Saturday, January 21, 2012

one coconut, three ways

A few years ago I was laying on the beach in Cuba when I heard a sort of chant, with the volume escalating in a tunnel-like way: "Coco coco! Cooooconut!" A few seconds later, the same words were exclaimed once more, and I opened my eyes to find a little old man riding a little old rusty bicycle along the water, with a basket of coconuts strapped to the seat.  We bought some for just a peso each, and he sliced them open with a sword right there and then (don't ask me where he kept it), then he stuck straws in and handed them to us and we instantly looked like people on the covers of those vacation magazines.  Thus began my love of coconuts.
I was pretty happy to realize it's a staple in a lot of raw food, from smoothies to jerky.  Unfortunately, I'm having the hardest time finding the right type of coconut (young thai) for the jerky and other exciting recipes, but there's plenty of unsweetened dessicated coconut at my local health food store which is perfect for the three creations below. The first is a Thai Coconut Soup, which I found amazing but a little on the sour side, and the other two are what you'd expect me to make: desserts.

I really love the unexpected ingredients in this soup: julienned carrots, baby bok choy, and lemongrass, among others.  Posting the recipe would probably require me to start another blog just to accommodate the entire method, but I will say that the work is worth the final product.  It's funny, I've actually stopped noticing that the soup is cold. 

 I often present the double-o version of the macaron (the macaroon) as the Parisian's ugly step-sister, because it tastes/looks/is nothing like the dainty creations I so often ramble about.  This time, however, I've turned a blind eye as I am in dire need of something rich and chocolatey, and can actually say they are incredibly delicious. Just mix together a cup of melted coconut oil with a cup of raw cocoa and 2-3 cups of dessicated raw unsweetened coconut. Add a tablespoon of agave nectar to sweeten the deal, and freeze for 5-10 minutes. They melt quickly so keep them in a tight container in the fridge or things will start getting funky.

The Coconut Pie turned out to be very light and fluffy, and could've easily been eaten in one sitting, but I have a gown to wear in the near future, so I showed some restraint and spaced it out over an hour.  I unfortunately lost the recipe for it, but it's mainly coconut, cashews and agave syrup, and the crust is almond flour mixed with Medjool dates. 

So there it is - one coconut, three different ideas.  On that subject, it has come to my attention that the last Vita Coco retailers (GNC and Kardish) no longer carry the drink I love so much, which is devastating. I normally buy my stash in the states (and look ridiculously awkward transporting a crate of tetra packs across the border) but it was nice knowing I had a last resort here in Ottawa. Not anymore though. Maybe that old man on the bicycle will make it down here eventually.

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