I feel like I've been posting heavier, more labour-intensive dishes than I usually do, and it's certainly not a reflection of my actual diet (which has lately involved a lot of granola and pb & jam on toast) which is really all about food that's easy and quick to make, especially with it being summer. If I could even remember all the times I've turned on the oven since June, I'm sure I could count them all on my fingers.
My current residence is in the upstairs of a fairly old, creaky building, and while it does have AC, it does not circulate so well in the upper level. The kitchen itself is a very tiny, crowded space, and it heats up pretty easily, so I've been loathe to even cook on the stovetop for much of the summer. There have been days where I've eaten almost nothing but smoothies - you'd think I was living in a geriatric ward, from all the blending I do.
This is not to say I've been completely off solids - I'm not about to relive the experience of infancy through diet. I have been eating lots of salads made up of fresh, crunchy vegetables (well...maybe not "lots", but I am trying to get my veggies in, I swear!), but to be completely honest, many of my meals have been made up of toast, with a generous smearing of peanut butter and jam, or tahini and honey. Delicious and a wonderful accompaniment to my daily cup of coffee, if not the most summery or nutritious snack in the world.
But while my eating schedule and diet may be a little helter skelter, every once in a while I manage to come up with something delightful, refreshing, and nutritious, like this smoothie, made up of fresh coconut water, coconut meat, and strawberries. I honestly had no idea how delicious young coconuts were until I went to an Asian street food festival weeks ago, where they were selling young coconuts, hacking them open right in front of you before handing them over with a spoon and a straw. I didn't actually buy one, but I was able to taste my friend's coconut, and all of a sudden I had an intense craving to buy a gazillion young coconuts and commence with the kitchen experimentation!
When I broke open my first coconut and took a sip of the water inside, I couldn't believe the taste - nutty, sweet, and almost buttery rich, and so refreshing! If ambrosia was a real thing, I swear it would be fresh coconut milk. And when blended with the soft young coconut meat, it becomes a silky smooth, sweet drink that manages to taste buttery rich while also being refreshing. You can enjoy it like that, or add in some frozen fruit, for a tasty and chilling treat to cool you down, as I do here. (Although this now seems poorly timed, given the rain that has currently descended onto Toronto, making soup out of the air and a frizz mess out of my hair.)
Fresh Coconut & Strawberry Smoothie
Refreshing and naturally sweet, not to mention full of potassium and electrolytes, courtesy of the coconut milk, this smoothie is the perfect snack for a hot summer's day or after an intense workout - and it couldn't be simpler!
Water & Meat of 1 Young Coconut
1 cup Frozen Strawberries
1. To cut open the coconut: Place the coconut on a cutting board on its side, and using a sharp knife, shave off the excess husk from the top of the coconut (the point end). Cut straight down, letting your knife follow the natural curve of the hard coconut shell.
Once the husk has been removed from the top of the coconut, place it upright and hold it steady with one hand. Pick a spot on the edge of the exposed shell and hit it with the corner edge of your knife until it goes through the shell.
At this point (you might want to switch to a small knife) insert the blade into the opening, and keeping the blade flat, pull it towards you (being careful of your fingers!) and cut off the top of the coconut. This may sound a bit complicated, but it's actually quite simple! For a video demonstration, see here (he calls himself the "Healing Samurai", which is hilarious, but he provides a good coconut opening demonstration).
2. Pour the coconut water into a blender, and set aside. Then, using a spoon, scoop out the meat of the coconut and add it to the water in the blender. Be careful not to add bits of shell along with the meat!
3. Add the frozen strawberries to the coconut meat and water in the blender, then blend on high, pausing to stir when necessary, until smooth. Enjoy immediately!