Archive for the ‘ Vita-Mix 5200 recipes and experiences ’ Category

Sweet and Fruity Green Smoothie(★★★★☆)

I made two green smoothies in the last 24 hours.  Let me tell you about the better of the two.

Sweet and Fruity Green Smoothie(★★★★☆)
Very easy to enjoy

1 frozen banana
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
a handful of cilantro
a big handful of spinach leaves
a dozen ice cubes

Throw everything but the ice cubes in.  Blend everything, add six ice cubes, blend until smooth and watery, add another six ice cubes and blend for frozen drink consistency.

Pretty good.  VERY green, and you can have a lot of spinach and cilantro (if you like cilantro as much as I do) and the banana and apple provide a nice, lightly sweet base flavor that goes well with them.

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Kinako Powder (★★★★★), Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆) and Acorn Squash Soup (★★★★☆)

Today was a very, very successful day with the blender.  First, early this morning, I made a great green smoothie.  Sadly, I don’t really remember everything that went into it, as it’s been a busy Saturday, and the blender was used several times after the green smoothie.

We went shopping at the Asian Supermarket that we like to visit and I bought all kinds of fun fruits and greens, including Water Spinach (which I’ve never had before), Asian Pears, Nashi Pears (different from the Asian Pears we bought, and more like the photo in the wikipedia link),  pomegranates and jalapeno peppers, among other things.

The first thing I made after the green smoothie this morning was kinako powder, which I mentioned yesterday.

Kinako Powder (★★★★★)
Extremely easy to make, and grinds to a fantastic consistency

roasted, unsalted soybeans

Grind on high until you have the powder consistency you want.  It’s that easy.

We used that kinako powder as part of a very easy, and very good recipe for kinako mochi dango.  If anyone is interested, I’ll gladly share it.

That afternoon, after we returned from shopping, I decided to try my hand at making homemade salsa, but didn’t want to waste too many tomatoes on salsa no one wanted to eat, so here’s what I did:

Homemade Salsa (★★★★☆)
Easier and better than expected, and definitely something I’ll experiement with

¾ cup of tomato puree
¾ red onion
3 jalapeño peppers, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
several sprigs of cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate
3 ripe roma tomatoes, halved
salt

DSC_8762

First, I put everything but the tomatoes in, and ran the blender on high until everything was blended in.  Then I cranked the speed down to three and threw the tomatoes in all at once and threw the lid back on.  I let the tomatoes blend for about 10 seconds with the salsa, stirring with the tamper to make sure everything was mixed up.  Then I just put everything in a bowl and in the fridge to cool down.

We devoured the salsa within the hour.  Here’s the crazy part…I definitely felt like I’d done a poor job in my first effort.  I just threw things in hodgepodge, didn’t even bother using just real tomatoes, substituting tomato puree for half of that role, I didn’t use fresh lemon juice, and it was my first try, but my wife loved it and we went through the whole bowl, which was over three cups worth.

I wanted to rate it three stars instead of four, but my wife raved about it so much that I feel it deserves at least four stars.  I don’t think she’s raved that much about anything from the blender yet, and I definitely see some room for improvement in future batches.  For one, fresh lemon or lemon juice and real tomatoes is obvious, but I also think there might be room for a touch of vinegar and/or bell peppers, and that better ingredient ratios and mixing duration and order can help as well.  Hopefully the next batch is even better, but there’s definitely something to be said for making fresh salsa from fresh vegetables and greens, and I highly recommend trying your own version yourself.

Acorn Squash Soup (★★★★☆)
My version’s only a small change from the Vitamix’s Whole Food Recipes cookbook

1½ cups chicken broth (using 2 cups worth of bouillon cubes)
1 cup of whole milk
½ medium acorn squash, cooked, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon maple syrup
pinch of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

First, I tried to prepare the acorn squash half by putting it in a pot of boiling water.  Right around the time the water came to a boil I found an article on the Internet that gave microwaving as one of the ways to cook acorn squash, but warned to never boil it.  I took the squash out and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes.  While that cooked, I prepared chicken broth and put the pumpkin seeds in the oven to bake.  When the squash was done I put it, and all the other ingredients (I accidentally put more nutmeg and cinnamon than I listed above), in the blender and turned it on high for several minutes.

Acorn Squash Soup

The soup was very good, and since I know how much sugar, butter and maple syrup went into the other half when baked it, I’d much rather have the soup version over the oven version going forward. 🙂

Kinako Banana Milk (★★★★★) and Simple Hot Green Soup (★★☆☆☆)

I just made a ridiculously good Banana Milk, and I wanted to post about it before I forget.

My wife and I are going to a お月見 (moon viewing) party on Sunday, and my wife’s going to make dango for it.  One of the common flavors/coatings for dango is kinako, which is powdered soybean and a bit of sugar, and it tastes better than it sounds.

