Archives for category: Green Smoothies

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This is just a quickie teaser of a post since I should definitely be working not blogging right now. I have something like 100 captions to write today, artwork to send to the processor, essays to read, illustrate, and edit, oh and cover designs to choose for another book! Oy.

I’ve written before about how every day (or close to that) I make a green smoothie: some form of greens like kale, chard, spinach, etc. blended with fresh fruit. It’s a good way to get lots of vitamins and chlorophyll into your system, chopped up finely so it’s easily absorbed. They also taste great. They also make captions more fun to write.

Anyway yesterday morning I stumbled upon a great combination and wanted to share. Spinach, fresh pineapple, avocado, and ginger. That’s it. Oh and water. This is in the top three green smoothies I’ve made in the past year (other favorites include dandelion greens-peach-banana, and romaine-grapefruit-mint-avocado). The fresh pineapple adds a real zing-a-ding-ding to the whole thing; the avocado makes it smooth and creamy.

You start with 2-3 cups of fresh spinach and 12 ounces of water. Blend this. Then add 1 c fresh pineapple chunks, 1/2 avocado, and 1 tsp fresh ginger, and blend until smooth.

Ginger-Pineapple Smoothie
2012
Spinach, water, avocado, pineapple, ginger, blender, glass
5 x 4 x 2 in. (12.7 x 10.2 x 5 cm.)

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Maybe because the weather has been so mild, or maybe because my body is craving greens, I seem to be back to my green smoothie routine. I temporarily left them behind for much of the last two to three months in favor of warm grains in the morning.

The food co-op had beautiful bright green dandelion greens Sunday so I couldn’t resist picking up a bunch from Lady Moon Farms. I’ve learned that dandelions (tampopo, in Japanese—yes, like the movie) are ranked in the top 5 green vegetables for nutritional value. They are incredibly rich in beta-carotene (Vitamin A), as well as Vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in micronutrients like copper, cobalt, zinc, and Vitamin D. The vitamins and minerals found in dandelions can reduce inflammation of the liver, stabilize blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of strokes.

Ok, enough of the science stuff. Dandelion greens taste good. They’re slightly bitter—but not as bitter as, say, arugula, and can be eaten raw in salads or sauteed the way you would other greens. I like their addition to green smoothies as much as, if not more, than spinach or chard, in part because they blend very finely. Drink a tall glass of this in the morning to put a little bounce in your step. Works better than coffee in my opinion. (Seriously, green smoothies have helped wean me off of caffeine.)

Go Green Morning Smoothie

2 c dandelion greens
1/2 grapefruit
1 banana
1 ripe pear
10 oz water

Add everything to a blender and puree until smooth, approximately 1 minute. You could also add a little bit of fresh ginger to spice up the smoothie. Makes about 20 oz of smoothie.

It’s official, I’m in a soup phase. What can I say, it’s that time of year when the thought of eating anything cold sends shivers down my spine, even though, yes, this is the mildest winter in a while. Even so, a couple months back I started warming up my cereal before eating it (cold milk? no thank you!) and cut back on green smoothies.

So how to still get all the greens I want, with all the warmth I crave? Green soups.

Lucky for me, Anna Thomas paved the way for green soups with her 2009 cookbook, Love Soup. She seems to be considered the godmother of green soups so I dutifully read up on her methods and set out to create my own.

The basic method is you get yourself two big bunches of your favorite greens—chard, spinach, kale, collards, watercress—slowly caramelize two big onions, then add 1/4 c uncooked rice, vegetable stock, the greens, and voila. You finish it off with a bit of acidity (lemon juice, vinegar), pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper, and puree it all in a blender or with an immersion blender. The rice, especially arborio, adds creaminess and body to the soup (so it’s not thin or watery), without using cream. Serve drizzled with your favorite olive oil and perhaps some crusty bread.

I had two bunches of green kale so that’s what I made this version with, although I’d love to try with chard and collard greens. I made my own vegetable stock on the adjacent burner, although you could use store-bought or veggie bouillon if you’re short on time.

Green Soup – Beginner’s Basic

Serves 8

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, diced
splash white wine, optional, for deglazing
1/4 rice, arborio works best
3 c water
2 big bunches of greens, washed and chopped coarsely
4 c vegetable broth
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt
pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, such as red wine or rice wine

1. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot or dutch oven on low heat then add the onions. Continue to cook over very low heat, with a lid mostly covering the pot to keep in the moisture, 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the onions start to stick or turn dark brown add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pot. Meanwhile, if you’re making your own veggie stock, get this going in another pot on the stove. I use 4 c water and add any veggies I have around such as carrots, onions, celery, a bay leaf or two, black peppercorns, etc., bring to a boil, then let simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Once the onions are deeply caramelized, add the water to the pot, and the rice, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the chopped greens. If you’re using spinach, add the sturdier greens first (like kale or chard), and the spinach 5 minutes later since it wilts quickly. Add the veggie broth and cayenne, and bring to a simmer, cooking for another 5 minutes. Don’t overcook, otherwise the greens become dull and lose all their wonderful color. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper, and add your acid (lemon juice or vinegar).

3. You can puree the soup using an immersion blender all at once in the stock pot, or in batches in a stand-up blender. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. I like some crostini on the side with a creamy cheese or slather of butter.

Look at the color of these caramelized onions!

And here’s the soup, with Ninja blender in the background, which recently cost me half a fingernail while washing the blade.

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