Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crazy Coconut Cravings: Ways to crack, save the juice + appendages intact . . . .

young raw coconut ~ looks harmless enough doesn't it?

Yes, it can be done.

I cracked this coconut open while retaining my dignity, fingers and the highly coveted coconut water.

Everything has remained intact.

No need to throw it up against the sidewalk or mistakenly at a loved one standing in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

I came across a couple of methods suggesting to use a cleaver or machete.

Now why would I have such an accoutrement in my kitchen......yet in my home?

Step 1: Pick out a lovely bare white smoothly shaved coconut. This one has had part of the outer shell removed and what is left is the protective husk. If you got the whole freakin' green thing that fell off the tree, you probably need a machete or cleaver and I don't do that sort of thing. Make sure there are no bruises and signs of discoloration which indicates it may have lingered around too long.

You want a white bruise~free untarnished husk. These should be kept chilled in the refrigerator section of your nearest green grocer or ethnic store.

It was really easy. But I must begin by saying ~ don't do this at home, especially when intoxicated or otherwise and really, it's not my fault. This is a documentation on how I did this rather than instructional services that may lead to 'well she said it was safe.......'oh and by the way ~ I did read recently, that coconut water from the young coconut has often been compared to human blood plasma. Thus mentioning, in case a 'vessel with proper liquids to preserve + transport' any appendages to the ER......or was that comparison to compositional make up referring to seaweed?

Anyways, what I am trying to say is don't take my word for it.

*Go seek a professional when in doubt.

on a steady surface, I angled the coconut as such......with a very well sharpened knife, I sliced off the top portion of the husk as shown.

2. Slicing the top portion is quite easy..........

Bare faced charm


3. Holding the knife firmly in my right hand, I used the base of the blade as shown to thrust an opening on the top of the coconut........while KEEPING my left hand FAR + WAY ~ actually snug behind my back!

psycho action shot........hey watch those fingers!

I am often reminding myself to keep my left hand away from all the action. What I don't want to do is hold the coconut with my left hand while hacking with the knife in my right hand. Anything can slip ~ so I am better to be cautious and keep my left hand behind my back.

4. I made a merry circle of blade hacks atop the coconut........this was one of the FRESHEST young coconuts as of late! By this time the nutty sweet fragrance of the coconut water was seeping through its carcass. My hands were literally beginning to sweat with coconut fluids (not blood) during this part of the process.

Once I got close to the 'top hat' portion of the coconut open, some of the water literally spewed all over the kitchen counter. So I was ever so gentle in trying to retain as much water as possible.

Dignity intact

I just had to make sure I made the opening large enough to get my hands inside to remove the tender young coconut meat.

the coconut water in this one was exquisite. I had kept this one chilled in the 'fridge prior meeting its demise. The water meeting the rim of the coconut is the real thing!'

Chilled coconut water from the young coconut is highly addicting.

It's fragrant, slightly sweet and nutty sensation with the consistency of plain water.

It's something I love to crave.

The water and the meat from the young coconut are loaded with live enzymes and nutrients.

Make sure the coconut is fresh.

I always wanted to stick a pink straw in a coconut - no paper parasols located so the nearest decor I could find was my just bloomed peony stem......

I love peonies too ~ so unexpected.

Drink or pour the water out for later use......

Now what you ask?

Divine intervention........

5. Ice cream scooper.

Perfect kitchen modus operandi to scoop out the tender young coconut meat.

This stuff is somewhat of an acquired taste kinda~thing, especially if you're used to the dried coconut meat from the mature (brown husk) coconut. But really ~ it is sooooo good to cook with and so good for you.

This is absolutely delicious when cut into strips (pasta~like) and melded with fresh veggies for a pasta like salad or YES!........Raw~inspired ice cream and smoothies!

Really think forward and consider your favorite ingredients like chocolate, oranges, bananas, apricots, peaches, almonds, honey, vanilla........

Use a little bit of coconut water to smooth out the texture too.

Yes I plan on including a recipe shortly!

Thanks for your patience on these steps. I have been wanting to post this for some time, but ever since I cracked this nut open (hah!)~ all heck broke loose around here.

