Hi, folks! I’ve been away for quite some time, mostly because the third trimester of pregnancy has sapped my energy and creativity in the kitchen. I apologize for the long silence, and most likely won’t be posting any new recipes until after the baby arrives.

7-5-13_35_weeks_1_day

Me at 35 weeks.

I hadn’t realized how tiring pregnancy is, especially now at 37 weeks! My garden is full of weeds, I don’t want to cook, and grocery shopping isn’t so much fun, anymore. All my plans to prepare frozen meals and keep healthy snacks on hand have gone out the window–I just don’t care at this point, I just want to have the baby, already!

Last month we were invited to a neighbor’s for barbecue and wanted to bring something you’d normally see at Hawaii get-togethers. I asked my sister for her Mochi Cake recipe, thinking desserts are a good way to introduce new foods to people. I make a chocolate version for those of you that want to give it a try, and either recipe will yield a chewy, spongy mochi cake that’s a nice change of pace from sheet cakes or brownies.

I don’t think our neighbors have ever had anything like it before, and everyone seemed to enjoy both flavors of mochi cake. It’s gluten-free and, if you use coconut oil and water instead of milk, dairy-free, too!

I didn’t take pictures of the dessert itself, but here are pictures I got off the Internet of some of the specialty ingredients:

   

Mochiko (sweet rice flour, gluten-free), frozen shredded coconut, instant espresso powder.

Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 C frozen shredded coconut (DON’T use the dried stuff you find by the boxed cake mixes, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz. can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

Keep uneaten portions in an airtight counter for up to 2 days.

Double Chocolate Mochi Cake

Ingredients:

4 C mochiko (1lb box)
3 C sugar
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (such as Megdaglia d’Oro)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup frozen shredded coconut, defrosted (DON’T use the dried stuff, totally different taste and texture!)
6 T melted salted butter (if using unsalted butter or coconut oil, add 1 tsp salt)
1 14 1/2 oz can coconut milk + water, milk or cream to make 2 cups (can find it at some supermarkets or Asian store)
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix together: dry ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients then pour into dry mix. Stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips OR pour batter into pan and sprinkle chips on top.

Pour into pregreased 9×13″ pan and bake for about 45 minutes at 350º.

Cool, cut into small squares or rectangles (I like rectangles, easier to bite!) and place in paper muffin liners to serve.

Advertisements

Strawberries with Vanilla Coconut Cream: it’s the cat’s meow!

Our cat, Wolfie, likes to take walks with us around the property, occasionally scratching a rotting log and sniffing the ground to see who (or what) else may have crossed the path recently. After a few minutes he would start meow-complaining (about the tall grass, muddy path, anything!) but he’d tough it out and keep up with us at a pretty good pace.

Wolfie is the most curious one of the three and also likes to see what I’m up to in the kitchen. I don’t normally give him scraps when I’m cooking, but there’s a few things I’ll give him a tiny portion of…like coconut milk! Whenever I’d cook Thai curry, Wolfie would be there, waiting for a sample taste. And when I made this vanilla coconut cream, there he was, first sticking his nose into my picture,and then licking the cream off a plate when I wasn’t looking! Needless to say, I couldn’t use that plate of strawberries & coconut cream in the photos. :(

Continuing with our Flavor of the Week theme, here is the recipe for Vanilla Coconut Cream, a wonderful substitute for regular whipped topping (and the fake stuff, too!) The texture is soft, thick and incredibly creamy. Use it on other desserts, but be sure to keep an eye on it if your cat is lurking about!

These strawberries look too cozy in their fluffy cream topping to be eaten.

Strawberries and Vanilla Coconut Cream
If you don’t have xanthan gum, coconut cream can be used, but the texture will be less thick

8oz coconut milk, chilled in fridge overnight
1 tablespoon vanilla syrup (or 1 tablespoon sugar + increase vanilla extract to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon gluten-free xanthan gum
8-10 fresh strawberries, washed

With a mixer, beat coconut milk on high until thickened, about 1 minute. Add syrup or sugar and extract, beat on high until combined, about 15 seconds. Sprinkle half of xanthan gum, beat on high for ten seconds and check consistency. If you want it thicker, add remaining xanthan gum and beat on high for another ten seconds.

