Wednesday I went to the Mercado Artesanal (artisanal markets) with Luiza and a friend of hers from school. We took the tram that runs north to south on Avenida 6 de Deciembre, and no matter what time of day it is, these are always packed and personal space doesn’t exist (which means creepy men think they can get away with getting closer than is socially acceptable). We got there just before closing with enough time for me to haggle over and purchase two scarves. As far as getting home, don’t try to hail a taxi on a busy street in Quito during a downpour when there’s rush hour traffic. With the amount of time you’ll be working that corner I guarantee you’ll almost be convinced that you’re a prostitute.
Friday I was invited to Christmas dinner at a Rotarian’s house- he’s going to be away for the actual holiday and wanted to celebrate beforehand with his children and grandchildren. It was a nice evening, my Spanish was declared “perfect!” (um, it’s really not), but who doesn’t enjoy having their ego stroked? And it always surprises me how people are kind enough to go out of their way to accommodate my dietary needs.
The Spanish (as in Spain) restaurant I ate at Tuesday evening with my host family to celebrate my host sister’s 23rd birthday.
For almost the entirety of my life I abhorred coconut (except for coconut milk in Thai curry. God it’s to die for). My dad’s signature recipe is his Christmas fruitcake (it’s delicious, which is apparently against the norm for Christmas fruitcakes, but I haven’t had any other than his and so wouldn’t know), and among other things calls for shredded coconut, which I refused to eat. My grandfather can’t eat nuts. Then I went vegan and wouldn’t eat it if it had eggs OR coconut. Going gluten free was a whole other issue. The recipe makes enough for quite a few loaves, and eventually my dad ended up making each loaf adhere to different dietary needs, none of which were his own (thanks for indulging me Dad).
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started enjoying all aspects of the tree nut. I’m still a little iffy on coconut water, but basically now I can’t imagine my life without this magical plant. Coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut oil, shredded coconut, coconut sugar… basically any product that is made from coconut, I will eat. And when making recipes that don’t traditionally call for coconut derived by-products, I will probably find a way to include them anyway (the “pumpkin pie” I made for Thanksgiving with coconut milk ended up tasting more like coconut than pumpkin). Coconut all the things! Also, how many more times can I say the word coconut? Turn this into a drinking game, I dare you (by the way, if you mix coconut flavored Malibu rum with pure pineapple juice you get the easiest most amazing cocktail ever. It’s too bad imported liquors- imported everything really- are ridiculously expensive in Ecuador).
I’m not even sure if these can technically be called macaroons, but either way, I am aware that coconut cookies/macaroons are not original. However, this recipe is (these aren’t adapted from any one particular recipe, they’re kind of just what I came up with when I thought “Hey, I wanna make coconut cookies”). That said, most coconut macaroons are not vegan, and the vegan ones that I’ve seen are generally not gluten free. So here you’ve got the best of both worlds (can you tell that I’m young enough to have watched Hannah Montana?) Because whatever these remind you of, they’re cruelty free, better for the environment, and duh-lish, so even if you aren’t vegan you should try this recipe.
If you make these, let me know how they turn out! Or even if you don’t make them and just feel like saying hi that’s cool too. I want to say thank you to everyone who’s been liking and/or following. It kind of shocks me that anyone besides my mom wants to read what I have to say, but I’m really happy that you do.
- 1 heaping cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
optional: splash of vanilla extract (this will change the color from pure white to slightly mocha)
Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, or if you don’t have any baking trays (um, me), grease a glass pan with whatever vegetable/nut oil you have on hand. Combine all ingredients on the stove top, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens up (the cornstarch is essential for this, don’t leave it out). Seriously, stir constantly. This doesn’t take long to congeal and if you don’t you’ll be stuck scrubbing your pan. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Scoop onto tray (I used an ice cream scoop) and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies start to look toasted.
By the way, I’m leaving Monday for the Amazon Rainforest for a few days, so next post you’ll hear aaalllllllll about that. And hopefully see some pretty pictures.