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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, and Cooking, #40

Updated on February 20, 2019
Carb Diva profile image

Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

When I began this series in October, one year ago, I had no idea it would continue beyond a month or two. Together we've explored the definition of kitchen terms, found the best kitchen utensils, talked about new equipment (instant-pots), fretted over cooking mishaps, and found new (or re-discovered old) recipes.

I don't know about you, but I'm having a blast! And, if you're reading this I guess you're still on board. Thanks to all of you for reading, commenting, and being a part of this fun ride.

Let's get started.

Is It Possible to Make Coconut Milk Ice Cream?

I have heard of a company that makes ice cream but uses coconuts instead of milk or cream. In fact, I think his company is in your region of the US. Any idea how he does this? I would love to make that.

Source

In the United States, it seems that vegetarian, vegan, and non-dairy products are no longer a rarity. The list of frozen-treat manufacturers who eschew cows milk products is lengthy, and they probably aren't available where my questioner lives.

Mary, since you live in Brazil, I don't know which ingredients are available to you so I will present several options. The key, of course, is the type of coconut product to which you have access:

Cream of Coconut Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut (found in the liquor aisle in the USA)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks, about 3½ minutes on high speed.
  2. Fold in the cream of coconut until mixed well.
  3. Pour the ice cream mixture into a 2-quart freezer safe container.
  4. Freeze 6 hours or until firm; freezing overnight is best. Store in the freezer.

Canned Coconut Milk (adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet)

Ingredients

  • 2 14-oz. cans of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients (with a mixer) in a sturdy bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer and wait a half hour.
  2. Remove the bowl and use the mixer to stir the ingredients. Place the bowl in the freezer and wait a half hour. (Repeat this step until the ice cream is frozen.) It will likely take 2-3 hours.

Coconut Milk (the substitute for cows milk, in a cardboard container)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup unsweetened coconut milk (Silk, or another manufacturer)
  • 1/4 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 Tsp sugar

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a plastic container.
  • Freeze.
  • Rake with a fork to create a granita-type frozen treat


Fresh Ginger

Is there an easy (easier) way to peel fresh ginger?

Source

Fresh ginger—spicy, pungent, peppery, but also lemony and slightly sweet. It's a world of flavors. Ginger appears in dishes both sweet and savory and is one of the key ingredients in the cookery of China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, the Caribbean, and North Africa.

That's the good news. The bad news is that a "hand" (that's how a clump of fresh ginger is quantified) of ginger is about as gnarled and knobby as my arthritic fingers.

Fresh ginger is enclosed in a papery (but not terribly tasty) skin. Most cooks whip out their small knife or vegetable peeler to remove that cover. But there's actually an easier method, one that is much easier to use, control, and sacrifices less of the precious flesh underneath. And, you don't need to run to a gourmet kitchen store to purchase it. You have it in your silverware drawer.

Enter the teaspoon. No, not the measuring spoon, but the one you use to stir your coffee or tea.

Try it. Grasp that gnarly hand of fresh garlic in one hand and your teaspoon in the other (probably dominant) hand. And then start to scrape. Look! Scraping might take a bit more time than paring with a peeler or knife, but you are removing just the skin, getting into those nooks and crannies, and now have an amazing amount of fresh ginger to play with.


My Favorite Things

Source

Flour sack towels - Everything has a history, even something as common as a flour sack towel. In the 1800's, many suppliers began to package flour, sugar and other foods in cotton sacks. This cut down on the need for bulky wooden barrels. The sacks were tightly woven bags that could later be converted into useful home items. The cloth was perfect for making aprons, clothing, or kitchen towels. At first, the re-use was simple frugal living. But during the Great Depression, re-purposing of even every-day items became a necessity.

However, by the 1950's cloth sacks were no longer needed—paper packaging was cheaper. But our admiration of cloth sack material has not waned. Is the love of flour sack towels born of nostalgia or good sense?

Kitchen flour sack towels will always be superior to the terrycloth dish towel and here are the reasons why:

  • They are lint free which is really important if you are drying glassware or, like me, making your own pasta. Rolled dough and cut noodles have to rest somewhere. A clean lint-free towel is a perfect place.
  • Highly absorbent. Got a spill to deal with? Grab a flour sack towel. And then, wash and reuse. You won't be adding to the landfill with a wad of paper towels.
  • Speaking of washing, they are naturally soft—no fabric softener needed. In fact, if you use a fabric softener on them, their rate of absorption is reduced.
  • They're attractive. Today's flour-sack towels come in an endless array of colors and patterns. There's a style for every decor.
  • Baby safe. Many parents use flour sack towels to care for their babies and toddlers because they are gentle on their skin. Babies have very sensitive skin, and that is why you want to only use items that are soft and comforting.
  • And, they are inexpensive. I have found them at the Dollar Tree and even in the cleaning products section of Trader Joe's.


