Tag Archives: recipe

Garden Pizza, Gluten Free Crust, and Pizza Day Giveaway

finished sauce with tomato2 copy

In my newest book, Pizza Day, which will be released by my publisher Tuesday, there is a pizza recipe at the end of the story called Garden Pizza.

To win a signed and personalized copy of Pizza Day and its the companion, Soup Day, please go here!

Pizza Day and Soup Day Melissa Iwai 2017-72

Garden Pizza is what a little boy and his dad spend the day making using some of the ingredients that they have grown in their garden.

pizzaday_int_garden-Melissa-Iwai

These are some of the vegetables that they gather:

Pizza-Day_int-10-11-Melissa-Iwai

Sadly, we don’t have a stellar garden like theirs, so I made this pizza the other night for my guys using ingredients I bought instead.

Sauce igredients4 copy

Some of my sauce ingredients: diced carrots and onion, dried oregano and basil, garlic, tomato, and olive oil (I forgot to include the tomato paste here!). I use the fresh basil as a garnish to top the pizza when it’s done.

First I made the dough and let it rest and rise while I cooked the sauce.

dough pre rise 2 copy

My sauce gets its sweetness from the carrots. No sugar needed! Plus the carrots add nutrients and fiber.

pizza sauce

After the sauce cooked down and the flavors melded together, I pureed it in a blender, just like the boy in my book!

Pizza-Day_int-20-21-Melissa-Iwai-2017

Then when the dough was finished, I kneaded it, let it rest a bit, and rolled it out.

rolled out dough copy

It was time to top! Denis and Jamie just wanted sauce and cheese.

cheese pizza PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

I made mine veggie and turkey and used a cauliflower crust I had made (see recipe below), because I was doing reintroductions after the Whole 30 and hadn’t gotten to gluten yet!

PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Riced cauliflower with egg and almond meal prebaked

PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Baked crust (you must bake it before topping)

veggie pizza PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Topped with pepper, tomato, onion, sauteed kale, and turkey

Then into the oven our pizzas went.

The final product:

finished pizza 3 copy

Crispy on the outside, chewy crust

 

vegie pizza closeup PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

My mini pizza with veggies, turkey, mozzarella, and fresh basil

Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017
Cheesy!

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Pizza Day and the board book version of Soup Day here!

Pizza-Day_int-30-31-Melissa-Iwai-2017

 

Garden Pizza from Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai

Pizza Dough:

Ingredients:

Non-stick spray or oil for greasing

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups flour, divided, plus more if needed

non-stick spray

 

Pizza Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

¼ chopped carrot

1 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic, about 2 cloves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 ½ cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes, about 3 large

¼ cup tomato paste

  1. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together yeast, water, olive oil, and salt in another large bowl until combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour to mixture and mix together until well blended.
  4. Add a little bit of the leftover flour gradually (you may use half or all) until dough forms a ball.
  5. Sprinkle flour onto a large board or counter top, and dump out dough. Knead for 5 minutes, adding a bit of the remaining flour each time it starts to feel sticky. You want to end up with a smooth, elastic mound of dough.
  6. Shape dough into a large ball. Place in greased bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 1 hour.
  7. Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onions, carrots, garlic, salt, and herbs until onion is translucent.
  8. Add tomatoes and paste. Simmer until softened on very low heat, covered, about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  9. Pulse in blender or food processor to desired chunkiness.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.

  1. Divide pizza dough in half, and roll each into a ball. Let rest 10-15 minutes.
  2. Lightly dust two baking sheets and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out each ball of dough into a round on each baking sheet.
  3. Spoon pizza sauce on top and spread onto each. Top with fresh veggies, pepperoni, cooked sausage, shredded cheese, grated parmesan cheese, goat cheese, whatever you like!
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes, depending how crunchy you like your crust.

Makes 2 medium pizzas.

Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Nonstick olive oil spray

1 1/2 cups of riced cauliflower (I buy mine bagged from Trader Joe’s. You can also make your own by ricing or grating raw cauliflower), steamed for about two minutes

1 egg white or 1/2 whole egg

1 tablespoon almond meal

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare  two square pieces of parchment, about 6″ x 6″. Place one square on baking sheet and spray with non stick spray; set aside.
  3. Mix rest of ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Spoon mixture on top of prepared parchment sheet on baking tray. Flatten into a circle with a spoon.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Place other square of parchment on top of crust and flip. Then peel cooked piece of paper off.
  7. Your crust is now ready to be topped with toppings of your choice. After topping, bake in oven for another 5 minutes.

