Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Crunchy Coconut Chip Recipe

I was pursuing a certain discount home goods store on an empty stomach.  I wandered into the snack section, and I picked up a bag of coconut chips because they appeared to be relatively low calorie.  They were quite possibly the best form of coconut I have ever had in my life.  Slightly sweet, just a touch salty, very crunchy, and with nutty aroma of coconut, though on the pricey side with 3.99 for two ounces.  The product is pretty difficult to find, and it listed as sold out on Amazon frequently for about 3.89 per two ounce bag.

I found that Trader Joe's has a product that is pretty close to the Danielle's chips.  However, it is still a little on the expensive side (1.99 for two ounces).  I also tried several other products that didn't quite cut the mustard so I won't even bother.

I did think about making these chips myself.  I went by Central Market one day and found coconut strips that were roughly the same size in the bulk section.  They were about 2.27 a pound, which is significantly cheaper than the other options,  Theses strips were thinly sliced, plain, and rather limp.  There were several attempted involved in turning limp coconut flakes into crunchy delicious treats.  I can eat an entire pan in a blink of an eye.   

I forgot to rotate this pan so some are a little crunchier than others.

Roasted Coconut Chips

  • 2 cups of dry coconut chips
  • 1/2 a tablespoon of agave nectar or 2 teaspoons of sugar or whatever sweetener you prefer
  • 1 pinch to 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • large mixing bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • 1/2 sheet pan lined with parchment paper
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the hot water, salt, and sweetener.  Adjust the salt and sweetener as you like, but be warned that the just a little salt will do.  I personally feel that more than two pinches of salt was a bit too much for me. Stir the mixture to combine and dissolve the salt and sweetener.  Once combined, toss in the coconut. Do not let the coconut soak in the water.  Toss it quickly to coat the coconut evenly.  The coconut should be damp but not dripping wet.

3. Layer the coconut on the parchment paper.  It is okay to have some of them clumped, but it is best to keep the layer as thin as possible.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, and watch carefully.  If your oven is a little bit uneven heat, make sure to rotate the pan  throughout baking.

4. Once the coconut is just starting to turn golden (10-12 minutes), turn off the heat and allow the coconut to dry out a little more.  When cooled, serve straight up, as a garnish, or dipped into nutella.  

Note: If you leave this sitting out or if you don't let it fully roast, it might get a little soggy.  Just reheat in the oven at a low temp to crisp up the coconut again. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Denver Gems: Euclid and Rioja

You might have heard the buzz if you watch cooking show competitions.  Chef Jenna's growing her an audience of adoring fans on interwebs and in real life.  Her restaurant, Euclid, located in the Larmier area of downtown Denver is a still very young two years old.  I visited it when it had just opened, and I visited again during the Great American Beer Festival in 2013. 

I was pretty lucky on this trip to Denver to be able to visit not one, but two of Chef Jenna's dishes.  Here's a photo sampling of the dishes we had.  Needless to say, her 2013 James Beard Award is well-deserved!

This was the pig ear pad thai.  The fried pig ears were perfectly fried and crunchy on the inside with the sweet and tangy sauce on the outside.  This was a great twist of familiar flavors with a new piggy texture. 

For all the chocolate lovers, this dessert is for you.  It is a pots de crème smores - thick bottom layer of chocolate, layer of smoky marshmallow toping, and graham cracker on the side.  It is a rather large serving, easily shared.  Or better ask for a bunch of spoons and make some friends. 

For lunch the last day in Denver, we visited Rioja - a casual yet elegant restaurant.  Also, by elegant, I mean dimly lit.  However, here are some photos that I could snap.  The one above was the luscious cheese and meat plate. 

Needless to say, we didn't skimp on the desserts.  The first dessert was the black and white cheesecake dessert -
blackberry filled white chocolate cheesecake, toasted black sesame ice cream, blackberry coulis, sesame nougatine, and black sesame paint.
The second dessert here is the raspberry spuma, white chocolate brushed frozen raspberry meringue, lemon pound cake, lemon confit, spun sugar, and raspberry dust.  This is close to the most elegant and delicate desserts ever.  The meringue and white chocolate shell was incredibly delicate and just the right amount of tart and sweet.  The spun sugar on top completed the beautiful dish. 
On a cold Winter evening, this would be the perfect dessert.  Lavender roasted pineapple filled croissant pastry, hot buttered rum caramel, and dulce de leche ice cream.  This dessert was topped high like a tower of glorious deliciousness.  I haven't had a cronut before, but this is probably better anyways.