Coco-Choco Coffee

Like Coffee? Mmmhmmm.

Like Chocolate? Mmhmmm.

Like Coconut? Mmhmm.

Put it all together and you’ve got Coco-Choco Coffee.

 This happened by complete happenstance. I bought some cacao nibs the other day because I apparently had no idea what cacao nibs are, except I had this notion they were like chocolate chips but not as sweet. Turns out that’s sort of the idea, except they aren’t sweet at all. They’re quite the opposite of sweet, in fact. So they sat in my shelf where I store my coffee beans and grinder and all that good stuff.

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Just sat there, poor cacao nibs being neglected, until one morning they fell out of the cabinet as I pulled my coffee bean grinder down. The Universe obviously thought these lonely cacao nibs needed to be put to use. 

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Staring at these little bitter chocolate pieces, I suddenly remembered reading somewhere about pressed chocolate. Basically the same idea as French-pressing coffee, you grind cacao nibs and use the cacao powder instead. This isn’t the same as pressing cocoa powder. Why? There is a difference between the two! According to equalexchange.coop:

“Cacao” is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Cacao pods – large football-shaped fruits – grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. 

The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as “cocoa.” In other words, “cocoa” is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Aha! So cacao powder is less processed than cocoa powder. Perfect. I’ll bet you can guess what I did next. 

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Yup. Put a bunch of cacao nibs in with my coffee beans. Ground it all up together and threw it into the French press. The rest I made exactly the way I would regular coffee, except since I was getting all fancy anyway I put a few drops of vanilla extract in the french press before I added the boiling water. 

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Yes I have a lime green French press. Don’t judge.

So even before this magnificent blend came to my brain, I’ve been a fan of coconut milk in my coffee. the full-fat, thick, rich, delicious coconut milk in the can. I prefer Native Forrest (no BPA in their can-liners) but Thai Kitchen is a close second (they don’t have BPA free can liners, but they are also organic and have no additives). Don’t mess around with buying light coconut milk. Your body needs good sources of fat, and what better source than a coconut!? Image

Mmmmm. Coco-Choco Coffee.

 

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Misadventures in Coconut Milk

Ever get burned by coconut milk?

Ever think you’d even have to consider that question? Yeah, me either. Until last night.

About twice a week I make my own coconut milk. That crap from the store in a carton is loaded with, well…crap. Highly processed corn derivatives, sweeteners, yuck. And making it is super easy. Some chipped coconut, some boiling H2O, Vitamix, boom. Coconut milk.

Unless your three year old flips the “variable” switch to “high” without you realizing it. For those of you non-Vitamix users, you can put your Vitamix on high and when you turn it on you go from zero to F5 tornado inside the blender. Or, you can keep the switch on variable, start the blender low, and crank it up to F5 slowly. The latter is the way to go, unless of course you’d like to cover your kitchen in whatever it is your blending. Or, give yourself lovely burns on your forearm and forehead.

Because that is seriously what happened. Vitamix filled to max line, variable switch set to high, BOOM.

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Note the chipped coconut on the blender. I’ve been sweeping it up off the floors of not only the kitchen, but the dining room and living room as well. Aside from the fact that it felt like someone had set a small smoldering fire on my forearm and along the hairline of my forehead for the majority of the night and into this morning, I believe I’ll survive.

Luckily I was able to enjoy a nice relaxing cup of hot green tea with honey and freshly made coconut milk to calm my nerves.

How to make your own coconut milk (without getting burned)

  • 1 cup chipped coconut
  • 3-4 cups boiling water

Place chipped coconut in Vitamix and pour boiling water in. Make damn sure that switch is set to variable and the nob is turned to one. Turn Vitamix on, slowly crank nob up to 10. Let blend at F5 tornado force for about 1 minute. The longer you blend, the more coconutty the milk will taste, and the more coconut fat you’ll accumulate on the top once it’s cooled.

