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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Food and Drink

I went to our neighborhood Asian grocery store for unsweetened, shredded coconut. This store is wonderful; it has everything imaginable for Asian cooking. When I asked an employee for what I needed, she took me to the frozen food section and gave me an icy packet of coconut. "It's the best, " she said. "Everybody buys it."

Having never heard of frozen coconut, I was briefly startled. But, honored to be included in the ranks of those who should know about this culinary secret, I thanked her and bought it. She was right.

Defrost it, drain it and cook: it tastes delicious. And it even looks delicious, particularly in contrast to the stuff on the supermarket shelf that looks plastic. I toasted a batch in the oven. The results are above.

The toasted coconut was then added to granola, which I put together using a recipe published by Mark Bittman in the New York Times.

The finished granola.

Easy access to a good Asian food store is a bonus because I enjoy cooking Indian food. In the United States, the doyen of Indian cookbooks is Madhur Jaffrey. She has written many cookbooks, but if you are just starting with Indian food at home try Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. I've made a lot of the dishes in the book and they are very delicious.

A cookbook I am anxious to start cooking from is by Claudia Roden, Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon. Flipping through the pages of recipes there is roast chicken with couscous, raisin, and almond stuffing; dates rolls in honey syrup; stuffed zucchini in tomato sauce - perfect for these zucchini-burdened times. The pictures of the food are very motivating.

Per usual, close your eyes, and recall how it sounded when the late, great, Julia Child said the following: bon appetit!