Achievment unlocked — coconut H2O

I’ve been hearing everyone discuss the many health benefits of coconut water for ages, but I haven’t yet tried it. Why? Because on The Parenting Experiment, I heard John Salley claim that it was suuuper easy to just pop a straw in there and drink down that healthy goodness.

Not being big on processed and pasteurized “health” ingredients, and being kind of intrigued by the idea of a straw poking out of my coconut, I decided this was indeed the route I’d take. But the right kind of coconut (“young” and I think “Thai”) can be hard to come by in my day to day life, so I wound up waiting until my recent Uwajimaya run.

And the sucker I brought home was less easy to pry open than Mr. Salley had indicated. (What do you mean, you can’t believe everything you hear or read on the Internet?) So Grant and I had to do some real, um, exploration. After much random hacking (including trying to pierce it with a screwdriver — yep, my idea) we devised a plan. Or rather, I devised it and made him execute it, since I’m incredibly accident-prone and it was a blunt knife in unknown territory. (New Year’s resolution — learn to sharpen knives properly; sharpen knives properly.)

First, I had him make an X-shaped chop along the coney part, as shown above. Next, as shown here, I had him slice off that now-loosened coney part to reveal a … weird brownish rough part. Which Grant proceeded to hack at, until discovering the… disgusting slimy membraney part.  (Pretty sure that’s the scientific name for it, anyway.) MMMM!

THEN I was finally able to … oh Gawd it’s gross even remembering it… poke my way through the disgusting placenta membrane thing, think quick, grab a glass, and upturn the coconut so the liquid could drain into a glass. Plunk in a few ice cubes and a straw, and serve.

The verdict? It was unimpressive. Not like I gained the powers of a radioactive coconut or anything. Only vaguely coconutty; only slightly reminiscent of the fridge-stink the (shrink-wrapped!) unsheathed fruit had caused; not really all that healthy tasting. But who knows. If I wind up feeling fantastically fantastic tomorrow, then maybe I’ll lean on this the same way I occasionally lean on wheatgrass — very, very occasionally, when I’m feeling very, very ill.

But no, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to try açai berries anytime soon!

German chocolate madness

My dad turned 75 this year, and he specifically requested a German chocolate cake to celebrate. I kinda ho-hummed at the thought, but of course I was game to make my dad a special organic treat from scratch, even though I didn’t care for it myself… or so I thought.

Turns out I only hate crappy fake-ass German chocolate cake. The thing that really grossed me out as a kid was the frosting, but I think I had only ever tried the hydrogenated-tastic Betty Crocker type before. REAL German chocolate cake is essentially frosted with a mixture of homemade caramel, toasted pecans and toasted coconut — and it is AMAZING.

I found this recipe online which was clearly written by a German woman, as evidenced by some of her adorable grammar quirks. But another quirk was that she didn’t lay out all the steps ahead of time like most American recipes do — things like greasing the pans, preheating the ovens, and roasting the pecans were all interspersed with the other information. So it took a good couple reads to get organized.

Plus, as always, I added some of my own twists. Amongst other alterations, I used chocolate ganache to stick between the three layers, since I needed some anyway for the decoration. And I think it helped glue it all together better, plus it added an extra kick. And I toasted the coconut and pecans more exactly than the recipe called for, just to bring out their flavor.

And it was EXCELLENT. Man, am I excited to have a new cake recipe to enjoy! It’s not a *pretty* cake, by any means, but what it lacks in glamor, it makes up for in flavor.