My fondest memories of visiting my grandmother as a little girl in Venezuela didn’t happen at the beach, on a tour of the city, or at a cousins birthday party; they happened in her backyard. Here in the U.S. we have apple trees, orange trees, plum trees, and lemon trees. At Mama’s we had mangoes, bananas and coconut trees.
There is nothing like a fresh coconut knocked off the tree, but the easiest way to tap a coconut is in the can. Don’t be fooled; canned coconut is an excellent substitute containing all of the nutrients, taste and textures of a coconut without the hassle of working with one. Add unsweetened coconut shavings and coconut cream to these recipes to round out the ingredients; it tastes just as good as if you had your own coconut tree. Well...okay, maybe not, but you can get pretty close!
Arroz con Coco is a fruity take on Thai coconut rice with coconut milk, mango, sour cherries and toasted coconut shreds putting this dish over the top. Paletas de Coco y Lima are popsicles made with a mixture of coconut cream, coconut milk and limes creating a flavor explosion reminiscent of a silky key lime pie. Helado de Coco, a classic dessert, is a smooth, rich and creamy ice cream with a hint of rum that makes every scoop a party. Now get your coconuts and get cracking!