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   This is an idea that came to me last week when I was brainstorming with Jenny about my ideas for coconut week. I knew that I wanted a sauce or a salsa to go with the pork, and a mango salsa seemed like a perfect match. It’s quick and easy and a nice departure from the norm for dinner. Try it tonight!
--Karly

COCONUT PORK MEDALLIONS WITH MANGO, BLACK BEAN, AND AVOCADO SALSA

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped onion
2-4 Fresno or jalapeno peppers, chopped (I used 3 Fresno peppers)
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup mango, diced (about 1 mango)
1 avocado, diced
Zest of 1 lime
Zest of 1 orange
Juice from 2 limes
Juice from ½ orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Half of a pork tenderloin, sliced into 1 inch rounds
Flour
1 egg, whisked with a splash of water
Unsweetened, flaked coconut
Canola or peanut oil for frying pork (I used peanut)

Make the salsa by combining all of the ingredients; set aside. If you want an even quicker dinner, make the salsa a day ahead. If you do, don’t add the avocado until right before serving. Heat about a ½ inch of oil in a skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork, then dredge in flour, dip in egg, then dip in coconut. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the salsa on top.

NOTE: I only used half a pork tenderloin because I wasn’t feeding many people. If you only use half, slice and freeze the other half for another time. I diced mine and froze it so th
at I can make a quick pork fried rice later.

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   As soon as I knew we were doing coconut, I knew I would make a coconut cake. While I am personally not a fan of coconut cake, my mother and sister absolutely love it, so I made this for them. I used two different recipes here. The cake recipe comes from Sarah Foster’s newest cookbook and the frosting is a Paula Deen recipe. I delivered this cake to my mom at work today, and the verdict? Everyone raved about it! If you’re a fan of coconut cake, then make it this weekend.
---Karly

COCONUT LAYER CAKE WITH SEVEN MINUTE FROSTING

For the cake:
1 ½ cups canola oil
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups milk, at room temperature
3-4 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

For the frosting:
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tarter OR 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup (I used the corn syrup)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour three 8- or 9-inch cake pans. (I used 8-inch pans.)
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Put the canola oil in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer on high speed; add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl each time. Add the
vanilla and stir to combine. Now, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour, after each addition, stir until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans (fill them about halfway up) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. (Mine took 35 minutes.) Cool the cakes completely before frosting.

Start the frosting after the cakes have cooled. In the top pot of a double boiler, or a bowl set over a pot of boiling water, put the sugar, corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites. With a handheld mixer, beat on high speed for one minute, then set over the boiling water and beat on high speed for seven minutes (thus the name). Take off of the heat, and beat in the vanilla. Make sure you don’t let the bottom of the pot actually touch the water, because it could cause the frosting to curdle.

To assemble the cake, cut any rounded tops off of each layer to level. Put one layer of cake on serving platter, then spread some frosting on the top and then press coconut onto the frosting. Add the second layer and frost the top, then add coconut. Finally, add the third layer, frost the top and sides of the cake, and press coconut all over top and sides.


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   Living in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, was a lovely dream. After a long day of hard work, my roommate and I would shower off the heat and the dust and head down the street for a pizza from the Italian man who had moved there to start a little eatery. And once in a while, we'd head further into town for a scoop of coconut ice cream from the local Eskimo (pronounced ehs-kee-moh! :D) Ice Cream franchise. 
   I decided to use the ice cream base that Karly used last week for her Honey Lavender Ice Cream, opting to substitute coconut milk for cream. This was an EXCELLENT decision! 

   But I screwed up! I just started dumping things in the bowl, and forgot about the boiling and curing process. So I caught myself and adapted. I saved the recipe by slowly bringing the temperature up and bringing everything up to a boil. Then I did everything right from there. I thin k the mistake resulted in the ice cream freezing too hard, but the taste is incredible!

---Jenny


CREAMY COCONUT ICE CREAM
2 cups milk
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 can coconut milk
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

1 tsp vanilla


In a bowl, stir ¼ cup of the milk and the cornstarch together, set aside.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 1 ¾ cup milk, coconut milk, honey, corn syrup, salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 minutes.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture, return to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Put the cream cheese in a bowl and pour in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture; whisk until smooth, then whisk in remaining milk mixture.  Add coconut flakes and vanilla. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large plastic bag.  Seal, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until chilled.  Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions.  Transfer ice cream into a storage container and freeze until set.



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There’s a recipe that I’ve wanted to try for some time in Melissa Clark’s newest cookbook for olive oil granola. When we decided to do coconut as one of our ingredients, I saw my chance. As it turned out, some ingredients I had, others I didn’t, and some I didn’t want to use. So, this is my version of the granola. Try it over yogurt for breakfast or on its own as a healthy snack.
--- Karly


KARLY'S COCONUT GRANOLA
3 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cups blanched slivered almonds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well; spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

NOTE: The original recipe called for coconut chips, but I couldn’t find them. It also called for pistachios, which I didn’t have. It also called for ¾ cup maple syrup and ½ cup olive oil, and as it turned out, I only had about 1/3 cup of each. I thought it turned out fine, but I will probably try it with the full amounts next time. If you want to add dried fruit, such as apricots, cranberries, raisins, etc…toss ¾ cup of the fruit of your choice after the granola has baked.


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Oohh, I think the sauce ended up being more of the star of this dish than the dish itself! The shrimp recipe belongs to Emeril Lagasse, and the Ginger Mango Cream Sauce is ALL MINE!! 
Altogether, this experiment was a success for me, given you make a couple slight changes: 
1.)  The coconut is not really a standout ingredient in the recipe for the shrimp, so next time, I will put it in the SAUCE. 
2.)  Sprinkle the shrimp with the seasoning. Do not coat it. Otherwise, it's very spicy. 
Enjoy!
----Jenny

TEMPURA -BATTERED COCONUT CREOLE SHRIMP (inspired by Emeril Lagasse, tweaked by Jenny!)

2/3 cup of flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1 cup ice-cold soda water
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail on
Creole seasoning (Essence), recipe follows

Ginger Mango Cream Sauce: 
1 mango, seeded and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp ground ginger
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped, for garnish

Preheat a fryer or a saucepan with about two inches of oil. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, egg, coconut and soda water. Mix well to make a smooth batter. Season the shrimp with Creole seasoning. Holding the tail of the shrimp, dip in the batter, coating completely and shaking off the excess. Fry the shrimp in batches until golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. 

For sauce: Combine all ingredients and chill at least 30 minutes. 
Mound some of the Ginger Mango Cream Sauce in the center of each plate. Lay the shrimp around the chutney. Garnish with cilantro.

EMERIL'S CREOLE SEASONING (ESSENCE) -- Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container. Yields: about 2/3 cup


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For me, when I think of coconut, one of the first things that comes to mind is Indian or Thai food. Before I got married, there was an AWESOME little Indian dive down the street from me. I ate there at least a couple times a month, getting brave a couple times to try something new, and when I did, I was more impressed than with the previous dishes. 
An old standby is Coconut Curry Chicken. Since I am not of Indian descent, I had to look this one up. The only changes I made were: cook the onion until it is almost translucent, and then add the garlic a minute or two before adding the liquids. AND: garnish with diced cilantro.
I personally thought this was great, but when my picky husband raved about it, I counted it as a MAJOR win!
--- Jenny

COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions
  1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil and curry powder in a large skillet over medium-high heat for two minutes. Stir in onions and garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.
  3. Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

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