When Dick and I vacationed in Jamaica twenty-five years ago, we watched in amazement as a limber man wrapped his bare legs and feet around the trunk of a tall tree clamoring to the very top where clusters of coconuts were hanging. He lopped off a coconut with his machete and, with as much dexterity and ease as in his ascent, he proceeded to return to the ground where we stood. He whacked open the coconut exposing a watery liquid, which we tasted. Many years later, when I began cooking with coconut milk because of the health benefits, I desired to learn more. When you puncture a coconut, the watery liquid that comes pouring out is called coconut water. Coconut cream is a far creamier liquid made from the white meat inside the coconut. The coconut meat is grated, soaked in hot water, and then strained through mesh or cheesecloth. Coconut milk is coconut cream that has been diluted with water. Good brands, which have not been artificially homogenized, will have thick cream floating on top while the milk at the bottom is much more watery. I am fascinated with the bright white color of coconut milk compared to regular milk. This photo doesn't really do justice to the actual striking white of the coconut milk in the glass on the left.
I made this “Creamy Colada Smoothie”, which is a piña colada spin-off because of its coconut and pineapple ingredients. (I purchased the vintage box of straws and the painted wooden Humpty Dumpty at a yard sale. The Sweetheart Mother Goose Drinking Straws box has its original 2/25 cents Woolworth's price sticker still attached to the lid. I imagine that possibly H.D. was originally a component of a baby's mobile hanging above a crib.)
Coconut Milk Smoothie
½ c orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
½ c crushed pineapple (I used chunk because I had it in my pantry.)
1/3 c coconut cream (I used light coconut milk.)
½ c milk
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
I also added a kiwi and a 2 tbsp ground flaxseed. To make a thicker consistency, add crushed ice.
Place all ingredients into blender and whiz until smooth.
Today I decided to vary the Creamy Colada Smoothie recipe just a bit. I substituted pineapple juice for the orange juice, increased the coconut milk* to 1/2 c, eliminated the milk, and added 1/2 c strawberries. I used the 1/2 c. pineapple and 1 frozen banana, as in the original recipe, as well as added my usual flaxseed. That is the beauty of smoothies. You can do whatever floats your boat, you can march to the beat of a different drummer, or "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." (Juan Ramon Jimenez) The coconut milk label is in such pitiful shape because I had already torn it from its can and tossed the can into a recycling bin when I decided to include it in my photo shoot. *Native Forest Coconut Milk, which is pictured in this post, contains organic coconut milk (organic coconut, water, and guar gum). An alternate brand, which is distributed by Natural Value, contains pure coconut extract and water... no guar gum. Without guar gum, it often solidifies, but you can simply warm the can prior to using.