Tag Archives: shredded coconut

& Cream

Years ago, I dated a guy who called me “Peach Pit.” Seemingly cute, the nickname is (upon further consideration) less-than-flattering. The pit, after all, is the gnarled, shrunken, crusty-colored nucleus of the fragrant fruit. Why didn’t duder call me “peach,” instead? Hard to say — well, not that hard: this guy was, in many regards, a doucher — but I choose to believe that the name hinted at my necessity to the rest of the being — my regenerative qualities, perhaps?

No matter: Peach Pit’s alliteration is cute, and peaches aren’t anything without the pit, amirite?

I’ve been thinking about peaches lately — not in an abstract sense, but in a very practical, “Hmmm, I’ve got two peaches on my table that are soon-to-spoil” sense. Last week, intending to make a cobbler, I bought a bunch of peaches — five or six. Then — doi! — I realized that making a cobbler just for myself wasn’t the wisest idea*. I rationalized that I could make a series of individual cobblers: single-serve desserts made for me, by me, to order! But you know what? That seemed like a pain in the ass; also, I don’t have any tiny, ovenproof dishes.** Long story short, I bought too many peaches, and the two I had left were a wee bit overripe.

What did I do? Throw those peaches out? NO! To do that would be to incur the long-distance wrath of my mom, a longtime crusader against food waste. Naw, people: I made a randomass baked dessert, pictured here:

Before being baked.

Ready to be eaten.

It’s quite simple to make. Here’s the method:

  1. Take a peach (or nectarine) that’s too soft for normal, everyday eating.
  2. After washing said peach, slice it in half and remove the pit.
  3. Fill the pit cavity with brown sugar — amount to be determined by you!
  4. Top the peach with shredded coconut. Again, use as much or as little as you like.
  5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the peach looks soft and the coconut is gently browned.
  6. Enjoy with a glass of wine. Or not, but I opt for wine.

The benefits of this dessert, pêche a la Gark, are manifold:

  • The dessert helps you use up about-to-spoil fruit
  • The dessert is a dessert
  • The dessert is healthier than peanut M&Ms, donuts, Pop Tarts, and many other things
  • The dessert may trick people into thinking you know how to prepare innovative stuff, when really you just topped a peach with a bunch of stuff and popped it in the oven

What are you waiting for? Aren’t those peaches (or nectarines) ripe enough? Until they are, you could sate your sweet tooth with cobbler. Incidentally, if you made cobbler, save me a slice.

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*It’s not the worst idea, either — I wouldn’t have minded eating cobbler for every meal, but the Rational Adult in me thought better of it.

**Hey you! If you’d like to get me some tiny, ovenproof dishes as a housewarming gift, I wouldn’t be averse. Just saying. Failing that, I’ll probably schlep to Sur la Table in the next week or two, because I’m sold on the idea of personal cobblers.

Obst des Moments

It’s official: coconut is the fruit of the moment. My moment, that is, but that’s what this blog is all about: my eating life, bit by bit.

This trend began with the coconut-enhanced fruit salad recommended by my mom. It continued with the chocolate chia pudding and coconut water (which I’ve grown to love, despite our rocky beginnings). And it continues still with the coconut and pineapple scones I made for our Bay to Breakers brunch.

Like many of my adaptations, this scone recipe bloomed from my desire to finish the last bit of a leftover —  an open can of coconut milk, in this case. I began with Molly Wizenberg’s scone recipe, which I’ve used many times and which I dearly love, and made a few tweaks. Instead of half and half, I used light coconut milk. Instead of crystallized ginger, I added a heaping third-cup of shredded coconut and five dried pineapple rings (cut into tiny cubes). To the dry ingredients, I added a few liberal shakes of powdered ginger; to the egg and coconut milk, I added roughly 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

The result? A light and flaky scone with a decadent flavor profile. The chunks of dried pineapple add a touch of sweetness and chew, and the coconut milk renders the finished product moister than its half-and-half-based counterpart.

I shouldn’t make a definitive statement — it’s too early for that — but I may like these scones more than the chocolate ginger variety. Try them paired with Crofter’s mango spread and peach-mango pineapple water, and let me know what you think.

So Simple.

I feel guilty about not making a Mother’s Day-related post. I called my mom on Mother’s day and the day before, and I sent a nifty gift + card. Hell, I posted a holiday-appropriate facebook status (and changed my profile pic to one featuring mom + me: HI, MOM!!!!). Despite all this, the one unturned digital stone is causing mad psychic grief. This post is my attempt to alleviate that grief.

Whenever I make fruit salad, I think of my mom. My mom is and is not a dessert person: she loves dessert — this is an undeniable fact. But when Sys and I were kids, our mom would either omit dessert from family dinners or serve cut fruit. Cantaloupe and watermelon were favorites, but pineapple made the odd appearance. Often, we’d have red grapes, rinsed and cut into single-serving clusters, bunches of them propped on a chipped white plate. The fruit varied seasonally, but my mom’s MO did not — no child of hers would grow up eating supermarket pie topped with Reddi-Whip, and don’t we forget it!

Special occasions called for more elaborate desserts, even in our pseudopuritanical household. Thanksgiving brought pumpkin pie (craved for weeks beforehand), Christmas brought Spritz cookies and gingerbread men whose grotesque Red Hots features bled Red #5 onto other regions of their bodies. One Easter, my mom made a lamb-shaped pound cake, iced with buttercream frosting and furred with shredded coconut; that cake was one of the best I’ve had. Also the cutest. But, nine times out of ten, fruit was our dessert.

Now, I love fruit; mornings when my cereal lacks banana coins, I feel adrift. But back then, when fruit represented a denial — of “real” dessert, of the sugary foods my classmates could eat with abandon, of daily luxury — I resented it. I judged fruit salad as a peasant dessert. How did I even know what a peasant was? (It amazes me daily that kids know about things beyond their immediate contexts.) Because it wasn’t ornate or time-intensive or ultra-sugary, fruit seemed like a compromise. Not even that — a concession. Acknowledging that fruit was indeed better than nothing, I’d eat a few sullen apple slices before helping clear the table.

Years later, I’ve outgrown my dislike of fruit salad. Mine was only a dislike based on principle; I’ve always liked fruit, especially tropical varieties. I’m in the midst of a mango kick: I love their warm color, their intense, almost sharp sweetness. I love the tiny scraping sound the peel makes as it comes away from the flesh. Mangoes have the same color scheme as parrots, and I love that, too — is that odd? (For the record, I have no desire to eat a parrot.)

This weekend, I was invited to a friend’s house for a taco party. Hook and I brought Corona (necessary, obv.), a few mangy limes (from the corner store — we didn’t try to get shitty limes, people!), and a fruit salad. Into the mixing bowl I placed watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and mango, cleaned and cubed. Shortly before dinner, I added a dash of carbonated lime juice* and a few generous scoops of shredded coconut. The coconut was my mom’s idea.

“It adds the most wonderful texture,” she told me earlier, during our ritual Saturday morning chat. “And it has a very subtle flavor. It’s good — try it.”

Try it: you’ll like it — the supplication made by mothers everywhere. You know what? My mom was right: the coconut added just the slightest crunch, without which the salad would have been perfectly fine, but with which the dessert was awesome. The barely there coconut flavor added one extra layer of tropicality to the salad; the lime juice kept the dish from being too sweet.

Here, then, is my belated Mother’s Day post: an ode to my mom’s fruit salad. Mom, I may have given you guff when I was a kid, but I’d like to set the record straight: I am your fruit salad’s biggest fan.

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*Which was only about 70% juice, in actuality. I didn’t use pure lime juice because I didn’t want that level of tartness.