Friday, June 03, 2005

Thai-ing Something New

Once I get started with a cooking theme, sometimes I just can't stop.

To wit: After making Bangkok noodles over the weekend, I had plenty of coconut milk left over and plenty of cravings for Thai flavors. And while I could have made the noodles again, I would have had to run out for more spinach. I had the tofu, the coconut milk, all the spices and such... just no spinach (aside from the little leaves popping up in the garden, and that would not have been enough).

Sometimes I'm pretty lazy.

So there's me, thinking, what else can I make with coconut milk? And I remember the scones I made last year: a variation on my basic scone recipe, replacing the milk with coconut milk and spicing it up with lime zest and juice, mini diced ginger, and more coconut.

After all, you've learned that I really like cooking with ginger. And I really, really like the combination of lime and ginger together. And when coconut goes so very well with both of those flavors, how can I resist?

But this time, I didn't want to make scones. I've been toying with the idea of making muffins with this combination, so upon waking early this morning, I decided to hurl my weary body into the kitchen to whip up a batch of coconut-ginger-lime muffins.

Though I used a vegan recipe, you can take any basic muffin recipe and make the following adaptations:

1. Replace the milk with coconut milk (I used lite coconut milk) or a combination of coconut milk and regular milk if you prefer. Add the juice of one lime

2. For spices, add up to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and the freshly grated zest of one lime.

3. Add just a wee drop of both vanilla and almond extracts to the batter... just enough to enhance, not overpower, the other flavors. (Coconut extract would have been ideal, but I don't have any. Must find some!)

4. Fold in 1/4 cup each of mini diced candied ginger and flaked coconut.

I also substituted about 1/2 cup of brown rice flour for some of the regular flour, simply because I like the texture and lightness it adds... but that's me.

The muffins turned out to be just the right degree of moistness and just sweet enough to satisfy (but not overly sweet) for the morning, and the flavors melded subtly and warmly. Next time, I must try coconut extract to enhance that flavor... but overall, I was very pleased with the results. (I'm thinking that a simple lime glaze would also be nice... someday...)

I brought the rest into work to share with certain other folks. Who's up for break?

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