According to Chalkboard Magazine, a food trend this summer is Coconut Bowls: coconut halves filled with grains, fruits and/or vegetables. The concept was developed by Amazing Bowls, a Los Angeles food truck.
Breakfast/Brunch: Cereal, cottage cheese, fruit and/or yogurt
Lunch: Asian chicken/shrimp salad
Cocktails: Mai Tai, Piña Colada, Planters Punch and other tiki bar specials
Dinner Entrée: Curry: chicken, fish, lamb or vegetable
Soup: Indian (such as Mulligatawny), Thai (such as Tom Kha Gai) and Western cream of vegetable soups, from broccoli to vichyssoise
Dessert: Conventional fruit salad with sorbet or frozen yogurt, exotic* fruit salad, coconut ice cream, sorbet or pudding
WHAT TO SERVE IN COCONUT BOWLS
We’ve been playing with the concept, and have used the bowls for a memorable presentation of conventional foods:
CREATE A DIY COCONUT BOWL BAR
For a gathering, set out the coconut halves with the fillings. Aim for a rainbow of colors, from:
Dried fruits (raisins, cherries, blueberries)
Edible flowers and/or shredded fresh basil for garnish
Nuts and seeds
Nut butters (almond, peanut, etc.)
Poached fish or seafood
Salads: Asian noodles (with or without chicken or seafood), avocado and citrus, chicken with pineapple and Greek worked for us
Shredded/grated dried coconut
Yogurt, plain and flavored
Anything else that works for you
 Too pretty to eat…almost (photo courtesy Chalkboard Magazine).  Crack open the coconuts with a heavy kitchen knife (photo courtesy HomeGrownCollective.com).
*Exotic fruits you can find in the U.S. include Asian pear, cactus pear, cherimoya, dragonfruit, gooseberry, kiwi, lychee, mango, mangosteen, passionfruit, prickly pear, rambutan and starfruit, among others.
All coconuts come from the same tree, the coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera). It’s a member of the Arecaceae family, the Palm Family.
The coconut is not a nut, but a fruit—a drupe, along with stone fruits.
Green coconuts are filled with coconut water (a.k.a. juice) and the meat is soft, translucent and scoopable. The off-white coconuts you can purchase, to drink the coconut water, have been carved to remove the green skin.
Mature coconuts are covered with a dried brown husk. There is less coconut water and the coconut meat is firm and an opaque white color.
Coconut milk is not the liquid inside the mature coconut. Coconut milk and coconut cream are made from pressing the coconut meat. Commercial coconut milk is thinned with water.
RECIPE: COCONUT BOWLS
Ingredients For 2 Servings
1 whole coconut
Food of choice (see the list above)
TO MAKE A COCONUT BOWL
1. PUNCTURE a small hole into one or two of the coconut eyes with an ice pick. Drain the coconut water into a container and refrigerate for another use.
2. HOLD the coconut in your palm and rotate as you use the blunt side of a heavy kitchen knife to tap firmly along the midsection (the “waist”).
3. CONTINUE to rotate and tap until a crack appears. After a few more rotations and taps, the coconut should break into two equal halves.
4. WRAP and freeze the coconut bowls if you won’t be using them immediately, so the meat doesn’t dry out. You can serve cold foods in frozen bowls; they’ll defrost slowly while keeping the drink, ice cream, etc. cold.
PHOTOS:  Rice noodles topped with shrimp, pineapple chunks and Chow Mein noodles.  A dessert bowl with strawberry yogurt and Oreo pieces (photos courtesy Alex Jollie | Britco.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE COCONUT SHELLS?
Check out how our colleague, Hannah Kaminsky, turned hers into beautiful bowls.