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March 23, 2023

1/27/2023 11:08:00 AM
Cracking into the coconuts

Many of us are wishing we were somewhere warm right about now. Mother Nature has done a number on us this year already with the massive amounts of snow, slush and sleet, the sub zero temperatures over Christmas, and more freezing coming up.

And we still have the forsaken month of February on the horizon where it seems like it’s always miserable weather.

So let’s crack some coconuts open — figuratively of course, as you’re unlikely to actually find whole coconuts in very many Minnesota grocery stores — and use the sweet fruit (yes, coconut is a fruit!) for some warm, fuzzy feeling recipes!


We’ll start with one of my favorites from any time of the year, shrimp!

1 lb. shrimp medium to large shrimp
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 c. vegetable oil

Tempura batter mix:
1/2 c. chilled soda water or sprinkling water
1 egg
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour or cake flour
3 tbsp. corn starch

Coconut Sauce:
1 c. coconut milk
2 tbsp. coconut cream
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. salt

Tempura and Shrimp
Whisk together egg and chilled soda water. Pour it over flour and corn starch. Keep mixing until all combined. Skip this step if using a store-bought tempura batter.

Add shrimp to a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Pour tempura batter on the shrimp; make sure every shrimp is coated with the batter.

Add oil to a large skillet on medium high heat. Fry battered shrimp on each side for 3-4 minutes until crispy.

Place fried shrimp on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Coconut Sauce
In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, mayonnaise, corn starch, and salt. Mix until all combined.

Cook the coconut sauce on medium heat while constantly whisking until smooth and thick.

Place fried shrimp in a large bowl, pour coconut sauce on top, and mix until shrimp are coated with the sauce.


With coconut, of course we’re going to be heavy on the sweets this week!

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. canned coconut milk
2 tsp. rum extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 c. butter, softened
3 tbsp. canned coconut milk
1 tsp. rum extract
3-1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
Optional: Toasted sweetened shredded coconut, maraschino cherries, pineapple wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with foil liners. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, juice, oil, milk and extract until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into egg mixture.

Fill prepared cups two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in coconut milk and rum extract. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over cupcakes. If desired, garnish with coconut, cherries and pineapple wedges.


1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. buttermilk
1-1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1 c. chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting
11 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. butter, softened
6 c. confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-in. round baking pans. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Combine flour and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat until just combined. Stir in coconut and pecans.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with clean beaters until stiff but not dry. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in pecans. Spread frosting between layers and over top and side of cake. Store cake in the refrigerator.


Sweetened shredded coconut, for the rim
2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. cream of coconut (not coconut cream)

Add a bit of extra cream of coconut to a separate plate and dip the edge of the rim of the martini glass into it. Then dip the rim into the plate of toasted coconut.
Add the vodka, lime juice and cream of coconut to a cocktail shaker. Shake with handful of ice and strain into the prepared martini glass.

TFD: “Yes, I like piña coladas
And gettin' caught in the rain
I'm not much into health food
I am into champagne” - Rupert Holmes

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