Ground control has been retained......somewhat ~ the rest is tallied off to the wind I guess ~

*As forementioned, this post is to highlight how I, TasteMemory opened a young coconut. TasteMemory & Melt Into Arts, Inc. will not responsible for injury, death or other outcomes that may incur upon repeating this methodry by readership.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

raw cookies: sweet n' ooey + gooey + chewy and a delight of food friends

these raw cookies are aggravatingly addicting: a mixed bag of crushed raw almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios + dried coconut, mangoes, pineapples, apricots in a tizzy of honey, almond nut butter and a slight drenching of vanilla + cinnamon you'd think would go a long way but....

sticky ooey gooey play dough like fun sized up on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. I had a slight freak out initially because I kept 'spreading' the cookies apart as if they were going to 'spread' upon baking ~ like in the 'fridge that is......

something old: reminds me of granola or uhmmm remember *gorp*??!.....something new: raw nut + fruit cookies keeps the energy up + waist line thin trim!

Recipe for NO-BAKE RAW-LIKE COOKIES posted below.

First off ~ I must say, I have been enjoying getting to know all of you via the blogging world! Recently ~ well I'll admit......a bit back ago I received awards from my fellow bloggers......I am filled with gratitude and so THANKFUL that you thought of me!

I am sorry it's taken me awhile to post and pass on.

It's been a whirlwind of deadlines, travels, mishaps, more deadlines and dramas ~ I finally feel like I've come full circle so I can give ample credit to the food bloggers that have presented these awards to me and in turn, pass it on.......

I dedicate this post to my fellow food bloggers.

Long overdue, I wanted to thank Nicole at Art and Aioli for the Blogging with Purpose Award ~ do check out her engaging site where she explores delightful + sunny approaches to her cooking that gives a sense of a personal visit every time I stop by. I love her outlook on cooking and life. She's great fun and I do love her 'art' and flow of blogging conversation.

While visiting, I feel as if I want to pull a chair up, have a glass of wine and just hang out with the engaging hostess she is......!

Thank you Art and Aioli!

This was totally hard to figure out whom to pass this onto as I read so many inspiring blogs. I'd like to pass the BWAP Award onto......

Teczcape ~ Awesome photos and outlook on world cooking. I love visiting this blog as it makes me feel like I am on a food lover's adventure.

Nina's Kitchen ~ Visit Nina's Kitchen and really.....need I say more? Inspiring recipes, tantalizing dishes and beautifully prepared......

Café Chocolada ~ She bakes and makes delightful pastries, cakes, rolls, savories and mouthwatering savories as well ~ not to miss this site!

Vegan Lifestyle ~ Vegan Lady does good! Her posts are great reflection of her commitment to health and well-being in her daily life. Other inspirations include the natural beauty of her surroundings as well.....

My Life as Chef Erik ~ Not to miss either! I love visiting his blog for fresh, healthy yet soul satisfying fare. A true chef at heart and by profession....he is honestly 'blogging with a purpose' with great recipes that will get your salivary glands going!

So I guess to the recipients ~ do post your award on your blog and would be lovely to have a mention of moi + link back. Don't forget......pass it on!

Then there is the Arte y Pico Award gifted to me from the multi~talented multi-tasking pastry enchantress Medena at Café Chocolada!

Thank you Café Chocolada!

Again, a challenge to whom to forward to......and some of you may already have this so please mind my bloops if so! Arte y Pico Award goes to:

Art and Aioli Nicole is also a art school trained artist and business woman ~ do check out her adventures in the kitchen, on paper and about town!

The Left Over Queen Jenn as we know her! Jenn the social butterfly and foodie networking pioneer ~ thanks mucho for your enlightenment, getting us together and your passion for food, life + love! So much to do and so much to SEE: You'll find yourself twisting and turning about her site from one great read to another.....

My Cake Wardrobe ~ fashionista, designer and girl about town......also designer of delicious sweet cakes + delights from the inside and out. Don't miss her beautiful cakes, hand made edible flowers and other sweet tales from the big apple!

Real Juice Daily ~ Oh my ~ truly inspiration in a glass! I cannot say enough about her because she has been on this incredible journey of health and realization. She has inspired me to juice and strive for balance in my love for food and healthy eating.....yet all at the same time she's stays so passionate about her quest - not to miss read!

Foodhoe's Foraging ~ Love Love this blog! Awesome photos on food adventures, mouth watering cooking insights and glorious travels about one of favorite parts of the country - yes! northern california to die for.....don't miss her tails of foraging, feasts + travels......

