Saturday, January 10, 2009

Viva la Smoothie

Growing up in Maine, fruit smoothies seemed exotic. They were so west coast: Malibu Barbie sipping a smoothie, cruising along in the convertible, scoping out the waves.

At the risk of making 1980s Maine sound like Communist Russia, tropical fruits like pineapple and mango were a thrill to imagine, especially in winter. By March, the applesauce and fruit snacks just weren't cutting it, and we all had rickets.

I married a Californian, who informed me that fruit does indeed grow there all year round, and if you don't mind being shot at, you can pull your car over to the side of the road and steal kiwis from an orchard. Southern California is like a garden of eden of fruit and smog and illegal immigration. Fruit is so abundant that certain of my in-laws let tangerines, from a tree growing in their yard for heaven's sake, rot and fall off-- in February! Do they know what a Mainer would do this time of year for a freshly-picked tangerine?

The best we can do in Maine in the winter is frozen fruit, but that's ideal for cold, frosty smoothies. This is so simple it's barely a recipe, but I thought I'd share it because it's quick and yummy and gets some vitamins and protein into you in the morning. And drinking a smoothie in your station wagon on the way to work will make you feel like Kelly Kapowski.

Free-form Smoothie

(This makes two 16-ounce smoothies. Sometimes we drink them out of pint glasses because that's funny early in the morning.)

--1 banana (yellow or brown or somewhere in between)

--4 oz. silken tofu (cut a 16 oz. rectangular block into quarters and store the extra three in a container covered with water for use another morning)

--1 1/2-2 cups pineapple juice (the amount depends on how thick you want your smoothies)

--2-2 1/2 cups of frozen fruit (strawberries, pineapple, mango, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, or some combination thereof)

In a blender, puree the banana, tofu, and juice together first. Then add the frozen fruit and puree until smooth. I've found that making these takes much less blending time when I add the ingredients in this order. That's it! Pour and insert straws.

I've adapted this recipe over the years from the Tofu Berry Shake in Student's Vegetarian Cookbook, substituting fruits and altering ratios, and leaving out a half teaspoon of vanilla extract and sugar. I make these at 6am, so the fewer ingredients, the better, and who needs added sugar when you've got fruit? You could play around with different types of juice; I've used mango and it was good. I'm imagining a Cape Cod-esque blueberry/ strawberry/ orange and cranberry juice smoothie. Maybe coconut milk would be good? Play around and let me know if you find a good combination.

3 comments:

  1. These are delicious and very filling.

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  2. Oh, man. I had a smoothie last night. These are going to be one of my almost daily things this summer. Too hot in Vegas for it not to be.

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