Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fresh Coconut Pie


I think my grandma ought to be pretty proud that I actually started from fresh coconut. Bet she never did THAT in 1955!

In fact, my grandmother and her two sisters are quite the funny threesome. I could write a book about them.
For Real.

Most of the stories they tell are the same stories told over and over again, but all three of them are such great story tellers, they get better and better each time.

Of course you would know there is a coconut story. Not coconut pie, but about coconut cake.
Funny, nonetheless.

The three sisters, like many families in Central Texas at the time, farmed cotton and other crops. Even as young as 5 and 6, Great Grandma Pavelka would have all 3 of those girls out their helping with the harvest. If you’ve never seen a cotton sack, they look like giant pillow cases, sometimes 4 or 5 feet long, with a strap to slide over your shoulder as you collected the cotton bolls. Of course these sacks were too heavy for a 5 year old to pull, so Great Grandma made them their own child-sized sacks to wear for these cotton stuffing parties. *How thoughtful,* right?

Unfortunately, necessity called.

So, the middle sister always tells the story of a particular day when Great Grandma had made the most beautiful layered coconut cake for those girls to share. Three layers, made from scratch of course, with sweet, fluffy frosting, and covered in shredded coconut. Now Mama had told them they could feast on this gorgeous cake at their morning break, after already working five or six hours.
Being resourceful, the three sisters, with Mama’s help, decided to tie up that cake in a flour sack towel, and hang it from a nearby tree – you know, just to keep it safe. The middle sister always says, “Nothin’ worse than a cake full of sugar ants.”
Those girls talked about that cake alllll morning. How sweet it would be, how much they loved their Mama for making them such a special treat, who would get the first piece, and the biggest piece and such.
Morning break came, the sisters had worked extra hard in preparation for their cake, and they rushed to the tree to begin untying their treat.

They couldn’t find it.

The flour sack was on the ground.

They were heartbroken and confused and mad all the same.

As they all looked up at the same time, their favorite horse, Smiley (for Pete’s sake), stood there.

Covered, from horse ear to horse ear, with shredded coconut and frosting smeared across his face.

I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, but every time the middle sister tells this story, she laughs harder.
That dang horse.


So, moral goes, protect your pies people!

Anyhow, if the thought of starting with a fresh coconut intimidates you, this IS some of the best coconut pie filling I’ve tasted, so don’t feel guilty about using store bought shredded coconut.

Believe me, the clean-up was an adventure I don’t need to repeat any time soon!
Ya’ll wouldn’t believe it, coconut water flying, fibers in my hair, and stuck to the bottom of my feet.

Ya’ll proimise me you’ll make this coconut pie, even with store bought coconut, and just be thankful you’re not out there hand pickin’ cotton.
Make your horse a sweet treat too, k?

~Peace, Love, and Pies Ya’ll!

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Fresh Coconut Pie

Yield: one 9" pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes chill time

Total Time: 90 minutes


Coconut flesh from 3 young coconuts (roughly 1 1/4 cups)
Coconut juice 1 1/4 C (the water from the coconut when cracked open, substitute with coconut milk)
Evaporated Milk 2/3 C
Sugar 3/4 C
Cornstarch 1/2 C
Vanilla 1 tsp
Store bought pie crust (9 inch)
Cool Whip, or homemade whipped cream


Cut coconut flesh into strips. In a pot, add all your ingredients and stir together. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Pour into the pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chocolate Fizz



It’s soooooooo hot. In these dog days of summer, milkshakes are like, required.

This one’s special though. Cream soda, not milk.

Where have you been all my life chocolate fizz?

Before I go on –

– Oh my gosh –

Are those –

YUP, *who* happened to have chocolate cow sprinkles in her cupboard??

THIS girl.

High Five.

Chocolate milkshakes were my happy place. Chocolate milkshakes with cream soda?

Whoa. Hello new happy place!

Chocolate milkshakes have been a long time staple in my family. As the story goes, my grandmother was a teeny tiny woman, weighing a slender 95 pounds. Good gosh, I feel like a cow next to ol’ granny. She was sooo nervous on her wedding day (we’re a family of worriers), that she didn’t eat. Anthing. She actually fainted on her wedding day.


