I'm on a smoothie kick for three reasons. First, I'm on a personal quest to find an all-in-one breakfast that tastes great and provides a lot of nutrition. Second, it's hot and I want the kind of cool breakfast a smoothie offers. Third, I just got a Ninja (a way-cool reasonably priced blender) and I've become a little obsessed with seeing what I can puree.
It occurred to me as I made this morning's beverage that my last several smoothies have been red, white, and blue - at least before they became some multi-flecked shade of purple. So in the spirit of a good breakfast for the Fourth of July here's a list of the red, blue, and white's of my personal smoothie bar:
Red: raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb jam
Blue: blueberries, blackberries, dark plums
White: bananas, yogurt, coconut milk, granola, and leftover birthday cake
Plus: frozen fruit instead of ice for more intense flavor.
The red and blue fruits are currently in season and give the most flavor bang for the produce-aisle-buck. Bananas and their potassium load are nice, but tend to overpower the other fruits. It's really never berry-banana, it's always banana-berry.
Coconut milk (the kind next to the almond milk in the dairy case) is my dark-horse every-day favorite ingredient. When I tried coconut milk on my cereal it left an unpleasant oily film on my tongue. But in a smoothie, it adds a satisfying overall richness that's cut by the acid in the fruit.
My secret ingredient is birthday cake (if there was a Smoothie Wars and I was a contestant). Not any birthday cake - a white Safeway sheet cake, with all its inherent virtues. Nothing ups the satiety rating of a smoothie like layer after layer of cake and icing.
Before you jump onto your smoothies-are-supposed-to-be-healthy soapbox I'd like to analogize smoothies to gay marriage.
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Berries are healthy. Bananas and melon and yogurt are healthy. Adding a little cake in no way reduces the vitamins and nutrients in the fruit. It's still a smoothie, and assuming that I'm eating a cup of fruit in every smoothie it offers everything that the cakeless smoothie offers. It just offers a little bit more. In other words, my heterogeneous smoothie does not detract from your homogeneous one. As father of the bride Gus Portokalos said in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "We all different, but in the end, we all fruit."
If this doesn't set off a few fireworks it's not the Fourth of July...
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.