Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kale Smoothie, say WHAT?!?!?!

Sometimes, I’m early to a party.  Most often, I’m right on time.  However, every once and a while, I am late.  Though, I’m always apologetic when traffic is to blame!  With the widespread Green Monster Smoothie phenomenon, I admit I was a little late.

Keeping It Real Disclosure:  Skeptical is what I really was. I may have even wrinkled my nose and scoffed.  It's green and you drink it!! I needed a minute.  'Nuff said for now!

Green Monster smoothies are healthy blended drinks made with the base of a tender leafy green vegetable and fruit. You heard me, Greens and Fruit … BLENDED! (there goes my skeptisism again).  I’ll tell you, Green Monster smoothies are everywhere.  I’ve researched recipes that even incorporate celery as its base.  However, more often than not, spinach or Yes, in our case, Kale are used.  I didn’t grow up with a Smoothie King on James Island, but I do love smoothies.  They're Filling, Hydrating, Healthy, and Delicious!  A compact meal! Now, making them at home is a whole new ball of wax, as they say.  Though, a breeze to whip up, simply thought, I wasn’t convinced that using a relative of the cabbage family blended with our choice of frozen fruit could make for a tasty breakfast, for me.  
Well, after much research and deliberation, kale’s richness in antioxidant agents and nutritional value alone were enough to convince me.  I broke out the blender!  I’m here today to fully admit, I was wrong.  Fear has no place here! Embrace The Green! Taste and texture are both spot on!  Fresh Kale leaves are tender and sweeter than say, collard greens, and can be eaten raw.  In the past, I’ve made and thoroughly enjoyed rubbed raw kale salads that contained fruit.  Forgive me Green Smoothie for being lost by the connection.  Kale cozies up with frozen fruit like they were made for one another. 

Keeping It Real Disclosure: I like smoothies a bit on the thicker side, like milkshakes.  If you prefer thinner juice smoothies add additional almond milk, and/or pick-up a couple extra blood oranges to juice and use. Start with ¼ cup of extra, coconut water, almond milk, or blood orange juice, blend and increase according to your liking.  It couldn’t be easier.  Just dig out and dust off the blender, and go for it!

The Method

6-8 leaves of curly kale (approximately 6 loose cups), washed
1/2 cup Almond milk
2 Blood Oranges, zest and juice reserved
1 cup of Blood Orange juice

1-12oz can of Goya® Coconut Water
2 large frozen Bananas
2 medium Pears, pealed, cored, and chopped
1/4 c Flax seed
2 tbsps. Honey
Makes 1 Quart

The Madness
1.      Start with a bunch of fresh washed green leafy curly Kale.

2.      Use that salad spinner your Mom got you for Christmas to dry and drain the leaves a bit.

 3.      Prep your Ingredients.  Flax seeds, Pear, and Blood Orange zest.

If you don’t have a “zester”, use the medium-fine grating front of a box grater. Grate lightly with a firm grasp. You don’t want to get any of the white pith with your zest. It’s bitter.
4.      Once zested squeeze the juice from your blood oranges. If you’re unfamiliar, blood oranges are named such because of their crimson colored insides. They’re usually a little sweeter and smaller than your average orange.  Blood Oranges have a stronger citrus flavor and smell. We’ve been SO lucky to find them in abundance and on sale this season.

5.      Peel and slice the Pears. We’ll be working quickly here, but spritz the pear with a little lemon or blood orange juice while it sits, as not to have it turn brown. I also toss them into the freezer for a quick chill down as I continue to prep. Frozen fruit give a rich hearty texture to smoothies.

6.      Frozen Bananas. Our freezer is usually stocked full of overripe bananas awaiting their fate into banana bread, or pancakes, but this time we were out. I was pleasantly surprised to find them in the frozen fruit section of our local grocery store.

7.      A little honey will go a long way in this smoothie. Start with a little. Continue to add according to taste. One of my favorite sayings about cooking you can always add more, but you can’t take away!

8.      Almond Milk.  I really have to give my sister credit for introducing me to this one. Made from ground almonds, almond milk is Lactose and cholesterol free.  Almond milk can be substituted for animal milk. I believe this is vanilla flavored.
 9.      And now we’re off!!! Ready to Blend!
I know this may sound odd, or even a bit obsessive, but who cares?!?!  I think there really is a system to stacking vegetables into the blender to get the smoothest texturally pleasing smoothie.
Kale.  Place the Kale in first.  Wet the Kale with approximately 1/2 cup each of the almond milk, coconut water, and blood organge juice. As you're blending the Kale, you may have to stop the blender at least every minute or so to settle the kale into the liquid.  Add more liquid as necessary.  We’re going for smooooooth, hence the name, right?!?!?

Blend Kale for approxiatelyfour (4) minutes until Kale has been completely processed.  Once the Kale is completely blended, continue the blender on low for an additional one (1) - two (2) minutes to further blend the Kale.

10.   Add your frozen bananas, slices of pear, and flax seeds.  The frozen fruit have weight and creaminess once blended that will help the flax seeds to break down and blend in with the kale texturally at the stage rather than at a later stage where they’re more apt to bespeckle the lid of the blender.

 11.   Blend Blend Blend!!! During which, add remaining Blood Organge juice and Coconut Water. Check out the texture!!!! Smooth, right!?!?! This is where you taste.  You’ll catch the fresh bitterness of the Kale, the fragrant sweet citrus flavor of the blood orange juice and zest, and the frozen creaminess and taste of the bananas and pear.

Add your honey (or favorite sweetener); blend for an additional 30 seconds to fully incorporate. Taste again.  Add additional sweetener according to taste.
12.   Bon Appégeechee variations have become our go-to breakfast and lunch on the go.  Seriously!!

1 comment:

  1. The vibrant color of the end product is what surprised me most!!! What a great idea for a nutritious and EASY meal on the run. Beautiful post!!! Keep them coming!!! XOXO