5 ways to use: coconut milk

Up until recently, I had zero use for coconut milk. I looked at the cans on grocery shelves and never gave it fighting chance.

And then I decided to make tacos, and the recipe called for almost a cup of it. And then I wondered what else I could do with the leftovers (not the tacos, those were eaten). I poured the remaining coconut milk into a deli container, and it sat in the refrigerator.

Somehow I found a variety of uses for it. And at less than $3 a can (or less than a dollar at some places), its hard not to give this ingredient a shot.
cold brew coffee: substitute regular milk with the coconut variety. I also use my French press to make cold brew at home (1/3 cup ground beans, 1 1/2 cups water, let sit for 12 hours, strain, and while drinking, wonder why you didn't try this before)
cornmeal pancakes: use in lieu of buttermilk - the pancakes (or even waffles) don't turn quite the same shade of golden brown, but taste just as good. I like to make a few extra 'cakes to reheat the next day for breakfast.
pork & black bean tacos: giving credit where credit is due, Food52 posted this twist on a favorite. I've also used ground beef and pinto beans. What to do with the remaining pineapple juice will be the topic for a future post.

breakfast quinoa: cook one part quinoa in one part water, one part coconut milk. Once fluffy and spooned into a bowl, pour over a little more coconut milk and top with some toasted almonds.

rice pudding: similar to the breakfast quinoa, use this as a substitute for the other liquids (heavy cream, whole milk, etc).

PS: what other ways to do you use coconut milk?
  

Breakfast Sandwich with Avocado

The breakfast sandwich is a hot item these days. Cafes, restaurants, and food trucks have one on their menus and each claims to be the best. While I have my favorites (here's looking at you Cutty's, Clover, and Area Four), I like the lazy freedom of making one at home whenever I want.

This sandwich comes together fast, so be prepared. Get your coffee, tea, OJ, or Diet Coke (hey, no judgement) ready, toast the bread, slice the cheese and avocado. While the eggs cook, don't leave the kitchen to check your email or send a tweet (except to say you are making a breakfast sandwich at home) because the eggs will overcook faster than you can say "Instagram isn't working! How will I capture this gastronomic moment?"

Breakfast Sandwich

inspired/adapted by Deb/Smitten Kitchen
yield: 1

1 sliced Brioche roll, English muffin, or 2 pieces of bread
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 egg
Black pepper and Kosher salt
1 tsp water
thin slices of avocado and white cheddar cheese
dashes of hot sauce (optional)

Get your breakfast drink of choice in progress.

Heat your broiler or toaster. Place the pieces of bread under the broiler (or in the toaster) until lightly toasted. Watch the bread carefully to avoid burning.

Heat a 9 inch nonstick skillet on medium low heat. Break the egg into a small dish and using a fork, beat the egg with the water and season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Melt butter in the pan. Pour in the egg and roll it around so the egg covers the pan like a crepe. The egg will cook in about 60-90 seconds; the edge will be firm when prodded with a fork or small spatula.

Fold the "side" of the egg nearest to you (similar to folding a letter). Repeat this action on the three remaining egg "sides"; you should end up with something resembling a square.

Leave the folded egg square in the skillet to cook for another 30 seconds, then slide onto one piece of bread. Add slices of avocado and cheese. Before topping with the other piece of bread, add a few dashes of hot sauce.

Eat immediately.

Bacon + Brunch at Common Ground

Bacon. Bacon. Who's got the bacon?

Common Ground would be the answer.

Boston Brunchers visited Common Ground, a bar and grill located in Allston on Harvard Avenue, on a sleepy Mother's Day morning. CG has a new owner, new chef, and new menu. The group was greeted by a very enthusiastic owner, Bob O'Guin. After loading up our plates at the breakfast buffet, he brought each table plates of smoked and satisfyingly salty pork belly. Across the street from Common Ground is a building called "Bacon Chambers". Coincidence? Bob and his front of house managers just laughed. Special thanks to Bob, Nancy, and the CG for making our brunch enjoyable and "on the house". Your hospitality and generosity is appreciated.

Baked Eggs + Cream + Herbs

In continuing the egg theme, I recently made an all-time favorite: baked eggs in cream with herbs.  It is simple and quick for one eater and easily ratcheted up for a larger crowd.  Each person receives his or her own dish of a baked egg. No sharing, no dividing between plates. 

Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano work well in this dish as they can withstand the baking; a sprinkle of chives or parsley would be a nice touch once the eggs come out of the oven.

PS: my ratio per person is 1 egg : 1 tablespoon heavy cream : 1 dish

Baked Eggs + Cream + Herbs
yield: one egg per person

1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream or half & half
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Turn on the oven to 375 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small ramekin or flat dish that is oven-proof.

Pour the heavy cream over the egg and add the thyme, salt, and pepper.

Place the ramekin or dish on a baking sheet for easy retrieval from the oven.  The baking sheet should be placed in the middle of the oven.

Watch the egg carefully as it should cook between 6-9 minutes, depending on the oven.  The egg white should be set, but not too firm.  Once removed from the oven, the egg will continue to cook a bit.

Serve with wine, bread, and a salad.

Chorizo + Yukon Gold Hash

This hash was supposed to have a sweet potato.  Alas, that sweet potato "expired", and luckily a Yukon Gold potato was the understudy.  Can't complain though.  The Yukon caramelized nicely and played sidekick to the pork chorizo; we all know that chorizo, potatoes, and eggs go well together.  And just add a flour or corn tortilla to wrap everything together.

What is not captured in the photo is the addition of the fried egg and spoonful of Greek yogurt (full fat, please.  No non-fat stuff). 

Hot eggs right out of the pan don't smile for the camera very well, so it has a separate beauty shot.


Chorizo + Yukon Gold Hash
adapted from Food52
yield: one

Olive oil
1/4 pound chorizo, casings removed
1 medium sized shallot or small yellow onion, finely diced
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Salt
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

Put a teaspoon of oil in a heavy pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oils starts to shimmer, add the chorizo and break it up with a wooden spoon. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is evenly browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set it aside in a bowl. Add enough oil to the pan so that you have about 1 tablespoon of fat.

Add the onion/shallot and potato to the pan, along with a pinch of salt. Fry the onions and potatoes, turning gently every once in a while.

After the onion and potato are softened and brown, add the thyme and a few grinds of pepper, stir gently and cook for another minute or two.

Stir in the chorizo, and cook for another minute until hot.

Serve immediately, topped with a fried egg and/or a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt or creme fraiche.