COCONUT DATE BONBONS
I’m starting with the sweet. These luscious bites are exquisitely easy to make, have no sugar added, and are truly delicious. I got the recipe from my Paleo Cookbook.
Every January my husband, Jerry and I go on some type of strict eating plan after our holiday indulgences. One year we did Paleo and decided we really liked many of the recipes. The Paleo Diet is roughly crafted after “Eat as our ancestors ate”, which I interpret to mean no processed food, sugar (honey and maple syrup in moderation are OK), no grains, legumes or dairy. There are many different interpretations of what this diet is. My personal opinion is our ancestors ate anything they could get their hands on. We did not follow Paleo that strictly, but did see some health benefits, namely we both lost weight! These little Coconut Date Bonbons (In the cookbook they’re called Macaroons, but they really are not; this name courtesy of Steve Vis.) taste like something right our of your favorite confectioners, and they only contain 4 ingredients.
|Not pictured: salt and vanilla
2 cups plus 2 or more Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for 5 minutes
1/4 tsp. vanilla, optional (Paleo recipe calls for alcohol-free if using. No alcohol on Paleo diet.)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 2 cups of coconut flakes, dates, vanilla, and sea salt in a food processor and process until thick and sticky.
Place remaining coconut (you may need more than 2 Tbsp.) on a plate. Form the date mixture into little balls. Roll in coconut flakes. The coconut flakes get a little brown and crispy while baking, which adds a nice texture contrast.
|I lined the cookie sheet with parchment paper so did not grease.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just golden.
I think soaking the dates in some warm rum for 5 minutes, instead of water, would give a beautiful tropical flavor! (Definitely NOT Paleo!) Mickey Trescott, cookbook author, also says they freeze well. Mine didn’t last long enough!
The last couple of blogs covered a delicious duck dinner at my friend Debby Vis’s. As you may remember the duck was a little tough, but still very flavorful. I took what was left of the duck meat on the bones and the bones home to make soup and this is what I came up with.
As with most soups, and recipes for that matter, mix this up any way you like. This soup reminded me of a hearty Hunter’s Stew and the use of the fruit sauce gave it a slightly sweet flavor, reminiscent of Eastern Europe.
Ingredients-for the Stock:
Remains of 4 duck legs
1 cup of duck fat leftover from roasting the duck*
1 cup leftover fruit sauce from roasting the duck
2 stalks celery, roughly diced
1 carrot, roughly diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
1 Bay leaf
*That sounds like a lot of fat, but you will be removing most of it later.
Ingredients-for the soup:
4 roughly chopped carrots
1 diced onion
2 large cloves garlic
4 cups sliced mushrooms
Duck meat from the bones
1 cup barley
1 cup frozen peas
Place all ingredients for the stock in a large pot and cover with water, about 1 quart. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 2+ hours. The longer you simmer, the richer the duck broth. Remove from heat and cool. Chill in refrigerator overnight to allow duck fat to harden. Once hardened, remove most of visible fat, which will have hardened on top of the broth. Bring back to a low simmer and then strain all the veg, bones, and duck from the broth. Remove any large pieces of duck from the bones and chop to add to soup. To the broth add 4 roughly chopped carrots; 1 diced onion; 2 large cloves garlic, chopped; 4 cups sliced mushrooms–I used 2 cups white buttons and 2 cups baby portabellas. Add the duck meat and 1 cup barley. Bring back to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 35-40 minutes until barley is just tender. Add 1 cup frozen peas. Let sit for 5 minutes and serve. This soup also freezes well.
I just finished reading Ruth Reichl’s, Comfort Me with Apples, a fabulous story of her early years in California as a restaurant critic and food writer. She has inspired me to be a better and more adventurous cook. She captures the most heart-wrenching details of her life with warmth in an easy-to-read, conversational style. Throughout the book she shares recipes either she refined or from others, along with wonderful stories of outrageous dinner parties that make you feel like you’re sitting right next to her! Including her first dinner with the Danny Kaye, who I did not realize was quite the chef himself! Thank you Trudy G. Silverman for turning me on to Ruth’s books. Have known Ruth as Gourmet’s editor for years, but did not know she was such a great writer! Here’s my recipe for Mushroom Soup.
3 cups rich chicken stock*
1 cup rich wild mushroom broth**
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups sliced mushrooms. I used white buttons.
4 Tbsp. flour
4 large Tbsp. chicken fat or butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 capful either dry sherry or Madeira (I used Madeira as that’s what I had.)
Salt/Pepper to taste
*To make rich chicken stock, make chicken stock as you normally would and then cook the stock a second time in new bones to make it more rich.
**The same friend who cooked the duck dinner, gave me this beautiful mushroom broth. Thanks Deb! Like myself, Deb feels most sane and balanced when she has several types of soup stock in the freezer.
In a large pot, bring all ingredients, up to the mushrooms, to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Let cool slightly and strain. Heat the chicken fat or butter in a shallow pan and add the flour to make a roux stirring until slightly thickened. Add the chopped mushrooms to coat and then add mushrooms to the strained broth. Bring back to slow boil and reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Add sherry, cream/milk, and salt/pepper to taste. I think what made this soup so special was the mushroom broth. I served with some freshly chopped parsley.
I LOVE WRITING ABOUT FOOD, THINKING ABOUT FOOD, TALKING ABOUT FOOD, DREAMING ABOUT FOOD, AND PREPARING AND EATING FOOD!
THANKS FOR JOINING ME. UNTIL NEXT TIME…
…KEEP HAVING FUN IN YOUR OWN KITCHEN!
|Me on my FIRST Ferris Wheel ride at the Santa Cruz County Fair!
September 21, 2018
Live life to the FULLEST!