Coconuts Finally Get Their Just Due as a Healthy Food
Coconuts are now embraced with enthusiasm that borders obsession
**Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are mine.
I grew up learning to cook with certain ingredients like wheat flour, white sugar and vegetable oil and I am always intimidated with new ingredients like coconut flour, coconut sugar and coconut oil. That doesn’t mean I don’t try new things. Quite the contrary. I love to learn how to cook with new foods and I always like finding cleaner, healthier products. I just need a little help with the process because I know that not all ingredients will exchange on a one to one basis. And I don’t want to do too much experimenting on my own because too many mistakes can add up to lots of money down the drain.
So when I found The Complete Coconut Cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury on how to cook with coconut oil, flour, sugar and basically everything coconut, I had to have it. With the right measurements I can easily become comfortable with these new ingredients and so can you.
The health benefits of coconut have finally come full circle after years of bad press about Coconut Oil being related to heart disease thanks to flawed research. After all, the meat, juice, milk and oil of the coconut have nourished people for thousands of years. In fact coconuts contain ample amounts of nourishment in the form of water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
These days coconut is all over the news as well as the shelves of supermarkets and health food stores in the form of oil, butter, flour, water, sugar and more. It is even being praised for its healing and restorative powers.
In The Complete Coconut Cookbook Camilla Saulsbury gives the history of coconut oil along with its health benefits which include its antimicrobial properties and its use as part of a balanced weight-loss plan. She then talks about how to stock a coconut pantry, how to accurately measure your ingredients and gives a brief description of common nutritional terms. Camilla even gives in-depth “how-to” tips for each coconut product.
Anyone from hardcore health-foodies to recreational cooks — and everyone in between — will enjoy these all-natural, high-energy, top-notch, easy-to-make coconut dishes. The 200 innovative recipes cover a broad spectrum of fresh flavors and provide delicious and dependable results. The recipes in this book are gluten-free, nut-free, vegan recipes using coconut flour, oil, sugar and more.
Try these two recipes to find out how easy it is to cook with coconut!
Gingered Carrot and Coconut Soup, page 158, soups
Here, fresh ginger adds gentle heat to a lush soup. Fresh mint and lime juice take the dish from good to grand.
Makes 6 servings
- Food processor, blender or immersion blender
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil 15 mL
1 cup chopped onion 250 mL
1 lb carrots, chopped (about 500 g
4 cups/1 L)
1 1-inch (5 cm) piece gingerroot, 1
1 tsp fine sea salt 5 mL
31⁄2 cups coconut water 875 mL
1 cup well-stirred coconut milk 250 mL
1 tbsp coconut sugar 15 mL
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 15 mL
1⁄4 cup minced fresh mint 60 mL
Plain coconut yogurt
Toasted unsweetened flaked coconut
In a large saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat. Add onions and increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until softened.
Stir in carrots, ginger, salt and coconut water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until carrots are very soft.
Working in batches, transfer soup to food processor (or use immersion blender in pan) and purée until smooth. Return soup to pan (if necessary) and whisk in coconut milk, sugar and lime juice. Warm over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute.
Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with mint. Serve with any of the suggested accompaniments, as desired.
When puréeing the soup in a food processor or blender, fill the bowl or jug no more than halfway full at a time.
Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm soup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
Coconut-Braised Baby Bok Choy, page 231, sides
Staggeringly simple, and versatile enough to go with a broad range of dishes, this flavorful, vibrant side is destined to become one of your go-to dishes.
Makes 4 servings
2 cloves garlic, minced 2
1⁄8 tsp hot pepper flakes 0.5 mL
11⁄2 cups coconut water 375 mL
11⁄2 lbs baby bok choy, trimmed 750 g
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil 15 mL
In a large skillet, combine garlic, hot pepper flakes and coconut water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Arrange bok choy evenly in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until tender. Using tongs, transfer bok choy to a serving dish, cover and keep warm.
Increase heat to medium-high and boil broth mixture until reduced to about 1⁄4 cup (60 mL). Stir in black pepper and coconut oil. Pour over bok choy.
An equal amount of regular bok choy, trimmed and sliced crosswise, may be used in place of the baby bok choy.
About Camilla V. Saulsbury
Camilla V. Saulsbury is a writer, recipe developer, fitness trainer, endurance athlete, and creator of the healthy food blog, Power Hungry. She also holds a PhD in sociology with specializations in food studies, health, and medicine.
She has been involved in the world of food for more than 16 years, including catering specialty desserts in the San Francisco Bay Area, writing cookbooks and freelance food articles, and developing recipes for national food companies. Further, she has won several of the country’s top cooking competitions, including the $100,000 National Chicken Cook-Off, the $50,000 Build a Better Burger Contest, and the Food Network’s $25,000 Ultimate Recipe Showdown (Cookies Episode).
Camilla has been featured on the Food Network, Today, Good Morning America Health, QVC, and in multiple publications including the New York Times, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Clean Eating, Cosmo Girl, Food Network Magazine, and Pilates Style.
Camilla has authored over a dozen cookbooks published by Robert Rose, Sourcebooks, and Turner Publishing.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Camilla currently lives in Texas with her husband and son.