Summer is finally arriving here in Halifax — yesterday it was 68F in the house and today it was almost 80! My kitchen is in full summer-mode — my oven and stove are off most of the time and we’ve been favouring meals consisting of fresh fruits and veg. I’ve also been experimenting with fermenting kefir water (great recipe in Emma’s first book My Darling Lemon Thyme! I never knew kefir water was a thing — thanks to Maria at Seeds Roots Greens for opening my eyes to the joys of making my own brew!). That’s what this season is all about — being unfussy, eating “rustic” meals, and enjoying the freshest and best of what the local markets have to offer. One of the simplest things to make with fresh fruits (and yes veggies too!!) are smoothies. TBH I’ve never been a big smoothie person. Sure I’ve “dabbled” a bit — made the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie from OSG countless times but I’ve never been a devotee. Even when I’ve looked at picking up smoothie cookbooks it’s usually the snarky comments in the reviews section at Amazon (not sponsoring them it’s where I shop) that stop me — mostly people gripe at spending money for something they feel is below novice-level on the home cooking scale. How can you consider putting raw ingredients into a blender cooking? An argument for another time but I would argue that there is a definite art to making a good (even great) smoothie. There have been a few times I’ve made a smoothie by just tossing things in a blender and the end result wasn’t pretty (to look at or consume). And when your family gives you a pitiful “why are you doing this to us? Don’t you love us??” look you know what you’ve made is disgusting. But I can’t lie, part of me agrees — take, for instance, when my friend and I were browsing through the cookbooks and she handed me a smoothie book and wanted to know if I thought it was worth it. I told her that no one needed a book that focused on green smoothies — books like this seem a bit gimmicky. Who needs 60 green smoothie recipes? My answer was: no one. Single-subject cookbooks can be like that sometimes (which is probably why I’ve never gravitated toward the spirializer cookbooks, but on the other hand I do enjoy my vegetarian slow cooker cookbook. To each their own I suppose).
That being said, I was nonetheless excited about the newest cookbook by the remarkable David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl — Green Kitchen Smoothies: Healthy and Colourful Smoothies for Every Day. (In case you’re wondering the North American edition is due out at the beginning of August but seeing as I’m a super impatient person who has a tough time waiting for things I pre-ordered my copy straight away from Book Depository — not an endorsement just where I shop!)
I am already a huge fan of the Green Kitchen Stories (click here to read my last review of their first cookbook/blog/apps). Their vanguard approach to vegetarian cooking is what keeps me trying their recipes. I find they use everyday ingredients in unique ways and they have a style (both cooking and photographically speaking) all their own. I’m not sure how to describe their videos and photos but they have a definite “atmosphere” to them. So when I received my Green Kitchen Smoothie book in the mail I was impressed by the fact that David and Luise could take a very simple idea (the smoothie) and create an entire book that not only serves to illustrate some really wonderful recipes but also to be a book that when you look at it obviously belongs in and to their kitchen. Did I mention it’s the perfect size? Small enough to fit in a good-sized purse. Easily portable — if you’re like me who loves to take cookbooks on vacation or just to have something to read on the go (it’s smaller than a magazine!).
Funny enough the first recipe that I attempted was the Muesli not a smoothie recipe. Pictured below, all that was required was mixing ingredients in a bowl. Unlike most granola recipes, this muesli is oven-free (perfect for my desire to be unfussy when summer meal planning). And like most of the recipes in this book it was easy (no cook!) and forgiving (you’re pretty free to add-in whatever dried fruits, seeds, flakes, puffed what-not you want). It makes a big batch — which is nice when morning comes and nothing has to be made, you just have to scoop it from the jar. Doesn’t it look sublime??
After that I tried their Upside-Down Breakfast (pictured below, and below, and below….as you can tell by the plethora of pics that I’m in LOVE with these layered smoothies!!) which consists of layering yogurt and smoothie in a jar over the muesli. Wisdom being that it soaks into the dry muesli making the texture a little nicer. I’ve gone from not being a smoothie person to being one that has one almost daily! I love mixing the different layers and toppings as I scoop into the jar — this creates an amazing texture/taste effect! As you can see there are countless combinations that can be customized to your own preferences/tastes. The inspo that this book has given me makes me so happy! It has been nice experimenting with layering my smoothie and trying new recipes. Check out the hashtag #gksse for the smoothie recipes and any other GKS dishes I’ve tried.
For those wondering, the authors spend the first part of the book outlining necessary info (how-to, pantry staples, equipment, tips/tricks) to get you started. Ingredients are fairly easy to come by (except rose hip powder!), and to be honest, you can easily sub ingredients in those instances you have different preferences or, maybe, don’t have the ingredient on-hand. Such was the case when I started to make the Kids’ Greenie — I lacked oranges so I used an apple (pic below). Both could delivered a nice sweetness to the drink without changing the flavour-profile overly much. Most of the recipes are vegetarian but can be easily made vegan / gluten-free.
Summer is a great time to give this book a try considering so much fruit and veg is in season and therefore quite reasonably priced at the market or grocery store. Maybe as winter looms in the upcoming months and grocery prices become more dear I may not be making smoothies as often but for now I’ll certainly enjoy using this book and trying some of the other recipes.
Happy Summer everyone!