Apricot, Ancho Chile + Japanese Sweet Potato Beef Stew with Coconut Milk, Ginger + Turmeric

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The components of this stew all fit together so delicately and the resulting dish is both light and fruity due to the chilies, apricot and coconut and at the same time rich and satisfying. Be patient with this dish. Cooking the onions slowly is important, and allowing the stew to cook long enough will allow it to come together better. If you need to cook it longer, just leave it on the stove, tasting here and there with the heat as low as it goes. This is the kind of meal that tastes better the next day, so save leftovers or make a double batch.

Apricot, Ancho Chile + Japanese Sweet Potato Beef Stew

1 lb grass-fed stew meat – beef room temperature, seasoned w/ salt +pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped thin and small
2 inches fresh peeled ginger, chopped
1 inch fresh peeled turmeric, chopped
2 dried ancho chilies, diced
1 japanese sweet potato, diced
3 apricots, halved, then quartered
Handful of parlsey, chopped + some reserved for topping
1/2 can coconut milk
2 1/2 cups water
sea salt
pepper
olive oil

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Pour in some olive oil, and place the stew meat in the skillet to sear. Flip after a minute or two, so that both sides are browned. Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl.
Turn down the heat to low and add the onions to the dutch oven, using a spatula to get the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook the onions at low heat for a while, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and being careful not to brown. Then add the carrots, garlic, chilies, ginger and turmeric. Season with salt + pepper and add oil if needed. Cook on low for another 10 minutes or so.
Add the beef back to the dutch oven, stirring to combine. Turn up the heat to high and pour in the water. Bring to a soft boil, then turn the heat down to low.
Add the sweet potato and coconut milk. Taste and add more salt + pepper as needed. Cover the dutch over with a tight fitting lid and allow the stew to simmer for about an hour and a half.
Add the apricots and parsley, cover for another 30-60 minutes.
The meat should be tender and easy to cut when the stew is ready to eat. The braise liquid should also be considerably cooked down. Taste again and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve in a bowl with some fresh parsley on top.
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Raw Cacao Smoothie with Coconut Milk Float

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We’ve been busy painting, building our garden, and playing at the ranch this weekend. And its hot. This drink is so damn good and refreshing and gives me a bit of a boost, kind of like coffee, but really, raw cacao is its own thing. I’ve been drinking some variation of this treat for years, it is both dessert and mid-day, after lunch snack and incredibly simple. I’ve recently started using coconut milk in all kinds of treats, including the obvious-curries-but also in smoothies, ice cream base, key lime pies, and in this drink it acts as both float and main ingredient. Also, the drink itself is not overly sweet. I blend everything together really well first, and then just barely blend the dates in so you get little chewy bites of date sweetness. Avocado is a great addition to this drink!

Raw Cacao Smoothie with Coconut Milk Float

1 banana
1/4 cup raw cacao
1/2 can coconut milk + a few tablespoons for the float (full fat & organic)
4 big handfuls of ice cubes
1/2 can coconut water
2 dates

Add the banana, raw cacao, coconut milk, ice cubes and coconut water to your blender and blend at high speed until consistent. Add more ice/coconut milk/coconut water depending on desired thickness.It should be a bit thick & icy, taste quite rich and a tad sweet.
Adjust to your liking, and then add the two pitted dates. Blend just for a few seconds, so the dates don’t become liquified, but get broken down into little tasty bites. Serve in a glass cup and pour a few spoonfuls of coconut milk on top, so that it starts running down into the drink. Enjoy with or without a spoon.

Candied Kumquat Coconut Ice Cream

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Kumquats are one of my favorite types of citrus. I’ve had them lately as snacks, in salads and in salsa so it was just a matter of time until they made it into my ice cream. I just returned home from Santa Cruz where I completed my Wilderness First Responder course. The course was amazing, with a great crew and inspiring and engaging instructors. Whenever I’m in Santa Cruz I visit Penny’s Ice Creamery and enjoy their amazing ice cream. And so, even though today is windy with scattered snow I decided it was the kind of day that needed ice cream. When you make this recipe you should definitely save the leftover kumquat syrup. I made granola and used some of the syrup to sweeten and add flavor to the mix giving it a tangy citrusy taste.

 Candied Kumquat Coconut Ice Cream

 Candied Kumquats
3 cups kumquats, diced with seeds removed
1 cup water
½ cup sugar, ¼ cup maple syrup

Method:

In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar and syrup until they come to a soft boil. Add the diced kumquats and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the kumquats over a bowl, separating the fruit from the syrup.

Ice Cream:

Candied kumquats and syrup
1 ½ cans coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla, I used the kind that comes as powder
¼ cup coconut palm sugar
Drizzle of maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Raw cacao nibs

Method:

Add the coconut milk, vanilla, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup and salt to your ice cream maker while it runs. Then spoon in most of the candied kumquats, saving a few spoonfuls for garnish. Using a spoon, ladle in some of the syrup, about ¼ cup of so. Taste the ice cream and decide if you want to add more syrup. Sprinkle the cayenne in last and make sure the contents are well mixed. Process according to your ice cream manufacturers instructions. To serve add a small spoonful of the leftover candied kumquats, a drizzle of the syrup and a sprinkling of cacao nibs.