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The art and science of the smoothie


Fat Guy
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How you explored the lassi connection? For my money, yogurt and mango with a touch of cardomom is heavenly.

I have never made a lassi nearly as good as what I could buy for about a buck in the shops, it's proven to be deceptively tricky to me; I never could quite get the proportions exactly where I liked them using fresh mangos, and having a number of them ready to go at exactly the right time can be a challenge as well. Then we started buying a mango juice called Wilde- this stuff is seriously good, very thick (it could almost be called a puree) and richly flavored, and all natural (no added sugars, yada yada). It is quite satisfying in and of itself, but I can't help gilding the lily on occasion so I've been making smoothies with it, adding coconut sorbet and a splash of yogurt. As awesome as it is easy.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Is there another fruit which could take the banana's place?

Mango, papaya, strawberries, peaches, nectarines and avocado all have a thickening effect and work well in smoothies.

As an aside, one of the things Melchi likes is when we make a banana smoothie, pour some of it into the glass, and then add some strawberries and blend it some more and pour add it to the glass to make a two-toned smoothie. He calls this, "the pink smoothie in the white smoothie."

I also checked into the Waring blender question, and it seems that the smaller household ("retail" in Waring's terms, even though some "retail" items may have "commercial" branding) and restaurant ("commercial" at least on Waring's website) blenders like Fat Guy's and mine use motors of the same size--3.0 amps or 1/2 Horsepower. One would think a horse wouldn't even need half its strength to crush ice cubes. I think the difference between the retail and commercial lines must be things like NSF rating and details that would contribute to NSF approval. For instance, there is a rubber boot over the switch on the commercial versions, I suppose so the switch can be cleaned more easily without water getting into the switch.

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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I wonder what the property of bananas is that makes them so useful in improving the texture of a smoothie. My first guess is that it's their starchiness. If that's the case, the substitutes would be other starchy fruits, for example plantains, breadfruit, water chestnuts, dates, that sort of thing. Which leads me to wonder if squash and pumpkin would work equally well. One of the branches of smoothie theory that I need to pursue is the incorporation of not-particularly-sweet fruits and even vegetables. If they're balanced against sweet stuff, there should be a lot of possibilities.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think plantain, squash, pumpkin, sweet potato and breadfruit would work well, though they need to be cooked.

A breadfruit can absorb a tremendous amount of liquid. I made a breadfruit soup one summer when we were staying on Moloka'i, and it seemed like we were eating it for weeks. Breadfruit trees drop a lot of fruit in a short period of time, so in some polynesian cultures it is traditionally preserved by fermentation to make a breadfruit poi.

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Just spitballing here, but what about just adding some actual starchy items, like precooked tapioca or arborio, along with the water you cooked them in to get that texture you're looking for? This would open up the flavor profile a bit without being tied into what works with the bananas or other starchy fruits.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Rice is actually an ingenious idea. Kind of like soubise thickened with rice. Since I like banana just fine, I'll probably not explore the idea of thickening a smoothie with rice. Still, I admire the ingenuity.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm a big breakfast smoothie fan, especially in the summer. I try to have one every day.

If you like a thick smoothie (like millkshake thick), then you must freeze your fruit, especially the bananas. And it you freeze your fruit, you don't have to add ice cubes (as has been mentioned upthread already).

I always have some bananas ripening on my counter. When they hit perfect ripeness, I peel, break them into small pieces and freeze them in freezer bags. I always have a selection of other fruits in the freezer as well – strawberries, blueberries, peaches, cranberries. I'll also freeze coconut milk in silicone muffin liners (ice cube tray should work too) and bag them so it's all ready to go. Plus I have at least a couple different kinds of juices as well as some soy milk (which I don't always use, but it's a good source of protein in the morning).

I always start with banana, and then mix it up from there. Today I had banana, strawberry, cranberry, coconut milk, soy milk & orange juice. One of my favourites is banana, strawberry, coconut milk, soy milk, pineapple juice and nutmeg. The simplest one I make is probably banana, strawberry and orange juice. I've had one at a local smoothie bar that I really like, although I haven't tried it yet myself – it contains papaya, almonds and dates (can't remember the other ingredients offhand).

