It’s always summer in the Dominican Republic: Time for some refreshing paletas de coco (coconut popsicles)
I know that it is not literally summer year-round, and that, much as we’d like to pretend they don’t, the laws of nature also apply to our two-thirds of an island, but for all practical purposes it’s always summer in the DR.
For some living on the upper half of the planet, this winter proved to be one of the harshest in years, so we had relatives and friends taking a short exile here from snow, darkness and below-freezing temperatures.
We who live in this tropical island were just grateful for the temporary respite from the heat, but for them our winter was just like summer. Sometimes we overlook some of the simple pleasures of island living just because we are not exposed to the hardships of winter in northernmost countries every year.
But it was warm this week here, the temperatures rose to nearly-summer levels, and I decided to make coconut ice pops for our family. For those who spent their childhood in the Dominican Republic a couple of decades ago this is a reminder of some of the things we lost, it evokes memories of summer fun, simple pleasures and carefree childhood: Like kids being able to roam the neighborhoods safely, being able to play on the streets, or buying coconut ice pops in baby food jars from neighborhood ladies for a few cents.
Let’s welcome the era of smart cell phones and stupid, careless drivers, the era of unparalleled communication and caged, apartment kids, the era of convenience and industrial food.
This is not a rant against modern life, trust me, I like the 21st Century very much, it’s just that unfortunately for every thing that we gain we lose one. Except the summer. We’ll always have the summer.
Nobody can take away our year-round summer.
Helado de Coco is a very delicious dessert that requires no cooking and one that even your children can prepare.
- 2 cups of coconut milk
- 2 cups of evaporated milk
- 1 cup of sugar (you may not use it all)
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
- Mix milk, vanilla and coconut milk. Add sugar to taste.
- Pour the mix into molds, insert sticks and freeze.
- When frozen hard remove from the molds and enjoy instant summer!
We get requests all the time for easy recipes that students can prepare and bring to the classroom for various assignments (why didn't we have this when I was a kid?). I think I am going to start suggesting this one from now on.
Vegans and lactose intolerants can use soy milk instead of milk, and diabetics and those watching their diets can use sweetener instead of sugar, all of which I have tried with success. Something for everyone.