April 2011

Sesame Rice Krispy Treats

Tuesday, Apr 12 2011 Cooking!

Like many nostalgic treats from childhood, the classic rice krispy treat sounds good in theory, but—highly processed and loaded with preservatives—is sorely lacking in ingredients befitting a healthy body.

But what if rice krispy treats were made out of… brown rice krispies from the co-op and creamy almond butter instead of yellow dyed margarine and horse hooves? I figured we could give these nostalgic treats a bit of an upgrade, and—on a sesame kick of late—make them even better with the addition of toasted sesame seeds. Here we have a nutty and crunchy treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. If toasted sesame isn’t your jam, just replace the sesame seeds with 1/4 cup toasted coconut or chocolate chips.

2 Tbls coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 cup almond butter (sub up to 1/4 cup tahini for extra sesame flavor)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other chopped nut)
5 cups brown rice crispy treats (in bulk at your fave co-op)

Combine coconut oil, nut butter and liquid ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until uniform and glossy. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over brown rice krispies, nuts, and sesame seeds.

Pour into greased 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish and flatten the top with your hands or the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight to firm. Cut into squares.

Note: These don’t firm up in the same way as the original krispy treats, due to the absence of marshmallow, but keep these in the fridge and they’ll stick together just fine.

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Coconut/Milk Conversions

Saturday, Apr 9 2011 Cooking!

Ode to Canned Coconut Milk
Since going dairy-free, I’ve found canned coconut milk (what I like to call CCM) to be an indispensable substitute for cow’s milk. Coconut milk works nearly seamlessly in sweet recipes and handles most savory applications too, with a little flavor adjustment (salt, garlic, lemon, etc). And, as luck would have it, the substitution ratios are a snap to remember:

  • 1 part coconut milk = 1 part half & half
  • 1/2 part coconut milk + 1/2 part water = 1 part whole milk
  • 1/3 part coconut milk + 2/3 part water =  1 part 2% milk

Now, when I say “coconut milk”, I am referring to one product and one product only: the fatty kind that comes in a can. I’m not talking about coconut water (such as Vita Coco), I’m not talking about the fancy expensive stuff that comes in a milk carton that you put on your cereal, and I don’t mean low-fat canned coconut milk.

Choosy Lover
The Asian supermarket here in Portland boasts over a dozen unique kinds of CCM. The standard-fare supermarket usually as at least two options. Even our corner market has three different kinds. The choice of which is “the best” can be overwhelming. Your secret weapon in the canned coconut milk conundrum? Label reading.

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