I cut and paste this clip on the bottom from Café Chocolada about this award ~

The Arte Y Pico award comes with these rules:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

Thanks everyone and to all: Many great adventures in the world of food blogging!

Easy No-Bake Raw-Like Cookies
©2008 Ingar Brunnett,

Bowl #1 ~ combine ingredients below
• almonds, walnuts, pistachios (crush in plastic bag w. mallet or food processor, but keep it chunky)
• pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
• dried coconut flakes (I found some organic sulfur free dehydrated ones at health food store that were very cost effective + yummy)
• dried apricots, mangoes, pineapples (trim to small pieces with kitchen scissors)
***Other stuff you can add + whatever to your liking: sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, cashews, raisins, other dried fruits, raw chocolate pieces or cacao chips, etc.
***Use unsalted nuts, preferably organic and raw when possible.

Large Bowl #2 ~ combine ingredients below
• 1/2 cup nut butter (almond butter, cashew nut.....choose a favorite)
• 1/2 cup honey and slightly more as needed(I use orange blossom honey, because I love the floral taste and another important tip: ob honey is very heavy in texture which is great in binding these cookies. Raw honey is good to with the added nutrients. The heavier the honey the better.)
• generous dash cinnamon
• dash sea salt

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Add nuts, seeds + fruits from bowl #1 to bowl #2. Combine thoroughly with a spatula. I found you have to adjust the amount of nut butter and honey to get the right consistency to get all the ingredients to somewhat 'stick' together. I add more honey to get everything binded together because I don't like the heaviness of the nut butter ~ you decide.

Don't worry if the whole thing doesn't stick together immediately. You want to bind everything just enough and the refrigeration will take care of the rest.

Don't forget just at least a delicate pinch of sea salt. The touch of salt with the nuts and fruit turn out quite savory.

I found using an ice cream scooper effective to drop generous spoonfuls of the mixture on the lined cookie sheet. Using the scooper and fingers, nudge the fallen away pieces to clump and form the cookie shape as needed.

On the bottom of my 'fridge, I found two slots to perfedtly rack up my cookie sheets!

They are best when left to chill overnight and even better after 24 hours. These cookies were gone before they were ready set chilled. If you're desparate to begin the tasting experience, you could chill a few in the freezer for a quickie.

I love this recipe and am still developing it to make it more 'transportable' yet raw. There are several versions of this recipe out there and a great one that inspired me is ShannonMarie's on We Like It Raw, an informative raw foods/lifestyles website.

p.s. they must remained chilled to keep their form - taste best straight from the refrigerator.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ssäm: the next best trend in a bundle ~ lettuce bundle that is....

curried shrimp ssäm: love making this for the family.....

In the beginning there was lettuce: Bibb lettuce entwined with baby romaines awaiting.....

curried shrimp with basmati rice lingers with savory seasonings such as curry powder, brown sugar, onion powder, garam masala, paprika + sea salt.....

from the Korean "banchan" family - easy marinated cucumbers: the trick to this is pre-salting with sea salt to soften the cucumber slices. Thereafter, squeeze the water residue out of the cucumbers prior the remaining marinating process......

I love going against the grain: a globally inspired ssäm derived from my love of spices from India + Korea combined with a fresh twist sans the spicy Korean hot chili paste kochujang.....really not needed here.

helpful ssäm eating thoughts: enclose the surrounding lettuce leaves into a 'ball' like bundle and then exercise your right to bite.....

Hey can you believe this?!! I am at a loss for words today.....basically this week I have been multi~tasking to death and realizing I can only do so much to conquer the world in one day.

Yet I wanted to share this recipe with you along with sexy food porn shots to keep my creative flood gates open......and I'm actually running out the door with a platter of these (lettuce wraps + cukes in the cooler and the curried shrimp + rice in the hot pot) to make it to Mochachocolata Rita's Chinese Take-Out Party

MC Rita has literally got it going on with a host of bloggers from all over the globe at her doorstoop with platters of savory dumplings, gyoza, potstickers, Szechuan chicken and even sweet & sour pork belly to name a few from her guest list.

See you there!

The spices mentioned below for the marinade have been recipe tested-true blue to the utmost and should definitely result in a savory + sweet seductive accompaniment to a meal or perhaps an amuse-bouche for your next house party.

