This month’s featured ingredient: coconut
In This RecipEmail:
- a note from Andrea
- a recipe for Whipped Cream Tart
- coconut: a superfood?
a note from Andrea . . .
In my last recipEmail I shared the story of my husband’s cancer diagnosis a decade ago which inaugurated my path to nutrition. Today I find myself in the realm of further reminiscence. Reminiscence about July 4ths past, about the last year for Replenish PDX, and about my own growth and development this year. It’s my birthday month, which makes it a key time to do that sort of reflecting!
July 4th is not an easy date in the chronicle of my husband’s passing. Yet there are joyful July 4th memories further back in our history. One goes way back to when Isamu and I first moved in together — into a flat that was the top floor of a house on Shotwell Street in San Francisco’s Mission District. We started to plan our very first party immediately. It was to be a “clam bake” in the middle of the city, on July 4th.
I used to marvel that our flat was in a house that was “a house all the way around”. A rare thing in SF. It was such an old house, built in the late 1800’s, that there was not one side of it that butted up against another building. We lived in a series of rooms that were once bedrooms, randomly appointing each bedroom with a different function — living room, office, bedroom. Off the kitchen, a more modern add-on at the back of the house, was a lovely deck that looked down on the owner’s yard. It was off this deck that Isamu threw coconut after coconut. His aim was good and there’s one rock in that backyard that met and opened each pitched coconut. They were used for the layered coconut cake, made in the Martha Stewart fashion, that I baked for the clam bake holiday extravaganza.
That was 15 years ago! I hardly knew about the benefits of coconuts and wouldn’t have guessed that one shelf of my fridge would be stocked with them as it is today. (Don’t worry: I won’t be asking you to throw coconuts for today’s Whipped Cream Tart recipe!)
You’ll learn more about why I’m such a fan of coconuts nutritional profile further below. Before that, I wanted to assure you all that I’m not having an identity crisis.
Replenish PDX is still Replenish PDX. It will continue to be the business under which I see clients and develop further projects and offerings.
In addition to Replenish, when I teach classes with the talented holistic and whole food chef extraordinaire Andrea Livingston of Phytofoods, I will do so under our joint name. . . TrulyFood. The mission of TrulyFood is to meet parents where they are, and to bring our extensive research, knowledge, passion, and tried-and-true recipes and techniques right to your family’s table.
Of particular TrulyFood interest is the upcoming Your Vibrant Child teleseminar series, starting July 8th. We’re so excited to deliver this level of information, education, resources and support to parents who want to nurture and heal their children and families with the benefits that are truly food.
Whipped Cream Tart
This recipe is inspired by a tart my mom used to make. It’s not a coconut cake, aka Martha Stewart (though that sounds like a good weekend challenge), yet it is an easy (no coconut throwing) and delicious dessert to bring to your weekend holiday gatherings. And it’s bound to please!
Thanks to Kelly Brozyna of The Spunky Coconut, whose coconut cream recipe informs the “cream” in this tart.
The amounts here are for a medium sized tart. If you want to go large, double the ingredients.
1 cup nuts (ideal: raw almonds or raw or dry roasted hazelnuts)
1 pinch Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
1/4 tspn nutmeg
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/4 heaping cup chopped dates (soaked if very dry)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked about two hours
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, gently liquified
1/4 raw honey (ideally local to you)
1/4 tspn Sweet Leaf Liquid Stevia, Vanilla Cream (I prefer the green liquid, which is less processed than the clear.)
2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (I use Native Forest brand as the cans do not contain BPA)
to make the crust:
First spread some coconut oil into a tart pan — ideally one with a removable bottom. Then place the nuts in a food processor and pulse to a fine powder. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until a crust-like ball forms. Remove, and press into the greased pan. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the cream.
(note: A springform pan will also work if you press the crust up the sides a bit.)
to make the cream:
Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Pour cashews into blender. Add coconut oil and honey. Blend or puree for about two minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend or puree until creamy. Remove the tart from freezer and pour the blender contents into the crust. Then back it goes into the freezer to harden up a bit.
to finish the tart:
When the cream has hardened somewhat, you can remove the tart and decorate it as you wish. I chose strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. You can decorate with kiwi, shredded coconut, flaked chocolate, or whatever you wish. It’s very versatile.
Store the tart in the freezer until about one hour before serving.
Coconut: Good FAT!
In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning “the tree that supplies all that is needed to live.” It may be difficult to believe that eating more of one particular fat can not only be healthy, but also prevent disease. Take a look at the facts!
The Health Benefits of coconut include:
- regulates cholesterol (Yup!)
- decreases propensity for heart disease
- contains anti-microbial properties
- aids in weight management
- partly by improving blood sugar management
- partly by creating thermogenesis (heat)
- helps to regulate the thyroid
- helps with healthy hormone production & to produce the precursor to a key anti-aging hormone
- contains chemical components nearly identical to human blood plasma
- is a potent anti-oxidant
- improves the functioning of the nervous system (remember the brain is made up primarily of fat!)
- improves absorption of calcium and magnesium ions
- increases breast milk production
- beneficial and neutral skin conditioner
The Nutritional Benefits of coconut are vast:
- Studies reported in Clinical Biochemistry in 2004 supported the hypothesis that consumption of coconut oil had a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and low density lipoproteins (LDL). The fatty acids in coconut oil prevent the oxidation of cholesterol that can lead to atherosclerosis.
- Lauric acid is a substance found only in breast milk and coconut. It is a potent anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent that can either kill or disrupt the growth of many viruses and bacteria. Think of it as your #1 germ fighter. (Also great for combating yeast!)
- The MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids) are digested and utilized differently than most fats. They do not circulate the bloodstream like other fats, but instead go directly to the liver where they are converted into energy. They help control blood sugar and are not stored as fat. Coconut oil consumption ultimately leads to a reduction in fatty deposits and weight reduction.
- Coconut oil has been shown to restore thyroid function, resulting in lean tissue and increased energy. This, in turn, has a positive effect on your metabolic rate.
- Coconut oil appears to double the body’s ability to use antioxidant omega-3 fatty acids. Taking your omega-3s (especially the plant sources like flax) with coconut oil further potentiates the benefits of the essential fatty acids.
- Coconuts are most healthy in their young state. The saturated fat in the young meat is super helpful in rejuvenating oxidative tissue-damaged caused by aging.
sources include the many writings of David Wolfe, Bruce Fife ND, Mary Enig PhD, and more
How to Use:
- Look for wild coconuts (in tropical environments), young Thai coconuts, brown coconuts (check for mold), coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut cream or butter, coconut flakes, coconut flour.
- Coconut oil for high heat cooking.
- Coconut water for drinking, smoothies, making kefir.
- Coconut milk for making yogurt and drinks and puddings.