Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bright & Beautiful Butternut Curry Soup

eeny, meeny, miny, moe
photo by Thea

2 medium butternut cut in half length wise
4 tablespoons peanut oil, or 2 Tbs. sesame oil & 2 Tbs. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves
2 quarts chicken broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
sea salt
black pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro

Bake squash face down in baking dish for one hour at 400 degrees.  Let cool.

Meanwhile,  sauté curry powder, ginger, cumin and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add garlic and sauté until it begins to color.  Remove from heat.

Scoop flesh from squash, discarding seeds, and put ½ in blender with ½ broth and ½ spices.  Process until smooth and transfer into soup pot. Repeat with remaining squash, broth and spices.

Add coconut milk, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste and heat through.  Add cilantro just before serving.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Caribbean Coconut & Pineapple Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

Adapted from Nydia’s Miami Kitchen
Gluten Free
Photo by Thea

Allow me to share with you this Bread Pudding with a Caribbean twist, and bring you back to Nydia’s Miami Kitchen for a rich holiday treat. How could I not? Only a few short weeks ago I found myself in Miami, standing with my daughter, Lorena (Italian for Lauren) in this Priestess’s Kitchen while her husband, Ernesto, served us a visually sensual and intoxicatingly aromatic, sweet dessert worthy of the Goddess, her-self.

Nydia was born and raised in Puerto Rico, so naturally she prefers good Puerto Rican Rum in her budin de piña y coco en salsa de ron.  To this I have added an organic, gluten free twist by replacing the coconut extract with virgin coconut oil, and the salted butter with a re-mineralizing sea salt.

The first place my mind wants to go with a dish like this is, “oh it’s sooo bad!” Why is it that we have become such a guilty food culture? As I thoroughly enjoy this rare treat my mind goes back to my Grandmother's days when eggs were farm fresh, free range and fertile (she owned a chicken farm) and milk was fresh and raw. Sugar is sugar, so there is no getting away from that one. But did you know that sugar in the time of our grandmothers was used mostly as a preservative and for special and rare occasions like this one? It is the daily consumption of large amounts of sugar that robs us of the enjoyment, as is true for any addiction. So, I recommend moderation and the use of natural, raw and organic ingredients whenever possible. Sweet also happens to be the flavor that corresponds with the Earth Element in Chinese Five Element Theory and you can learn the difference between full-sweet and empty-sweet, and more in my online class: Indian Summer: Nourishing the Earth Element.

1 large loaf gluten free bread from organic, non-GMO flours (may be sliced)
5 eggs (preferably fertile)
2 cans organic Coconut milk
2 cups organic whole milk (preferably raw)
1 can organic evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (preferably fair trade)
1 ¾ cups raw or organic sugar
1 stick organic unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan sea salt
1 15 oz. can pineapple chunks
¼ cup pineapple juice from can
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons organic white rice flour
1 cup organic whole milk
1 cup organic whipping cream
½ cup organic or raw sugar
¼ cup Puerto Rican Rum

• Grease one deep dish baking pan with coconut oil

• Cut bread into 1 inch squares and place in large mixing bowl.

To make custard: beat eggs well, add one at a time beating well after each addition; evaporated milk, coconut milk, and whole. Add vanilla, sugar and melted butter beating well after each addition. Once custard is ready stir in pineapple juice. Mix well. Pour custard over bread in large mixing bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into previously greased baking dish and press pineapple chunks into batter. Bake on a bain-marie (water bath: line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and fill with water for a more delicate texture.)

• Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours.

To make sauce: Add flour to melted butter and stir well with wooden spoon* to make a roux. Once thickened add one cup whole milk and mix well. Stir while adding 1 cup whipping cream, ½ cup sugar. Cook at medium heat for a few minutes stirring until it thickens to same consistency of gravy. Drizzle rum while continuing to stir.

• Serve warm with warm rum sauce and coconut icecream.

* I prefer to use wooden spoons to plastic or metal. The spirit of a wooden spoon adds tree medicine to food. I honor these tree ancestors by keeping my wooden spoons well oiled as I do my wooden cutting boards.  These simple things bring life to my kitchen and to my food.

Be sure to watch Nydia making Coconut Pineapple Bread Pudding in her now famous kitchen and learn more about a bain-marie (bagnomaria in Italian!) on her YouTube Channel, Nydia’s Miami Kitchen.