Makes one mini pizza crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Dinner, Gluten Free, Vegetables, Vegetarian

2 Ingredient Ice Cream Bread!

close up of ice cream cake2

This bread is a dream come true for our son. Yep, two ingredients: Ice Cream and Self-Rising flour. Mix them together and bake. How great is that? My son and husband made a vanilla loaf this afternoon, using Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla ice cream.

Verdict: Easy, tasty, and a great canvas for experimenting with different flavors!

Denis first saw the cake recipe here:

The “bread”, which has a great crumb but is not too sweet, reminds me of Japanese desserts. It would actually make a great base for this Strawberry Shortcake if you baked it in cake rounds and frosted it with whipped cream and layered with strawberries.

We are already devising plans for making it with Butter Pecan and Rocky Road ice creams.:)

ice cream bread2

2-Ingredient Ice Cream “Bread”

1 pint of ice cream (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cups flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Soften ice cream so that it is very soft. You can speed the process up by heating it in a microwave oven for 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer ice cream to a bowl. Then add the flour gradually to it while stirring.
  4. Grease a loaf or cake pan with butter or non-stick spray (we also cut a piece of parchment and lined the bottom of the pan)
  5. Bake for 30-50 minutes, checking after about 25 minutes. Length of time depends on the kind of pan you use. For a loaf pan, it took about 40 minutes until it was golden on top and a skewer came out clean when poked in the center.
  6. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool on rack and serve!

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Children, Desserts, Grains, Snack

Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti for the Holidays

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 4

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Wow, Chanukah has already passed and Christmas is just days away!

I haven’t had a chance to bake much this season because of all my art projects, but managed to combine my two loves for this batch of Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti.

I’ve been making these biscotti pretty much every year, but this time I changed it up by adding orange zest and a 1 tablespoon of orange juice to the batter. I thought they’d be pretty with some white, so I drizzled melted white chocolate over the biscotti.

I mentioned combining my art and baking — this is what I created — an illustrated recipe for They Draw and Cook. 🙂

cranberry pistachio biscotti Melissa Iwai 2015

It is featured on their site this week as a Red and Green recipe.

I know it is hard to read the recipe so small! Here it is for your printing purposes (note: the white chocolate part and orange juice is not in the illustrated recipe because I didn’t have enough room!):

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 2

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup salted shelled pistachio nuts

1 1/3 cups dried cranberries

1 large egg, or white, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water to  make egg wash

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted (optional)

pistachio cookies Melissa Iwai 5

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

2 Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda &powder &salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, orange zest and beat with mixer  just until a dough forms.

3. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix at low speed.

4. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead several times. Halve dough, then form each half into a 13 by 2 inch slightly flattened log on baking sheet, Brush logs with egg wash.

5. Bake in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.

6. Transfer to a cutting board and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices with a serrated knife. Arrange slices, cut side down, in 1 layer on baking sheet Bake in middle of oven turning once until golden and crisp. 20 – 25 minutes total.

7. Cool completely and drizzle with melted white chocolate if you’d like.  Put the melted chocolate in a sandwich bag, seal, and snip a hole in one corner. Squeeze and drizzle chocolate over cooled biscotti. Chill in the refrigerator to set chocolate.

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Desserts

Easy as Pie Ice Cream Cake

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Our son turned eleven while we were on our cruise to the Bahamas, so we decided to celebrate it at home later in the summer.  My son has never been a cake fan. From the time he was a toddler, he has been fobbing off remnants of cake for his mom and dad to finish at every birthday party. He and I decided an ice cream cake would be best for his birthday, because he loves ice cream — he always eats it with a fork even when it’s served in a bowl!

As usual these days, I was swamped with work and had a big book deadline on top of travel plans right before the celebration!  I found a solution, though, with this cake, which can be prepared days in advance.

The base is a brownie layer which you can make from a mix or from scratch. Here is my recipe for a decadent Truffle Brownie. Because I was pressed for time, I used Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownie mix. Then after I baked the brownie layer and let it cool completely, I spooned softened Cookies and Cream ice cream on top and smoothed.  I froze the cake until hardened, then melted chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in two separate bowls in the microwave.  The white chocolate chips did not melt properly, and I thought it was a fail, but I crumbled them on top, and it was actually quite tasty! I was able to wrap the whole thing pan and all in saran and foil and store in the freezer for a few days.

