Sunday, February 22, 2009

Coconut-Milk Braised Greens

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 carrot soup. 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. We go through five 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: 10 grams per serving; 0% of the daily fat intake. (I eat 20 grams of fat from coconut milk every day.) Yet Current research shows the fatty acids in coconut, the medium chain triglycerides, can positively contribute to our health. 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.

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.

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

Coconut Braised Greens

I originally developed this recipe for Whole Foods Market

1 large bunch kale, trimmed and cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced
¾ cup fresh coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes.

Add the greens, coconut milk, and lemon juice to the pan. Simmer over medium heat, until greens are just tender, 5-7 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.

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