Thursday, March 5, 2009
It's been a week without updates, and what do I do the next time I log in but revisit coconut whipped cream. Yesterday was my dad's birthday, and he's pre-diabetic so I made a special cake with this in mind. It was free of just about everything a traditional cake might entail: gluten, eggs, dairy, sugar, nuts... You'd think it'd be pretty lackluster, but I've certainly had worse cakes. I think the recipe could use some tweaking, so I'm not prepared to share it yet, but I do want to discuss the frosting because it was just my coconut whipped cream. This time, though, I introduced the concept of a hand mixer and extra Whip It, and oh, what a difference they made!
I prepared the frosting much per my previous instructions (cans in the fridge, separating the cream, etc. etc.), but instead of doing a 1:1 ratio of coconut cream to Whip It, I did about a 1:1.5 ratio. So in total, I used three cans of coconut milk and four packets of Whip It. I also omitted the powdered sugar (because this was a sugar-free dessert!) and substituted agave nectar (maybe a tablespoon or two?). Combining everything with the hand mixer made it really light and fluffy like whipped cream, but the Whip It held it together nicely. It was thick and full-bodied, and the vanilla over-rode much of the coconut flavor. Really, it was quite the vegan forgery.
Now, I didn't make enough whipped cream for piping (besides which, I didn't have my piping tools), so I can't say how well it'd hold up for decorating. (I speculate it would be fine, but anyone with high decorating aspirations that doesn't want to chance it should try Diet, Dessert, and Dogs' Whipped Cream.) However, as a frosting, it was spectacular - easy to apply, simple to smooth. I don't have an offset spatula or cake... spinny... thing, and I didn't do a crumb coat or an ace job of leveling my cake top, either. Still, when one of my roommates saw the cake sitting on the counter, she said, "Wow, that's a smooth cake!" Frankly, without the aid of fancy tools, I'd say this is the most forgiving frosting I've ever worked with - and it's pretty effin' good for you as far as frostings go. Plus, as our last entry established, you don't have to use it for just frosting because, duh, it's really whipped cream. Be glad I revisited this one.
Okay, so if you've been making as much whipped cream as I have, you've got all these half-used cans of coconut milk in your fridge. I've been making Thai peanut noodles to get rid of them. Please note these measurements aren't exact because I do everything to taste. It says to do the pepper to taste since everyone's so picky about their spice level, but really, do everything to taste. These were guestimations:
THAI PEANUT NOODLES
+ 12 oz spaghetti
+ 1 red bell pepper, diced
+ 3 cloves garlic, minced
+ 1 c mushrooms, sliced
+ 13.5 oz coconut milk (or roughly two leftover cans)
+ 1/2 c peanut butter*
+ 4 T soy sauce
+ 1 T apple cider vinegar
+ 1 1/2 t ginger
+ cayenne pepper, to taste
+ red pepper flakes, to taste
01. Prepare your pasta per package instructions. Before draining, be sure to set aside just a little bit of pasta water. Later, you're going to add about a tablespoon or so to the sauce because it'll help the sauce gel with the noodles.
02. Oil up a large fry pan, and put it on the stove over medium heat. Once warm, toss in the pepper and garlic, and sautee until a little glossy. Add the mushrooms, and continue cooking until the mushrooms are gently browned.
03. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, and spices. Gently stir to combine and bring to a boil.
04. Once boiling, bring the heat back to medium (maybe even medium low!), and continue cooking until some of the liquid cooks off and a thin skin begins to form on the surface. Stir periodically.
05. Once the sauce has significantly thickened, add that pasta water, cook a little more, and then add all the pasta. Turn off the heat, and toss the pasta to coat. Serve hot or cold.
This recipe feeds two to four and tastes even better the second day.
* If your peanut butter does not come sweetened, consider adding about a tablespoon of sweetener. Sugar is always a component of Thai cooking, and I think it adds to this dish.