Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mango Smoothie with Banana and Coconut

Photo: Smoothie in a bowl as dessert, in a glass as breakfast

We were well stocked with fruit last week, overstocked in fact with ripe bananas, mangos, grapes and more. My fault, totally my bad. Confident that the chilly weather outside and the cool temperature in my storage locker, aka the shelves and countertop in the guest head, (link) would hold the fruit for the weeks ahead, I couldn't resist buying an extra-large bunch of green bananas, a box of hard green mangos and piles of red and green grapes. We would enjoy fresh fruit for a week or two while we cruised between SE Alaska ports and grocery stores. That was the plan, and you know about plans. This had worked for me countless times before, but not this week. Oh no, definitely not this week. Everything raced headlong to fully ripe, eat-me-now deliciousness at the same time.

That's more of an observation than a complaint, since there's always some way to work with ripe fruit. Fruit salad, pancake topping, mango salsa, banana bread, mango granita, frozen grapes and more quickly come to mind. OMG, we ate a lot of fruit last week. Then coconut milk joined the party and a new smoothie blend was the fruit favorite of the week. Several recipes call for a little coconut milk, less than a full can, so I freeze the remaining liquid in ice cube trays for future use. They are handy to toss into rice or Asian soups and sauces, and now they are a secret ingredient for super smoothies.

I have become a competent mango slicer/dicer during this time, practice will do that for you, but the credit for the technique goes to friend and neighbor, Capt. Sam. Years ago, before YouTube offered videos on everything we ever wanted to know, he demonstrated the finer points of cutting and serving a mango. Heaven knows my original peel-then-deseed approach needed improvement. 

Hold the fruit with a flat side facing you and slice off a half using a sharp, narrow knife. Slide that blade as close to the seed as possible while you do this. Then use the tip of the knife to crosshatch the fruit slice, cutting diamonds without piercing the skin below.

Put your fingers on the rounded skin side and gently press it up into a concave shape until the fruit diamonds separate.

Carefully slice each piece off of the skin and voila! you have a pile of mango chunks, attractive with their neat edges and uniform sizing of course. Repeat for the other flat side of the fruit.

Mango Banana Coconut Smoothie
Makes 2 servings

1 medium banana, peeled and chunked
1 medium to large mango, peeled and cubed
3 frozen cubes of coconut milk 
1/3 cup milk or coconut milk (additional may be needed)
OR 1/3 cup coconut milk and 3 ice cubes

Place the fruit, cubes and liquid into the blender jar. Add additional milk or coconut milk as needed to bring the visible liquid up to the 2-cup marker on the blender container (NO, that does NOT mean add 2 cups of liquid!!) Whiz it all up until the cubes are totally incorporated and you have the consistency you like. Pour and enjoy, thick enough to eat with a spoon or looser to sip from a glass. How simple is that?

Note: If you don't have a ripe mango or you are in a hurry, Trader Joe's frozen mango chunks work beautifully. 

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