Maybe I’m strange, but my favorite books to read have always been cookbooks. Even as a small child, I would spend rainy Saturday afternoons curled up on the couch with a stack of my mother’s cookbooks in front of me. I would devour them, page by page, using little strips of torn notebook paper to bookmark the ones that I wanted to make. Few of them rarely made it to the actual kitchen, but I loved reading the recipe descriptions and soaking up the pictures of the finished products. I’ve carried my love of reading cookbooks into adulthood, except now, almost all of them make it into the production stage.
So, it was no surprise when I sat down one day last week with Elizabeth Nyland’s (of Guilty Kitchen fame) new cookbook, Cooking With Coconut Oil: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes For Good Living. As I thumbed through the pages of the book, it became apparent that I had a growing problem on my hands. It wasn’t which recipe that I wanted to try that was causing my dilemma, but which recipe I didn’t want to try. From baked salmon with blueberry sauce, dark chocolate cherry muffins, and salt-roasted beet salad with honey-lemon-vanilla dressing, it all looked so incredibly delicious. If I wasn’t already hungry enough, the visually stunning food photography was enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
Using coconut oil has more health benefits than I can possible expound upon in this page. If you aren’t allergic, and you’ve never cooked with coconut oil, it might not be a bad idea to try it. Look for organic, and either unrefined (virgin) or refined. The unrefined version has a more pronounced coconut flavor, and the refined version doesn’t have much of a taste or odor and stands up well to high heat. Both contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which boost your metabolism. Coconut oil is filled with lauric acid, which is broken down in your body and can help protect you from infections by killing microbes such as fungi and bacteria. In the liver, coconut oil is likely to turn into ketone bodies which serve as a source of energy for the brain and can help people battling epilepsy and other disorders. As I have previously stated, there are so many other benefits to using coconut oil than just the ones I have touched on, so if you can add it into your diet without adverse effects, it’s worth trying. Elizabeth has a whole section covering the benefits of coconut oil in the preface of her cookbook, if you’re interested.
I ended up tasting a variety of recipes from Elizabeth Nyland’s cookbook. I used the recipe for coconut oil mayonnaise and added it to my tuna salad. It was so good, you might as well throw any Hellmanns jars you have lying around in the trash right now and make this instead. I made the crispy almond chicken thighs for a dinner party one night, and everyone swore that they were so much better than the gluten filled ones that they normally enjoyed. I may or may not have practically inhaled the entire pan of dark chocolate brownies all by myself…. in one sitting. They were just so fudgey and moist, that each square was practically begging me to eat them.
I absolutely love that with each recipe, Elizabeth includes different tips and tricks on how to select the right kind of produce and what tools might make each recipe easier. For some of them, she even delves into the history of each dish, and I came out of it knowing a lot more random tidbits on different countries and foods than I knew before. If you’re interested in trying Cooking with Coconut Oil, it can be purchased on Amazon here.