An important thing to note is to use a spring form pan — the kind used for cheesecakes. When you are ready to serve the cake, simply release the sides and remove the bottom.  If you don’t have a spring form pan, you could line a cake pan with saran and remove the cake and peel off the saran when ready to serve. But you won’t have as crisp an edge. Do not thaw this cake before serving!  It is best to serve immediately after removing from the freezer while the ice cream is hard.  Otherwise, cutting gets very messy!

The birthday boy blowing out the candles.

The birthday boy blowing out the candles.

The cake was a hit and there were no leftovers on plates for the parents, so we had to get our own slices!

Easy Ice Cream Cake

1 package of brownie mix

1/2 gallon container of ice cream

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

non-stick spray

whipped cream (optional) for garnish

  1.  Spray non-stick spray in spring form pan and set aside.  Or line a cake pan with saran.
  2. Preheat oven and prepare brownies according to package.
  3. Pour batter into pan and smooth top.  Bake brownie layer and cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, let ice cream thaw for about 25 minutes while brownie layer is cooling.
  5. Spoon ice cream on top of brownie layer and smooth with an offset spatula or spoon.  Freeze until hardened.
  6. Melt chocolates separately in two bowls at 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, spoon chocolate in center of cake and smooth out.  Top with white chocolate crumbles.
  7. Wrap cake in saran and foil and freeze until hardened.
  8. When serving, do not thaw cake! Release spring form pan and remove bottom.  Or if using a cake pan, lift cake out of pan with saran and remove saran wrap.  Cut cake immediately while ice cream is still hard and serve. Enjoy!

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Filed under Desserts

Kashi Healthy Treats and Advent Challenge

kashi treats 2

 

Whew, the holidays threw me for a loop!  Hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We went to Illinois to see my family and had a great time!  I was remiss in my photo taking, but I drew a lot. 🙂  All my daily sketches are on instagram.

 

This month up until Christmas, I am doing an Advent Challenge put together by Faye Brown Designs. Every day (in place of my daily sketches) I do an illustration inspired by her prompt.  At first I wasn’t going to do one every day, but so far, I’ve done seven, so that’s seven for seven!   They are all made digitally, and it is the first time I’m actually painting with digital brushes.  I bought these amazing brushes you from Kyle T. Webster for Photoshop, and they’ve really changed the way I work.  They are SOOO much better than the ones that come with Photoshop. There is no comparison.  Here is a nice review of them in Wired Magazine.  He is an amazing illustrator and he started making brushes for himself.  When he started selling them, he made a bucketful of money because they are so awesome.

The illustrations I’m making  take a lot longer than my 30 minute paintings – sometimes an hour to two hours!  So it’s kind of a heavy load to carry… But I’m having so much fun with these brushes and  at the end of the challenge, I’ll have 25 designs (if I can maintain the pace) to choose from to make into some greeting cards.  🙂 Wish me luck!

Here are some of my favorites so far:

bear copy72

DOG copy2

penguin copy

ETI copy

Today’s was:

7 polar bear

To see more daily, I’ll be posting at:  http://instagram.com/melissaiwai1/

I’ll leave you with a quick recipe I made up for a high fiber high protein low sugar snack.  I love Kashi cereals, and I had a coupon which I used to buy a box of Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal.  These crunchy treats satisfy my craving for a crunchy sweet chocolate snack, but are packed with fiber and protein without artificial ingredients.  🙂

kashi treats

Kashi Healthy Treats

1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped finely

2 teaspoons coconut oil

stevia or other sweetener to taste

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1  cup Kashi GoLean Crunch Cereal or other Kashi cereal

 

1.  Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in a medium sized bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.

2.  Stir in stevia and peanut butter until combined.  Add cereal and coat evenly.

3.  Line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make six balls of cereal mixture and arrange on plate.

4.  Chill for about an hour until set.

Makes six treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Potato, Tomato, and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

This is one of my husband’s favorite meals, and considering he only ate brown food before he met me (peanut butter, bacon, meat, bread, etc.), that’s saying a lot.  I’ve been making it for years and have experimented with it along the way.  Sometimes I add mushrooms to the saute. I’ve also added ground meat.  It’s a very forgiving recipe.  Basically you roast the zucchini “boats” and potatoes (I’ve also tried sweet potatoes) in the oven while you saute the onion and other ingredients.  Then you pull the whole thing together by throwing in the roasted potatoes with the sauteed ingredients and add some cheese and fresh herbs (I like basil).  You stuff the “boats” with this mixture, top with cheese, heat until it melts and garnish with more herbs.  It’s a really vibrant and healthy vegetarian meal!

