RECIPE: COCONUT-PINEAPPLE-BANANA-VANILLA SMOOTHIE.
The last few times I’ve been in Ghana and have prepared fruit smoothies, I have found my friends and family wildly enthusiastic about them, and frequently am asked for directions on preparing them. This is just another example of the creativity and openess to experimentation of many Ghanaians. Once again, smoothies are more a concept than a recipe, but since I’ve been in the kitchen this morning writing and preparing coconut rice, I’m taking a break to cool off. Yesterday I noticed that some fresh pineapple was starting to look slightly tired and in need of freezing to prevent it going bad, so I popped it in the freezer, along with a banana. Since I was making coconut milk and cream yesterday, it’s a natural to combine them with a few ice cubes (or ice blocks, as they tend to say in Ghana), and a little bit of Madagascar vanilla bean I picked up at Pete’s coffee shop in Berkeley a few weeks ago (I’m sure vanilla extract would work, too). Let me go combine them
1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks,
1 frozen banana cut into chunks,
4 or 5 ice cubes,
an inch of vanilla bean (or 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 cup of rich coconut milk.
I never peel my bananas before I freeze them, so if you follow my lead, be prepared for cold hands while you peel frozen bananas (I always use a knife). Also, break up the pieces of frozen pineapple as you put them into the blender. Finally, if you have a sweet tooth, add a couple of teaspoons of some kind of sweetener like honey, sugar, or syrup.) Let me go and blend this together and let you know how it comes out. My daughter Masi called from GHANA yesterday and when I mentioned that I was going to make this, said “Oh, it sounds just like a pina colada without the rum.” She’s right.Unfortunately I cannot locate any fresh sugar cane locally today to make swizzle sticks to make the drink more playful. (I’ll post some sugar cane recipes when I can locate some.) Oh well, use your imagination today!
Oh, yum!!!! This really makes enough for 2 people, but since I’m alone today it’s all mine. A perfect way to end my time in the kitchen. I was in a hurry to drink it so I grabbed some pineapple mint and spearmint from the garden and set it right down outside the door to photograph it. BTW, I happen to love frosty cold drinks, but you could also blend unfrozen pineapple and banana with a few ice cubes to make a “milder” version. . . And you know, I’ll bet it wouldn’t be bad with a little rum, either. . .