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Coconut Adds Flavor to Melting Moments


Melting Moments

Coconut is one ingredient that my mother has used with great success throughout her career as a baker. One reason is that she used fresh coconut for many years, breaking the shells on the concrete steps out back and then peeling the brown skin off the white flesh before shredding it.

It’s what adds a welcome extra flavor and texture to these airy cookies, which are easy to make. The secret is to make sure the butter or margarine is really at room temperature before you start making the dough.

You can also cut back slightly on the vanilla and add a light touch of almond extract or coconut extract.

Melting Moments

1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup cornstarch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
4 cups shredded coconut

Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly.

Cream butter in a large bowl, then incorporate powdered sugar thoroughly. Stir in cornstarch. Add flour and vanilla, and form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 300 degrees.

Roll dough into small balls. Roll in coconut. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until coconut turns golden brown.

Makes 8 dozen cookies.

From Annaliese Griffin

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Coconut Quinoa Is a Side Dish Loaded with Flavor


Chefs have been using quinoa more and more over the last 10 years. But it remains outside the mainstream for many, who seem reluctant to give it a try.

What is it? some ask.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is “an ancient South American cereal grain (that) is higher in protein than any other grain,” Bryant Terry writes in “The Inspired Vegan” (DaCapo, $19). “It tastes great cooked in coconut milk.”

The coconut milk, not to mention the ease of this recipe, should be enough for some to give it a try.

You can find quinoa at a growing number of markets, including Central Market, Whole Foods  and Green Fields.

Coconut Quinoa

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Coarse sea salt, to taste
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons dried coconut

In a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, combine the coconut milk with the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and dried coconut and bring back to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and steam with the lid on for 5 minutes, then lightly fluff with a fork.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “The Inspired Vegan” by Bryant Terry

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Chuck Ramirez Focused on Coconut, Kirby’s Snuffs Smoking, and More


Coconut Series: White Coconut by Chuck Ramirez

Thoughts of September, photos and a break in the weather

We haven’t even hit August yet, but thoughts of September and a break in the heat have been filling our minds lately. And September in San Antonio always means Fotoseptiembre, the annual photography exhibit at Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center.

This year’s opening will be, go figure, on Sept. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the center, 116 Blue Star.

This year’s event includes photographs from the late Chuck Ramirez as well as Carlos Betancourt, Rodolfo Choperena and Debra Sugerman. And on the menu will be some food images, including Ramirez’s Coconut series. The image, White Coconut (right), is icy and cooling in its own right.

For more information, call 210-227-6960 or visit www.bluestarart.org.

Kirby’s is going smoke-free

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., is going smoke-free as of Aug. 1. That includes the bar as well as the dining area.

That means no smoking during the monthly Scotch tasting, which happens from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 2.

This month’s selection includes four from Glenfiddich, including the 15-year-old, the 18-year-old, the 21-year-old and the Snow Phoenix Limited Edition.

A brand ambassador from Glenfiddich will be on hand to answer questions.

The cost is $25 a person, and reservations can be made by calling 210-404-2221. Click here for more information.

Crumpets celebrates the wines of Banfi

Chef Francois Maeder of Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, will host a wine dinner showcasing Castello Banfi of Italy at 7 p.m. July 29.

The dinner begins with the Centine Bianco paired with Ricotta Tortellini Alfredo, followed by Pinot Grigio San Angelo and Shrimp with Sautéed Peppers, Tomatoes, Onion, Garlic and Basil.  Rosso Montalcino and Eggplant Piemontese precede  Colle Pino Toscana Merlot and Sangiovese with Veal Marsala. Dessert brings Brachetto D’Acqui Rosa Regale and Meringue with Raspberry Sorbet and Zabaglione Cream.

Cost is $70 a person plus tax and tip. Seating is limited, and reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call 210-821-5600 or visit www.crumpetsa.com.

 

 

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