In my previous life, when my friend Tonia and I had just started Mizuna Restaurant, we decided to put smoothies on the menu. Delicious vegan concoctions, frosty, creamy and all made to order. Inevitably, during the busy lunch rush, I would get an order for an obscene number of smoothies. At that time, we only had one blender, and it roared and whined so loudly and obnoxiously, it would make me go a little berserk. Many times I made the grave mistake of scraping down the sides of the blender with a spoon or spatula, while the motor was running. Needless to say, there were casualties. Explosions. Smoothie running down my face and arms and all over the walls, with the spoon shooting up to the ceiling. On more than one occasion, I had a meltdown and would find myself in the walk-in refrigerator (the only private place we had), screaming, crying and violent. Eventually, I figured out, I could ask an employee to make them. So Kara became the smoothie maker. And in time, Kara ended up in the walk-in refrigerator too. Finally, we took them off the menu, and morale improved immediately. For a long time afterwards though, I had PTSD. Post Traumatic Smoothie disorder. Reoccurring nightmares and a strong aversion to blender motors.
Ten valuable lessons- for a good smoothie:1. Never stick a spoon or spatula in a running blender.
2. Pour the liquid in the blender first. Then add the fruit. This will help to get things moving. Never, no matter what, add sticky or thick things like peanut butter in the blender first.
3. Start the blender on the lowest speed and gradually increase speed to highest.
4. Hold the blender lid firmly on- especially when starting and stoping the blender - if you remove the lid while it is running, gradually reduce blender speed to lowest setting before turning it complexly off.5. If you can't eat fresh fruit fast enough, freeze it for smoothies. (Peel it, cut it into small chunks, put in a zip lock) Anything goes: grapes, apples, kiwi, bananas, berries, oranges, mangoes, anything really.
6. In winter, try adding something hearty or rich like bananas, nut butters, tahini, oatmeal or avocado, for a little extra heartiness.
7. A smoothie is not a milk shake. Try to keep it healthy. Otherwise, just have milkshake. (This means, leave out dairy and sugar. )Use soy, almond, rice or coconut milk, fruit or veggie juice, aloe or just water. Use maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, agave, or fruit itself, as sweetener.
8. Play around with adding fresh herbs and spices and seeds.
9. Chilly frosty smoothies = good. Room temperature smoothies= bad. If not using any frozen fruit, throw in a few ice cubes. It makes it so much more palatable. A chilled glass is a nice touch too.
10. If your smoothie is bland...try adding a little citrus juice, or zest to brighten the flavor.
From the beginning, Jo and her husband Duane were regular customers at Mizuna. When I first met Jo, now 15 years ago, I couldn't tell you how old she was. Honestly, I still have no idea how old she is. But, what I can say she hasn't aged a day. In fact, she looks younger. Her hair, striking and beautiful, is pure white. But what really stands out is her skin. She has the skin of a twenty five year old. I asked her once what her secret was.
Avocados, she said, I eat one every day. And looking at her, I am completely sold. She is a walking avocado advertisement. Seriously, avocado people, you need her as your spokesperson. Anyways, it was Jo who got me thinking of different ways to incorporate avocados into our meals at home, in different ways. This recipe a few posts back is one of my favorites.
Avocado, Kiwi, lime and a little honey are the main ingredients of this smoothie recipe. It has a good balance of tart, sweet and richness. This also makes a great vegan gelato.
A friend of mine, Angie Ball gave me a jar of honey her family harvests in the Lewiston, ID area. Ball Honey. If you are a honey fan, it is well worth the effort in tracking it down.
I believe it's the best honey I've ever had.
If you wanted you could peel, cut into cubes and freeze the kiwi ahead. Or just add a few ice cubes if you would rather have it fresh. Fresh lime juice is an immediate mood booster and brightens the flavor.
We found this vintage juice press at Paris Flea Market in CDA. I can't tell you how happy it makes me every time I use it. One of my secret weapons, to help stave off winter doldrums, here in the dark, cold, overcast for days in a row Northwest is .....citrus. Grapefruit, blood oranges, mandarins, Meyer lemons, limes. No, unfortunately they are not local, but they are in season....somewhere. And somehow they bring with them the warmth and sun from where they were grown. Pressing your own fresh juice releases their essential oils into the air, giving you an immediate mood boost. And the juice it self, is liquid sunshine.
Kiwi Avocado Smoothie with Lime and HoneyMakes one 10 oz glass.
1/2 perfectly ripe large avocado
2 kiwi- peeled
1/8 C lime juice + 1 T
1/8 C-1/4 C Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, aloe juice, fruit juice- just enough to get the blender going.
honey to taste 1-2 T
2-3 ice cubes
Place the liquid in the blender first, then fruit and ice. Cover. Start on low speed, increasing to high speed. Blend it up until creamy and smooth.
And remember, don't ever stick a spoon or spatula in blender while it's running.