Fall Smoothie Recipes that Will Keep You Healthy
Michele Laudig talks with Edible Phoenix's own Gwen Ashley Walters. Gwen dishes on her popular ongoing series of original smoothie recipes–and shares a few new concoctions.
How did you get into making a different smoothie every day?
It started on Twitter and Facebook only, not on my blog. It was June 2010, and it was just a blazing hot day. I had a beautiful Seacat melon, and I decided to make something with melon, peach and chai spices. Then I thought, oh, I'll just tweet the recipe. I had no idea I'd make a smoothie a day, but people on Twitter just kept reacting to it, so I thought maybe I'll do another one. The next one was strawberry, basil and lime.
What are your basics?
You start with a cup of yogurt–I use vanilla-flavored yogurt for the sweetness–and then the amount of fruit depends on the intensity of the fruit. Then add spice to taste. I don't put any ice in, because it waters down the flavors. Instead, I start with frozen fruit. And since the yogurt is already a little sweet, I only add a little honey or agave, but never put in white sugar. Once, I did try molasses. But light agave, out of all the sweeteners, is probably the most neutral.
How do you keep coming up with new combinations?
I have a crazy pantry. As a chef, I have all kinds of interesting spices and ingredients to play with. I get inspiration in a lot of different ways. Some of my recipes sound like jams or desserts–you just take away the crust, and you could turn the flavors into a smoothie. I had a recipe for a nectarine and blueberry crostata that sounded good, so I used the same ingredients for a smoothie.
What ingredients have had interesting results?
Fresh herbs are good. I've used rosemary, sage, tarragon . . . tarragon goes well with blackberry and white pepper. And one of my favorites is Bing cherries, pink peppercorns and lavender. I like using curry powder, and I have several, like garam masala. And I've even made one with wasabi that had lime and melon in it. It was surprisingly good.
Have there been any disappointments?
I tried to make a smoothie with almond and celery, but I didn't tell people about it because it just didn't turn out well. And I recently tried apricot, pistachio and ginger. It sounded great, but guess why you never see fresh apricot on menus? Because it needs to be cooked and it needs a lot of sugar.
What kind of blender do you use? It probably gets a lot of use.
I have a really nice Vitamix™. It has variable speed on it. For a serious home cook, it's really worth the investment because it just blends things better. I also make a lot of vinaigrettes in it.
How many recipes have you created?
Well, I stopped doing them during a busy period from January through March, and now I'm on summer hours, doing about two a week. I've done 165 to date. That's a lot!
What's next? A book?
I'm not really planning on it–I didn't even start writing down the recipes until recently. After 165, you're like, now what? But if I see something inspiring when I'm out, I put a note in my phone. At Uchi in Austin, I made a note for an apple, miso and peanut dessert–a semifreddo. I thought that would be great as a smoothie. I'm always looking for ideas now. I don't really know how much longer I'll keep doing it, but I do like inspiring people.