To make our own kinako, as we couldn’t find any at the local asian store, I picked up some roasted, unsalted soybeans, and I plan to use the blender to turn it into kinako.  I haven’t blended any of the soybeans into powder yet, but when I was looking for something to sate my sweet tooth after dinner, my wife suggested mixing some kinako powder, and adding it to a banana milk.  Better yet, I could just make it a one step process and throw the roasted soybeans in with the Banana Milk!

Kinako Banana Milk (★★★★★)
A great Japanese version of a Banana Milk

1 frozen banana
a handful of roasted, unsalted soybeans
milk

The best technique is to break the banana into two or three parts before putting it 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.

Now, at this point, I had the milk ratio down pat, and I threw in a decent amount of soybean as well.  I blended it for about 20 seconds on the way to high, and another 30 seconds at high.  Very, very tasty, and highly recommended.

As for actually making kinako powder, that’s probably something I’ll be able to comment on tomorrow.

I also made some hot soup as part of lunch, as the yakisoba I had for lunch didn’t fill me up.

Simple Hot Green Soup (★★☆☆☆)

½ cup of tomato puree
¼ onion
½ romaine lettuce heart
3 large celery sticks
a handful of mustard greens
several sprigs of cilantro
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
hot water (to desired consistency)
salt (to taste)

Blend everything but the hot water, then add hot water for desired consistency, run on high until you reach the desired temperature, and salt to taste.

As with yesterday’s soup, it’s much better than the two stars suggests, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily better than the Spicy Tomato Soup (★★☆☆☆) I made yesterday, so I gave it the same rating.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been 10 days since I got my Vitamix 5200, especially considering how many times I’ve used it, but I am absolutely loving it.  I hope I can keep finding fun things to make in it for a long while to come, even if the current pace is pretty unsustainable. 🙂

Thursday’s Soup and Friday’s Drink

Too busy too post yesterday, but not too busy to throw something together in the blender.  At lunch time, the plan was basically make sandwiches or fend for yourself, and fending for yourself seemed like a good excuse to experiement with the blender.  I threw a bunch of stuff in the blender and called it soup:

Spicy Tomato Soup (★★☆☆☆)

¾ cup of tomato puree
¼ onion
½ romaine lettuce heart
a handful of mustard greens
1 slice of munster cheese
several sprigs of cilantro
dash of oregano
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of cumin
1 cardamom seed
hot water (to desired consistency)
pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)

Blend everything but the hot water, then add hot water for desired consistency, run on high until you reach the desired temperature, and salt and pepper to taste.

Again, it was better than the score might suggest, but I feel like there’s definitely room for experimenting and improving on it.

Today, as part of my breakfast, I threw together the following, which was pretty good:

Icy Hot Green Smoothy (★★★☆☆)

½ cup of tomato puree
¼ romaine lettuce heart
a handful of mustard greens
several sprigs of cilantro
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
lots of ice cubes

Blend everything but the ice cubes, and then add ice cubes until it has a thick, icy consistency.

This is definitely an improvement (in my mind) over the Spicy Mustard Green Smoothie (★★☆☆☆) that I made earlier.  It’s pretty good.

And, like most days, I made a Banana Milk (★★★★★) yesterday and today. 🙂


Minty Green Smoothie

Another morning, another Banana Milk. 🙂

This afternoon for lunch, however, I tried making something different.  After finishing the オムライス that my wife cooked, I was still hungry, so I made a green smoothie to bring back to the office with me:

Easy Drinking Minty Green Smoothie (★★★☆☆)
Not sure what else to call it, but the name does a good job of describing it

1 romaine lettuce heart
a few dozen mint leaves
1 banana
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
ice cubes

Blend the fruit and greens until their liquified, then add ice to to create the desired level of frozen smoothie consistency.

I think I only added six ice cubes, as I just wanted it cold not frozen.  The drink was remarkably easy to drink, but anyone who’s been reading the last few days is seeing a strong pattern of a banana and Jonamac apple going into everything.

I wanted to give this four stars, but I want to avoid inflating scores, and feel like I should experiment with this combination more, and maybe find a fruit combination that better complements the tasty mint and easy drinking romaine.  The Green Smoothie Revolution book I got with my Vitamix seems to mention both mango and peach in a few different recipes with mint, so maybe I’ll have to try to peach.  Any other suggestions?

Tasty Tuesday blended smoothies

When I woke up this morning, I wanted something simple, so I ate puffed wheat cereal and made a Banana Milk.  Nothing fancy, but it was a good breakfast.  And I got the hang of making a non-lumpy Banana Milk.  It helps to keep the tamper in when blending, as it keeps the liquid from bouncing out of control, and it also helps to slowly dial up to whatever speed the banana stays under control at, gradually increasing power until the banana has been blended in, then cranking it up to high for a few seconds to really whip the drink up and ensure the banana is thoroughly blended.

