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

Updated on February 20, 2019
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Linda explores 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.


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


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


  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)


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


  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)


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


  • 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?


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


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


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