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N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

N-Y-T Coco Smoothie

Coconut is one of the wonderful produces we have in the Philippines. Only recently have I consciously appreciated it as I learned that it’s not readily available in other countries.

Coconut can be consumed in many ways and is an essential ingredient in making dishes more delish, especially Bicol dishes, which are my recent fascination. I particularly love drinking its juice first thing in the morning and munching its meat. Well, one munches if the meat is relatively hard. But if it’s on the soft side, it slides in effortlessly. I rather prefer the former for its nutty feel.

If you have leftovers or you simply wish to add a bit of twist, here’s another fantastic way—the Not -Your-Typical Coconut (NYT Coco) Smoothie—to enjoy the coconut juice and meat. I don’t usually measure the ingredients when I make smoothies, but to serve as a guide, I have here rough estimates. Please feel free to change them according to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup coconut juice, frozen
1 cup coconut meat, frozen
1/3 cup almonds, soaked for 30 minutes (may include the water used for soaking; note, the more liquid, the thinner is the consistency)
8 dates, pitted
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tbsp ground green cardamon (or cardamom)

PROCEDURE

Toss all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.

While I’ve been wondering whether a coconut is a fruit or a vegetable, others are considering a third category, a nut because of its name. Coconut is none of the above as it’s actually a seed. Botanically speaking, it’s a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which means a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed. Loosely, coconut can be a fruit, a nut, and a seed (The Library of Congress).

The coconut juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Although high in saturated fat, its meat is rich with enzymes that are essential for better health and is an excellent source of manganese (this particularly), copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins (Nutrition-and-You and Self Nutrition Data).

An ingredient that probably stands out for Filipinos like me is cardamon (also known as cardamom). It originates from Southern India and is at present also grown in Sri Lanka. It is aromatic with a lemony undertone. It is rather pricey but a small amount goes a long way, so use it sparingly. In India, it is considered as a “festive spice,” and is often added in sweets and drinks.

Back in the old times, Egyptians chew cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner while the Greeks and Romans use it as a perfume. Arabs, on the other hand, attach aphrodisiac qualities to it and features it regularly in Arabian nights. Ancient Indians use it as an antidote to obesity and to date has been regarded as a digestive (The Epicentre).

Cardamon is available at Assad Mini-Mart, which is located at Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City. Wondering where exactly along Jupiter, it is a few meters away from Jupiter St. corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry. Telephone number is 897-2543.

REFERENCES
(1) Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html
(2) Nutrition-and-You http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html and Self Nutrition Data http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2
(3) The Epicentre http://theepicentre.com/spice/cardamom/

The recipe draws inspiration from a drink mixture that was taught in Pio Baquiran’s Ayurvedic Cooking Class.

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Mangocado Salad

Mangocado Salad

A fusion of sweetness and creaminess with a hint of lime, salt, and basil. The recipe from which I draw inspiration describes it in one word, “sensuous.” This, on the other hand, breaks into that dreamy sensation as the crunchiness from the seeds brings in a wholesome feel. Quick and easy to prepare, it can serve as a light breakfast or an appetizer.

Gently mix the following in a bowl:

1 medium-sized mango, sliced into cubes
1/2 small-sized avocado, sliced into cubes
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves

Reference: http://www.welikeitraw.com/rawfood/2006/03/mango_avocado_s.html

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Summeric Salad

Summeric Salad

The salad comprises of chopped iceberg and romaine lettuce, grated carrots, chopped cucumber, diced red bellpepper, roasted and coarsely chopped walnuts, and raisins (optional).

For the dressing, blend the following ingredients. To make it thicker and creamier, add more avocado.

1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup avocado
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp raw honey
1 clove garlic, peeled
sea salt to taste

Serving size is around 4 – 5 pax.

This is healthy and flavorful. Offhand, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, garlic and honey are anti-bacterial, avocado is of good fats, and lemon is a source of Vitamin C and makes the mixture alkaline. It combines several taste palates—sweet, salty and sour—with a nice herby and tangy taste from the turmeric. All the flavors provide contrast without overpowering the other and it's reminiscent of a milder and sweeter mustard dressing.

The dressing is an adaptation from http://www.therawhealthcoach.com/anti-inflammatory-turmeric-sun-dressing/. My Mom has coined the name Summeric Salad.

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Spunky Grape-Lime Juice

Spunky Grape-Lime Juice

INGREDIENTS
Dark grapes, a quarter of a lime, chia seeds, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

PROCEDURE
Since I was in a hurry and had no time to peel the grapes, I soaked them in water with salt for 15 minutes, then washed them again with water only. Also before juicing, the chia seeds were soaked in a bit of water for about the same duration as the grapes. You’ll know they are ready when the seeds appear to ooze its jelly-like substance, which becomes its covering.

Only the grapes go through the juicer. After juicing, lime is squeezed into and the chia seeds and cayenne pepper are incorporated. Chia is added for energy and cayenne for a little kick. This concoction is highly recommended as a morning drink. (^___^)

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Pechayote Salad with Garlic Honey Dressing

Pechayote Salad with Garlic Honey Dressing

It’s quite taxing to prepare but the effort is well worth it. This is among our family’s favorites. (^___^)

SALAD
2 bunch of pechay, chopped
1 medium-sized sayote, peeled and julienned
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
3 to 4 Tbsp sesame seeds, roasted and coarsely grounded
3 medium-sized tomatoes, diced

DRESSING
5 Tbsp natural soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp calamansi juice (may use lemon or lime)
3 Tbsp raw honey

PROCEDURE
Pepare the salad and dressing separately. I often prepare the dressing first, that is I whisk together all the ingredients under the dressing. Then, I toss all the salad ingredients in another bowl, pour in the dressing and mix everything, ensuring the salad is well covered.

SERVING SIZE
4 to 5 pax.

REFERENCE
Recipes from Dr. Tam Mateo and Eileen Bailon.