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Cru, in Silver Lake, LA

July 1st is already here, which in Canada is the celebration of Canada Day, in the time honored tradition of Canadian holidays and American holidays being, you know, a few days apart!

By now, even the far north should be in the midst of summer, bbqs abound and the days go on forever, well at least until ten o’clock at night, which is one of the things that I cherish about living on the 49th parallel.

summer = local strawberries

Today, perhaps it was the day’s red and white theme, but I thought about strawberries – they are fresh and luscious right now – and the local berries from BC are beginning to trickle in, which always makes me smile.  Strawberries evoke summer to me, their sweet tart juiciness and their bright summer colour.  And while I love strawberries on granola, in smoothies, just by themselves and yes sometimes with creme fraiche, here’s a recipe that that I tried to recreate at home, in memory of a meal I tasted a few months ago at a delicious vegan / raw restaurant in Silverlake, Los Angeles, called Cru.

It is a tasty raw, strawberry ice cream.  Raw, yes, made with nuts and fruit and if you need it a natural sweetener.  Delicious, guilt free and tasting of summer.  And a perfect choice during hot weather when our bodies can handle foods that cool our system down and bring it into balance.

Raw Strawberry Icecream

Raw Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews – soaked for 3 -4 hours or better still, overnight.  Soaked, and then rinsed.
  • 2 cups ripe strawberries – tops hulled
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut milk(made from fresh coconut ideally) – You can also substitute with a nut milk such as almond milk.
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup.
  • Lemon juice and zest of 1/4 lemon

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth.  Taste for sweetness, adjust according to the sweetness of the fruit.  Add a little bit of lemon juice and lemon zest.  Put in an airtight box and freeze.  Remove periodically, ever few hours should be great – remix and replace in the freezer.  You could also use an ice-cream maker if you own one (I don’t).  The resulting creamy, ice cream should be ready within 24 hours.

To serve, fan-slice some strawberries and place on top.  Garnish with a basil leaf.