I’ve been dishonest with you guys. Well not dishonest… more like… I’ve been hiding something from you. A while ago I posted The Perfect Smoothie but since then I’ve discovered something big, something huge, gargantuan even – the white nectarine. The summer here in Davis, CA sees at least 1 full month of nonstop 100+ degree days. Fortunately, there’s no humidity. But on days like today and tomorrow where the projected high for the day is 105 and the last thing your body wants to do is eat, there’s only one solution: ice cream.
Luckily, the summer here in Davis also brings a few quality crops, namely peaches ($0.49/lb), white peaches ($0.99/lb), nectarines ($0.69/lb), white nectarines ($0.99/lb), pears ($0.19/lb) and gala apples ($0.59/lb). To say the least, I’ve been eating my fair share of fruit. But when they come in 3-5lb bags and you can’t leave the market without at least 3 different bags, what do you do with the quickly ripening fruit? My solution is fresh ice cream. By “fresh” I mean “make it when you want it” and without an ice cream maker. The same method applies to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Anytime Cookies – simply bake ‘em when you want ‘em. And I’ve discovered the newest secret to this culinary masterpiece: White Nectarines. As you’ll see, the base for this ice cream is always the same, and while you can use strawberries, peaches, or any other fruit, white nectarines reign supreme. The key is to keep a freezer full of fruit. Right now I have 5 bananas, 3 bag of nectarines, 1 bag of cantaloupe, 1 bag of peaches and 1/2 bag of strawberries in the freezer all ready to go. Peaches and strawberries make for a creamy ice cream but for some reason the regular and white nectarines make this ice cream incredibly creamy – move over Ben & Jerry’s. Fruits like pears, plums and apples are tasty but the resulting ice cream has more of an icy texture. I can’t explain why certain fruits work except that they seem like more “creamy” fruits, if that makes any sense. It’s so good, in fact, that this my entry into the No Bake Peanut Butter Exhbition.
I also wanted to share my latest accomplishment: I was interviewed for an article in the Sacramento News & Review entitled The Peanut Gallery. I was really excited but I doubt anyone read it. The reason is that it’s in a very odd location – right below the article is an advertisement for “POT – Not a party drug anymore!”. It also directly follows “The Rainbow Festival” section which I have no problem with except that it was nothing but 8-pages of solid ads, all of them highly suggestive. Not to mention the article was smack in the middle of 56 restaurant reviews (yup, I counted), of which, 50 restaurants got a 4 star rating and 6 restaurants got 4.5 stars. No 2’s, no 3.5’s, all of them received 4’s and over which doesn’t seem like a very good rating system in my opinion. Anyways, here is the article in all it’s glory:
1 (or more) white nectarine (peaches, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc..)
1/2 cup greek yogurt or cottage cheese (no salt added)
2T creamy natural peanut butter (can omit for a nonfat ice cream)
2-4T vanilla soymilk (as needed)
2-3T cocoa powder (optional)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional, for the gym rats like myself)
1. Prep the fruit. Peel the banana, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until rock-solid, about 4 hours but preferably overnight. Wash nectarine and remove pit, cut into at least 4 chunks and freeze in a sealed plastic bag for 4 hours or preferably overnight. If using a fruit other than nectarines, wash thoroughly and remove any pits, seeds or stems and cut into small chunks before freezing.
2. Break the banana into 4-6 chunks and drop into the blender. Add the yogurt or cottage cheese, peanut butter, 2T soymilk and any of the optional ingredients. Process until a smooth consistency is achieved. You may need to stop the blender several times to mix or scoop down the sides with a spoon.
Note: The more room-temperature optional ingredients you add the thinner the mixture gets. Therefore, you’ll need to add more frozen fruit to thicken it which will lead to a larger batch of ice cream, not a bad thing really. You can freeze any excess, but you need to let it thaw for about 20-30 minutes to achieve an edible consistency – but even then it’s a little bit icy. Best enjoyed fresh.
3. Add the frozen nectarine chunks (or whatever fruit you are using) and process until smooth and consistency is very similar to soft serve ice cream.
Note: Stopping the blender several times to help the process along is normal. If the fruit is pureed and the mixture is too thin and melted, add more frozen fruit to make it thicker. Add more milk only if the mixture is too thick to process (shouldn’t be the case, you want it really thick).
4. Pour into a large mug and eat with a large spoon (it should be so thick that it isn’t really “drinkable”). Top with crunchy cereal or granola – I use a mixture of 1/2 Kashi GoLean and 1/2 Kashi GoLean Crunch.
Here’s the final product, a thing of beauty really. The one pictured here is the basic smoothie with none of the optional ingredients. One bite and I promise that not only will you be making it once a day like myself, but you won’t even mind washing the blender every day. Don’t be daunted by my lengthy instructions, I just have a lot of tips from my extensive experience. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really quick and easy. Makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner – I’ve had it for all of them.
All you chocolate fanatics, be sure to add plenty of extra dark cocoa (I actually forgot the peanut butter in this one but it still worked beautifully):