I am not sure if coconut even has a "season", but I instinctively associate it with summer - you know, coconut tanning oil. I grew up at the pool, on the beach, and otherwise never far from a body of water and what came with those surroundings - sun worshippers. Coconut oil, pina coladas, and the sweet and exotic smell of cracked coconut always made me want to...enjoy summer to it's fullest...but coconut never enticed my appetite.
Until now. I don't know exactly when I stopped hating coconut and seeing it as something other than thin, papery, over-sugared flakes thrown on top of processed confections, or why I stopped resenting coconut because, in my opinion, it ruined a perfectly good chocolate cake. My change of heart may be attributed to this; I am married to a coconut freak who can eat 20 coconut macaroons after dinner at our local Jewish deli, disregarding the fabulous chocolate chip cookies I make (and had) at home. That just can't happen in my kitchen or my life. It was LOVE. Love (and maybe a little jealousy) drove me to coconut, and now, as evident in my current state of ingredient obsession, I guess I love it too.
Not to overlook the successful marketing of coconut's health benefits. You can feel good about eating it, as well as while, eating it. And it's easier to find now, too - checked the dairy aisle lately? Coconut milk is next to the almond, soy and regular milk, instead of being over-priced and shoved into one little section of the market. Coconut water is all over, too...
I started making coconut cakes. I wanted to participate in the myth and glory of that legendary cake and have my kids say "My mom always used to make that when we were kids." (I like the way that sounds.) I made coconut ice cream, because I didn't have to cook it or make a custard out of it before adding it to my ice cream maker. And last week, I made coconut popsicles because I was on a whim and had three ingredients I thought would work lovely together.
You will need 8 popsicle molds!
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1 can (14.5 oz. size) UNSWEETENED coconut milk
1 cup toasted (or not, that's fine) toasted UNSWEETENED coconut flakes
To toast coconut flakes, Under broiler, put coconut flakes on a cookie sheet atop parchment paper. Place coconut flakes under broiler for about 3 minutes - watch them they burn fast.
Mix together sweetened, condensed milk, coconut milk, and coconut flakes.
Pour into popsicles molds.
Three ingredients, three steps. These popsicles are summer.
But not exactly healthy. So I'm working on a version with low fat or fat free sweetened, condensed milk, Truvia, coconut milk and coconut flakes. I'll let you know how those turn out.
The version I have posted carries 8 Weight Watchers points per popsicle. Gotta work some kitchen magic so I can eat these all summer long (and I will. I will.)
Tonight I'm cooking jasmine rice prepared with coconut milk and fresh peeled ginger. Next week I'm going to bake shrimp in a panko/coconut breading mix and serve with some sweet chili sauce. I love falling in love with foods, and coconut, I've done you an injustice by ignoring you and I am happy you forgive me by delivering up sweetness to me and my family and friends.
As far as the peas, an Italian dish called risi e bisi flipped me into a pea advocate, committing depraved acts of culinary opportunism (pushing other people aside at farmer's markets to get the first baby English peas of the spring, but I clearly wanted the peas more)...risi e bisi is a rustic Italian dish that combines risotto, peas, parmiggiano...oh, carbohydrate heaven! But that's another blog.
Start with these popsicles. You'll LOVE them. Follow me into more coconutty recipes. I won't let you down.