Thursday, September 5, 2019

Green smoothie: kale and mango

There's something about the dog days of summer, particularly those Phoenix-specific ones, where you can say 114°F, without batting an eye (because they've dried up). It's an unending scorch that can make one do imperatively unordinary things.

Like, for example, yesterday, when I went after a rattlesnake, who fancied the afternoon shade in my flourishing garden. The only flowers I've had in 8 years, after twenty past failed attempts. Although it's not typical of myself to use a garden rake to face such rattling fears (excuse the pun) I'd made up my mind that the new green thumb and horticulturist streak could not be deterred because a desert reptile considered my backyard its native land.

Along these same lines, a few weeks prior, I decided to order a kale smoothie at the Boba spot opposite Kiddo One's University. I'll mention that I've never been a fan of blending salad ingredients into beverage. Even if they're chockful of every single vitamin/mineral/nutrient/ironmanpower on the planet. The green smoothie trend is something no one could sell me on.

But. It happened. In that very first sip of a mega 16 ounce frosty matching my summer lawn, tethered in bouncy tapioca pearls and topped with cubes of fruit. Suffice to say I'm a changed human, forever.

Dog days. 
Heat. 
I live in the inferno. 
And I now make kale smoothies. 
Uncharacteristic, atypical and imperatively unordinary to my nature.

Thankfully, the grocery had packets of organic kale on sale. I bought six. Newfound cravings are a good thing, especially when they're bound by healthy choices, but most especially when the person at the register nods at your purchase in approval. It's the most responsible-adult feeling you'll ever have, and not like they'll ever know what the majority of your eating habits actually are.

Today's green smoothie is a wonderfully unfussy project and won't taste leafish in a way where you'd  hesitate to blend it over and over again.

The drinkability ratio, of course, is determined by the ripeness and quality of fruit per each cup of kale. A well measured, fruit-liquid-yoghurt plexus can increase the narrow window of consuming and thoroughly relishing blended greens.

My favorite pairing is with in-season mangoes, enough to sync in sweetness and mild bursts of tart. Frozen bananas yield a creamier build, and a beverage that could challenge your favorite fast food milkshake. Throwing in chia is just something I like to do. It not only notches up the nutrient and texture quota, but the inevitable gel-ee helps in a lusher, thicker drink.

You are free to come up with as many variable smoothie conclusions your head conjures up and taste buds likely to agree upon. Packed handfuls of kale together with peach/pineapple, a slather of coconut milk, and a sprinkle of coconut sugar transcends to an island-beach feel. Dates, plaintains leverage in enough substance to be a post workout meal or just so you don't eat that last slice of cake. Keep in mind, kale leaves remain your core component, stick to the remaining advice I've given you, and you most certainly won't end up with anything short of fantastic.

The probability of messing up this recipe is near nil. It is straightforward, fantastically easy, supremely gratifying, housing a bastion of powerhouse ingredients to back it up.

In conclusion,  it's important you get this right, understanding how placing kale in a blender can spark as much joy as putting cake into the oven.

Well...almost.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk(dairy or non)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped kale, loosely packed and stems removed
  • 1/2 of a banana, frozen, peeled and cut
  • 1/2 cup peeled, cubed and frozen ripe mangoes
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat yoghurt
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar(or sweetener of choice)

Directions:
  • Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust, according to preference, such as adding more milk, sweetener, fruit, etc.
  • Pour into glasses and serve.
Shakes and smoothies~

August~
******
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 (MSG)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Kiwi, cream and mango pudding


If you, like me, are a visual eater. then the bright images should send "I want" signals to your hungry brain, in about three seconds. Or peak enough curiosity you'll attempt the recipe that will come up shortly after reading through to the end of this article. If you believe this can and will apply to you, pull up close, friends and get ready to listen. 

Before I begin, those who understand the significance of the colors and timing of post, can totally get why I painted Indian patriotism all over today's page. 

To you who have no idea of what it is about, here you go...India celebrates its Independence Day on August 15 and hence the sweet salute to the stripes of the Indian Flag 🇮🇳🇮🇳. I should admit it can be personally liberating to plan a post that plays to one's nationalistic fervor, where you can celebrate holidays of countries/regions you belong to/claim nationality to/ once lived in or desire enough that you believe you actually do.

