It is 90 degrees here for the first time since my vacation started, and the prep for our "exotic getaway" continues. The weather gods have apparently seen fit to give us a preview (sans humidity) of the climate we'll be heading for next weekend! As I write this, D is dousing himself in the pool by the apartment office (he couldn't stand it inside anymore).
They say that summer in Seattle only gets this warm about three times during the season, so practically no one has air conditioning installed. We were originally going to make pizza for dinner, but I think we'll opt for something that doesn't require us to use the broiler. Despite what the thermometer says outside, though, it's really not that bad in our apartment. When we were living in Texas, it was 90 degrees during the last week of November. Now that's disturbing, especially when you're trying to get in the mood to go winter holiday shopping.
To prime our taste buds for all things tropical, we bought a coconut earlier this week. As in, the kind that requires blunt force to open. Last night, we managed to break our way in, and today, we used its luscious meats in this cookie recipe (thanks to my sister for sending it to us!). All I have to say is that it was worth turning on the oven for these toothsome little morsels.
For anyone who wants to try making the cookies with fresh coconut, here's a blow-by-blow (aack -- no pun intended!) pictorial account of how we managed to open ours and get the innards into a usable state:
1) Here is our unsuspecting victim. I love that the tag calls it a "quick crack" coconut. And according to said tag, its name is Melissa?
2) D takes a blunt knife and pushes it into one of the eyes at the base of the coconut. This allows us to drain the milk from inside. We've saved it in case we want to use it for flavoring drinks later, but we intend to use it sparingly -- one cup contains nearly 800 calories.
3) D gives the shell a good whack with a hammer. Nothing happens. After a few more hits, we start to worry that the neighbors downstairs may complain (or that the counter will split before the coconut does). So we take the operation outside.
4) D nails the shell a few more times while holding it steady against the concrete floor of our apartment balcony. Still no signs of progress. Then D decides to try hitting the coconut while holding it in one hand.
5) Instant success.
6) Now how to get all the meat out? We start by breaking the coconut into smaller pieces, removing the majority of the shell in the process. Then I shear the meat off with a cheese grater and D carves the remaining rind bits off the pieces once they get too small for me to hold without scraping my knuckles. This is highly time and energy intensive, but I'm pleased with how much I manage to get in about half an hour ...
... then D remembers that we have a food processor. Five minutes later, we have nearly three cups of coconut confetti. Your timing is impeccable, D.
And here are the finished products! They have the tenderness of macaroons with absolutely no need for filling because the coconut is already just rich enough. We didn't use the orange blossom water or orange zest (none on hand), and we substituted (in total) 1/2 cup of Splenda and 1/8 cup of sugar-free maple syrup for the white and brown sugars so the cookies would be substantially more hypoglycemic-friendly for D. We also did not have any golden syrup, but honey worked well as a replacement, as the recipe recommends.
Now all we have to do is figure out what we want to do with our remaining shredded coconut. I think more cookies are in order.
1 day ago