It would be quite enticing to pair alongside a glass of well chilled dry yet fruit forward Viognier or perhaps a spice-ladened mango inspired Gerwürztraminer.

curry shrimp ssäm ~ lettuce wrap
©2008 recipe + words Ingar Brunnett, TasteMemory

1 lb. shrimp, deveined, butterflied and chopped to bite sized pieces
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. brown sugar or natural cane sugar
1 teasp. onion powder
1/2 teasp. sea salt
1/4 teasp. garam masala
1/4 teasp. old bay seasoning
1/4 teasp. paprika
1/4 teasp. cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

to sauté
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 juice fresh lemon

to serve
Boston/Bibb lettuce leaves, two big heads, rinsed and dried
bunch of baby romaine leaves, rinsed and dried
steamed brown or white rice

korean pickled cucumbers or radish (future post ~ promise....)

In a medium size bowl, add shrimp and all the seasonings. Remember the key is to chop the shrimp into delicate bite size morsels. Toss gently until seasoning is evenly distributed. Lastly, combine with olive oil. The spices may seem like a lot but the shrimp absorbs it like a sponge which perfects the marinade. Cover and chill for 1 hour or overnight is fine.

Heat both oils in sauté pan. Add the seasoned shrimp and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes cooked through and gains a lovely rich golden brown color. Careful not to overcook shrimp. Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon over the shrimp. Remove from heat.

Serve family style so everyone can help themselves with a Bibb lettuce leaf or two, line with a few baby romaines on top, then a heaping dollop of rice with a generous spoonful of sweet savory + spicy shrimp. Top with pickled cucumbers or radish if desired.

This is perfect as an appetizer or a side dish to a meal.

It's a mouth watering experience in a delicate jewel~like bundle.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

diary of a mad foodie: how to make korean seaweed soup aka miyeok kuk or nicely said ~ sea vegetable soup globally inspired!

dried seaweed: not your everyday dime store visitor......

submerged in tap water: resurfing back to the sea.....options are endless now

mermaid left her garter belt on my kitchen counter

If you were ever wondering how to cook with seaweed or *ahem* sea vegetables, I thought to share a bit of insight with you. I reiterate the term sea vegetables because of previous reactionary comments from people that are not familiar with the fab quality, taste + nutritious value of seaweed.

When I first made a pot of Korean seaweed soup, also known as miyeok kuk for my in-laws and others......I didn't find them too responsive to it.

With that in mind, I began a quest to develop a recipe that would be more inviting to the timid palate yet still retain its intensity and savory appeal. That seems to be my motto......retaining intensity + savory appeal without overtly turning palates away......but at the same time retaining the challenge!

Challenge is so necessary.....don't you think?

I also wanted to mention, that I find my readership to this blog quite adventurous and your comments have already proven that! Alongside your posts on your own blogs ~ that I find more so challenging + entertaining, so here goes.....

trimming unnecessary ends: parts that are overtly ewey + I prefer not to have in my soup.....hey, but makes a real sexy making facial mask when blended with honey......I'm not kidding

I have been on this trek to develop a more health conscious (I hate that combined effort of those two words, but I can't think of anything else right now) recipes that focus on use of natural, organic and globally inspired ingredients. I consider my cooking to focus on Korean American inspired recipes as well as other Asian recipes with a slant (hah!) toward healthier, natural ingredients and approachable techiques for the Americano and global foodies abroad.

For example.....the seaweed soup I grew up with was made with chicken broth, but had chunks of beef simmered alongside obscenely gaudy wads of seaweed. I think sometimes my mom threw in chicken gizzards and other obscure body parts (animal parts mind you)to really freak me out per chew.

the beginnings of the trimming session: From here.....I trim to more definitive bite size pieces. The long strands on the far right side is the stuff I've trimmed off for my you really want to know

trimmed the stem off here (left top)......then sliced into very thin strips lengthwise (top right)

Miyeok guk is traditionally prepared for the pregnant/nursing mother and college students because of the high nutritional content including fiber, protein, iron and calcium.

Raw foodists and those of you that are watching the chain of emerging super foods know that seaweed contains an extraordinary amount of wealth of minerals + vitamins including iodine, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, C, B12 to name the very few as well as nutritionally valued fatty acids.

nicely trimmed, seasoned + topped with the niceities.....doesn't it look ~ well at least presentable now?

all dressed up

supporting cast members from the top: green onions, roasted sesame seeds crushed, knob of fresh ginger + minced garlic

I also pre-marinate the seaweed with garlic, green onions, fresh ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil for starters.

