What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Grr-eat Coconut Custard Pie | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Grr-eat Coconut Custard Pie

I love pie and pets. Both can nourish the body and spirit. This past week was a time to take care of my active 4-year-old orange and white Brittany, Seth. He ate some unknown foreign object and fell victim to troublesome tummy woes. I was on worry patrol and my canine companion wasn’t wagging his docked tail, nor was I. One local vet visit later, meds and a fiber-rich prescription food followed. And I waited.

During this challenge of observing my canine’s plight, because I’m an empath (I could feel my pup’s pain) – I wasn’t hungry. (Read: I eat to live, I don’t live to eat, especially during emotional upsets.) I ended up baking a semi-homemade coconut custard pie for the health of it. It’s light. It’s creamy. It’s comforting. At times like this it’s good to feed the soul.

Sure, this type of pie contains sugar and saturated fat, but it’s also got protein, calcium and other minerals, as well as being lower in calories than other pies, such as creamed varieties. If savored in moderation, a small slice isn’t a bad thing. Sweets eaten sparingly are included in the traditional Mediterranean diet (it includes, cream, eggs and milk) and are not off limits to the French (who stay skinny). Coconut boasts a delightful taste and chewy texture and a bit of dietary fiber and zero cholesterol.

1 store-bought pie crust

1 cup half and half organic milk

1/3-1/2 cup organic whole milk (or 2 percent organic lowfat milk)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons European style butter, cubed

2 large brown eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons orange blossom honey

1 cup shredded coconut, premium brand

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take out frozen pie shell and bake for 10 minutes. (This keeps the crust from being soggy when you bake it with the wet ingredients.) Remove from oven and pour in mixture of all ingredients. Sprinkle top with nutmeg and coconut. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees till firm and pie crust is golden. Cool. Slice and garnish with a small dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit, such as bananas, peaches or berries. Serves eight to ten.

When you’re taking care of a furry child who isn’t feeling well, it’s not uncommon to lose your appetite during the bitter experience and unknown outcome. But feeding your cravings can help you get through a rough patch while you nurture your nurturing companion animal back to health. And having a trustworthy vet for your pet makes it all feel better, too.

The end result: This morning my beloved Brittany is back to his feisty “terrible twos” self. As our moms tell us, “This too shall pass.” And it did. I had a slice of pie for breakfast with sliced bananas and peaches and cup of hot herbal tea. So, the long, bittersweet week turned out grr-eat. A special thanks to Alpine Animal Hospital.

Cats, dogs, comfort food, tea and honey – like chicken soup – boast healing powers for the human spirit. As a veteran pets author, I was pondering the worst-case hypothetical scenario for my dog’s plight. I turned to herbal teas and honeys throughout the day. Calming chamomile – just like the effect our purring cats can give to cat people – is my favorite, but green and black tea (which contain some caffeine) are rich in healing antioxidants to help boost your immune system when you’re coping life’s ups and downs.

– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.

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