Coconut Kefir Yogurt

July 30, 2009

1cocoyogurt

After making coconut water kefir the other day, I was left with the coco meat and the tantalizing option to make coconut kefir yogurt presented itself.  While the water takes up to 48 hours to culture, the yogurt only takes overnight.

Perfect translucent spoonmeat for yogurt

Perfect translucent spoonmeat for yogurt! 

I scooped out the meat – perfectly tender, deliciously gelantinous young coco meat –  into the blender and added just enough water to bring it to the consistency of heavy cream.  As I learned from making seed yogurt, if it’s not fluid enough it won’t culture properly and can spoil before the beneficial bacteria get a chance to propagate.  So add a bit of liquid – a bit of coco water or filtered water is perfect.

Cocomeat in blender.

Cocomeat in blender.

Next, I added the same Body Ecology kefir powder I used to make the cultured coco water and blended it, adding the tiniest bit of liquid and adjusting the fluidity as I went until it was somewhere between loose regular yogurt and heavy cream.

Coco yogurt: Before

Coco yogurt: Before

As I mentioned in the cocowater post, I’ll use the water kefir grains for daily use simply because they are the sustainable option, having no packaging to throw away.  You can order them from me for $15, including shipping, by emailing me.  Thanks again, Irina!

I wanted to try this powder starter to see how it works and so far it seems just fine.  Certainly convenient.  Will be useful for travel, when you really want to insure healthy inner bacteria balance.  And now that coco water is available almost anywhere, life is becoming so easy!  I mean, about 4 years ago, I found fresh Thai coco’s in, of all places, an Oklahoma Walmart!

Coco yogurt: After

Coco yogurt: After

As you can see in the photo above, it has nearly doubled in size and is full of bubbles that show that the beneficial bacteria are busy loving life!  Bless them, then welcome them to their new home – your belly – where they will live long, productive lives of beneficial, prosperous creativity.

When I tasted it the next morning, it was slightly fizzy, super creamy and quite tart.  I had some goji berries left over from making homemade goji juice and used them as a topping along with a spoonful of honey.

An aside about honey and bee pollen:  I am careful to only use honey that is far, (hundreds of miles far), from regions where GMO plants might be grown.  This honey is raw Himalayan forest honey and I can only hope it’s far from any GMO’s blowing in the wind.  I also only get New Zealand bee pollen for the same reason – their country has very strict laws about allowing live GMO plants in their country from what I understand and so I tend to trust that their pollen is virtually guaranteed GMO-free.

It’s pretty much impossible to say that for anywhere else, because, being specifically designed by Nature to carry genetic info from plant to plant, pollen travels on the wind and can be blown for distances of hundreds of miles, not to mention the fact that pollinating insects are designed to carry it far and wide.  I avoid conspiracy theories like the plague but of course the principles of pollination were understood when agri-biz began producing gmo’s, so it really is worth it to vote with your dollars by only purchasing things that your educated guess determines likely to be non-gmo or are clearly labeled non-gmo.

3cocoyogurt

Coconut Kefir!

July 27, 2009

Vegans must generally be very well educated about the needs of the body to ensure they maintain a healthy balance.  Actually, everyone today needs to be well-educated considering that the overuse of highly engineered, sugared foods in daily life and the overuse of anti-biotics in the health industry have both become so widespread that a body is hard-pressed to remain in balance without being constantly vigilant about what we allow into our system.

Food has become such a complex issue with the advent of commercial production methods and the widespread, and clearly incompatible-with-life use of chemicals in nearly every place you look. With conditions such as these to deal with, pre and pro-biotics can be major allies in bringing balance to our bodies.

Freshly opened young coco

Freshly opened young coco

As a long-term raw vegan, (though I do have honey occasionally), I am always on the lookout for the healthiest, most diverse options I can find for nutritional balance – and for pro-biotics, I’ve found that for many reasons, cultured foods are definitely the way to go.

Exploration has brought me to the fortunate discovery of kefir, and water kefir in particular.  I’ve known about dairy kefir forever, but only learned of water kefir a few years ago.  I’m getting back into it again, and thought I’d share my re-discovery with you.

