Chai Coconut Tart

Sometimes I make food and it sucks.  Or I make it and I think ‘this is not what I was hoping it would taste like’ or even better ‘How the hell did it end up tasting like THIS, I didn’t even add curry?’.  One minor ingredient can be missing that you can’t quite put your finger on that you know would transform a dish.  It can be frustrating to say the least.  I’ve been known to make food and when it doesn’t come out right, put it in the fridge and muddle over what might be missing that could take it to the next level – for days.  I liken food to music.  You have the main chords – or food items- that you like to work with or put you in a certain mood, and then you have a huge range of options that add to those basic notes.  Do you want bright and happy?  How about a little basil.  Thinking romantic?  Add some sweetness.  Feeling sad?  Give me anything with carbohydrates!!

Food combinations are an opera but I don’t like singing every night.  That’s what happened with this little baby, the chai coconut tart.  I started by wanting to make chai coconut pudding.  When I first tried it the texture bothered me and the taste was missing something.  So I added more ingredients and blended it.  I still thought it was missing something and though about it for another day.  Eventually I realized that this pudding needed to be eaten WITH something else.  Enter the tart.  What kind of tart?  Yes, well this cycle is the never-ending quest of the cook.  Meddle, fix, eat, throw out, meddle, fix, eat tentatively, fix again, eat, and eventually voila!  Suddenly the picture in your mind becomes the food on your plate and your taste buds go crazy.

And then sometimes you just throw pasta in a pot, mix with some oil and vinegar and whatever else may or may not be handy and call it a day.

Chai Coconut Tart

Serves: 4

Ingredients

Pudding

1 14oz can coconut milk

2 chai teabags

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup chia seeds

up to 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Crust

1 cup gluten free oats

1 cup dates

 

  1. Gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan.
  2. Once warm, add syrup, spices, and salt.  Gently mix.  Remove from heat and add the teabags.  Let sit until desired chai-ness has been reached.
  3. Remove teabags and let cool.  Once room temperature whisk in chia seeds.  Put in fridge to set.
  4. Once set (around an hour or so) remove from fridge and add to a blender with almond milk and additional spices if you want more flavour.  Blend until smooth.  Put back in the fridge to set.
  5. Start the crust by adding oats and dates to a food processor and process until chunky and slightly sticky.  Press the oat/date mixture into a mold of your choice.  Place in freezer until serving.
  6. Before serving, remove the mold from the freezer and remove the shell from the mold. Add the pudding into the shells.
  7. Top with coconut cream and fresh mint, raspberries or whatever else you like!

Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf

For the first time in months I’m starting to feel like the sun is fighting back the clouds and that it brings warmth with it’s beautiful rays.  The snow is starting to fade from the mountains and everyone is taking a collective sigh that they made it through another winter.

I love winter.  Just like I love each season for what it brings us.  However, what I’m finding with each subsequent year here in the Pacific Northwest is that each winter becomes less and less wintery.  It’s less cold, or less cold for more often.  It’s less snowy and it seems to have shrunken by a month or so.  I know that many people will rejoice in the good fortune of climate change in the small way that they feel it may impact them now.  A month less snow.  A few less days of defrosting your car.   More sunshine to warm your face.  But I want everyone to realize the larger impacts of these changes over years.  It’s not just that the ski season will become so short that it’s not worth buying a pass.  It’s the larger but still very local impacts that will make you wish you had done something sooner to help.  Warmer temperatures means continued expansion of the Pine Beetle throughout BC.  It’s the lack of snowpack in the mountains to sustain streams throughout the summer.  It’s the seemingly slow, but actually very fast change of species and ecosystems all around the world.  We have put a huge stress on this planet.  If you can do anything today it is to acknowledge within yourself that we have changed the planet in irreparable ways.  So as much as I love the sun and the warmth and the knowledge that spring is coming, I think with each year that it’s happening too soon.  There’s no reason to speed up time when it’s already moving so fast.  So appreciate what winter has given us because who knows how the planet will change in the coming years.  Do what you can to understand the interconnection of the world and us within it. We are only a part of a larger story.  Let’s take care of the world we are using and respect nature for what it provides us.  Many trees will have been born before you and will continue to thrive once you are gone.  Make changes today to ensure that winter and all the seasons continue to be able to provide to us what we need to survive.