Who knows the best way to store unused basil?  The green market guy told me to place in a glass of water and leave out — DO NOT put in the refrigerator! he commanded.  So I didn’t.  It makes a lovely bouquet, but it wilted within a day and made our kitchen smell like “a pizzeria “, according to my husband.  I’ve also tried washing the leaves, spinning them as dry as possible in a salad spinner, and storing them wrapped in paper towel in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator.  The basil seemed to last longer, but some edges of the leaves still turned brown.  If anyone has a fool-proof method, by all means let me know!

Instead of risking it going bad, I usually just wash the whole bunch and make pesto.  I toast some pine nuts, crush some garlic, and process it with the basil.  While it is processing, I add some olive oil, then taste it and add salt.  If I’m using the pesto immediately, I also process it with grated parmesan cheese.  But if I’m freezing it to store, I omit the cheese and add it later after it’s been defrosted. I can’t remember where I read about this tip — I believe it was in a Mark Bittman column when he used to write for the New York Times.

pesto without cheese

The pesto can be used to flavor pasta, steamed or roasted veggies, as a dip or sandwich spread.  You can add water or more olive oil to thin it out.  For me, this has been the best way to avoid throwing away an ugly bunch of brown basil that never got used!  It’s just a matter of having the other ingredients on hand (if you don’t have pine nuts, other nuts such as walnuts, almonds, even hazelnuts can do the trick, altering the taste a bit, but the pesto is still delicious– it’s fun to improvise) and taking the time to make the pesto.  It is well worth it!

Roasted Potato, Tomato, and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium sized zucchini

3 medium red or Yukon potatoes, cut into small cubes

kosher salt and pepper to taste

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

non-stick spray

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

2 cloves of garlic pressed through garlic press, about 1½ teaspoons

1 plum tomato, cored and deseeded, chopped

1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil, divided

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place two foil lined baking sheets in oven, one on top rack and one on bottom rack.  Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out interior flesh with a melon baller or spoon creating a zucchini “boat”.  Reserve flesh for another time.  Cut off a sliver from bottom of each zucchini “boat” so that it can rest without wobbling.  Brush cut halves with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast in oven for 10 minutes on top baking sheet, cut side down.
  2. Toss potato cubes with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Gently remove heated empty baking sheet from oven.  Spray with non-stick spray and transfer potatoes onto sheet, spreading into one even layer.  Return to bottom rack in oven.  Roast for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking period.
  3. While zucchini and potatoes are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in large non-stick skillet.  Sauté onions, stirring constantly, until onions are soft.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and the roasted potatoes.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Off heat, add ½ cup cheese and 1/3 cup of the basil.  Stir to combine.
  4. Turn zucchini halves over and divide potato filling among them.  Sprinkle each with remaining cheese (about 2 tablespoon per zucchini half).  Return to oven and roast for about 5 minutes on top rack, until cheese has melted.  Garnish with remaining basil.  Serve immediately (2 halves per serving).

Yield: 4 servings.

Note:  I used to throw out the extra zucchini flesh I scooped out.  Now I save it in a container in the refrigerator and steam it later or throw it into a stir fry.  There is a lot of it, so it’s really no point in throwing it away when you can use it in something else!

Pesto

A bunch of basil

Kosher salt to taste

About 2 heaping tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (or other nut)

Clove of garlic, smashed

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, depending on taste

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

1.  Process basil, pine nuts, and pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Scrape down edges.  While processor is running, slowly pour in olive oil through feed tube.  Season with more salt to taste.  If using immediately, add parmesan and process again.  If freezing, omit and add parmesan after defrosting.

Makes about 1/2 pint.

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Filed under Condiments, Dinner, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack and Miso Soup

True story:  A few months ago at our local Trader Joe’s, I spied a young woman sitting on a bench at the entrance of the store in a trance-like state eating something from a hurriedly ripped open green package.  With a faraway look in her eyes, she was munching on thin sheets of roasted seaweed, one after another without stopping.  I glanced at her two shopping bags propped up in front of her.  They were filled to the brim with the same green packages–perhaps 20 per shopping bag?  I was intrigued.

They come in paper thin strips.

I grew up eating seasoned roasted seaweed.  My relatives from Hawaii would send large canisters of it every year.  My family never seemed to finish all of it, and most of the strips would always turn soft in defiance of the little white packets of desiccant that came in the container.  I believe they were loaded with MSG so it is probably just as well we never ate the entire batch.

