Posts Tagged ‘ ★★★★☆ ’

Dill Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)

We ate at Five Guys for an easy dinner yesterday, and had cereal this morning, so I wanted to make a green smoothie to go with lunch, but didn’t have the ingredients for any of the mixes I usually make, but stumbled upon a nice mix as a result.  I used my Pro 300 (aka 7500), since it’s the blender I’m most comfortable with.

The only fresh herb we had in the vegetable drawer was dill, and my wife makes a nice yogurt and dill sauce.  That coupled with the half of an apple left over from breakfast and the peanut butter I made yesterday gave me the idea for this.

Dill Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)
The ingredients go well together, and the results is one of the most drinkable green smoothies to come out of randomly throwing ingredients together

2 medium handfuls of spinach
1½ apples
2 celery stalks
1 cucumber
fresh dill
two heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt
one heaping tablespoon of homemade peanut butter
tablespoons of flax seeds
lots of ice

I turned the Vitamix up to speed 5 until it got going, then turned it up to speed 10.  I used the tamper on the ingredients for the first 15 or 20 seconds until everything was mixing well.

Definitely a good mix, and something I’d be happy to make again with no changes.

Find a way to improve on the above mix?  Let me know in the comments!

Mild Baby Kale Green Smoothie (★★★★☆)

We had friends over today for breakfast who stayed for lunch.  I told them to bring over whatever they wanted to blend up in the blender, and that breakfast would be green smoothies and waffles.   I was looking forward to mixing things in both the my new Blendtec Designer Series and my tried and true Vitamix Professional Series 300. (The Pro 300 is basically the same as a 7500, a good explanation of the different models is here.)

While we made a reasonably good green smoothie in the morning, I was shocked by how good the green smoothie I made for lunch was.  Unfortunately, I can’t ever replicate it, at least not exactly, because the fruit portion of the green smoothie was the left over fruit from that morning.

Here’s the recipe, as close as I can remember:

Mild Baby Kale Green Smoothie (★★★☆)
This was really, really easy to drink, and while no one else seemed to enjoy it quite as much as I did, I was very, very impressed with how good this tasted

2 medium handfuls of baby kale
4 oz of blueberries
2 strawberries
2 pieces of mango (similar in size to the strawberries)
2 orange wedges (seeds removed)
1 small carrot
1 celery stalk
1 small piece of cinnamon stick
ice and water (approximately 16oz, half ice, half water)

Added everything together and used the tamper on speed 10 on the Vitamix Pro 300.  Blended for approximately 40 seconds.

I don’t know how accurate that is, but the veggies are correct, and the fruit was mainly blueberries, but the small amount of mango really helped.  I was shocked by this because I was just using the leftovers we had, and I’m not usually a fan of kale or blueberries, but this particular mix was something I would definitely make again.

Fresh Peaches and Pineapple Sorbet (★★★★☆)

As I mentioned at the end of a recent post, I decided to try frozen peaches with canned pineapple.  The idea was to recreate/tweak the awesome flavor of Fresh Peaches Sorbet without needing any honey or sugar, and pineapple seemed like a great complement.

It is absolutely fantastic, and the only reason I’m not giving it five stars is because my parents felt that the pineapple flavor almost overpowered the peach flavor, and that they enjoyed the Fresh Peaches Sorbet because the peaches were the star.

Fresh Peaches and Pineapple Sorbet (★★★★☆)
Fantastic frozen dessert when peaches are in season so you can pick up naturally very sweet peaches at a reasonable price.  Well suited for utility peaches.  Serves approximately 4-8 people, depending on serving size.

10-12 frozen peaches (cut and pits removed)
1 can of pineapple chunks

Freeze the peaches in advance.  Then put the peaches and pineapple in the blender.  Blend on medium to high, using the tamper and adjusting the blender intensity to ensure everything is well mixed.  Add ice and/or water to dilute the mix to the desired strength and consistency.  Add honey or sugar for additional sweetness.  Serve immediately.

Again, the magic ingredient is the ripe, local, seasonal peaches, which are so good they don’t need much help.  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be the same with lower quality peaches.

My parents tell me they were able to make a phenomenal sorbet using fresh peaches and red grapes in the 5200 I gave them.   I still have enough frozen peaches remaining for a small batch, so maybe I’ll pick up some red grapes and try that.  (Update:  Used the last of my peaches with red grapes.  Also very good, but I think I personally preferred the pineapple.)

Iced Coffee Polar Cup / Shave Ice (★★☆☆☆)

In the summer, we keep our thermostat pretty high, and frozen treats taste that much better as a result.  In fact, when I come in on a hot day, pretty much anything frozen is a treat.

That’s basically way I keep putting coffee, mostly decaf, in ice trays and blending them in the Vitamix 7500.  The 7500 basically turns them into coffee ice dust, and the blender container has enough surface area that an entire tray ends up as powder without any chunks or slush left to circulate in the blades.


I don’t bother adding anything else, I just consider it a different way to have a black ice coffee on a hot day.  Surprisingly, both my kids occasionally help me eat them as well, despite the flavor being just black coffee.  I wouldn’t be all that surprised if I’m the only one who likes it as much as I do, which is why I’ve rated it so low, but I’ve already made this a dozen times this summer, and it’s really grown on me.

It probably doesn’t need to be spelled out as a recipe, but on the off chance that it might help someone, here goes:

Iced Coffee Snowcones / Shave Ice (★★☆☆☆)
As with fruit bars, you need a stronger flavor in the frozen treat than you do in the liquid drink.  When I’m making a pot of coffee, I’ll add a little bit coffee more than I normally would, and as soon as there’s enough coffee to fill two ice trays, I’ll fill the trays and put them in the fridge.