On the 15th, most Indians attend patriotic parades, watch flag hoistings, fly kites, attend politically incorrect charged functions, even those living outside the nation. like to design desserts to matchy match country flags.  Last point is most likely tantamount to the ultimate religious experience.

At one period in life, I fell hard in love with layered puddings. It would be a time when culinary fashion in my small town demanded every wedding/baptismal/birthing/preschool-to-highschool graduation served multiple rows of these old school desserts. They were technicolored, often had a biscuit base, with textures ranging from bright pops of fruit, to silken Milkmaid creations and toppings of assorted caramel crunch. My life became brighter and an undying love for 2 ounce pudding-in-a-cup cups bloomed to the point that I knew, beyond doubt, I was destined to master multicomponent dessert-ing.

Kiwi, cream and mango pudding. The flavor profile can be read in its very name. Subsequently,  there is an incredible assortment of texture to keep a mouth curious and enough tricolored beauty to make it levels more distinctive than the manufactured gloop you were going to buy the other day.
The ingredient list is impressive. About eight kiwis solidify the fact you are consuming a stupendous serving of fruit. These, along with pinches of mint - totally optional and not mentioned- contribute to our hulk hued base layer

A smidge of tang works wonders in heavy cream desserts and splendidly balances the combination of condensed milk with thickened dairy. It's what a silky cheesecake filling would resemble, without being overly cheese-y. If you desire a fluffier, less contained structure, then subtract some gelatin to err to an airier whip side.

The final custard is made using a packaged mix doused with a plentiful amount of mango puree , thus making it shine. Because the plan here is to not overwhelm with a dish that will keep you in the kitchen for half a day. The particular brand I use is more of a thickener that benefits from enhancement and has you wonder if you actually did do it from scratch. 
When raw ingredients cooperate with your patriotic endeavours🍊🥝🥛

Use today's edit as a blueprint for the commemoration, occasion, shout out or sit down you'd like it to highlight. It adapts quite justly, doesn't demand much and will wow pieces of garments off anyone you present it to. Feel free to replace fruits/ colors/presentation to realize a full range of thematic desires.

Happy Independence day India!
God bless.

Ingredients:
Green layer-
  • 2 packets gelatin (14 grams of 5 tsp)
  • 1⅓ cup white grape juice
  • 8 kiwis, peeled, sliced and quartered
  • ⅓ cup cold water
White layer:
  • 1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 packets gelatin (14 grams or 5 tsp)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup roasted, salted cashew pieces
Orange layer:
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 3 tbsp custard powder
  • ½ cup mango puree
  • 1 cup assorted peeled and finely chopped fruits- either/or/and oranges/peaches/mangoes.
Directions:
Green layer:
  • In a bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup of grape juice.
  • Meantime, in a saucepan, bring kiwi pieces in remaining juice to a boil. Allow to simmer and kiwi to cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  • Combine gelatin mixture with this and stir till dissolved.
  • Pour into cups or molds, about 1/3 up. 
  • Refrigerate.
  • Prepare the white layer.
White layer:
  • Beat cream, condensed milk and cream cheese in a stand mixer, on medium speed, until smooth.
  • Sprinkle gelatin in cold water and let it stand for like 5 minutes.. Heat in the microwave until it turns liquid again, almost 40 seconds.
  • Combine with cream mixture. Stir in cashews.
  • Set aside until lightly thickened but not set. Then pour over firm set kiwi layer in cups or molds, another 1/3 up.
  • Refrigerate and allow to firm.
  • Prepare the orange layer.
Orange layer:
  • Heat milk in a double boiler. Add the custard powder. Allow to thicken and simmer. 
  • Take off heat. Let cool for a 2-3 minutes.
  • Take a few spoons from the heated custard and add it to the mango puree, so it doesn't separate. Stir this mixture back into the custard and combine until you have a smooth emulsion.
  • Transfer this to a medium sized bowl.
  • Add oranges, peaches, mangoes to the the puree-custard. Combine well.
  • Refrigerate in bowl until cooled.
  • Spoon over the white layer to fill to rim. The orange layer has softer texture and does not set stiff.
Notes:
I used 4 sprigs of mint, blended it with 1/4 cup of water to add color, and a bit pep to the kiwi (green) gelatin.
For the white layer, you could also add pieces of tender coconut.
The pudding above has chopped mangoes in it. For the bottom picture, oranges were used. Fruit toppings as a fourth layer work well too.
"No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NABRE)