“Was there something different about the Trader Joe’s roasted seaweed?” I wondered.  I decided to see for myself.

What I discovered is that these strips are less salty than the ones I have had in the past, and they are made of only natural ingredients (seaweed, safflower and sesame oil, and salt).  And because they come in a small container of two servings, it is easy to finish it in one sitting with another person when the seaweed is at its peak of crunchiness and freshness.  I have to say that these seaweed snacks are addictive.

Though I don’t sit eating them trance-like, I do love them.  It has even caught on with my son who previously would never eat dried seaweed.  He eats these seaweed strips by the stack full like potato chips.

Recently he’s taken to combine them with his other favorite foods, creating truly Asian-American fusion meals.  He urged me to post it on this blog.  Hee hee.

I present to you — Jamie’s Pizza Sushi (pizza piece rolled in seaweed):

This one is his latest:

Open faced PB and seaweed sandwich

Believe it or not, these inventions of his taste really good!

I’m more of a purist though.  My favorite way to eat them is with hot rice.  The clean flavor and combination of crunchy and soft and sticky textures brings me back to when I lived briefly in Japan.

Paired with a freshly made hot bowl of miso soup and salad, it makes a nice light meal.

Miso Soup

Note:  If you want to make the dashi (Japanese stock) from scratch, kombu (dried kelp) and katsuo boshi (dried bonito flakes) can be found in Asian stores.  You can also make dashi using instant dashi powder– just add water!

Kombu (dried kelp), Wakame (dried seaweed), Katsuo boshi (dried bonito flakes)

Dashi:
4 cups water

1 to 2-inch piece of kombu

Large pinch of katsuo boshi

1.   Heat water and kombu in a saucepan.  Just before water boils, remove kombu and discard.  Add katsuo boshi.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Turn off heat.  Let flakes settle to bottom on pan.

2.  Strain liquid into a bowl or measuring cup (I use the same one I used to measure the water), pushing down on solids to remove as much liquid as possible.

Makes 4 cups.

"shiro" (white) more mild than "aka" (red) -- the darker the miso paste, the stronger the flavor

Miso soup:

4 cups of dashi

4 tablespoons miso paste

Pinch of wakame (dried seaweed — also found in Asian stores)

1 ounce of tofu cut into small cubes

1/2 scallion, finely sliced

1.  Pour about 1/4 cup dashi into a small bowl.  Add miso paste to bowl and whisk until mixture is free of lumps.

miso whisked in a bit of dashi

2.  Pour remaining dashi into sauce pan.  Add whisked miso slurry to pan.  Add tofu, wakame, and green onions.

wakame, tofu cubes, and sliced green onion

3.  Gently heat miso soup over low heat until it is ready to be eaten.  Do not let it boil or simmer.

Makes about 4 servings.

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Filed under Children, Condiments, Lunch, Sides, Soup

Sesame Seed Coconut Crusted Shrimp

In my last post, I mentioned I have been experimenting with coconut oil which I received from Tropical Traditions.  Recently,  I keep seeing coconut oil featured in various blogs.  Though it got a bad rap in the past, this was due its hydrogenated form.  Virgin coconut oil is now the darling child in some health food circles.  It is said to be the healthiest of oils promoting heart health, aiding in weight loss, and supporting proper thyroid function, among other benefits.  Though it is high in saturated fat, not all saturated fats are created equal apparently.

And quite frankly, coconut oil tastes good.  I think if you’re planning on cooking or baking anything with coconut, using coconut oil in place of the oil or fat (it is a great vegan ingredient in pastries, replacing lard and butter) will only enhance the flavor.

I tested this theory out by frying some sesame and coconut crusted shrimp in coconut oil.  The result was wonderful:  crispy, crunchy, nutty shrimp having a rich coconut flavor.  The coconut oil was light, not heavy.

