I learned to respect blenders and food processors many years ago. If you have never seen one go mad and spew avocado and sour cream or chopped ice and fruit juices all over a kitchen, perhaps this will not make sense to you, but trust me, this equipment is not to be taken lightly!
That said, sometimes there are things that simply cannot be accomplished without mechanical help. It is too hot to cook, too hot almost to eat, and that makes it smoothie weather in my kitchen.
Smoothies, like the ubiquitous “stir-fry”, come in as many variations as there are flavors, fruits, and fixin’s. It can be as simple as a banana and some yogurt, or as exotic as your budget and your local grocery allows. Vegan? Skip the yogurt and use fruit juice. Orange juice or grape or pomegranate… it’s all good. At the moment one of my local groceries has mangoes on sale and I am taking full advantage!
Until a few years I didn’t think I liked mango. I mean, I didn’t hate it or anything, I just didn’t think it was worth the work. I’d only tried the reddish-greenish ones and they just sort of left me flat. Then I discovered ataulfo mangoes and my world changed. OK, perhaps I exaggerate, but wow are they good. I can’t really believe it is the same fruit at all!
The ataulfo is the mango that is used with sticky rice and coconut to make a heavenly dessert in Thai restaurants, and it is the lead player in my smoothies at the moment. Now, if you can’t find mango, or can’t eat mango, try this with pineapple, or banana, or some other happy tropical as a base.
I like a “rich” smoothie. I use whole milk yogurt, but you can use what you like. If it is too thick, add some milk or more juice, or (as I’m doing this week) add some watermelon. You can add spices like cinnamon or cardamon, or add fresh herbs like chopped mint or lemon basil (yes really!). You can thin a smoothie using iced herbal or green tea. You can even turn it into a completely different sort of “later-in-the-day” drink with a little rum or limoncello… but you didn’t hear that from me!
Smoothies are about the easiest and one of the most pleasant ways I know to get a day’s worth of fruit in a glass! Here’s what I’m enjoying while the mangoes are so affordable and available:
Mango Mango Blueberry Smoothie
2 ataulfo mangoes
about 1/2 C fresh or frozen blueberries
about 1/2 C yogurt
chunk of watermelon “flesh”
milk or juice to thin if needed
Put all in blender, put the lid on tightly, hang on to the blender (really) and pulse until the desired consistency is reached.
Could it be easier? The hardest part is washing the blender! And, if you don’t have a blender you can use a food processor or a stick blender (be careful!). Oh, did I mention you can add ice cream if you want to? Mmmm… Enjoy!!
Oh, and here’s something that much of the world seems to know already but that I just learned last summer. You can freeze fresh blueberries right in the plastic containers from the grocery without doing anything to them at all. Once they are frozen you can bag them in freezer zip bags and they keep for months! They’re not great for baking because they get sort of mushy when thawed, but they’re great for smoothies. So, when they’re on sale, grab ’em!
Stay hydrated and cool. Hopefully these ideas will help on both counts! What do you like in your smoothie? Mmmm…