August 26, 2012
mostly fruit - with a bit of water and ice
With the end of August coming up and a hint of autumn in the air, it feels that the summer is almost over. Except it's not, just yet. The days are still hot and I'm still consuming quite a lot of cold drinks, mostly tea and water, but occasionally something a little more sweet and fruity.
In addition to super-light flavored waters like the ones I shared in my last post, I've been having fruit-based drinks that are slightly (or a lot) more substantial, but just as refreshing and delicious, packed with season's fruits. Here are some of them.
last time, this is a bit different, but just as spicy, and refreshingly tart, thanks to the little berries, which have been baked in the oven first, before being blended with other ingredients to make a ginger ale 'base'. What's more interesting though is the use of sultanas, which seems to add a depth of earthy flavor and warm sweetness without making the whole thing heavy.
I first tried this recipe a few summers ago, looking for interesting ways to use up our gooseberries from the local green market. It was certainly interesting, and in a good way; we all enjoyed it and I'm happy to have made it again this summer. I used honey as the sweetener instead of sugar (used in about 2/3 by weight), and it turned out perfectly fine.
To tell you the truth though, the berries I used this time were on the side of being overripe and thus not as tart as the young green ones, and I was worried if that might affect the taste of the finished ginger ale. To my relief, it didn't - not in a major way. The color was redder than it should be, but tastewise, it was just as tart as I'd remembered it would be.
Now gooseberries may be over, other summer fruits are still going strong.
I found the recipe while I was searching for flavored water ideas, and although this wasn't what I was after at the time (I was looking for very lightly flavored, just-infuse-it water ideas) I still bookmarked it so I could try it later.
lavender honey lemonade I made last summer, this one transports you right to summer in Provence, even when you are on the other side of the planet. And like the lemonade, my choice of sweetener here was honey, which added a gentle note to the drink.
After Provence, next stop: Latin America...?
here and tried on the following day or so.
I started by scooping the flesh of a small melon from a family friend's squash patch into the blender, and a really ripe white nectarine along with it. I had to swap lemon for lime (no lime to be seen here in the deep countryside of Japan...), and while lemon just isn't the same as lime, it nevertheless gave the drink a pleasantly sharp note.
And another summer fruit we are lucky to have in abundance:
The recipe is from Lucid Food, a beautifully-photographed, inspiring and enlightening cookbook written by a New York City-based natural food recipe developer, cooking instructor and cookbook author Louisa Shafia. The book is full of approachable and exciting recipes, but this one must be one of the simplest to make, as all you need is to throw everything into a blender and whizz it up. But that's the beauty of it; so simple, so good. Rich without being heavy or cloying, it's like a liquid dessert - a very healthy one, for sure.
I really wanted to share the recipe with you all, and was thrilled when Louisa very kindly gave me a permission to run it here. So get your blender out and be ready..
+ blueberry chocolate decadence smoothie
recipe by Louisa Shafia
Makes approximately 4 cups
2 cups fresh blueberries, stemmed, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup ice
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Garnish with extra blueberries, if desired.
Reprinted with permission from Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life by Louisa Shafia. Ten Speed Press, 2009.
Depending on the sweetness of my berries, I sometimes like to use a little more maple syrup than the recipe says, but not much.
As for the milk, Louisa invites you to use any kind of milk, and I've tried regular (whole) milk, low-fat, a mixture of milk and yogurt, etc., but our favorite is soy milk - plain, unsweetened. And Louisa's favorite she says is almond milk, which you can buy pre-made from a natural food store, but you can also make on your own (there's a recipe in Lucid Food, too).
Speaking of dessert, by the way, this smoothie also makes a nice sorbet when frozen...
So a big thanks to Louisa for a top recipe and a fabulous book, and for allowing me to reprint the recipe here. I'm excited about her upcoming book that's due next spring, but for now, I'm enjoying other recipes in her last book and above all, busy turning more blueberries into more smoothie. After all, summer is waning and too soon it'll be too cold for icy drinks. But I'm almost ready for it. Almost.
posted by chika at: 8/26/2012 03:50:00 AM