Hydroponic Produce

What are your thoughts on hydroponic lettuce? Most of the local store bought lettuce is grown in this way.

hydroponic agriculture in a greenhouse
hydroponic agriculture in a greenhouse | Source

Mary, if I had access to hydroponically-grown lettuce, I would buy it. Hydroponic farming is the growth of plants in a soil-less environment. Why would a grower opt for hydroponics?

  • It uses only 1/20th of the water of traditional (soil based) gardening.
  • It provides a sterile environment for plant production (no need for pesticides or chemicals to battle soil-borne pests).
  • Crops grow two times faster in a controlled environment.
  • The yield is doubled—more production from the same amount of space.
  • It needs 20% of less space in comparison to soil-based gardens, as plants with small roots can be grown closer to each other.
  • Traditional gardening can lead to degradation of the soil, requiring crop rotation.
  • Less labor intensive and upkeep is minimal.
  • Plants grown through this technique are healthy and have better nutritional value. It has been proved that vitamin content is 50% more in hydroponically grown plants as compared to conventional ones.
  • It is easy to harvest in this type of gardening.
  • There are no worries about the changing seasons, as crops can be grown all year round.


That's It For Another Week

A short one this week, but that typically happens during the warm summer months. However, if I prattle on long enough here I will reach the "optimum" word count of 1,250. (With the addition of a title on this segment, I reached 1261!)

See you next Monday.

© 2018 Linda Lum

Comments

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Shauna - coaxing the meat out of those coconuts sounds like a LOT of work, but maybe she has it down to a fine art. I'll encourage her to let us know.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      11 months ago from Central Florida

      Interesting information on the benefits of hydroponic farming, Linda. I wasn't aware, but all points make perfect sense!

      I'd love to hear if Mary tries her hand at making ice cream from coconuts. She and her husband have a coconut farm. Mary, will you let us know?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Audrey, thank you for the affirmation of the spoon technique for peeling ginger. Based on billybuc's comment I will write about hydroponic gardening next week.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      11 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      The spoon technic for peeling ginger works great. I've used this method for years. I enjoyed reading about hydroponic farming and the information you've provided. Thanks, Linda.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, look on Amazon and you will find dozens. A 7- or 8-quart will be fine for your needs. You don't need "programmable" or lots of fancy bells and whistles. Most are less than $40.00.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks and I will now search for Crock Pots. Suggestions on a budget?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, there are several methods, and I don't think it HAS to require a lot of money. If you'd like I will investigate hydroponics for the home gardener. Stay tuned.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, the missing ingredient was "cream of coconut" which was in the title, but to clarify, I went back and placed it in the list of ingredients. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for your help.

      I don't use my microwave to cook anything but I'll see what I can find for you. As for not wanting to heat up an already hot kitchen, do you have a crock pot (slow cooker)? They do a good job of cooking a lot of things without heating up the room.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, silly of me to not think that you would want to be using your own coconuts. So, you need a recipe that will help you from step one which is "pick a coconut from your tree."

      I'm on it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I wish I had time to learn hydroponics. It is such an efficient way to grow produce. Maybe in my next life I can give it a go. :) Great questions this week...Happy Monday!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda you are great and so are your readers questions. What was the first ingredient in the Ice Cream found in the liquor isle? I must have missed it.

      I need your best microwaved meat dish. I am talking red meat here. Fish and chicken I have down. But I need one for beef.

      You see I eschew air conditioning on both moral and economic grounds. And we do fine but any heat in the kitchen is ugly when 104 outside.

      Thank you for your valuable service.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      11 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      With regards to the coconuts, mine would be straight off the tree. It is quite labor intensive to get the coconut out, I use a tool that looks like a spoon with spikes. They also have the same type of thing but with a flat piece of wood you sit on and then move the cut coconut half back and forth. I have also had one that had spikes and is turned with a handle after attaching it to a table.

      Shockingly although coconut milk is widely available here, coconut creme isn't. I have tried removing the coconut meat from the coconut and then using my grating blade on my food processor. That wasn't very successful as my processor isn't robust enough.

      Interesting about the ginger, I try and buy that every week and get frustrated about those nobbly bits, I will use your teaspoon method.

      Regarding the lettuce, I can see the benefits. I have a friend who is fiercely opposed to this way of gardening. I will share your thoughts with her.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      11 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Peru?? What are you doing in Peru? IMG you are just a hop, and a skip and a jump away from Blond Logic (aka Mary)! I hope you are there for fun, and you're having a wonderful time (is it winter there?)

      Thank you for your kind words and support. Let me know when you get back. Love to you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      11 months ago from USA

      That coconut milk ice cream recipe was a beauty. Oh, am I trying that one! It’ll have to wait until I get back from Peru, but I look forward to the flavor adventure! Wonderful series, Diva! You are truly a credit to the kitchen.

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