Shake It Off

Oh sure, easy for you to say.

In lieu of a television, the quiet hum of online weather reports has begun to serve as a neutral white noise at times, filling the void of late nights when no other voices are available to keep me company. Focused on the east coast’s snowy predicament more often than not, it seems that the whole country would be talking about my hometown even if the radio’s dial had been set on frequencies emanating from thousands of miles in any direction. Most of the information goes straight through my consciousness, filtered out as just comforting, human sounds, but every now and then particular words stick in my consciousness.

Blizzards… Black ice… Power failures…

So isn’t it easy for me to implore the folks suffering out there to just “shake it off,” offering up a tropical smoothie with an insensitive veneer of enthusiasm? How could I, the traitor who skipped bail and fled my sentencing for a winter in balmy California, have anything constructive to add to this seasonal tale of misery and woe?

And yet, I can’t keep my mouth shut, or more accurately, my fingers still as they glide across the beguiling keyboard. As much as the native New Englander in me would love to grouse about the terrible and relentless snow storms with the rest of my family, I’m much more grateful that those crushing winter phenomenon are no longer a part of my personal experience. Instead, I have sunshine, relative warmth, and yes, an incredible bounty of local produce that manages to grow even now in mid February; an unheard of miracle for someone who would expect two feet of sludge to line the garden beds right about now.

What a luxury it is to have a nearby farmers market boasting an ample selection of my very favorite food in the entire world: Cherimoya. Most people scratch their heads when the fruit is mentioned, and I hesitate to bring it more attention for fear of limiting my own selfish hoard of the fruits. A pricy treat to be sure, it’s hard to justify doing anything with the creamy, custard-like flesh other than dig in with a spoon once it’s ripe. Every now and then, however, one might venture into the land of overripe, at which point the only the one can do is blend it up and drink it down instead. That’s where the idea to create a tropical shake came from, playing off the classic umbrella drink, the lava flow.

Fiery red rivulets of strawberry “lava” flow throughout the classic coconut-pineapple rendition of this refreshing island staple, finished with a kiss of light rum. The sweet, creamy richness of cherimoya transforms the drink into an exotic new experience, which is just as luscious with or without the booze.

So this is how I’m shaking off winter. I’m well aware that not everyone is, or can, but for those with the ability to greet winter under brighter skies, I would implore you to relish every last sip of it.

Cherimoya Lava Flow

Strawberry Lava Sauce:

1 Cup Strawberries, Fresh or Frozen and Thawed
2 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar or Light Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Creamy Cherimoya Cocktail:

1 Medium Cherimoya*
1 Cup Diced Fresh Pineapple
1 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Light Rum**

*In lieu of fresh cherimoya, substitute either 1 medium banana or approximately 2/3 cup of young coconut meat for a different yet still delicious taste.
**For a non-alcoholic version, substitute an equal amount of pineapple juice.

Prepare the strawberry sauce first by combining the strawberries, sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, just until the berries have softened and the sugar dissolved. Transfer to your blender and thoroughly puree so that no chunks of fruit remain. Strain out the seeds if desired and set aside.

Rinse and dry your blender before returning it to its base. Slice the cherimoya in half and use a spoon to scoop out the soft white flesh, discarding the black seeds as you encounter them. Pop the cherimoya fruit into your blender, along with the pineapple, coconut milk, and 1/4 cup of rum. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add more rum to taste, depending on your preference.

Divide the cocktail base between two glasses and drizzle the strawberry “lava” into each one, aiming for the sides of the glass to create the greatest visual impact. Serve with a tall straw and an additional wedge of fresh pineapple for extra flare.

