Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I’ve Got a Loverly Coconut

I usually make lots of coco-centric things for Peysekh, and after last year I resolved I would never again buy another package of conventionally-grown, sulfite-drenched coconut that had probably been shredded during the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa. That was about fifteen minutes ago, or so it seems, and Peysekh is already roaring towards us like an elephant on roller skates coming down that hill in San Francisco, you know, the one where they film the chase scenes in all the movies.

It seemed like a good idea to crack open a practice-coconut so I wouldn’t find myself five minutes before the seder desperately banging my skull against an impervious coconut shell.

It turns out that coconut smashing is not as nearly as difficult as I feared, and fresh coconut is as much better than the other kind as every reliable source has told you already.

How to Crack a Coconut

I pierced the three eyes on the round end of the nut by hammering screws into them, and then unscrewing the screws. After decanting and drinking the coconut water, which you could also save to add to juices, smoothies, soups, or other life-giving potations, I toasted the whole coconut at about 400 degrees for about twenty minutes. It cracked slightly in the oven. I wrapped it in a towel, and after a few whacks with a hammer, I had some easy-to-handle coconut shards, from which I pried the pulp. It was then very easy to peel the brown skin from the pulp with a vegetable peeler.

Then, I sat down and read the instructions in Su-Mei Yu’s Cracking the Coconut. I should have done this first, but I just couldn’t wait. You know how it is when a coconut is burning a hole in your handbag.

I like Yu’s introductory paragraph:

Learning to crack open a coconut is essential to becoming a Thai cook. You may find the thought scary, however, with your first attempt you will discover how easy cracking coconuts can be. I had to learn to crack my first one out of necessity when I first came to America as a fifteen-year-old student. Now I find it most therapeutic to come home and whack open a few coconuts, especially after a hard day at the restaurant.

I also like her suggestion that you use the shells in your fireplace. I don’t have a fireplace, but I really like the idea, and will pass them on to someone who has.

פֿון מאַרײע־טערעזענס צײַט
From very long ago (from Maria Theresa’s time)

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Blogger Pookah said...

We have a fireplace that is used every chilly night and that sounds like a good enough reason to buy a coconut. What did you do with it?

5:32 PM  

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