My blender is a waring pro. I used to have a kitchenaid but my smoothies were always lumpy, so I gave it away and bought the waring. Love it.

Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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This article just came to my email inbox today... quite fitting, actually (though not much help in terms of flavour ideas).

http://www.culinate.com/columns/ask_hank/b..._campaign=Fruit

I agree with the earlier poster that silken tofu can help with texture - you don't notice a beany taste if you only use a little, and it's healthy as well as adding good body to the smoothie. I had a tiramisu once that had a significant amount of tofu in the filling and didn't even perceive it (though i'm sure connoisseurs would!).

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This is such a wonderful thread. Thanks for starting it, Fat Guy.

I really like the idea of freezing the fruit ahead of time or the coconut milk. Could make and use almond milk also. Might add the ground flax for some fiber. Try whey protein again...but this time unflavored. Good stuff.

Heck, I might even go back to making my own yogurt. :wink:

Going to download the entire thread and keep all the combinations together until I can assimilate this new idea.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I also use frozen fruit instead of ice in my smoothies. I don't like to dilute the flavors. I use soy milk or soy yogurt for creaminess since I also don't like dairy in the morning and want to up the protein. I've played around with various protein powders and they all add a grittiness I find unpleasant. I've found peanut butter to be too domineering but have had luck with almond, cashew, and sunflower butter. I find fruit blends work better than a single fruit. Unless I'm doing a bananas foster riff with some brown sugar added along with yogurt.

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Yeah except the outfit Costco sells is $649.99 and comes with a million accessories I don't care about. I don't know that you can get just the blender at Costco. There's also the issue of the restaurant model being available. And the Blendtec alternative.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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my little one's daycare lady makes a green smoothie for the kids with spinach, carrots, banana, berries, sometimes she adds fresh apricots from her backyard - the little ones love it! i tried it once, it was okay but not sweet, i like my smoothies a bit sweeter. maybe adding some honey will do the magic.

she also makes a fruit smoothie for her own kids with costco's frozen mixed berries - i've tasted this, it's sweet and yummy!

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Yeah except the outfit Costco sells is $649.99 and comes with a million accessories I don't care about. I don't know that you can get just the blender at Costco. There's also the issue of the restaurant model being available. And the Blendtec alternative.

Today, at my local Costco, Vita-Mix is doing the demo, selling only the basic outfit for $394.99. This is the same $449 outfit from Vita-Mix.

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One problem for me with smoothies would be the lack of something crunchy or bready.

Have you tried cinderblock?

OK. I googled 'cinderblock food' and got nothing food oriented. Is this a joke or just another term for some food which I have never heard of. :huh:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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On Sep 2 2009, 09:34 PM, Fat Guy said:

Yeah except the outfit Costco sells is $649.99 and comes with a million accessories I don't care about. I don't know that you can get just the blender at Costco. There's also the issue of the restaurant model being available. And the Blendtec alternative.


There are sales sometimes. Or, if you want the commercial version, you can get a new Vita-Prep 3 1005 (the 1005 has the highest horsepower, there is also a 1003 and a 1002, which have the same HP but different sized containers) for around 500 bucks new on eBay. That's where I got mine.

The Vita-Prep doesn't come with all the extra canisters and all that stuff. The combination of the blade design and power is designed to do everything. Beyond smoothies, I've found that it does a lot of remarkable things the home-model blenders can't do (e.g., make a thick, pass-right-through-a-fine-strainer-smooth, vibrantly green puree of just about any herb or green vegetable).

On Sep 3 2009, 07:48 AM, Darienne said:

On Sep 2 2009, 09:05 PM, mr.baconhead said:

On Sep 2 2009, 08:58 AM, Darienne said:

One problem for me with smoothies would be the lack of something crunchy or bready.


Have you tried cinderblock?

OK. I googled 'cinderblock food' and got nothing food oriented. Is this a joke or just another term for some food which I have never heard of. :huh:

See here. Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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Now, is it a smoothie without fruit? Because one of my favorite breakfast blender concoctions involves frozen coffee cubes, soy or regular milk, and chocolate whey powder... It's this lovely creamy mocha protein bomb.

