Posts Tagged ‘ 5 stars ’

Homemade Peanut Butter (★★★★★) using the Vitamix 7500 (with video)

Looking back at my peanut butter recipe, it’s not nearly as short or clear as it could be.  You can still view that one if you want, but this is the short, simple version, and it comes with a video.

Homemade Peanut Butter (★★★★★)
Definitely not as sweet as store brand peanut butter, but my four-year-old son devours it

1 lbs. Bulk Dry Roasted Peanuts, Unsalted
3/4 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Blend for one minute, and use the tamper to push the peanuts into the blades.  That’s it!

Again, if you want a longer version of above, with slightly different ratios, go ahead and checkout my peanut butter recipe from 2011.

For those of you who are most interested in hearing how the Vitamix 7500 compares to the Vitamix 5200, or how well the 7500 blends dense mixes, I can say that the 7500 made great peanut butter my first time making peanut butter in it, and that the 5200 seemed to have a work a little harder, but also made great peanut butter time after time.

Hiyashi-chuuka (冷やし中華) sauce (★★★★★) and a busy blender afternoon

My wife and kids are still away, which means I’ve been fending for myself.  Just this afternoon I made a green smoothie (two small apples, four large sticks of celery, half a bag of spinach, some lemon juice, half a green bell pepper and a few ice cubes), peanut butter and a frozen mocha drink.  My wife’s cooking is both delicious and very healthy, and I’m regularly drinking green smoothies while she’s away in hopes of keeping the fruits and vegetables a reasonable chunk of my diet, they’re easy to make and easy to drink.  So far I think I’ve fended for myself pretty well.

One of the things I plan to cook for myself in the next few days is Hiyashi Chuuka, which is several orders of magnitude better than any explanation of it that I give will sound, but essentially, it’s chilled ramen(-esque) noodles with a soy and miso or sesame based sauce usually topped with some combination of sliced cucumbers, egg, ham, carrots and/or tomatoes.  Like I said, it’s way better than I make it sound, and with the sesame dressing, it’s one of my top five favorite meals.

The recipe for the sauce is simple enough, and is somewhat similar to the Creamy Sesame Dipping Sauce we use for vegetables dipping, in that they both start by blending a good amount of white sesame seeds.  Once the sauce is made, chopping up the vegetables, egg and ham is also easy, and the noodles just need to be cooked and chilled.  The only tricky thing about trying to make this dish in the states is that finding the right kind of noodles.  While cheap instant ramen is definitely not the right kind of noodle, you can use those noodles in a pinch (just throw the seasoning packet away) and it’s not bad.

Here’s the recipe for the sauce:

Hiyashi-chuuka (冷やし中華) Sauce (★★★)
3 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar (can be substituted with other vinegars if necessary)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Chicken bouillon (half of an extra large cube)
Water 4 table spoon
 
First, blend the white sesame first into powder, then add other ingredients and blend.  Chill before serving.

That should be enough to serve between 2-4 people, depending on how much sauce people want and the portion size.  Just pour that over the noodles and toppings, and then eat.

Definitely one of my favorite things to eat, and while instant ramen noodles don’t do it justice, if you haven’t had this before, and they’re the only noodles you have available, it’s still very good that way. 🙂

Homemade Frozen Mocha Frappuccino (★★★★★)

This is one I’ve made about 50 or so times already, but I started tweaking it back in March and didn’t ever get around to posting the exact recipe.  It is by no means meant to be the same as a Starbucks Mocha Frappucchino, but it’s the result of several tweaks over time to a recipe I found online that has evolved into something I like much more than a Frappucchino.  It’s far less sweet, far healthier frozen drink. (a Venti Starbucks Mocha Frappucchino has 500 calories and 79g of sugar!)

The trick to this recipe is to freeze some coffee in advance.  I personally don’t care whether it’s ice coffee or fresh brewed hot coffee that I freeze after brewing it, either way tastes great to me.  Stronger coffee tastes better in my opinion.

Homemade Frozen Mocha Frappuccino Drink (★★★★★)

1 cup (or units) of frozen coffee (the stronger, the better)
2 cups (or units) of whole milk
2 packets of stevia sweetener (or sweeten to taste)
Cocoa Powder to taste (about a level tea spoon)
Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (a 1-2 second squeeze.  I add this because it adds a little bit of real sugar which helps with the stevia and adds a bit of “chocolate” flavor to the cocoa powder)

Originally, I added all the ingredients to the blender and blended, but lately I’ve been adding everything but the coffee and blending for about a minute on high, that whips up the milk and gives it a thicker body and creamier taste.  if I’m making more or less than normal, I add the milk and frozen coffee in their normal 2:1 ratio, but only add one stevia packet, less than normal cocoa powder and just a dab of chocolate.  That way I can add stevia, cocoa powder and/or chocolate syrup to taste.  If the coffee and milk is too strong, a few ice cubes lightens the drink up.

Personally, I like this better than anything I’ve had at a coffee shop.  I’m a fan of bitter chocolate and frozen drinks, but I don’t like overly sweet or heavy drinks.  In this recipe, the stevia works pretty well as a sweetener, although that extra bit of real sugar from the chocolate syrup really helps.

Unlike Hummus, Peanut Butter and even Banana Milk, this recipe probably doesn’t need a Vitamix or Blendtec caliber blender, but it does help a lot with the texture.  If anyone tries this in a normal blender, I’d be interested in the results.

