March 08, 2007

Smashy, Smashy!

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When I put coconut on the grocery list, I had the dry flakes in mind. What I ended up with was a fresh coconut. Besides the time in Cuba when I was determined to open a waterlogged coconut by throwing it against a rock, (only to find a very rotten interior) I’d never cracked open a coconut before. It’s not an easy thing to do either. I googled “coconut opening” to see if there were any special methods. One site suggested an icepick but since I’d recently loaned mine out to a mountain climber, I had to keep searching. A more rational suggestion was to drain the coconut and then bake it for 15 minutes. Supposedly this would make it easier to open, although I can’t tell you whether or not it actually did. After a few taps with my meat tenderizer, I still had a whole coconut sitting on my counter, with no signs of cracks. Where’s an icepick when you need one? A few more aggressive smashes with mallet finally broke it in two.


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Since I’d never used fresh coconut before, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I played around with a few ideas, a coconut cake of some sort, or cookies, but nothing jumped out at me. Then I remembered that cheesecake is the theme for the current round of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day, that’s being hosted by Peabody. Hmmm, a coconut cheesecake would be nice… Maybe a pina colada cheesecake, complete with rum or a chocolate-coconut cheesecake. These were both possibilities, but I didn’t act quickly enough! The crafty duo over at My Husband Cooks were first out of the gates with a coconut cheesecake that had, (are you ready for this?) a Girl Scout cookies crust! You just can’t compete with something like that so I shelved my coconut cheesecake ideas for the time being and decided to make something else. While looking at the coconut I thought that it would make a very nice serving dish so I wanted something that could be scooped inside, something with a nice colour contrast. The coconut ice cream I made, (using the flesh of the other half of the coconut) didn’t contrast on its own, but a strawberry rhubarb compote made the whole thing look quite pretty. Or at least I thought so. Unfortunately this wasn’t the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever made, the texture wasn’t right, so I’m not going to bother with the recipe. As for the strawberry rhubarb compote, it wasn’t from a recipe, I just threw a whole bunch of frozen rhubarb into a pot, (I’ve been told there’s only 8 more weeks until the new rhubarb season starts, so I have to use up what’s in the freezer) added some strawberries, red currant jelly and sugar and brought the whole thing to a boil, then simmered it until it was thick. As you can see, although coconut bowls are pretty, they aren’t very stable, you’ve been warned.


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22 comments:

Anna said...

My favourite coconut opening method is to drain the coconut, then double or triple bag it, then throw it against concrete. But you rarely end up with an entire half still intact. That compote sounds delicious.

Freya and Paul said...

Who cares if it's stable anyway? It looks really cute and fresh coconut is really yummy!

K & S said...

if I remember correctly, we used to use a chisel and hammer cracked it open drained the coconut water, then grated the meat of the coconut and toasted it. fresh coconut shavings on a cake or pie is nice too.

Peabody said...

Oh I think a pina colada cheesecake would be wonderful.

Lydia said...

Great photos! Makes me want to go out and buy a coconut, just to smash it against a rock (though a hammer works better...)!

Gattina said...

at least you can crack open it, I think I'll resort to asking a monkey...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh boy I can't wait for the rhubarb season to come on!! Love the compote in the coconut half!

Shawnda said...

Sounds wonderful! And great picture - instability and all :)

Quellia said...

Hehe next time you try to open a coconut, try using a screw driver, hammered gently into the "eyes", which will open it enough to let you just give it a good wack with the hammer and have it break. That's what I've always done with no problems.
The sauce looks lovely against the coconut.

s'kat said...

I'm fond of the 'put it in a bag, smash it on the ground' method myself, but yours turned out pretty well.

The photos is certainly arresting!

Cheryl said...

Wow, just wow.

Rachel said...

Lovely dessert! We do the bake the coconut way because we fear coconut shards conking the dogs on the head as it careens off of the counter.

Homesick Texan said...

What a great way to get out your aggression! I seldom see fresh coconuts at the market, but I have one sitting on my desk that my mom mailed me from Hawaii. Perhaps it's time to smash that sucker!

Husband said...

I'm laughing when I read this. I love what you made from it. Its both visually striking and I'm definitely wanting the ice cream and sauce. And the one time I tried to open up a fresh one, it exploded all over me... yes... coconut shrapnel even in my hair. So I'm jealous you got such a nice result.

Monisha said...

Wow! Love the vibrant color of the compote, can't wait for the season to start, in the meantime, I'll just stare at these pics :)!

Mary said...

That's a nice photo. Makes me long for summer.

rob said...

Brilynn, I'm sorry to hear the taste wasn't what you expected, but your presentation is fantastic. That coconut looks so inviting. As for ways to split it... I'm just not your guy.

Elle said...

Looks very tropical, Brilynn. Wonder if Dorie has any magical recipes with fresh coconut? I'll bet a microplane grater would work well with fresh coconut meat.

Natalia said...

Opening a coconut seems tricky and intimidating. I'd like to be able to do it like Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. He took a huge cleaver, held the coconut up in the air, and just whacked it around the middle. It was amazing.

Lis said...

I miss coconut so much - no point in making anything with it now as I can't eat a whole "anything" by myself and coconut is one of the few foods that I know I can't convince Hubbs to like. *sigh*

I do love the idea of a coconut icecream - it sounds so refreshing.. adding the fruit over it sounds even better. I hope you give the icecream another try to get the texture you want!

Beautiful presentation, btw - I think it looks even more appetizing oozing out of the shell. =)

Andrea & Ben said...

I cannot even begin to say how heavenly that looks! I am serving this soon!

Lydia said...

my family used to sell coconuts, usually i hold the coconut on one hand and use the blunt end of a big and heavy knife to whack it in the middle. After first whack, you can see a clean crack, then give it 2-3 whacks more along the line by rotating it and it will open completely. If the coconut is too young (beige in colour) it will be a bit challenging *_< ... but its flesh is very tender and juice is sweet.