I’m trying the Body Ecology kefir starter and it’s so far so good, but I can tell that I’ll be returning to the actual kefir grains for daily use.  That’s the traditional form they come in and they grow and are shared in the same way Kombucha babies are, which is to say, multiplying in form so that you always have more than enough to share with others.  I do think the B.E. starter will be good for traveling though, due to it’s convenience.

Kefir has been used for centuries to culture milk.  The grains are a combination of beneficial bacteria and yeasts in a matrix of proteins, lipids, and sugars, which form a symbiotic matrix of translucent grains about the size of rice or barley and resemble miniature cauliflower florets.  And, goodness gracious, does it ever have an interesting history thanks to the prophet Mohammad who, it was fun to discover,  was quite an interesting guy!  For example, according to his entry in Wikipedia, when he was 25 he married a 40 year old highly successful business woman, after she proposed to him!  Things have certainly changed in Saudi Arabia, that’s for sure.  After reading the tale in the link, one does wonder how Mohammad would feel about the way things are in Islam now…

According to Wikipedia, before he switched vocations, Mohammad was a merchant who traveled between his hometown of Mecca, and the Mediterranean doing business.  In his travels he gave, or traded – who knows for sure – kefir grains to people who came from what is now Russia.  Thus began the long, unbroken chain of kefir culture throughout the history of the western world.  This story elaborates how it came into popular usage and is another absolutely intriguing tale!

So, we all owe many thanks to Mohammad and his beloved wife and especially to Irina (see above link to story), as we use our kefir products.  Wow.

coco water

To carry on then, into the present, we can now use kefir to culture coconut water to make a vital and healthful beverage.  I also made coconut yogurt which will be featured in the next post.

The Body Ecology starter makes it very easy, all you do is empty the packet into a quart of coco water, shake and wait for 3 to 4 days for it to culture.   It becomes slightly fizzy and quite tart, like unsweetened yogurt.

coco Kefir bottled

Guess what, of all things,  I found in the produce isle of the local health food store today?  FRESH goji berries.  Incredible!

Cute lil' goji berry stem...aww...

Cute lil’ goji berry…aww…

Goji berries, ubiquitous in the health food community, are normally found dried and available in most health food stores, thanks to David Wolfe’s laudable – and relentless – promotional efforts.  As Chinese health practitioners have known for over 2,000 years, they have purported health benefits above and beyond your average berry, hence their superfood status.

My understanding has been that they are supposedly so fragile that even in Asia they’re sold dried.  And that’s the only way I’ve ever had them or heard about them – until now!

JUICY!

Juicey!

Imagine my surprise then, while strolling along in the produce aisle, I spied this glowing little punnet of…what?  What could be such an incandescent red in the berry section? I mean, this color is much different than strawberries or raspberries or even cranberries. It turned out the tiny stash of 1/2 pint berry boxes contained FRESH ORGANIC GOJI BERRIES!  For $6.89!  Ouch.  But impossible to pass up, obviously.  I put them in my cart without a moment’s hesitation.  The only delay was over whether or not I should get TWO boxes, but I didn’t and a good thing too, as I will explain.

Out of focus but too cute!

Living in Hawaii, we are incredibly fortunate to have all sorts of unusual, exotic delights available to us, but I certainly wasn’t expecting this.  I have heard that people are planting the seeds though, so I shouldn’t be so surprised that someone already has enough of a crop to market them.  These are from an organic farm in Watsonville, California so you can request them from your produce manager.  Their season, according to my research, is July – October so there’s plenty of time still to place your order!

Totally plantable!

I am going to try to grow a bush or two – they get to be about 1 meter tall I’ve read.  We shall see.

Dried goji blossom found in the box!

Dried goji blossom found in the box!

I was eating from the box while writing this and discovered that these are potent little berries, and as it turned out, I doubt I could have finished two boxes before they turned.  They are really good, but seemed to definitely be medicinal in that I only felt like eating about two tablespoons and then felt like drinking a lot of water.

