Sunday, February 22, 2009

More on Coconut Milk and Sex

I condition my hair with extra virgin coconut oil. At the end of summer, I buy coconut Surf Wax and smell it all winter. I eat coconut milk in one form or another with almost every lunch and dinner. It's in my lunchtime butternut squash soup (recipe pending). It's in my dinnertime mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes. Lately, me and my wife eat the exact same vegetable side-dish every single night: Coconut Braised Greens. In this way we go through five or six cans of coconut milk every week.

That's a lot of fat.

For years coconut has been derided as unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content. My coconut milk has 10 grams of saturated fat per serving; that's 50% of the daily fat intake. I probably eat 20 grams of fat from coconut milk every day. Anyway. The coconut: unhealthy theory is bunk. Current research shows the fatty acids in coconut, the medium chain triglycerides, do not raise serum cholesterol or contribute to heart disease. Also, coconut is easily digested; it's not deposited as fat in arteries because it is easily metabolized. If you're skeptical or thinking of becoming a fanatic yourself, I suggest reading this thoroughly documented, well-presented article from Dr. Mercola's site. I offer this instead of boring links to studies.

Lately, as the winter enters its most hateful phase (football is over; baseball is yet to begin) I'm relying on visions of summer. The smell of coconut conjures lotion; skimpy bathing suits; an outdoor shower at a crowded beach house: the perfect little spot to steal away for a quickie.

No doubt, coconut is sexy.

Lately, on Saturday evenings, me and my wife make coconut-infused dishes.

Then, sometime after eating, we flop on the couch. We do not watch television. We do not fall asleep. Our place becomes crowded with all the things we do not do. The dishes in the sink. The laundry on the floor. The cellphones, unanswered. We just stay on the couch and pretend it's summer: We're staying in a crowded beach house; the couch is our outdoor shower.

Chicken and Mushrooms in a Lemon Coconut Broth

I've spent all week developing this recipe at home and at work. Then I made it last night for my brother's 40 birthday party. It's freakin' delicious. Serve it over a Perfect Pot of Rice.

6 tablespoons kosher salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed, fat trimmed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
16 ounces assorted fresh mushrooms--cremini, shitake, or white button--sliced thin
1 15 ounce can full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon juice and zest from one fresh lemon
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Dissolve the salt with four cups water in a gallon-size zipper lock bag. Add the chicken breasts and seal the bag, pressing out the extra air. Brine in the refrigerator for one hour.

Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with fresh ground pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm one tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until almost cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cool, slice into thin strips.

Add remaining two tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Add mushrooms and saute. Season lightly with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released and absorbed excess moisture, about 8 minutes. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and reserved chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Stir in parsley. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serve hot.


Steve said...

I have no experience with coconut milk. I have always been repelled by the coconut's shrunken voodoo head-like appearance, and it's pelt of scraggly camel hair.

In elementary school, I hated when the music teacher gave me those two, lame half coconut shells to use as a percussion instrument when everyone else got shiny little cymbals and the cool mahogany sticks to bang.

I also eat an inordinate amount of fat in my regular diet- sometimes double, triple, quadruple the suggested daily intake. Mine comes in the form of raw almonds: 1 oz. (about 23 nuts/16 grams fat) is about a quarter of the suggested daily intake. I eat pounds and pounds of them.

But I too generally don't worry about all the fat they have either. Similar to my feelings about the amount of sugar in carrot or beet juice, I believe the positive health benefits far outweigh any negative ones.

Actually there is a lot of interesting research suggesting almonds boost weight loss:

Go figure.

Seth said...

I have a theory about people who say they don't like coconut. The theory for some reason pisses Karen off. It's a simple theory, though, and I think you just verified it: People who say they don't like the taste of coconut are reacting to some childhood coconut trauma.

Most likely, if you tried coconut milk now, you'd love it. You simply have to actualize your trauma.

I've tested this theory with tons of people--people who told me "I don't like coconut." I simply make them one of these coconut milk dishes. Time and time again I'm told: "Thank you. I really do like coconut."

Stephanie said...

I'm glad you're defending the coconut, Seth. You know I love them and their many uses. And you're right, anyone who likes Thai or other southeast Asian cuisine has to love coconut milk.

I slather coconut oil all over my face and body and no longer use any other commercial moisturizers. I swear it's diminished my crow's feat. Have you ever used the stuff from Hawaii with the fresh gardenia flower inside? It's smells heavenly.

You know I'm a big fan of coconut oil for cooking too. It's a much more stable frying oil than any vegetable oil, including olive. I use it for my curries, stir fries, and use coconut milk in sauces and smoothies.

For people who don't think they like coconut, I would also suggest trying the juice or "water" of a young coconut (the white or green ones without hair). It has a mellower flavor and contains more electrolytes than any sports drink. I mix it with green juice since it has a lower glycemic load than apples or carrots.

Okay, I could go on and on about coconuts... Thanks for this post, Seth.

Blogger said...

3 Researches SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Belly Fat.

The meaning of this is that you literally get rid of fat by consuming Coconut Fat (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

These 3 studies from big medical journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!