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Pumpkin is often used as a creamy factor and a great source of the "orange vitamins". Liquid options like soy or almond milk are also an alternative to dairy. Friends report that adding a big handful of baby spinach to even a fruity smoothie does not noticeably green up the taste and gets you the green benefits. My personal favorite is just seasonal fruit and ice taken with me to sip on the morning journey. Watermelon in season tops my list. The latter may not rise to the level of "smoothie" and is simply a blended icy drink, but I like it as a day starter.

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There's some place over on Mass Ave in Boston that serves heavenly peanut butter banana smooties, and we've adopted, or adapted, them in our house. The key is the oats, which require a potent blender. Great for overripe bananas, too:

1 banana

1/2 c or more of rolled oats

1 c milk

few Ts of peanut butter

couple of ice cubes

Add the three, then each of the next two, to your blender, then serve.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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There's some place over on Mass Ave in Boston that serves heavenly peanut butter banana smooties, and we've adopted, or adapted, them in our house. The key is the oats, which require a potent blender. Great for overripe bananas, too:

1 banana

1/2 c or more of rolled oats

1 c milk

few Ts of peanut butter

couple of ice cubes

Add the three, then each of the next two, to your blender, then serve.

This is one of my favorites, except I invariably also add chocolate (and non-dairy something instead of the milk and haven't tried the oats).

There's a chain out here in the West called Surf City Squeeze and they have a PB-Banana smoothie on the menu board - they will add chocolate at no extra charge if you ask!

Mark

My eG Food Blog

www.markiscooking.com

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Today on the way home from Barnes & Noble I wandered by a branch of Jamba Juice on Lexington Avenue here in Manhattan. I'd never been in a Jamba Juice before but, given my new penchant for smoothies, I figured it couldn't hurt to see how the professionals do it.

I was surprised at how many of the items on the menu contain things like orange sherbert. But there was one section called All Fruit -- I'm eager to hear the argument for claiming that the phrase "all fruit" is a trademark -- that looked more like the smoothies I make at home. I ordered Pomegranate Paradise (a more credible trademark), which is pomegranate juice, strawberries, mango, peach and ice.

"Would you like any boosts?" asked the guy at the counter. I had to ask him to repeat himself. It seems you can have all sorts of vitamin powders and such added to your smoothie. I felt hopelessly ignorant, like someone walking into Starbuck's and saying, "Can I get a coffee?" I declined the offer of boosts, even though some of the boosts are free (others are not "free boosts").

They use serious commercial blenders. If I tried to reproduce the same smoothie at home it would surely wreck my Waring. The product was incredibly smooth, uniform and thick -- the consistency of a heavy milkshake but made of fruit and fruit juice with some ice. It was so thick it was more food than beverage.

Impressive as it was for its thickness, I didn't love it. It was more like a dessert than something I'd have for breakfast. I actually like my thinner, more rustic homemade smoothies. And don't even get me started on the cost differential. It's more than enough to pay for a VitaMix in a few months of daily smoothie consumption.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Now, is it a smoothie without fruit? Because one of my favorite breakfast blender concoctions involves frozen coffee cubes, soy or regular milk, and chocolate whey powder... It's this lovely creamy mocha protein bomb.

I would just like to say "yum".

Edited by emmalish (log)

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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My standard, for mornings when I'm planning on carrying breakfast with me, is just frozen fruit with a splash of orange juice. If I happen to want something creamy or feel I need more protein in the morning I add chunks of tofu. I'm starting to be more and more lactose intolerant (if that's even possible) so I don't like dairy in the morning, either, and the tofu makes it seem more like the mall food court smoothies that usually include ice cream. I also have to be in just the right mood for bananas, so I don't add them very often. When I do it's usually with peanut butter, honey and apple juice.

I did make a pretty good fall smoothie last year with leftover canned pumpkin, frozen cranberries, pumpkin pie spice, honey and apple cider. The canned pumpkin gave it great texture and the frozen cranberries added enough body/slushiness/smoothie-like texture, but it still seemed like it was missing something. My little sister said that finely crushed graham crackers would be good, like a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard at DQ, but I don't know.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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