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas (★★★★★) Strawberry Milk and (★★★☆☆) and a broken and fixed blender

First, two recipes, because I have to share one that’s amazing, and I may as well share the other while I’m at it:

Ridiculously Good Pina Coladas (★★★★★)
This is a dangerously good piña colada.  Consider yourself warned.

This is one of those times where simple ingredients and an awesome blender can’t be beat.  My recipe is going to use stevia packets, instead of sugar packets, as that cuts down on unnecessary sugar calories, but you could use sugar as well.  What I did really like about the stevia in this recipe is that it’s rare that stevia really works in something as a sweetener without tasting just a bit off, but it works very well in this recipe and if you have stevia, I recommend it.

1 can (20 oz.) of crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice

½ can (200ml) of coconut milk (Half a Goya 13.5 oz. Coconut Milk can is what I used)

Ice (Nice ice helps, I used a bag from the local grocery store)

Stevia to taste (I used 3 packets for the above)

Rum (optional)

Blend the first three on high; ice being the only one I don’t have a ratio for, and that’s pretty much commonsense.  Add stevia (or sugar) and/or rum as desired.  (I found three stevia packets for the whole thing to be a good amount.)

Very, very good.  Another recent attempt, which didn’t quite live up to expectations, was the result of an abundance of cheap and delicious strawberries at the peak of the season:

Strawberry Milk (★★★☆☆)
Does not line up with “Strawberry Milk”, which, in retrospect, isn’t that surprising.

several very fresh, very sweet strawberries

milk

Blend the strawberries on high, add a pinch of milk, blend again, then add milk to taste.

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t nearly as sweet, nor did it taste as much like strawberries, as I expected it to.  It was definitely drinkable, but for strawberries that good, I’d rather have strawberries and a glass of milk.

As for my blender, it actually did “break” a month ago.  I don’t know how to describe any better than to say that the top part of the blender that spins, that the toothed blender jar post connects to, became disconnected from the blender.

Usually when I’m writing on the Internet about some issue with a product, it’s because the company involved doesn’t live up my expectations, but in this case, I’m writing because Vitamix exceeded mine.  I contacted the company, waited a few minutes before speaking with a real person, and they sent me out a pre-paid shipping label to ship it back to VitaMix.

Less than two weeks later, I had my repair blender back, along with a brand new blender jar.  Apparently, something had compromised the jar, and that was responsible for the blender piece breaking, which is supposedly a design feature, as that part breaks so the blender doesn’t suffer any damage when excessive torque is required to spin the blender blades.

I have an earlier post where I tell the story of how I ended up with a VitaMix, but basically say that I imagine anyone will be happy with a VitaMix or a Blendtec.  Since I’m very pleasantly surprised by how painless and personal the repair process was (and free!), I’m that much more likely to highly recommend anyone in the market for a new blender order from VitaMix.  (And if you are ordering from VitaMix.com, use the coupon code 06-006651 for free shipping!)

It’s all about the ingredients! (Acorn Squash Soup and Apple Pancakes, both ★★★★★!!)

Still using my blender a lot.  It’s easier to find time for the blender than for posting here these days, but I am definitely trying new things, and will post some of the better ones when I get a chance.

First off, we visited an apple orchard this weekend, where we got some acorn squash and fresh apples.  The apples we picked ourselves off the trees, but the acorn squash was something the owner has picked that morning.  We used the blender to make Acorn Squash Soup again, and it was unbelievably good.  The only change was the acorn squash, but it was an important one, and we devoured a whole squash worth of soup.

On the way home from the orchard, we also visited a local farm that sold, among other things, fresh eggs.  We used the blender to blend flour, eggs and milk into batter for apple pancakes, and making the pancakes with cinnamon powdered apple slices from the orchard apples to make what might have been the most amazing pancakes I’ve had in my entire life.

I’ll post more later, but for now, the weekend is over, and I need to brush my teeth and get some sleep for Monday.

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★), Jalapeno V6 (★★★☆☆)

Didn’t post yesterday, but definitely used the blender for a few different things today and yesterday, so I’ll just post the first half of the recipes here:

World’s Best Hot Chocolate (★★★★★)
This is unbelievably good and highly recommended

2 cups of whole milk
6 tablespoons of cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of sugar
a small splash of vanilla extra
salt (just the tiniest amount)

Blend everything on high until the Vitamix 5200 heats the milk enough to turn it into hot cocoa.  Steam will rise from the top.  Drink immediately.  You can tweak the cocoa and sugar, but this is the mix I like, and it’s easier to make with larger portions, harder with smaller portions.

(Feb 2013 EditHere are some things I learned the hardway in experimenting with the above recipe:

  • Don’t use stevia as a substitute for part of the sugar
  • Don’t throw a Hershey’s Kiss in thinking it will improve the taste of the cocoa
  • Don’t add too much vanilla (granted, that was on accident.)

The other thing I’ve learned is that rather than heat it in the blender, mixing it thoroughly, then heating it in a sauce pan, taking care to not boil it, seems to be the best way to make this.)

Jalapeno V6(★★★☆☆)
This is better than I expected, but probably not for most people.

¾ cup of tomato puree
¼ celery stalk
1 romaine lettuce heart
several sprigs of cilantro
½ green pepper, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 jalapeño pepper, halved length-wise, with seeds and white insides spooned out
1 fresh Ginger Gold apple, quartered with seeds and stem removed
salt (to taste)
2 dozen ice cubes

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

Hopefully I can post about the Banana Milk variant and other green smoothie later today.

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. 🙂