I use coconut milk often enough in baking and cooking that I try to always keep a can or three on hand. Except that lately I've been forgetting to do that, and seem to find myself without it when I'd like to throw a bit into a batch of lentils or a pot of tofu curry. Well, do you know what turns out to be remarkably fast and easy? Making coconut milk from scratch. I've been using the technique from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, but I've seen essentially the same recipe with the same proportions in a couple other books that I have hanging around the shelves, so I'm assuming this is pretty standard business. Give it a try!
2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 cups water
Put the coconut into a blender. Bring the water to a boil and pour it over the coconut. Blend on a high speed for about thirty to forty seconds, then turn the blender off and let the mixture rest for ten minutes or more. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl or large liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the mixture with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid. This should yield between one and half and two cups of coconut milk.