Tasty Coconut Milk (On The Cheap)

before:

after:

So cheap, simple to make, and delicious.

For DIY Coconut Milk you’ll need:

  • 1 part unsweetened coconut flakes (I purchase organic in bulk – under $2/lb.)
  • 1 part boiling water
  • blender
  • cheese cloth or fine sieve

Add about 2 cups of coconut to blender, add equal amounts of boiling water, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. Next, remove lid, drape tea towel over vessel and replace lid loosely -this prevents a big hiccup and mess at the start-up of the blender. Leave blender running for 20 minutes.

Next, place your sieve on top of the bowl and pour the liquid through the sieve (or cheese cloth).  Allow to cool. Once the coconut is cool enough to touch grab a handful at a time and squeeze out any remaining milk. Now you’re done and have super fresh coconut milk that blows the canned stuff away!

Tofu buffalo fingers (aka Hot Wing Imposters)

Having fairly recently gone full-on vegetarian I’ve been wanting to make a no-meat version of my husband’s pseudo-infamous hot wings; they’re super tasty and I miss snacking on them. Then it occurred to me, chicken wings aren’t a whole lot more than some chewy texture and LOTS of spicy, tangy sauce.

I have a tofu recipe I love because it replaces that spongy tofu texture with some chew and a crispy exterior; the trick is in the baking. The recipe calls for the tofu to be pressed, sliced and then covered in marinade before going into the oven where it soaks up all that liquid and caramelizes on top (it also does quite a number on gunking up the baking dish as well). I used the same process but with different marinade ingredients working to echo a bit of the savory of chicken.

My tofu-hot-fingers turned out great and are very similar in taste to the true meat version; they’re chewy, a little crispy on the outside with just enough mild buttery-herbiness  in the marinade to give it something to offset the sassy sauce.

Tofu Buffalo Fingers:

  • 1 cube of Rapunzel no-salt vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1-  5.8 oz jar of Bufalo jalapeno hot sauce*
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

*If you like ’em really hot add a pinch of cayenne, or better yet, dried habanero spice to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After pressing  the water out of the tofu, slice it into approximately 1/2 in square match sticks and lay it in out in a glass baking dish. In a separate dish I add the bouillon to boiling water to dissolve and stir in the sesame oil. Pour this mixture over the tofu and then sprinkle the top of the tofu strips with nutritional yeast and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

When the tofu is about 15 minutes from complete add the jalapeno sauce and butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium. Stir the butter into the sauce as it melts. Turn the heat to low once the sauce begins to bubble.

When the tofu is done it should have soaked up most of the liquid (if it hasn’t, pour out the excess) and maybe swollen up a bit . Now, for the last few steps you just need to move the oven rack to the top and turn the oven to “broil”, spray some olive oil on the tofu and give it a quick broil then pour the jalapeno sauce over your tofu and pop it back in the oven just long enough for the top to brown.

Pull the tofu out, drizzle with more sauce if desired and, like traditional hot wings, feel free to dip in bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

Shout Outs: spoke cards & zucchini bread

First, I’m blessed with lovely friends. After retelling my story about how shaken I was about losing my bike Tiffany and Jacinda offered up a bike of theirs that I could borrow. And what a bike…

loanerbike

Isn’t it the cutest thing ever? I mean, I loved my bike and it was new and comfy and pretty styley but I think this one is cuter -complete with spoke card designed by Tiffany for Jon Snyder (which I also lost with my bike). Thank you ladies.

loanerspokecard

Next, thanks to my daughter for making a lovely loaf of bread using an extremely ripe (um, black) banana and zucchini. This is technically our banana bread recipe but I asked her to substitute zucchini for one of the bananas because we only had one ripe banana on hand. Check out how lovely this stuff is; I love how zucchini somehow adds that crystaline crisp to the top.

bananazukloaf

If you’ve ever suffered through years of dry banana bread as I did growing up you will so appreciate having this recipe on hand. It is scrumptious and moist and mmm-mmm good. I don’t know where this recipe originates as it was passed along by my bff.

Banana Bread (heat oven to 350 f)

  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c sugar (I use unrefined organic)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (extremely) ripe bananas
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c oil (pure olive oil is fine)

Beat eggs, sugar and oil. Add soda and salt to flour. Mix flour into egg mixture. Mash bananas in a separate bowl. Add vanilla and bananas to everything else.

Bake for 45 minutes in a greased loaf pan.