They have a very mild flavor – in the way blueberries are mild – and they are quite sweet in the same way watermelon is.  That’s sort of how it tastes – juicy and surprisingly reminiscent of watermelon, though not for any specific reason.  In conclusion, they are quite medicinal after all and also, in the way of berries everywhere, will not keep long, so if my body has had enough I suppose I’ll be drying the remainder, after all!  How  ironic, haha.  Or… at least the ones I don’t plant!

StarApple

There are so many fruits in the tropics that you just don’t see in the markets of the US because tropical fruits don’t travel well,  star apples being one.  While I can’t say they are my favorite, they are still a novelty to me and as such I find I can’t resist picking up a few whenever they come into season here.  They aren’t very fragrant, and the flavor is subtle,  but they do have the most beautiful, translucent purple coloring and it’s fun just to put something that color in my body.  They feel healthy and refreshing to swallow, feeling and tasting a little like a cross between fresh aloe and persimmon.

Star Apple

The husk carries quite a lot of astringent, milky latex even when the fruit is fully ripe, and that’s interesting.  Not especially delicious, but interesting.  In the Philippines, where star apples are really common and natural medicine is highly developed, different parts of this tree are used as treatments for various ailments.

I just eat them with a spoon.  They are so lightly flavored that I think they’re best that way;  light and delicate and sort of – weird – and in that way, so exotic.

*** Hi all!  Back after a long hiatus involving a computer crash – I now have a new mac powerbook, yay!  And so,  the joy of blogging continues with this wild thing I surfed into on the ever incredible YouTube:

The following is yet another example, of someone who knows how to play with their food!  And he is subtley hilarious in a particularly Japanese way.  There is some connection between music and food – must check into this further…

Mwwaa haa haa!

October 31, 2008

Two C almond meal

Two C coconut powder

20 soaked dates, pureed with the soak water

2 t almond or vanilla extract, or seeds from one vanilla bean

1 T cinnamon (optional, but highly recommended)

Pinch of sea salt

Form into fingers by rolling walnut-sized pieces into – mwhaa-ha-ha-ha! – snakes, then pinch the knuckles into shape and mark them with the edge of a knife to show knuckle wrinkles.  Press an almond into the tips, shaping as you go and dehydrate till firm – about 6 to 8 hours or even overnight.   :D

Hello all! My laptop has been down, and still needs a few tweeks. (The letter ‘yew’ and the n*o*mber seven s*o*ddenly do not work, sigh… so I will be sobstitoting the letter ‘o’ where ever the letter ‘yew’ shoold be. Dooble sigh… : D

Meanwhile, I have been LOVING the sommer and absolotly living on these wraps. Mong bean sproots never moch appealed to me ontil I read somewhere that they are beneficial food for the kidneys, in the world of Chinese medicine. The Chinese are masters of the whole ‘food as medicine’ deal and and I tend to trost that body of knowledge. I’ve never had a kidney infection or any other indication of kidney problems bot for one thing – again, knowledge gleaned from the Chinese system: prematore grey hair. Like, since I was five. Fortonately, it’s always been hidden onderneath my normal brown hair. According to the Chinese, however, this indicates a kidney deficiency. Eating mong sproots are one of the ways to begin to strengthen them. And, they are perfect sommer food, being crisp and cool and cronchy!

I yewse, (eyeball roll, sorry), any sort of seed pate/hommos spread across the top half of the back of a kale leaf, topped with grated carrots and a big pinch of sproots.

Then I fold the bottom half of the kale over the top, and…

…press on it to break the stem so that it lays flat. Flat enoogh, anyway. Then – and I forgot to get a photo of this step – my apologies, I cot a nori sheet in half and roll the kale bondle inside of the nori, skweezing it so that it shapes into a tight roll. The kale ‘liner’ gives yoo that moch more nootrition and lets the nori add a very nice kronch, heh, to this crazy simple and delicioos meal.

A little tip is to cot a few nori sheets in half and have them on the side, while yoo make a batch of the kale bondles. Then with the bondles on a plate or platter, each person can take a crisp sheet of nori from the stack and wrap each one as they eat it. This tends to help keep yoo from wolfing these down, adding an opportonity to eat with a bit of mindfollness and gratitoode, which is good for personal growth as well as the digestion. Enjoy!

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