My first Sunday with the blender (Dal Curry Soup, Good and Bad Green Smoothies and Hummus)

So today was a pretty busy day for my new Vitamix 5200 blender.  In fact, I’ve used it far more this weekend than I thought you could use a blender in a weekend.  What can I say?  I like my new toy, and when clean up is as easy as putting a few drops of dish soap in with water and turning it on again, it’s not like there’s much reason to not use it.

The first thing I made this morning was Banana Milk, again.  I figure I’ll list out my recipes today, in case anyone’s interested in the details:

Banana Milk (★★★★★)
This simple combination is amazing in any blender strong enough to sufficiently blend up a frozen banana

1 frozen banana

Adjust the level of milk to taste, blend for a creamy, milkshake-esque drink.  (Edit:  The best technique is to break the banana into two or three parts before putting in the blender, then blending with the tamper in, slowly raising the speed to just below whatever speed the banana bounces out of control at.  Use less milk than needed, and then add milk for the desired consistency after the banana is blended in already.)

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this morning’s banana milk had a piece of frozen banana that kept being bounced up above the rest of the contents, and I just could get it out at high speed.  Maybe I cranked up to 10 and then high too fast?  Maybe it needs to be done at a lower speed until the banana is blended?  Maybe the quantity was too little?  I’ll figure it out.

I had a toasted frozen waffle and the banana milk for breakfast, but we were going to a Sunday Japanese language program my son is in, and I knew I’d be hungry before lunch if I didn’t have something more, so just before we left, I made a Tasty Green Smoothy.

Tasty Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)
Seriously, it’s pretty good

100g of fresh spinach leaves
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
12-15 frozen raspberries
a splash of orange juice

blend on high for 60 seconds.

It was surprisingly good.  The best green smoothie I’ve had so far to be sure.

That afternoon, after we returned home, I figured I’d make some Hummus to tide us over until dinner, since we’d had a very light lunch.  The recipe was pretty much straight from the cookbook that came with the Vita-Mix, and it was pretty good:

Hummus (★★★★★)
Hummus tastes good.  This tastes great.

2 Goya cans of Chick Peas/Garbanzos (15.5 oz), one strained, one with all the water from the can
¼ cup of raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon cumin

Now, the original recipe called for some salt, to season to taste, but it was pretty darn good without any salt, and we enjoyed it on naan bread and celery sticksMy wife lamented the lack of pita chips in the house, which would have been a nice way to enjoy it.

Since I was on a good streak, I figured I’d make another green smoothie, the Worst Green Smoothie Ever.

Worst Green Smoothie Ever (☆☆☆☆☆)
I award this no stars, and may God have mercy on those who try this.

1 bunch of mustard greens
1 frozen banana
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
way too much fresh ginger

Mustard greens probably don’t belong in green smoothies at all, but potent ginger combined with it to really keep it from being something anyone would want to drink.  I watered it down and cooled it with ice cubes, and cold and diluted enough it was merely bad and actually drinkable.  Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with the rest of the mustard greens I’ve got.  I don’t think belong in green smoothies.

For dinner, I slightly altered the Vitamix Dal Soup that’s in the Vita-Mix Whole Foods cookbook, and was pleasantly surprised with the result.

Vitamix Dal Soup (★★★★☆)
Too watery to be curry, but really thick for a soup.  The fine red chilli pepper powder gives it the kick it needs.

1 cup dried lentils
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 cups (total) of hot water (from my Zojirushi water boiler*)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon curry powder
1½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 baked potatoes with skin
4 sprigs of cilantro
fine red chilli pepper powder

1. I washed the two potatoes and then wrapped them in aluminum foil and put them in the oven at 400°F.  I would have put them in at 350, but I wanted them ready when everything else was done.

2. I washed the lentils several times with cold water until the water stopped clouding, then added the lentils, 1 garlic clove and 3 cups of hot water, and put them on the stove at medium heat.

3. While the potatoes cooked and the lentils absorbed the water, I added all the spices and tomato puree to the blender and turned it on for long enough to chop up the cardamom seeds.  While doing this, I was stirring the lentils.

4. I peeled my onion, cut it into pieces and cut up the other garlic clove, then I put them in a 2-quart pot with the olive oil and sautéed them.  While doing this, I was stirring the lentils.

5. Around this time, the lentils were finished, so I turned off the heat, and poured the spiced tomato puree into the pot with the onions and garlic, added another three cups of hot water and brought it to a boil before turning the heat off.

6. I put everything (potatoes, cilantro, lentils, etc.) in the blender, started on variable 1, cranked it up to 10 and then blended it on high.

7. After pouring bowls for my two kids, I added some red chilli powder, poured my wife a bowl, added a bit more red chilli powder and pour myself a bowl.

I added less water than the recipe called for, as I realized it’d be more watery than I’d originally imagined, and the red chilli pepper was another improvisation that I think turned out very well, as I like spicy Asian food.

Everyone enjoyed the soup, and the hummus was brought back out, even if it was a bit of bean overkill. It’s probably the only homecooked meal I’ve had in my life that qualifies as vegan, and that wasn’t intentional.  It tasted great, and that’s what I was hoping for.

All in all, four successes and one failure today, and I continue to be very pleased with my blender. 🙂

(*That link is there because I figure otherwise some people won’t know what I’m talking about)

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