Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Smoothies and the Screaming Freezer

For some time, my freezer has been making alarming screeching noises -- usually once every couple of days. I've begun to worry that one day I'm going to come home to find Trader Joe's gelato oozing out from under the door and onto the linoleum (which actually wouldn't be awful. I'm dying for a new refrigerator!) My biggest problem is that I'm a bit of a food hoarder. Well, actually, I'm not that organized about it. I tend to hoard whatever is my current craze-o'-the-day. I consider it a success if the food I have comes out even with the end of my interest in the craze. In this particular case, I failed dismally and have loads of frozen fruit left over from a smoothies obsession two years ago.

The fruit takes up a lot of space. Believe me when I say it's a trick to wedge in some frozen peas, a small carton of Ben and Jerry's, three boxes of Stouffer's, and the frozen pizzas of which I'm fond. I don't like to throw food away but I'm sure the vast majority of what's in that freezer needs to go to the great food pantry in the sky. More likely the dumpster. I just need to learn to let go! There's no real meat in there except for some sad little freezer burned fish filets that I keep promising myself I'll eat at some point (they won't be so bad, will they?) plus some bread crumbs, old phyllo dough (I'll use it, right?), leftover bread (good for bread pudding), and miscellaneous nuts and cheese.

I've decided to start working my way through this fruit by making smoothies. The other day, I picked up some yogurt (mainly peach, orange, key lime, and cherry) and hauled out the blender. My blender is the Cuisinart purchased at Williams Sonoma, natch, because it didn't occur to me I could just go to Target for a *blender*. Of course, right after I bought it, Cook's Illustrated rated blenders and deemed this one only good for crushing ice. (Not to mention margaritas. They're just crushed ice, right?)

How easy are smoothies at home? Very easy. Start with frozen fruit, add yogurt, and juice. You can also use fresh fruit and frozen yogurt. I don't add ice to my fruit concoctions, typically, but some folks do. You can also add all kinds of flavorings, syrups, or even chocolate. (Hmmm, cherry chocolate!). For variety, you can play around with various fruit nectars and blended juices as well as other fruit such as melon, bananas, and even pineapple. My favorites right now? Mangos, peach or orange yogurt, and orange juice; cherries, cherry yogurt, and apple juice or vanilla soy milk; and key lime yogurt, mangos, and orange juice. Most grocery store freezer sections sell a pretty standard selection of frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and cherries) and Trader Joe's has a good selection of slightly more exotic options like mango.

Hey, you could even add some great liquors like flavored rums to keep it interesting. Oh wait, how about pina colada yogurt, pineapple, ice and rum? Or, how about frozen chocolate yogurt, Godiva liquor, and cherries...or, hey, we could be on to something here!

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