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Homemade Coconut Milk

No, I do not live in the Tropics boo, but that does not stop me from being totally ga-ga over tropical ingredients.  Pineapples, mangoes, bananas, RUM, sugar cane, and of course...coconut!

The shredded, sweetened stuff you buy at any grocery store in the baking aisle...um, it's okay I guess...but after about one giant pinch, it's cloyingly sweet.  And for some reason, it's really hard to find unsweetened, shredded coconut around here...so I just do it myself.  Take that.  All you need is a little muscle.
You can do it with either  one of those "easy-break" coconuts...the ones that are sort of scored across the middle...or a regular old harder-to-break variety.  I've found that it doesn't really make much of a difference.  Start by screwing a corkscrew through each of the eyes of the coconut- wiggle it around a bit once it's all the way in, to make the hole as open as possible. Remove the corkscrew and pour the coconut "milk" through a strainer into a bowl.  Waste not, want not. 
Once you've drained them of their liquid, place a flat-head screw driver flat against the center of the coconut and pound in with a hammer.  The shell will crack...move it around the shell and repeat until the crack runs all the way through and you can separate the two halves.  Now, grab a thin, flexible butter knife and slide it between the meat and the shell.  Slide the knife in and pull back like a lever to release the meat.  Sometimes you get large chunks...sometimes not so large.  Once all the coconut is free from the shell, use a veggie peeler to peel off the outer brown "skin (?)" that remains...leaving you with just the creamy, white coconut meat.
At this point, eat a few chunks as a reward for all of your hard work.  You can use it like this if you wish...or if you need it shredded/grated, simply use a hand grater if you're in the mood for more physical labor...or run it through the shredding blade in a food processor.
Now, use your fresh, naturally sweet, shredded coconut as you will.  Store in the fridge...but not for too long.  No preservatives mean it doesn't last as long. 

Homemade Coconut Milk
from The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman
yield ~2 c.

1 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut I used freshly grated

Combine the shredded coconut with 2 c. very hot water I used the coconut milk I extracted from the coconut, and added hot water to make 2 c. in a blender.  Pulse on and off quickly, then turn on the blender and let it work for 15 seconds or so.  Let sit for a few minutes.

Put through a strainer, pressing to extract as much of the liquid as possible.  Discard the solids and use the milk immediately or store, covered, in fridge for a few days.  Use in place of canned coconut milk!!
This is made from all raw ingredients (and is from Mark Bittman) and so I'm submitting it to IHCC because our theme this week is Raw Foods!  I'm also submitting to the events below...

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