Coconut Whipped Cream

This is a wonderful topping for any AIP or Paleo desserts.  It is 100% dairy free.

Light and creamy, it really does resemble whipped cream in texture

I use this a lot to top fresh berries as a simple dessert, but I have also used it to top my Choco-Nanacado Mousse and my Avocado-Nana Raspberry Parfait.  It is also wonderful spooned over fresh berries to make a simple dessert or snack.

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Sometimes, just that little bit of creaminess makes all the difference.us

You do need to plan in advance to make this as you need to chill both the bowl and the coconut milk in the fridge.

This cream is made from the thick layer that separates out at the top of the coconut milk when it is stored in the fridge.

If you are using homemade coconut milk, this will happen naturally.

If you are using a can of coconut milk, you will need to ensure that it does not contain any gums or emulsifiers as these will prevent the thick layer from separating.  You also need full fat coconut milk.

Coconut Whipped Cream

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  • 1 batch of homemade coconut milk or 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (optional)

Place the coconut milk in the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill and to let the thick creamy layer separate out.  At the same time, chill the bowl you intend to mix this in.

Carefully scoop the thick layer off the top of the more watery layer underneath.  The watery layer can be saved to add to smoothies.

If using canned coconut milk, it is easier to open the bottom of the can and pour the watery layer off and then scoop out the thick creamy layer.

Place the coconut cream in the chilled bowl, and add the optional sweetener and vanilla if using it.  Whisk using a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using.

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Serve spooned over whatever takes your fancy….  it is even good to top coffee (if you have managed to reintroduce it – Coffee is a stage 1 reintroduction).  I also use it on top of a carob hot “chocolate”.

How to thaw a frozen chicken quickly and safely

I am sure we have all been there – it gets to mid-afternoon and we suddenly realize that the whole chicken we were planning on roasting for dinner is still in the freezer.

So what are you going to do?

You could plan on cooking something else for dinner (assuming that you have some other protein that is not frozen), or you could decide to go out to eat, or you could run to the grocery store for a rotisserie chicken.

Or you could use the one safe way of quickly thawing a frozen chicken.

That is what I am going to show you today.  Simply because last Sunday I forgot to get the chicken out of the freezer….

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All you do is take that bird and remove it from any packaging.

Then you place it in a large bowl (a large pan/stockpot would work too), and place that in the sink.

Turn on the cold tap and let the bowl fill with water.  Then turn the flow down until it is just a dribble.  Let the water constantly run into the bowl and overflow.  Make sure the drain is not plugged or you will get a flood!

The constantly running cold water keeps the chicken at a safe temperature.  It may not be the most environmentally friendly (the constant running water), but it is the safest if you need to do it quickly.  And by turning the flow down to the lowest you can without actually turning it off, you are minimizing how much water will be used.  This method works better than some other recommended ones where you don’t have the tap running and you change the entire bowl of water every hour as the constant flow stops the frozen meat from chilling the cold water too much.

Leave the chicken in that cold water until it is totally thawed.  It will take around 30 minutes per lb, but may take longer.   A 4lb chicken could take anything up to 2 hours to defrost, but that is better than it taking 10-12 hours in the refrigerator!  Just keep checking it.

This method does mean that the meat absorbs some water, so if that is a concern, simply leave it in the packaging and place it in the water.  I find that it takes longer to defrost in the packaging though – presumably because the cold water cannot get inside the chicken to defrost it from the inside.  Also, removing the packaging means that you can check inside the chicken for ice.

NEVER try to use warm or hot water to speed up the thawing process, it can lead to bacterial growth and potential food-poisoning.  And NEVER attempt to defrost a chicken at room temperature either.

This method is safe because it keeps the chicken at a cool enough temperature that there will be little to no bacterial growth.

Please note, this is only a safe way to defrost a chicken that will be cooked immediately after thawing.  Please do not try to put the chicken back in the fridge (or freezer!) if you use this method!

This method will work with all forms of poultry (even turkeys although they will take ages to thaw!  Estimate 30-40 minutes per lb as per the chicken).  If you are using frozen chicken portions, I would recommend that you place them in a sealed ziplock bag as they will absorb far more water than a whole chicken will and that can lead to them getting soggy.

This method also works for fish, shrimp and other meats including burgers and steaks.  Just make sure that the small items are sealed in a ziplock bag so that they do not absorb too much water.  Fish and shrimp will defrost especially fast using this method.  I often just dump frozen shrimp in a colander and let the cold water run over them while I am removing any shells…  they defrost in minutes this way.

Yes you could use a microwave, but I personally do not like thawing anything in a microwave.  It has nothing to do with the safety, and everything to to with the risk of partially cooking the foods as microwaves do not heat evenly.  Any hots spots will cause the chicken to be cooked in that area, which will result in overcooking (and dryness) when I put it in the oven.

Shared at Full Plate Thursday 5-8-14

Shared at Thrifty Thursday week 59

 

 

Basic Marinara Sauce

There are so many uses for a basic marinara sauce.

You can use it to cover meatballs.  You can use it to top a pizza.  You can use it on top of chicken breasts to make a chicken parm.  I use it all the time to make eggplant parm.  You can even use it to dress faux pasta noodles (I love it over zoodles!)

This is my “go to” recipe for a marinara sauce:

Because this recipe is made from tomatoes, which are a nightshade, this recipe is an AIP stage 4 reintroduction.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

Basic Marinara Sauce

makes aprox 3 cups

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 796ml (28floz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth (I usually use chicken bone broth)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ dried thyme
  • ½ dried oregano
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over a low heat (there is no reason to avoid using olive oil for cooking – see this post and this post.  It has a fairly high smoke point, and cooking with it does not damage the nutritional value of the oil in any way.  Also it does NOT turn it into a trans fat when used for cooking.  The only thing that heating olive oil may do is affect the flavour!)

Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until the onion has softened and is starting to look translucent.  Do not allow it to burn or brown – burned onions and garlic will give your finished sauce a very bitter flavour!

Now add the can of crushed tomatoes and use the bone broth to rinse out the can.  Add the bone broth and the can-rinsings to the pan.

Now add the basil and balsamic vinegar and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Simmer gently over a low heat for 30-45 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich.

Use as needed in recipes, or cool and store.  This will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.