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Monday, July 9, 2012

the happygirl guide to a simple, healthy summer dessert

There is soothing quintessentially summer about coconut. Maybe it reminds us of laughing with our friends on Jetties Beach while wearing Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen or that summer (known as The Pina Colada Summer) between Junior and Senior year in college when you and your friends worked as nannies on The Vineyard. Either way, coconut seems to evoke happy memories so when I was at the market last night and saw the display of coconuts I knew I had to buy one. It even came with instructions.

The last time I tried opening a coconut, I must have been about 8 or 9 years-old. My grandfather was babysitting me on a hot Massachusetts summer day and painting our home. To keep me busy he bought me a coconut and sat me down in the driveway with a hammer and a screwdriver (not the best idea  since I was such a klutzy kid). I must have looked like an animal as I tried getting into that coconut. I remember being frustrated after a few hours and finally climbing up on the roof and letting it smash onto the driveway.

So, with L. away working in Australia,  last night a girlfriend came by for dinner. It was a rare HOT day high 80's in Seattle and I made a cool dinner of tuna pasta salad and pink lemonade. For dessert we grabbed the coconut, a hammer, a screwdriver and a bowl and headed outside. Our teenage neighbor, Megan was in the driveway with her boyfriend playing basketball and I asked if they wanted to help us open a coconut. They answered, of course, yes. I mean who wouldn't want to help? We had a hammer, a screwdriver and a fruit. We all read the instructions then with Megan's boyfriend holding the coconut I tapped the screwdriver hard into each of the three holes on top of the coconut until I felt in go through the hard shell and the flesh. We tipped the coconut upside down to let the coconut water drain.

Next, with Megan's boyfriend holding the coconut I tapped the screwdriver against the pre-scored line across the middle of the fruit until I felt it go through the shell and flesh. It was easy then to wedge open the coconut into 2 halves. Success! We gave Megan and Jr. one half of the coconut and we took the other inside. It was a challenge at first to get the fruit out but it's kind of like serving the first slice of pie, it gets easier once you get that first piece out.  When you scoop out all the coconut out you're left with a cool serving bowl.

It was refreshing to eat the cool coconut as is, straight from the shell but for a party, try serving the coconut with fresh pineapple served inside a coconut half. For a casual party it's a fun activity and the reward for your work is not only delicious but it just makes more happy memories.


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