So, their solution? Milkshakes. She and Grandpa got a shake after the wedding, and drank herself sick. On milkshakes. It’s happened many times since. The milkshake part, I mean.

Grandma still enjoys her milkshakes. In fact, we just made her some for her 80th birthday party this year. She still says “You know what that slurping means Katie? Time for seconds!” So cute.

So… I got the idea from Sonic. I always get their blended float with Dr. Pepper. YUM.
Then one day I thought, hmmm, I want a blended float with a chocolate milkshake.
Unfortunately, it took too long to explain and they still had no idea what I was talking about, so I went home to make one…

Begin with Vanilla Ice Cream and chocolate syrup. This is imperative. I’ve seen *imposters* who attempt at making their milkshakes with chocolate ice cream and milk.



Vanilla ice cream. Chocolate Syrup.

We clear?

Enter our star, cream soda. I got the good stuff. HighFructoseCornSyrup and all. I mean, “corn sugar.” Apparently, your body can’t tell the difference. Ok. Sure, that’s why I crave 13 Oreos. Anyhoo.


Pour in cream soda slowly. We want to save those bubbles for your glass!

Teeheheeeee, are you excited?


Ok, so everyone likes their shakes different.

It’s a very personal decision, I tell you.

I like ’em thick. Like your cheeks hurt from sucking through the straw.

Some folks like ’em thin. Like, with a spoon.

With all the love in my heart, I make two batches.

Swirl more chocolate syrup in your glass before you pour that creamy, foamy shake in your cold mason jar glass, top with whipped cream after taking a self-serve spritz to the mouth, and find your chocolate cow sprinkles in the back of your cupboard.

~Peace, Love, and Shakes Ya’ll!

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Chocolate Fizz

Yield: serves 2

Total Time: 10 minutes


4 cups vanilla ice cream
4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
6 oz cream soda
whipped cream, sprinkles, toppings
straw. or spoon.


So, I'm going to be honest with you. Milkshakes are very personal. I really have to eyeball it. I will explain to you how I make them.

I fill up half the blender with the ice cream, packing it down lightly. Then I squeeze a good 3-4 seconds of chocolate syrup. Then I pour in my liquid until it reaches about halfway up to the ice cream level. Then I pulse the blender, pausing to push down the ice cream with a spoon and of course, taste test. Finish off with whipped cream, toppings, nuts, and a straw.

On a side note, I think this would make a great mudslide.
Next time, if I'm out of vodka, I'm going to try strawberry ice cream and 7-Up. Not Sprite. 7-Up.


Friday, August 12, 2011

German Red Cabbage


Whether your German, Czech, Polish, or Swedish, everyone just about has a version of Red Cabbage. This sweet and sour side is served hot, my favorite is alongside German beef and pork meatballs, capers, and noodles.

For those of you in Texas, or those of you that have visited, my favorite meal is from Der Lindenbaum in Fredericksburg, TX. Fredericksburg is a simply gorgeous German immigrant town, known mainly for its peaches. And German food. There are dozen different German restaurants, and twice that number of shops selling peaches.

Peach yogurt, peach ice cream, peach butter, peach cobbler, peach pie, peach buckle, peach gumbo, lemon peach, chocolate peach, peac-

…. Er, sorry, that’s Forrest Gump.

So, my mom could never get it quite right, and my Grandma wouldn’t even try. I was left on my own to experiment, until I finally got it the way I wanted.

I was amazed at how suprisingly simple it is. Why wasn’t I making this more often?


~Peace, Love, and Purple Veggies, Yo.

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German Red Cabbage

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


1 head of red cabbage
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves (The secret! The magical, delicous, make-you-want-more ingredient)


1. Place all items in pot. Wash and shred the cabbage first.

2. Stir.

3. Cook about an hour, on medium, until the cabbage is tender.

Feel free to serve with a Bratwurst, Polish sausage, or my favorite - Konigsberger Klopse.