A few Sundays ago, Kyle and I packed up to go to Carole and Dave’s house for a brunch. Brunch. It’s perfect for Sundays. Especially when you’re surrounded by family friends. One particularly awesome family friend (Miss Carole, that’s you!) who doubles as my personal seamstress. Carole is altering a dress for me to wear to a wedding we’re attending in Cincinnati. I’m totally stoked! Yes, stoked! I’ve never been to Cincinnati and we’re planning a trip to Three Sisters on our way through Indianapolis since they serve some hip looking vegan options.
Right.. back to the food!
Brunch consisted of an old favorite of mine from childhood. Skinnies. Skinnies are pretty much crepes that we stuff with chocolate chips, syrup, jams, jellies and anything else we can find. They skinnies are hot enough to melt the chocolate and they are a beautiful thing! I wrestled with myself for a bit on whether I should actually have any as they are not vegan. A few weeks ago I was reading some blogs that talked about just that situation. Sometimes there are more important things in life than the fact that I’m a vegan. I deemed this one of those times and told myself I should have one skinny. With chocolate chips and apricot jam.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think skinnies should be the next “big deal” recipe I adapt to be vegan.
Even though I told myself I was going to be eating a skinny, I decided to bring a brunch item of my own to share. The idea came to me almost immediately. I was going to revamp the strawberry shortcake. Modernize it if you will.
The idea started with coconut. I wanted to make a coconut butter and serve it with strawberries. I wanted to thin out the coconut butter to make a whipped cream consistency. After emailing Ashley from the Edible Perspective, I discovered it just wasn’t going to work the way I wanted. She suggested that canned coconut milk was the way to go. I had seen the recipe on her blog and was entranced by it. Before seeing her “cool whip” I had never thought that you could whip coconut milk into submission like that. Oh you sure can my friends.
Instead of going with a biscuit or cake for the “shortcake” part of this treat, I went with granola. Peppered balsamic granola.
The trio of flavors; pepper, coconut and strawberry; left me utterly speechless.
Carole and Dave loved the combination as well. We even put the coconut “whip” into our coffee. Kyle enjoyed his first skinny experience. After being “called out” on only having one skinny I found the diplomatic way to bring my veganism to the table.
It was accepted warmly.
No wonder I love these guys!
Strawberries and Granola with Coconut Whip
1 pint fresh strawberries
For the granola:
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons flax seed
3 pitted dates
1 heaping tablespoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons apple juice (or water)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate flavored)
For the coconut whip:
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge (out of the can)
3 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
The night before and preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Stick a metal bowl in the freezer along with your whisk. I used my Kitchen Aid bowl and whisk attachment.
In a blender, puree 2 tablespoons of the flax seed, dates, pepper, 2 tablespoons of the oil, apple juice, water and vinegar until smooth. Mix together oats, coconut and remaining tablespoon of flax seed in a large bowl, then pour in the wet mixture. Stir until evenly combined, then stir in the remaining tablespoon of oil.
Spread the granola mixture onto a nonstick baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes. I’m not sure exactly how long I baked the granola. I kept a very close eye on it (I burned my first batch), stirring it every 10 minutes, until it was lightly brown. Cool completely and store.
The next morning, rinse and quarter your strawberries. Set aside (not in the fridge) and get to work on that coconut whip!
Remove the coconut milk and whipping equipment. Whip the coconut milk on high until soft peaks start to form. Add in the sugar and extract, whipping for another minute until the sugar is well incorporated. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
When you’re ready dig in and ENJOY!!