Serve with fresh strawberries.

The vanilla coconut cream is a wonderful dairy-free substitute for regular cream.

 


Because of the sauce ingredients this dish is not 100% raw...but oh, so close!

Just when I thought spring has sprung, the weather started getting chilly again. It rained last night and drizzled a bit today, and the creek next to our house was flowing along nicely. The snow missed us, but it looks like it’ll be pretty cold and rainy for the rest of the week. I started making some cozy comfort foods over the weekend but now it’s time to search for more recipe ideas that’s not only filling and warming, but healthy, as well.

I’ve been wanting to try some zucchini “noodles” for some time. This is nothing more than very thin-sliced zucchini that is eaten raw and in place of regular noodles, but it’s higher in vitamins and minerals, easy to prepare and there’s no cooking involved! I wanted a creamy sauce to go with it, so I searched online for a dairy-free alfredo sauce, but when I was slicing the zucchini, for some reason I just thought, “I want satay sauce!”

I love peanut butter and peanut butter-based foods, sweet or savory, they’re all delicious to me. Satay is Thai-style grilled meat skewered and cooked over hot coals. It is accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce made with peanut butter and can include a combination of coconut milk, soy sauce, or fish sauce. This peanut sauce recipe is based off the one in The Best International Recipe Cooking Light cookbook. I still had it nearby when I made their moussaka the other night, so I flipped it open and found just what I needed.

Here are the ingredients for the sauce:

L-R: Coconut milk, raw sunflower seeds, lime, patis or nampla (fish sauce,) garlic, Sriracha, peanut butter, sugar.

This Native Forest brand of coconut milk is really good. Chaokoh used to be my regular brand, then I tried this  (on sale) and noticed how much fresher the cream tastes. The Asian markets will have the coconut milk, fish sauce and Sriracha, a popular Thai hot chili sauce that is thick like ketchup but hot like Tabasco (very different flavor, though.) If your market carries ethnic foods, you’ll probably find those ingredients there.

To make the zucchini noodles you can use a vegetable spiral slicer. If you’re like me and don’t have one, you can achieve similar results with a sharp vegetable peeler and a good knife. First, remove the skin from the zucchini. Use the vegetable peeler to peel of wide slices of zucchini, rotating after every two “peels.” The zucchini was slippery, so be careful and place it on the cutting board, holding it with one hand as you cut off slices with the other.

Slice them thin like noodles then place in a bowl. I was worried they'd get brown (like apples) but they stay nice and creamy white.

Rotate and slice until you reach the seeds. Stack two or three zucchini slices and carefully slice them into thinner noodle-like strands.

I wanted something satisfying but not heavy, and this really hit the spot! And it didn’t feel like I was eating a regular salad at all. The zucchini noodles were more filling than I expected, and the savory peanut sauce was rich and velvety. I served this at room temperature and it was just right for what I wanted: a healthy, creamy, satisfying dinner with a good dose of raw veggies. More importantly, my husband also enjoyed his super-size helping of fresh veggies! There’s enough sauce for four servings, so feel free to double the salad mix, or save the leftovers for the next day. Just be sure not to store the salad and satay sauce together, it will make the veggies soggy.

Zucchini Noodle Salad with Peanut Satay Sauce

Salad:

1 zucchini, cut with a vegetable spiral slicer or sliced into thin “noodles”
1 carrot, julienned (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup chopped celery

 Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

Peanut sauce:

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 2 hours, drained
1/2 cup no-sugar/no salt peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of 1/2 lime, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon sugar (use 1/2 teaspoon if using peanut butter with sugar)

Blend all the ingredients  until smooth, sauce will be thick. Add more Sriracha and sugar to taste.

Scoop 1 cup of sauce into zucchini salad mixture, toss well to coat. Garnish with cilantro, serves two.

Drizzle Sriracha on the plate if you need some extra heat.