The coconut milk will need to be strained. I use cheesecloth over my container secured with a rubber band. Pour contents a little at a time into container through the cheesecloth. When there’s a pile of coconut bits on the cheesecloth, take it off, rinse, and replace.

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Continue until all the coconut milk is strained. Store in container* in refrigerator. I have absolutely no idea how long it stays good, as I use mine up in about 3 or 4 days.

*I started this post about a week ago and completely forgot about it. As I went through re-reading, I realized I make my coconut milk in a plastic container. What am I thinking?! Pouring near-boiling liquid into a plastic container…it’s BPA free, but I’m sure that high heat is causing release of God knows what toxins into my coconut milk. I’ll be purchasing a glass container to use in the future, and you should too!

Can Your Tongue Have an Orgasm?

The first time I ever saw a butternut squash I was dumbfounded. I mean it’s kind of intimidating at first, right? All bell shaped and the color of a dreamsicle and stuff. Squash in general used to kind of baffle me, but particularly the butternut variety. The first thing I learned to make with a butternut squash was soup. Creamy, velvetty, sweet, delicious butternut squash soup.

I used to make it using Greek yogurt. Then the Paleoness happened, and I had to find something else. So like everything else in my Paleo cooking experience, I pulled out a can of full fat coconut milk. Talk about nectar of the Gods. This stuff is the dopeness. It goes good in coffee and tea, I use it as a substitute for milk when baking, you can pop open a can and leave it in the fridge over night then whip it as a replacement for whipped cream, or whip it then refrigerate again and re-whip to use as frosting on cakes or cupcakes, it’s the base in all of our veggie and fruit smoothies…basically I can’t live without coconut milk. Or coconut oil. Or coconut flour. Or chipped, shaved, or chopped coconut. My boyfriend thinks I was a coconut in a past life. I may very well turn into one in this life.

I think I got off track. Soup. Butternut Squash Soup. Oh yeeeaaahhhh. So, first I started substituting the Greek yogurt with coconut milk. That’s all I used, was squash and coconut milk. And it was delicious. Then I had some butternut squash soup at a restaurant and they had nutmeg in it.  And it was amazing. So I started sprinkling some of that in mine too. But then…oh, then. 

BACON.

Sorry veggie friends. It had to happen. It was kind of an accident. I needed to use up some bacon, and that naturally sweet squash combined with the saltiness of bacon just seemed so…perfect. And it is. It’s perfect. It’s easy and it’s delicious and it’s good for you and if your tongue could have an orgasm, this is what it would be. Maybe I should re-title this blog entry as Tongue Orgasm. <—-Nevermind, I did. It was originally Velveteen Soup. Tongue Orgasm > Velveteen Soup.

So if you’ve never had a tongue orgasm, make this soup as soon as humanly possible. Pretty sure winter squash season is coming to a close soon!

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(I’m a runner, a yogi, and a cook, not a photographer. But even taken on the iPhone with no filter that shit looks fantastic, yeah?!)

Butternut Squash Soup (aka La Lengua Orgasma)

  • 1 large or 2 small butternut squash
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (don’t make me ramble about how the fat in coconut milk is good for you, just buy the full fat kind!)
  • 2-3 strips bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon-ish nutmeg

Roast the squash by cutting in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and guts, and laying face up on a cookie sheet. Put in oven at 400 F until you can easily poke the meat of the squash with a fork (45 mins-1 hour). Scoop meat out of skin and into your Vitamix (or Blendtec or food processor or blender). Add the can pf coconut milk and blend until smooth. If you like your soup thinner, add some regular old water, or I like to use home-made coconut milk because it’s thinner (like the coconut milk out of a carton. I suppose you could use that too if you like xanthum gum in your soup).

While the squash is roasting, fry your bacon until crispy. After it cools, chop it into bits. Serve soup in bowls (depending on the size of your squash, this will make 3-4 good sized bowls). Distribute nutmeg and bacon bits between bowls. Commence tongue orgasms.