Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rich and creamy coconut milk using only ONE ingredient

I work at an LA-based yoga studio here in the Bay Area.  Right next to our yoga studio there is a local juice company that sells their unpasturized bottled juices and nut milks.  The other day I saw a woman come into the studio with a thick, creamy bottle of nut milk.  It made my tastebuds dance a little, thinking about how I wanted to enjoy that beverage at this very moment.  After work, I walked past the juice stand and noticed how EXPENSIVE these nut milks are! For just a few ingredients and a lot of calories, I thought, I am going to replicate that in coconut milk form as soon as I get home!

Coconut milk is one of my absolute favorite indulgences! I'll drink it alone, put it in my tea or coffee, over fruit, in soups, in desserts…..basically the options are endless.  I chose coconut milk over alternative nut milks because coconut is the least allergenic nut milk around and for me, it's the easiest to make. When making many nut milks, you need to soak the nuts in water for at least 12 hours prior to blending, in order to soften them and yield the best result.  There is a lot of controversy around the environmental impact of consuming nuts and nut milks, so here are a couple articles showing both sides of the argument: Lay Off Almond Milk Ignorant Hipsters  and Almond Milk Bad for Environment?

I want to show you how easy it is to make homemade coconut milk, with  Let's Do Organic Creamed Coconut is my favorite.  You can buy it Whole Foods and natural food stores. This creamed goodness comes in a vacuum sealed pouch and only costs $2.80! (Half the price of a carton of coconut milk at the store).  Not only that, but it has no additives, unlike most store bought coconut milks and cans that contain added preservatives or thickening agents like carrageenan, which studies have shown causes inflammation.

One Ingredient Coconut Milk
Adapted from plant-based Chef Julia Hellerman Yield: 1 super-thick quart

1 package of Let's Do Organic Creamed Coconut (found above)
1 quart boiled water

1 quart glass measuring pyrex or large glass bowl
high speed blender
1 quart ball jar

  1. In a 1 quart glass pyrex, soak sealed package of creamed coconut in warm water until soft, about 10 minutes.  
  2. Squeeze 1/2 the coconut cream into blender and pour in about 2 cups of water, careful not to fill the blender more than 3/4 full.  Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until liquid becomes frothy.  Since the liquid is very hot, be sure to carefully let some steam out of the blender while blending. Using a towel to cover the smaller cap on the blender's lid, carefully lift the towel just a bit to let some of the steam out.
  3. Once mixture is frothy and thick, pour into 1 quart ball jar or other large glass storage container.  Continue this blending process with the rest of the coconut cream and hot water.  
  4. Let the mixture sit out to cool for a bit before storing in the refrigerator.  Will keep for 7 days.  
  5. Sometimes I like to add vanilla bean, dates, and cinnamon to my coconut milk.  If you prefer to use the coconut milk in cereal, add more water to your milk for a less thick, longer lasting product.  
Warming up the coconut cream.  I try not to use boiling hot water as I do not want the plastic to leach. 
Even though I have never been a huge milk fan, my body does not do well with dairy.  Although there was one time when I worked on a secluded farm in the hills of Tuscany where I was able to drink fresh goat milk with no problem….Anyway I know that we can take the baby steps to slowly change our habits and improve our health.  Sometime just knowing how easy it can be done, or how much fresher the homemade dreamy goodness tastes in comparison to the chemical-laden varieties at grocery stores or the $7.00 bottles of fresh "pressed" nut milks at the local juice stand.  Show yourself some love, get in the kitchen, and whip up your own batch of fresh coconut milk.  You will get totally hooked!

Here I combined orange juice, almond butter, orange zest, cinnamon and a date to make a coconut citrus buttercup smoothie