Tag Archives: food processor

The Trials of Making Coconut Butter

This really works—with a number of qualifications.

There are so many instructions on how to make your own coconut butter that you either close your eyes and pick one or you read them all and make up your own instructions. Or worse, you pick the wrong one and go back to the drawing board. First mistake: not noticing or knowing that you should not buy reduced-fat coconut. The first set of instructions I read didn’t tell me about that, but I didn’t notice it on the package, anyway, until it never turned into anything but coconut dust.

The second mistake is thinking your appliance can handle the process. Maybe it can, but maybe not as well as a few specific appliances. It seems that most everyone who makes the butter uses something called a Vitamix, some kind of a superhero blender. A few people use a food processor, but aren’t specific about the brand or power level. I have a Cuisinart 11 cup food processor that is not new, but I can’t say how old it is, either.

So, on my second try, I bought both shredded and flaked organic coconut, both dried. I don’t know of any options for unsweetened coconut that is not dried. It took way longer than the 10 minutes most people brag about, especially with having to stop it every two minutes or less to scrape down the sides. I have read about people tilting their food processors with a stack of books, but I’m not sure how my little motor would feel about that. I also made it in stages, so I could let the processor cool down. Luckily, I had other kitchen tasks to do while waiting. I didn’t think it was going to work before the machine burned up, but eventually it did turn to a liquidy paste that was pourable. Only today did I read at the pin above that you could strain that liquid of the remaining bits of coconut and that you could add a little coconut oil at the beginning to hasten the process, both good ideas.

Mine is pretty much hard and a little dry, but still tasty enough that I want to chip away and eat it all. I added a pinch of kosher salt and a tablespoon of vanilla bean paste to mine. Will I make it again? Right now, I’m leaning toward yes, because I’d like to try it in some cookies and some Asian sauces (without the vanilla). Almost sounds like I’m thinking of making a variety of such butters. Maybe I need a fancier machine.

coconut_butter

 

Quick Tip: Tomato-Ricotta Sauce

This is a quick tip for an alternative to a tomato-rich tomato sauce.

I’m sure I didn’t invent this recipe—or probably any other—although it is possible to have an idea and not know that others have had that idea before. So, go on and keep inventing without Googling to see if someone got there before you.

I think one day I was just looking for a way to make tomato sauce appeal to my husband without dumping sugar into it. Generally, he thinks it’s sour, because he’s not a true lover of the tomato, but he does love a cream sauce, so I figured I could make one with the ricotta that was on hand by just pulsing it in the blender or food processor and adding it to the sauce. It makes an interestingly pink-ish sauce and does cut down on the sharpness of the tomato. My sauce started out with my own crushed tomatoes and roasted tomatoes that I have in the freezer, bacon and ground beef, lots of garlic and seasonings, but you could do this trick with any sauce from a jar.

I pulsed 15 oz. of ricotta in the food processor, with a little of the cooked sauce to thin it, until it was creamy. Then I just stirred it into the sauce that had been cooking for about an hour. It could have been served that way on pasta, but I decided to make the additional step of baking the pasta mixture for 20 minutes, with lots of Parmesan on top.

Updating the Gadgets

I finally had to get a new bowl for the Cuisinart® food processor, because the handle was so badly cracked I was holding it together with freezer tape. The old bowl has many hairline cracks, as well, that were just luckily holding together, and I’m keeping that bowl for a just-in-case moment, but it was really time to get a new one. I use the food processor frequently and the vibrations simply took their toll. Things like hard cheeses and meat can put a lot of stress on this glorious device.

I guess one good reason to use a top brand is that replacement parts are easy to find.

appliances

After I retired, I moved the Kitchen Aid® mixer out of the back cupboard to the counter where I will be more likely to use it. I don’t use it as often as I use the Cuisinart® but more often than I used to now that it’s handy. Speaking of replacement parts, I would like to get a few extra bowls for the mixer. We already have the meat grinder attachment that we use in the fall when we butcher deer that we have hunted, and it works great. These are two appliances that I have come to depend on and would want to replace if necessary.