Happy Accidents – Braised Kale with Coconut

I am not sure about the rest of you, but man….I hate Sunday nights. Monday morning and the school-lunches/can’t find my keys/stockings have a run in them/Mom-I-forgot-to-tell-you-but-I-need-ten-dollars-in-small-change is undeniably imminent.

In an effort to combat the Sunday night blues, I like to end the weekend with a meal that allows for some quality time in the kitchen – something that takes a bit of effort but pays big dividends. This week’s cooler weather had me in the mood for a hearty curry so out came my copy of Vij’s cookbook. I have made his recipe for “Family Chicken Curry” so many times that the book now obediently opens to that page by itself.

Suffice it to say that the curry was lovely, as was the cauliflower rice pilaff that I made to go with it. A totally unexpected surprise, however, was the kale. Now, this is where I should be telling you a cautionary tale about reading through the entire recipe before you make it. Had I read through the instructions, I would have realized that a) the spices and kale needed to be steeped in the coconut for 4 hours and b) that I was to grill the kale on a BBQ. Neither were going to happen at 6:00pm on a very chilly/windy Sunday night. This time my terrible habit of rushing headlong into things paid off as I improvised a bit with delicious results.

Coconut Braised Kale

Braised Kale with Coconut
based loosely on Grilled Coconut Kale by Vij

  • 2 bunches of kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • juice of half a lemon

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Unbelievably Good – Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks & Coconut Drizzle

OK…here is a New Year’s riddle for you. What do you get when you cross coconut and chocolate? Answer: one of the best cakes I have ever tasted! It was so moist and so tasty…I could go on and on and on. However, I think the ingredients and the pictures speak for themselves.

Coconut Cake with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut Drizzle
from Bon Apetit, January 2010

I should also note that I can take absolutely no credit for this beautiful creation…all props go to my lovely mother who came to visit us over the holidays. She is the master baker…not I.

Cake

  • 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt (I prefer fine sea salt)
  • 1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp (packed) finely grated orange peel
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate bars (do not exceed 61% cacao), broken into small-ish chunks, divided
  • 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut

Coconut Drizzle

  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk (you may need a bit more)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries, Pecans & White Chocolate

If you were to look inside my freezer right now, you would know that my mom has been to visit lately. The evidence is right there on the top shelf…bags of beautiful cookies, all in a row. These particular cookies are so packed with yummy that there is barely enough dough to hold it all together.

Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries, Pecans & White Chocolate
Adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 74

Toasted Coconut

  • 3/4 c. un-salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (my mom used 1 c. whole wheat and 1/2 c. all-purpose with excellent results)
  • 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 c.  pecans pieces, lightly toasted *
  • 1/2 c. coconut, lightly toasted *
  • 4 oz good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped

* My mom notes that she has tried to omit the toasting of the nuts and coconut…she recommends that you take the time to pop them in the oven, as it really does enhance the overall taste of the cookies.

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