Happy 4th of July!
I’m taking a break from my exciting day of work, which will hopefully be punctuated by some fireworks later. As the scent of charred meat wafts up to my apartment from the Mexican restaurant below, I’ve been enjoying my favorite summer foods: fresh berries, jersey tomatoes, avocados, and lots of coconuts. With these colors in mind, and in honor of the day, I present two summertime sweet treats!
The first is a smoothie I love to enjoy in the hotter months. Avocado based, it’s slightly less sweet than some other smoothie concoctions, but I still find it totally delicious. It makes for a good snack, a light dessert, or an excellent post-workout smoothie. Best of all, it’s reminiscent of key lime pie!
Lime-in-the-Coconut Smoothie (serves 1-2)
1 lime, pith and skin removed (if you don’t have a VitaMix, just use lime juice)
3/4 cup pineapple, chopped, or 1/2 banana, chopped
1 tsp agave, or stevia to taste
1 cup water
6 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients on high until creamy. Add more ice or water as needed, and enjoy!
My favorite July 4th ritual has always been spending the weekend with Chloe (my BFF, now living in NOLA) at her place in upstate New York, where we dutifully attend the local berry farm’s strawberry shortcake festival. I’m usually ignoring the cake and whipped cream part of the whole thing, but I DO get to savor the fresh berries. Work is keeping me in the city this year, but I can re-create at least that part of the experience: the Union Square farmer’s market is bursting with summer blueberries and strawberries right now, and I have a fully stocked kitchen!
To make things a little more fun, I’ve concocted the following recipe for raw, vegan whipped cream. NB: this is no substitute for the airy, Cool Whip variety of whipped cream. Instead, it resembles homemade whipped cream, just before the thick peaks start to form and become fluffy: it’s a rich, thick, and decadent concoction. The recipe is essentially a sweet spin on my savory cashew alfredo, and it’s just as simple.
Raw Whipped Cream
1 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hrs
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp agave (or 2 dates)
1/2 vanilla bean (I threw the whole thing in my Vita; if you do this in a food processor, sub 1 tsp vanilla extract)
Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix until smooth and fluffy. To make this in a food processor, start by blending all ingredients, minus 1/4 cup water. Stop frequently to scrape the bowl. When the mixture is quite smooth, drizzle in the last 1/4 cup water till fluffy.
This stuff is so decadent, it’s hard to believe it’s plant-based. Scoop over fresh berries or fruit, and enjoy!
Note the flecks of vanilla bean: mmmmm…
A nice alternative would be to serve the now-famous banana soft serve over your berries. Yum!
Have a great, celebratory night, everyone!
P.S. …And thanks for the awesome responses to Melissa’s interview! Keep them coming!