Saturday, February 01, 2014

Cooking with Coconut Oil {Book Review}

What better thing to get me blogging again than a local blogger friend publishing her very first cook book?!

cooking with coconut oil

Elizabeth Nyland, also known as the lady behind the popular food blog Guilty Kitchen, has put her expertise on Paleo eating down on paper in her new cook book Cooking with Coconut Oil.  She shows us how versatile coconut oil can be with this crazy cool little book just jam packed with recipes for everything from breakfasts to decadent desserts.

I was sent a copy by the publisher on the day the book was released and by that night I had actually read most of the book cover to cover.  I had expected to find maybe 20-25 recipes, but turns out there’s more than 75 and each one is accompanied by one or more of Elizabeth’s beautiful photos.  I busted out my sticky notes and started marking pages for recipes I wanted to try right away!

In the interest of keeping it simple for this review, my bf and picked out a few recipes for a cohesive Sunday dinner.  We chose something from the appetizer section, something from entrees, and something from side dishes.  I had my eye on her Chocolate, Coconut, Avocado and Lime Pie as well, but in the end I was bit too lazy to pull that off that weekend.  :)  Soon though, I promise!

Beet and Cauliflower Hummus


Paleo peeps don’t eat legumes, so obviously this is an alternative to actual hummus since no chick peas were harmed in the making of this dip.  But the inclusion of tahini sends it down that Middle Eastern path.

I choose this recipe because bf and I both love ourselves some roasted beets.  So much so that you would think I’d be good at cooking beets, but I have to admit I undercooked mine.  I followed Elizabeth’s recipe directions exactly, but I should have tested the doneness of my beets as they probably needed another 20 minutes in the oven.

Needless to say I had some trouble getting them to grind down in the food processor, but in the end we had a yummy dip that we would definitely make again!  We served it up with veggies to keep it Paleo for the review, but admittedly we ate the leftovers the next day on crispy crackers and loved it even more that way. :)

Hassleback Sweet Potatoes {Yams}


Liz says it herself “these are really just fancy baked sweet potatoes, [but] the extra steps taken to create the Hassleback effect makes them extra fun for parties…”

I’ve been seeing Hassleback potatoes on Pinterest for ages now but I guess it took seeing it in sweet potato form for me to do it.  I used Elizabeth’s handy trick of placing chopsticks along side the potato to make sure I didn’t cut right through when slicing…works like a hot damn.

Again, I undercooked these bad boys so I’m going to blame bf’s oven.  Just make sure you test yours for doneness because mine needed more time than the recipe suggested.

The final product was indeed beautiful and tasty though!  And I had fun brushing the coconut oil into all of the nooks and crannies.

Grilled {Skirt} Steak with Chimichurri


Chimichurri is another one of those recipes I’ve bumped into a thousand times but never got around to making.  As I flipped through the book I gravitated right to this recipe and knew it’s what was for dinner.

We’d be better off making this one during the Summer when our own home grown herbs are in season, but I managed to find everything I needed at our local supermarket.  Nothing beats a bag of fresh herbs, any time of year!

This year bf bought shares in a locally raised, organic, free range, grass fed cow so his freezer has beef-a-plenty (seriously, you want a good burger…get organic grass fed ground beef!).  Oddly we didn’t have a skirt steak so we opted to broil up a huge sirloin steak instead.

It paired perfectly with the spicy, herbacious chimichurri and Hasslebacks.  It would be safe to say we’d eat this again.  And again.  That sauce?  We’d put that sh!t on everything! ;)


In fact, we liked the sauce so much I asked Liz if I could share it with you.  So you lucky bums, here’s a teaser from her book:

Chimichurri recipe from Cooking with Coconut Oil {Elizabeth Nyland}

  • 1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 4 green onions or scallions, green part only
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 lemon at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Place everything in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Set aside if you’re using it right away, or keep covered in the fridge if using later.  Coconut oil does solidify when chilled so bring the chimichurri back to room temperature before using.


All of the recipes in Cooking with Coconut Oil are gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo and Primal diet friendly, and include coconut oil and sometimes coconut flour.  Elizabeth explains about the benefits of coconut oil, how to chose coconut oil, and what the Paleo lifestyle is really all about.  In addition to being some yummy recipe reading there’s a little education in there too. 

I’m happy to have this recipe book in my arsenal and look forward to cooking more with coconut oil. Keep up with Elizabeth on her blog, as she has another book in the works… Cooking with Avocados is coming soon!

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