconut butter, on the other hand….oh no no no….this is a “raw” product and not really to be heated.  It’s simply to be CONSUMED!  Yes, I can certainly pile away copious amounts of this creamy white heaven on earth.

The differences and definitions:

Coconut oil: Coconut oil is the fat pressed from coconut meat.  Rather solid at room temperature, when melted, this becomes a clear liquid.

Coconut butter: (oh, the best!)  Coconut butter – sometimes referred to as coconut cream – is actually pureed coconut meat.  This means that the product includes both the coconut oil AND the desiccated coconut.  I love to eat this right out of the jar, off the spoon…or spread atop just about anything.  It’s SO naturally sweet.

And just for kicks…

Coconut milk: Coconut milk is made by squeezing grated coconut meat, blended with water, through a cheesecloth.  “Light” coconut milk is simply coconut milk with water added to it…not recommended.  The health benefits of full fat coconut are tremendous!  Why would you count yourself short?

Coconut water: This is the clearer fluid typically found in the cavity of a coconut when you crack it open. It has no fat in it, so it doesn’t transmit the benefits of either the oil or milk, but it does contain natural sugars, as well as beneficial minerals. In particular, the water is an excellent source of the electrolyte potassium, and so confers all the health benefits associated with proper potassium intake and is popular among athletes.  This is also very sweet, and not my preference.

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Oh, and you can read all about the health benefits (not just the taste bud benefits) of coconut here.  It’s pretty darn amazing.  In fact, it’s kinda like Windex, it’ll cure anything!  Slather it on and shovel it down.  And, it tastes so good in everything!

Anyway, I usually purchase raw coconut butter from Artisana.  It’s absolutely A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Truly amazing.

While I tend to be fairly lazy when it comes to things like this – it’s SO easy to make, the hefty price tag is starting to take a toll, considering my more than liberal daily consumption.

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Thus, I’ve taken it upon myself to haul out the food processor, pour in the coconut flakes, and give it a whir.

And that’s it.

Maybe a few scraping down the sides of the bowl.  But not much.

It grinds and forms a paste…and then a liquid.

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Pour that liquid into any storage vessel.

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And wait for the heat to dissipate and for the butter to harden up just a bit.

DIVE IN!!!

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Zucchini Cheese

I am definitely a cheese lover.  Oh yes.

I admit it.

The sharp, hard cheeses are certainly my favorite.

Cheese

Manchego.  There is nothing like it.
Parmesan.  I do believe I could nosh on an entire wheel. (At one point growing up, we actually did possess an entire 50lb block of this delight on our top fridge shelf for an unspecified length of time…)
Asiago.  It’s just delightfully sweet and a tad bit nutty.

I so love the bite, the crisp aroma, and the incredibly unique texture of a daringly hard cheese on the tongue.

Oh, and now that I adore the buttery deliciousness of Castlevetrano olives – the two are a match made in heaven.
Wait now…what am I saying?
I’ve completely neglected to mention how with the addition of red wine and Marcona almonds, an evening may, and most certainly will, envelop into a most memorable consumption of bliss.

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All of the dreaminess of a good cheese aside, I must be frank.  Exquisite cheeses come in many forms, but a soft stinky cheese is definitely NOT one of those.  Pee-ew-ee!

Although I love the taste and the texture of so many types of cheese – (Kerrygold Irish Sweet Skellig Cheddar is a good one to try for all you grass fed dairy enthusiasts out there…), the fact of the matter is, cheese does not always love me.  The somewhat fermented and curded savory selection certainly does not always reciprocate  – and I’m not alone in suffering from this plight.

Dairy – O’ Contrary.

Thus, I’ve sought out dairy-free cheese alternatives before.  Nut cheeses often time taste quite lovely, and I’ve found one almond milk cheese in particular that suits my fancy from time to time.  But nothing really does it for me like the real thing.

That said, my experimentation with the ultimate departure from dairy to create a “free” cheese most definitely did not leave me feeling as though I could and would depart from my occasional consumption of my favorite real-deal cheesy selections, but it did leave me quite impressed.

Toppled over a caraway scented grain free cracker, and coupled with a glass of red wine, I left the “situation” feeling quite satisfied.

Zucchini Cheese (Adapted from Jamie Hartman and Hayley Ziegler of Gusty by Nature)

12 oz. fresh zucchini, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 small lemon
2 Tbs. Great Lakes Grass Fed Gelatin
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. nutritional yeast (I omitted this)
1-2 tsp. coconut oil (I chose to omit this as well, lest I did not want coconut-infused cheese this time around)

Combine the zucchini squash and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.  Drain water and transfer to a high speed blender.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Process until smooth.

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Line an 8″x 8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper.  Pour zucchini cheese mixture into the dish and chill for at least 2 hours.
Slice and serve.

Don’t forget the olives, almonds, and wine!

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Layered Chocolate Mousse Parfait

Layered Chocolate Mousse Parfait

Sweet creamy layers of peanut buttery chocolate bliss, sandwiched between the depths of deliciousness found in freshly whipped cream, finished off with a hint of vanilla and a touch of sublime blueberry tang ~

You got it.

I believe it astounds others when I share the secret ingredients composing this silky sensation and sweet dream of a dessert.

Nourishing ~ yes.
Satisfying ~ oh yes.

Layered Chocolate Mousse Parfait

Serves 2

Mousse:
1 large ripe avocado, diced
1 cup fresh ground peanut butter or raw almond butter 
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut water (maybe even a tad more to reach optimal “mousse” consistency)
2 tsp. coconut vinegar (or gluten-free tamari)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Whipped Cream:
1 cup grass fed heavy whipping cream**
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh blueberries 

Using a high speed blender or a food processor, combine all the mousse ingredients and process until smooth and silky.  The coconut vinegar and/or tamari provide just enough savory umami for the blissful sensation of this layer ~ and the addition of the coconut water (or perhaps a nut milk of your choosing) creates the creaminess we all simply need.  No other sweetness needed.

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Pour the cream into a small wide-mouthed jar (preferably both the cream and the jar are very, very cold from being stored in the fridge).  Add the vanilla.  Shake vigorously for 3-5 minutes.  Seriously.  This works!  No muss, no fuss with the beaters or stand mixer.  It’s amazing.
**Alternatively, for a vegan version, sub 1 cup of coconut cream and beat with a stand or hand mixer until stiff peaks begin to form.  Coconut cream is best extracted from a COLD can of full fat coconut milk.  Refrigerate the can overnight, open, and pour off the liquify portion of the milk.  The very thick, rich, creamy goodness is what is used for whipping.

Layer the chocolate nut buttery mousse with the freshly whipped (or vigorously shaken, in this case) cream.

Paleo Dessert

Top with fresh blueberries – or any berry of your choice.

Healthy Desserts

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