This may come as a shock to some of you, but up until this weekend I didn’t own a blender. One of my roommates had one in my old place, but since I ventured out by myself, I hadn’t invested in one. I also don’t own a microwave, food processor or a garlic press. So, yes, a lot of my cooking is VERY manual. In the way of electrics, I do however, own an immersion blender (perfect for soups), crock pot (love me some chili) and a waffle iron (I’m a waffle, not a pancake, girl) – and now, I am now the proud owner of a ‘normal’ blender.
The impetus for actually buying one after all this time, was finding a ton of recipes I wanted to make with a blender, for which no other device would suffice. From smoothies, to sauces, to iced treats, I seemed to be drawn to blender recipes like moths to the flame. Since I had a few things in mind, I spent my entire afternoon blending up a frenzy.
First up: Smoothie
While at my friend’s house over 4th of July her mom was so gracious as to make me a smoothie my first morning there. I had forgotten how amazing they can be. Icy cold on a hot day, loaded with fruits and juices that are good for you – just divine. Then my dad made one for me when I was in Los Gatos last weekend with black berries from his garden, mango and a little soy ice cream, after that second one I was hooked. So in the effort to be healthy, and let’s be honest in the effort to convince myself that I needed a blender, smoothies topped my list. I picked up some frozen berries and peaches at the store and made a very successful first attempt: berries + banana + vanilla yogurt + orange juice = TASTY.
The biggest thing about smoothies is that from thickness to flavors they are totally to your liking. So blend up what sounds good to you and adjust from there. But you will definitely want something frozen (fruit and/or ice) liquid (milk, soy or juice) and hopefully something like fresh fruit/sorbet/yogurt fruit to round out flavors and textures. I haven’t gone so far as to put kale or savouries into my smoothies, as the kids are doing these days, but that just might be my next step.
Next up: Black Bean Dip
I was perusing through the old bon appetites in my house and found a recipe for empanadas with a black bean dip – t 1 can of black beans blended with 1 cup sour cream, and some tomato and scallion stirred in. What easy work this was with my new blender! It was a bit thick, so if you have a food processor that would probably be better, but the flavors were good and I LOVE sour cream, so it was lovely. It would have been a great topper for any mexican dish – quesadillas, nachos, you name it!
Finally: Watermelon Granita
The June issue of bon appetit featured a slew of frozen desserts including semifreddos and popsicles and granitas! Save for making popsicles when I was a kid, I haven’t dabbled much into the world of frozen desserts, but this granita just seemed soooo easy, I had to try it. It’s just blended watermelon, sugar and lime juice. You let it freeze part way and then mush it up, then continue to freeze and scrape into flakes with a fork. Because it’s frozen fruit, it’s not too icy and is actually really soft, with each bite full of flavor true watermelon flavor. It’s a light and refreshing dessert, that looks pretty fancy too. As good as it was by itself, I can only imagine how good it would be as a ‘grown up’ granita with a little liquor on top – perhaps some vodka? Or blended with tequila and more lime juice for a watermelon margarita? Yes… I definitely need to try that soon.