A few things about me: my name is Taino Indian (indigenous Caribbean people of Puerto Rico living on the island when Christopher Columbus arrived and before the island was colonized) and means ‘goddess of clear skies’, I hate waste, especially wasting food, I love coconut, I am an avid coffee drinker, I love café con leche, and I am a purist regarding my coffee.
I decided to try something new this week, and use coconut milk creamer in my coffee instead of my regular choices of half and half or café con leche. It was a disappointment. The coconut milk tainted the flavor of my freshly ground organic Costa Rican coffee, and didn’t add the same creaminess half and half does. To my chagrin, I have been drinking it all week.
Since I am stubborn and I don’t waste food, I had to accept the coconut-state of my coffee. Yesterday morning, I added cinammon to my coffee (with the coconut creamer). To my delight, it changed everything! It was delicious, like a cup of hot tembleque**. While it didn’t conform to my purist palate for coffee, it was an unexpected and delectable treat. Created with some creative out-of-the-box flexible thinking and just one simple change.
Of course recovery and sobriety is much more work than adding cinnamon to coffee, but it got me thinking. My husband’s sobriety is like the cinnamon. A change that involved acceptance, openness, and flexible thinking leading to sobriety. A single change that has transformed my life’s flavor in the most delightful ways. It’s not perfect and it’s not what I planned for but it’s delicious.
Now if only a sprinkle of cinnamon would solve the world’s problems.
**Tembleque: a Puerto Rican coconut custard
Tembleque Recipe, serves 8
2 large ripe coconuts to make 4 cups fresh diluted coconut milk (recipe to follow in photos)
1/2 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1-In a saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in part of coconut milk. Add remainder of coconut milk and rest of ingredients and mix using wooden spoon or whisk.
2-Cook over moderate-high heat, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken.
3-As soon as it begins to thicken, reduce heat to moderate and stir vigorously until it boils. Pour into a round 6×3 inch fluted or 8 x 6 x 1 1/2 inch pan or casserole, rinsed in cold water. Sprinkle with cinnamon, allow to cool slightly, and place in refrigerator.
4-When thouroughly cool, (about 2-3 hours in refrigerator and custard consistency) separate edges with a knife. Turn onto flat platter and let stand until it drops from pan. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Coconut milk recipe: