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July 15, 2011

Grazing: Purple Lips & Brain Freeze

Smoothie It's a sunny Saturday morning and I’m sipping a drink so showstoppingly purple that a woman at the table next to me leans in to ask, “What is that?” When I tell her, she squints back at the menu board as if considering it in a new light.

We’re at separate tables inside the Green Goddess Café, just south of Stowe village, and that menu is deceptively simple. You can order standard café fare — a breakfast burrito, muffin or a tuna melt on rye — but you can also get fresh vegetable juices or smoothies that require a minimum of decision making. You choose from five fruits (strawberry, raspberry, peach, banana and blueberry) and either milk or juice. That’s it. There’s no protein powder, spirulina or other nouveau ingredients along the back counter.

I acquired a smoothie habit during years spent out west, and have fueled hundreds of mornings with a blend of strawberries, bananas and yogurt, my own version of a lassi. I've tried most of the blends at Smoothie King (usually too sweet) and Jamba Juice (too icy). Whenever in Austin, I hit up the Daily Juice for a Sublimator, a lip-smacking smoothie of fruit, flax and a generous helping of peanut butter.

But I've only had them occasionally of late, so when I arrive at the Green Goddess for brunch, I order a blueberry and peach smoothie almost as an afterthought. Five minutes later, the waitress delivers a pint glass stuffed with violet-colored swirls of ice, cream and fruit that draws glances as it makes its way through the room. It has exactly four ingredients: blueberries, peaches, soy milk and ice.

The first sip is bliss: the only sweetness comes from the peaches, it's creamy without being heavy, and it's perfect in its simplicity. It's the Sublimator's foil — classic, uncomplicated and a little bit hippie. I annoy my friends with slurping noises as I try to suck every last bit out of the glass. When I smile, one friend informs me my teeth are full of blueberry shards.

The next day, I return for another, this time with strawberries and raspberries. A cheerful rose red, its tartness puckers my cheeks and, again, I savor every drop. I ask the waitresses where their magical fruit comes from; some of it's local, they say, and some is frozen, and some (like bananas) comes from far, far away. 

Of course, there really isn’t any magic to it, but everything I’ve had so far in this bustling place has tasted uber-fresh. The elegant Green Goddess is akin to a diner on Venus, and, as with a new friend, I'm enjoying getting to know her. Even if I leave with blue lips and seeds in my teeth. 

Corin Hirsch compulsively seeks out (and tries to recreate) exceptional dishes and drinks that reflect the season. Each week, Grazing highlights the best of those adventures.


Last week, after I noticed certain things on sale at the local downtown supermarket, I bought ingredients to make homemade all fruit smoothies and finally put my blender to work and this week, the night before the weekly sale ended, I bought double of the same and froze three of five batches:

Ingredients (one can also use whatever ingredients one wants of course):

Premium orange juice (not from concentrate is highly recommended; if needed, get low acid type)
Fresh strawberries (frozen fine too)
Fresh raspberries (frozen or other types of berries fine too)
Frozen wild Maine blueberries (or, if available, buy local fresh blueberries)
Frozen mango chunks (other types of fruit fine too)
Coconut milk (many stores carry it in or near dairy isle as alternative to soy or dairy products)


Wash and prep fresh fruit as needed
Fill blender up to lower part of handle or just above with orange juice
Toss in about 8 to 12 strawberries or so (more or less and depending on size)
Add raspberries (note to self, use a little less of these next time)
Add two ripe bananas
Add kiwi
Add frozen blueberries
Toss in 1/3 of a one pound bag of frozen mango chunks
Top with coconut milk
Blend until smooth (might have to stop, uncover & get mango chunks separated and stirred in a little, then recover & blend)
Pour a small amount and sample
Add additional small amounts of one or more ingredients as might be needed and as there might still be room for and then blend
Chill if desired (covered)
Pour and enjoy

P.S. had meant to add that, other than what I saved out and drank for myself from the first and last batches while blending this afternoon, I shared the rest with some of my neighbors.

Sounds delicious, Morgan!

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