1 tray of coffee ice cubes

Throw the whole tray in the blender and start it at 10.  Let it spin until basically nothing is making contact with the blades, which won’t take long, then turn the blender off.  (If you go past 30 seconds, you’re dealing with a different tray of ice cubes.)  Use a spatula to scoop all the snow from the container and lid into the bowl.  (A reasonable amount will be on the bottom of the lid.) If you’re in a warm room, the snow in each corner will already start clumping together, as you can see in the photo above.


Edit: Iced Coffee Snowcones / Shave Ice with Sweetened Condensed Milk (★★★★☆)
Want to make this a valid tasty treat that you can serve to others?  Drizzle it with sweetened condensed milk and/or caramel sauce.  I personally prefer just sweetened condensed milk.

Homemade Grapefruit Polar Cup (★★★★☆)

I decided to try to put a new spin on my Homemade Grown-up Polar Cup by using a grapefruit instead of two lemons.  The results were very good, and I definitely think some people would prefer the grapefruit version, although I think the grapefruit zest leaves a longer, slightly less pleasant aftertaste.

Homemade Grapefruit Polar Cup (★★★★☆)
I don’t know whether to describe this as a loose italian ice, thick frozen beverage you eat with a spoon or what polar cups would taste like if they were made for adults instead of kids using fresh fruit, but it is all of those things, and it is very good.

1 grapefruit (both zest and juice)

Use a bread knife or other serrated knife to take just the outermost layer of the grapefruit rind, putting the zest into the blender.  Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit into a bowl so that you can remove any seeds from the juice and pulp before putting the juice and pulp into the blender along with the grapefruit zest.  Add two packets of stevia sweetener and an equal amount of sugar.  (Because the grapefruit is sweeter than the lemon, less sugar is needed than the lemon based version) Add a glass of ice and blend until well mixed.  Add ice gradually for the desired consistency, and additional sweetener to taste. (Unlike the lemon version, no water is needed, as the grapefruit juice is not as potent as the lemon juice.) Pulse blend on high with the tamper to insure no ice chunks remain.

Very simple to make, very good. As with the lemon based version of this, I think the zest is the difference.

Falafels (★★★★☆)

I made falafels, yogurt herb sauce for the falafels and black bean burgers on Sunday.  I’ve already shared the yogurt herb sauce recipe and the falafel recipe is below.  I am not saving the best for last, as the black bean burgers were actually the one disappointment from Sunday’s experiments with new recipes.  The falafels, on the other hand, were a pleasant surprise.  I’m only giving them four stars because it’s been a long time since I had authentic falafels, and I’m not sure how these would actually compare to other falafels, but they are both good and easy to make, and unlike the black bean burgers, I likely will be making them again in the near future.

Part of the reason they were such a pleasant surprise is that most of the recipes I looked at wanted me to soak dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) overnight and/or refrigerate the falafel mix overnight after preparing and before frying.  Like my I-don’t-have-time-to-make-this-correctly Baked Potato Soup, I eschewed any steps that would make this unnecessarily time consuming, but unlike the baked potato soup, I don’t feel like the falafels suffered because of it.  I prepared the falafel mix in the early afternoon and fried them that same night, and the results were delicious.

Falafels (★★★☆)
Deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, a traditional Arab food, which I served in a toasted pita with sliced lettuce, cucumber and drizzled with yogurt herb sauce.

2 cans (15.5 oz each) of chickpeas/garbanzos beans, both thoroughly strained of as much liquid as possible
1 small vidalia onion
5-6 fresh cilantro sprigs
5-6 fresh parsley sprigs

8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ cup all-purpose flour

Cut the onion into a dozen or so pieces and put the onion, chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt into the blender.  Pulse on speed 4 several times until everything is well mixed and no large pieces of cilantro, parsley, chickpea or onion remain.

Add the baking soda and a tablespoon of flour into the mix, and pulse several times until the baking soda and flour is evenly mixed in.

Put the mixture into a mixing bowl, add the rest of the flour, mix by hand until the flour is evenly mixed in, then refrigerate for at least a few hours (overnight is fine) before cooking.

To cook, heat an inch of vegetable oil in a pan to 190°C (350-375°F).  My wife’s trick for knowing when the oil is hot enough is to put the tip of the wooden cooking chopsticks we use in the oil.  If you put the tip of wooden chopsticks (or of a wooden spoon) in and the oil bubbles, it’s ready to use.  Form balls just a little larger than golf ball size, and drop them in the pan.  Fry them for one minute, then turn them over and fry them for another minute and they’re ready.  I served them in a toasted pita with sliced lettuce, cucumber and drizzled with yogurt herb sauce.

The result was surprisingly good.  I can also look at the above ingredients and say, “Hey, I really like garlic, chickpeas and cilantro, I’ll probably like this,” so it’s no surprise to me that this was good, but I was surprised at how good both the sauce and falafels were together, and how easy this was to make.  I definitely recommend trying this recipe out.

Applesauce (★★★★☆)

This is the first recipe my mom made with the Vitamix 5200 I gave her that was so good that she felt she needed to call me and tell me about it.  Even though I mentioned it briefly back in 2011, I figure Mom’s stamp of approval means it’s good enough that the recipe deserves it’s own post:

Applesauce (★★★★☆)
Easy to make, and lets you keep the skin, which assures you’re getting as much of the nutrients as possible.

4 apples (medium size, cored and quartered)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Blend on high for 30 seconds.  Chill, then serve.

You can blend on a lower speed if you’re prefer chunkier applesauce, but especially with the skin included, I prefer it well blended.  I made this during lunch, put it in the fridge and had it with dinner today, and it was very good.  (Actually, you can see the apples in my blender in the photo I took of my 7500 and Professional Series 300 for this post.)