My Korean relatives.......most notably my elder uncles & aunts enjoy my cooking but slightly freak out because it really is not 'tradional' Korean cooking. Actually, some of this stuff my mom taught me....and once they know it was handed down by mom then they leave it alone.

I do not use fatty cuts of meat that is common in some Korean cooking. For example if fatty bacon is called for, I usually replace with paprika+onion powdered smoked chicken. Another commonality in Asian cooking is the use of two to three different meat proteins in one dish (as I am discovering this becomes more difficult for some people to digest or lets say for those that are trying to trim back a bit aka gut builder).

cukes for banchan: slice the cucumbers paper thin ~ evenly, precisely...........what?.....Who's a control freak? Does this pict reflect control freakism?

I also use more ingredients + methods that are fresh, less preserved and perhaps from other cultures that will generate questions marks and slam doors on traditional Korean 'zen' cuisine.

Actually, being of Korean descent I have yet to run into a 'zen' Korean. As I call it and my husband even reinforces what we call the 'hostile Korean'. Why do you think they still have the north and south?

Also, why do ALL Koreans in the United States + elsewhere claim to be from Seoul?

Like there is no other city than Seoul?

Who's hostile?


simmering with goodness: abyss of minced garlic, green onions, ginger, sesame seeds, onions, sea salt w. seaweed + chicken broth

welcome home: how to make a perfect bowl of soup

I like make seaweed soup to replenish my family with something soothing, comforting and nourishing.

I also make it when we've been to busy to make it out to the beach as it reminds me of emersing myself in ocean waters to be free.

The taste memory of seaweed soup reminds me of returning home......and not necessarily to the one readily considered home.......

korean seaweed soup ~ miyeok kuk
*refreshed* version © 2008 recipe + words Ingar Brunnett, TasteMemory

1 1/2 oz. dried korean seaweed for soup (or wakame) for example see here
5 green onions, tops + bottoms trimmed off, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teasp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, grounded with mortar + pestle or other
2 teasp. sesame oil
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

soup stock:
2 quarts of filtered water
4 cups of organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 whole onion, outer skins peeled off

1 small korean white radish or japanese daikon, sliced in half, then in half moons 1/3" thick
1 clove garlic, sliced really thin lengthwise

steamed brown or white rice

In a large bowl, fully emerse seaweed in cool water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes until soft and pliable. Rinse thoroughly and drain.

Trim off ends that feel ewey + gooey + overtly gelatinous (doesn't this sound appealing? ~ see picture above for reference. Test by trying to tear the bottom strands off - if they tear easily....then it's trimmable. Also, please note you don't have to do this to the 'T' regarding the trimming of endz.....This is what my mother taught me, and I know from experience that *other* Korean families don't really do this as much as my immediate family of chopping + slicing + dicing + trimming you can chill on this part to your liking.

Also, I really think that trimming the seaweed to smaller bite size pieces makes this soup more palatable. The intense Korean versions I've had retains the seaweed in huge wads in your bowl. Not too pleasant. I also trim off the thick stems (see photo above) and slice them into to thin strips. Again, this is your call.

After the trimming episode, squeeze out excess water from seaweed and place in medium size bowl. Add 3/4 of the chopped green onions, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil. Then taste test a few strands. Remember there will be a hint of saltiness from the sesame seeds so consider that prior adding the sea salt. Also, make sure the sesame seeds are roasted and ground....this is so essential in the flavor of the marinade I can't tell you enough! Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Combine mixture, cover and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

In a large stock pot, add water, chicken broth and the whole freaking onion intact. Bring to boil, add the seasoned seaweed, sliced radishes + sliced garlic. Bring heat down to low~medium and allow to simmer at least 20 minutes whilst stirring on occasion. You can simmer a bit longer, just bring the heat down until ready to serve. Do not cover.

To make additional marinade aka ganjang for soup, in a small bowl combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, dash of sesame oil, freshly ground black pepper, toasted sesame seeds if you have any left over and the remaining minced green onions.

Ladle into soup bowls.

Serve with steamed rice + ganjang for additional seasoning.

Also, YUM with pickled cucumbers, kimchi aka kimchee and other banchan....but that's another post!