Educate yourself.  Read books, watch documentaries, eat plant-based, ask questions.  It’s important for all of us and for the future of the world. And while you’re doing all of that try making this delicious coconut zucchini chocolate chip loaf.  It changed my life and may change yours too.

Perpetual Flow - Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf Batter

This loaf can make you feel better even if the world were falling apart around you.  I changed it slightly from it’s original version on how sweet it is by Jessica Merchant.  The original recipe can be found here.

Perpetual Flow - Coconut Zucchini Chocolate Chip Loaf

Here is my version of the original loaf.  I usually decrease the oil and sugar in my foods because I grew up with a diabetic in the family and so am used to less sugary foods.  The oil thing is just because that’s how I like it and decreasing the oil never seems to change the flavour of a food.

If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour on hand you can also use whole wheat flour minus 2 Tbsp and add 2 Tbsp of cornstarch.  This is what I did when I made the recipe since I didn’t have any pastry flour on hand.

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or use whole wheat flour minus 2 Tbsp flour and add 2 Tbsp cornstarch), sifted

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened coconut (flaked or shredded)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup coconut milk (canned)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/8 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup + 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 3/4 cup grated zucchini

2/3 cup dairyless chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and set it aside or line with parchment paper and don’t use oil.  I used a 9×5 pan but I’m sure you could use other sizes that are similar if that’s what you have.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extracts.  Gently stir the coconut milk and extracts together to mix and then stir into the dry ingredients.  Once it is mixed, stir in the coconut oil and apple sauce. Once combined and wet, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Try not to over stir at this point. Pour the batter into the greased or lined loaf pan.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until the center of the loaf springs back if you push on it. If at any point the top of the bread begins to brown too much, tent it with aluminum foil. It may sink once it is cooled even though it is cooked all the way through.

Now top with a delicious nut butter and eat!!!

Perpetual Flow - Chocolate Chip Zucchini Coconut Loaf

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream

I woke up this morning and realized that it was Valentine’s Day.  I don’t have anyone to ‘celebrate’ it with here in Kelowna but I still decided that a little love could be spread on my part and hopefully others would feel it.  As I lay there I thought to myself ‘what would be something easy to make today that could spread the love?’.  Answer?  Well, obviously chocolate because it’s awesome…and what else?  Well, I am one of the world’s (lucky) coconut lovers.  A light bulb went on – chia pudding and coconut cream.  This recipe requires so few ingredients and it’s so simple to make.  Even a boy could do it! (Just bugging you men!)  No complicated folding or baking or rising to worry about.  Mix a few things together in two separate bowls, layer, and VOILA!

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream inspired by Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows
Chocolate Chia Pudding with Vanilla Coconut Cream inspired by Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows

I also learned throughout this recipe that the hand-mixer I purchased from the Salvation Army does not work if absolutely anything is touching the beaters.  I could put the darn thing in water and the beaters would stop turning.  So, this recipe also shows that you can do the coconut whipped cream by hand and save yourself dirtying up more dishes if you’d like.

Coconut Whipped Cream inspired from Oh She Glows
Coconut Whipped Cream inspired from Oh She Glows

Layering was probably the most stressful part of this entire dessert.  Although truly it’s nothing to worry about and the more half-hazard you do it the more deliciously disheveled it will look.  Top with any fruit you’d like or even jam or coconut chips.  Have fun and if you don’t have someone to share it with I hope you eat it all just like I did!!!

Choco Chia Pudding with Coconut Cream
Choco Chia Pudding with Coconut Cream

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe can be found at Minimalist Baker and the Coconut Whipped Cream can be found at Oh She Glows. Two of my most favorite food blogs!