Though I try not to deep fry too much, this dish is worth it for a special occasion.  I think it’s going to make an appearance on Father’s Day this weekend. 🙂

Sesame Seed Coconut Crusted Shrimp

¼ cup sesame seeds

¾ cup unsweetened dried coconut

kosher salt

15-20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on

¼ cup flour

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Coconut oil for frying

  1. Mix sesame seeds, coconut, and pinch of salt  together in a shallow bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Dredge shrimp in flour, shake off excess, then dip in egg white. Coat in sesame seed and coconut mixture.  Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet with coconut oil about 1 inch deep.  Test oil by dropping in a shred of coconut.  If it sizzles immediately, oil is ready – about 350 F.  Fry shrimp on each side for about 30 seconds until opaque.  Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  Serve immediately.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dinner

Homemade Softserve Ice Cream and Chocolate Shell

This is my new summer treat.  Years ago, we were soft serve addicts.  My husband used to volunteer to walk the baby (our son would only nap in his stroller at the time) so he could just happen to pass by the Tasti D-lite in our neighborhood.  We had the cards which had little icons of soft serve ice cream dishes which could be punched out and marked how many you had bought.  After a certain number, you would be rewarded with a free ice cream.  That’s how bad it was.

Luckily that store went out of business (we are pretty sure it was due to the surliness of the guy who ran it — how can you always be in a bad mood when you work in an ice cream store!?)  and our addiction came to an end.

Then I discovered this recipe.  I had seen it in various incarnations all over the web — I’m not sure who posted it first.  And I also came across it in the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home Cookbook (called Creamy Banana Ice), which was published in 1994, so maybe it is originally from that.  At any rate, it is a super simple recipe.  You freeze slices of banana and puree it in a food processor when frozen.  That is all!  I like to add a splash of lactose free milk.  I have also tried it with light coconut milk for a vegan version.  You could also use almond or rice milk.

All natural goodness -- just bananas and a splash of milk!

Since I had frozen some ripe mango chunks a week or so ago (they are a great snack/dessert, as is!), and I always have frozen banana slices on hand, I thought they would go great together.  I added light coconut milk.    My son loved this.  You would never believe there is no added sugar!

Heavenly.

Awhile back , I was given a  complimentary jar of coconut oil from Tropic Traditions, a company that offers a myriad of coconut products, including virgin coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes, as well as other organic foods, skin care products and household goods.  I’ve been experimenting with it and hope to post more recipes in the future.

One of the most easy recipes and one that we have been enjoying since our heatwave in the east coast is “Magic Shell” made with coconut oil.  It tastes just like the store bought version but doesn’t have any of the extra ingredients or additives!  It’s just melted chocolate and coconut oil.   You drizzle it on something frozen, and it hardens immediately.  Here is the recipe for it on the Tropical Traditions site.

Pair the soft serve with the chocolate shell and you have a perfect healthy summer treat!

Banana Soft Serve

Frozen banana slices

Splash of liquid in the form of milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.

1.  Puree in food processor until creamy

2. Serve immediately and eat!

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Snuggle Mountain Pancakes


Who doesn’t love pancakes for a weekend breakfast??

My husband  makes the best ones.  You may have seen his Cadbury Egg waffles.   His pancake recipe is featured in a book app I’m very excited to share with you all.

Snuggle Mountain, written by Lindsey Lane, is a wonderful story about Emma, who climbs Snuggle Mountain all by herself to wake up the Sleeping Two Headed Giant which has forgotten all about making pancakes for breakfast.

Features of the app include:

  • audio narration beautifully read by a child actor (which can be turned on and off)
  • words which can be highlighted as read to encourage reading
  • fun sound effects and animations throughout the story
  • the aforementioned pancake recipe
  • some  discussion topic suggestions related to the story
  • turn pages with a finger  swipe

I have to say, I’m really proud of this book app.  Lindsey, the author, took the initiative and found a fabulous app producer, Picpocket Books, who agreed to shepherd our joint creation (originally published by Clarion Books in 2003) into the digital age, and they did a wonderful job.

One of the aspects of the app version of the book I adore is that the concept of the sleeping giant’s two heads hiding in the bed covers is made very clear with animation.  In the original picture book it was quite subtle, and a lot of readers didn’t pick up on it.

Check out and download our app at the Apple itunes Store!  It is currently on sale for $2.99.  It is available for the  ipad and will be available for the  iphone in a few days.  It is the perfect app for young children and gives them a personal interactive story experience.


Snuggle Mountain Pancakes

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 egg

½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled

Non-stick spray or oil for greasing skillet

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and optional sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Beat the egg in another bowl.  Add yogurt and milk and beat together.  Then stir in melted butter.  Add this mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients while stirring.
  3. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium high heat on the stove.  Grease skillet.  Pour batter into pan when it is heated.  Brown the bottom in 2 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook other side for about a minute.
  4. Serve immediately.  Pancakes can also be kept warmed on an ovenproof plate in a 200 F oven.

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Filed under Art Related, Breakfast, Children