Makes 2 Servings

Printable Recipe

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20 thoughts on “Shake It Off

  1. Yeah, you are lucky you are a LOOOONG way away from your old friends and neighbours Ms Hannah ;). I should be able to indulge in this glorious breakfast gustatory event in about 15 years. I will let you know how I go ;). Nothing came of the last seeds :(

    1. Ah, no kidding! It will be a worthwhile wait, no doubt, but tough to get through the long delay. I’m just thrilled to hear that anything is growing at all! That’s better than I could do back at home, but then again, maybe I should try again now that I have this lovely California weather to take advantage of…

      1. Your weather in California would be comparable to our hot mainland here and would be perfect for growing tropical fruit. Give them a go, you might be the next organic tropical fruit queen of California! :)

  2. Oh, wait a minute. When you say, “those crushing winter phenomenon are no longer a part of my personal experience,” (I’m looking at ‘no longer’) do you mean you’ve permanently relocated?

      1. What a big change! And what a pity that you’re missing such a bitterly cold and snowy winter this year. ;) Alrighty then, wishing you the best as you settle in to your new surroundings and go on new adventures.

  3. Hannah girl I am with you. I am ready to ditch the northeast for Cali warmth. Cherimoya is called sugar Apple on the Caribbean island I’m from. I’ll be in Southern Cal next month. If your in Southern Cal let me know some good markets for produce.

  4. I was in Boston few weeks ago visiting family and it was lovely to experience some snow for a short period of time. Right now the weather seems pretty nice in Oregon – sunny all week, just like where you are! ;) What a clever name – this cocktail looks lusciously creamy..I love the flower decoration, it’s so adorable! Wishing you a wonderful day, Hannah!

  5. One of my favourite fruits too! I am more used to the custard-apple variety which has a bumpier skin texture. The taste is wonderful, this drink must taste awesome indeed!

  6. Just thought you might like to know that it looks like you are officially the vegan QUEEN of baking. I am following a FB page about the hits and misses of vegan meringue using aquafaba (chickpea water) and this is a comment I just had to share. Looks like you have yourself a challenge girl! ;)

    “Ugh, angel food cake is impossible. I keep making adjustments, and I keep running into the same problem no matter what: the cake collapsing in the oven at the end of baking resulting in a tiny dense cake. I live in normal altitude, there’s not a spec of fat anywhere, my oven rack is in the lower third of the oven, I haven’t been opening the door prematurely (anymore), and in my last batch I sifted the cake flour no less than 6 times. The end result always tastes like angel food cake, but what goes in the oven about 5 inches high comes out at about 1 and half inches. Whhhhyyyy?????? I’m considering just waiting for Hannah Kaminsky to figure it out. (Not really, but I think this whole thing is driving me insane.)”

    1. Oh my goodness, I’m so flattered and surprised to get such a sweet mention out of the blue! The greatest irony is that in the height of this vegan meringue renaissance, I find myself without an oven. I wish I could dive into the fun as well, but it will probably have to wait for quite a while. I’ve seen some great things come from this chickpea brine approach, but I’m not sure it would be vastly more stable than the meringue I’ve been making with EnerG. Perhaps if additional protein was added for structure, it might be able to support the weight of flour to make cake at least slightly better. No idea though, since nothing else has really worked for angel food cake yet. It’s still the final frontier for vegan baking!

      PS, never heard the term “aquafaba” before and I seriously love it. I’m going to try to weave it into all my conversations from here on in…

      1. I think the excitement about it all is that it’s something that we used to just discard down the sink and we never realised that it could be used as “food”. I am not a sweet food lover and am hoping that the adventurous out there will veer away from all of that frothy sweetness and start working out some lovely light uses in savoury applications. I had the idea that perhaps the aquafaba (see how I seamlessly and most fabulously integrated that into my conversation? ;) ) could be somehow used with besan flour (no idea of what ratio, the science of food is narf mojo magic ;) ) to give it some protein oomph. There are some seriously amazing people out there and as I just shared with you, you are seen as one of the most adventurous and clever cooks on the cutting edge of vegan experimentalism that we have. Just thought that you would like to know how you are regarded. Always good to get a bit of positive feedback and this is the best kind :). Bugger on the stove though. In summer, we use a covered bbq for all of our cooking. You would be amazed what you can cook on a covered bbq. We lit Brunhilda for the very first time this year the other day and it was bliss. I cooked 3 batches of vegan cakes, dinner, got hot water at the same time and burned a stack of papers…I LOVE Brunhilda :)

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