For lunch, I was pretty hungry by the time I came home, so I whipped up another Banana Milk to drink while I made a sandwich.  The Banana Milks are so quick to make, easy to clean up and tasty that despite having already had one that morning, I wanted another one.

After throwing together a quick sandwich, I knew I needed to be back at the office quicker than usual due to a business trip that afternoon, so I threw together a V7:

V7 Vegetable Drink (★★★☆☆)
Basically, it was whatever seven partially eaten vegetables I had lying around

½ cup of tomato puree
½ yellow bell pepper
¼ eggplant
¼ onion
6 sticks of baby asparagus from the refrigerator, steamed the night before
¼ celery stalk (the remaining quarter still in the fridge)
1 cabbage leaf (this was just for variety)
several sprigs of cilantro
water (for desired thickness)
salt (to taste)

Blend everything but the salt and water, taste, add salt and water for desired flavor and thickness

This was pretty good.  I don’t want to oversell it, so I only gave it three stars, but when this is what you get from the random leftover vegetables in your fridge, it’s a pleasant surprise.  As far as “stuff I accidentally made from leftovers” go, it’s well above average.  Of course, the secret ingredient is salt, as anyone who’s tried both V8 and low sodium V8 can attest to.  I didn’t go crazy with the salt, but it certainly helped.

Later today, after finishing dinner, I was still pretty hungry and wanted something sweet, so I decided to try adding some cocoa powder to a banana milk for something cold, sweet and chocolatey:

Bitter Chocolate Banana Milk (★★★★☆)
Basically a banana milk with some cocoa powder added

1 frozen banana
milk
cocoa powder

Adjust the amount of milk for the right consistency, and add the desired amount of cocoa powder.  Slowly increase the speed until the banana is properly blended in with the milk, then mix on high for 15 seconds.

That turned out pretty good, but not amazing.  There’s something really, really good about just a plain Banana Milk, and the addition of cocoa powder didn’t really help things.  Or, it was just that it was my third Banana Milk of the day, and my body was trying to stop me from making this a regular part of every meal.

After the third Banana Milk, I was still thirsty, or just craving something, so I decided to make another vegetable smoothie to sate me, this time using the remaining carrot and onion from my wife’s cooking:

V6 Vegetable Drink (★★☆☆☆)

½ cup of tomato puree
½ peeled carrot
¼ onion
1 cabbage leaf
a handful of mustard greens
several sprigs of cilantro
12 ice cubes(for a frozen smoothie consistency)
salt (to taste)

Blend everything but the ice cubes, then add ice cubes through the top of the lid while the blender is on high.

I know, I know…I counted the cilantro as a vegetable when it got me to V6, but not when it would have gotten me to V8…  V8’s been taken already, and V6 sounds better than V5, so I’m using artistic license to dub them V6 and V7 respectively.  Totally drinkable, but not as good as what I made this afternoon.

Another post I made today that I don’t want to see go unread as a result of posting this one right after it is the how and why I got my Vita-Mix 5200.  I think it’ll be especially useful and interesting for anyone who’s considering getting their own.

Decimated potatoes and green smoothies

Finished up the rest of yesterday’s hummus at dinner and had another two green smoothies (the first basically a variant of this morning) today.  In addition to the final green smoothie of the day, the other blender based food that graced our table tonight was mashed potatoes.  Except they weren’t mashed…  They were decimated.

Spicy Mustard Green Smoothie (★★☆☆☆)
Definitely not for most people, but totally drinkable

A few bunches of mustard greens
1 banana
1 fresh Jonamac apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
some fresh apple juice
lots of ice cubes

Blend everything but the ice cubes, and then add ice cubes until it has a thick, icy consistency.

Decimated Potatoes (★☆☆☆☆)
Most of the way to potato soup, but caught in the dead man’s zone between soup and mashed potatoes

3-4 boiled potatoes
1 tablespoon of italian cheese & herb cooking creme cheese
A splash of milk
1 tablespoon of butter

Quickly dial from 1 to 10, then shift into high and blend for 45 seconds or so.
Not only were the decimated potatoes way too liquified, it actually caused a bit of an odor from my Vitamix 5200.  My guess is that the mashed potatoes were taxing the limits of the blender.  It’s worth noting that it didn’t automatically shut off, and worked fine when I went to clean up later, so I’m guessing no permanent damage was done, but I still won’t be making them again any time soon.

The spicy mustard flavor of the green smoothie is almost certainly not for everyone, but as someone who ate a lot of spicy mustard in Japan, I’m actually kind of bizarrely enjoying it when it’s cold and watered down.  It’s a strange hot and cold at the same time that makes it passable.  That said, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

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