12 August 2012

Blendtec DesignerSeries Blender: Smoothies and Spinach Soup

I have had the summer off, and have spent that time slicing, dicing, cooking, baking, and [lightly] frying (and sewing and net surfing, but the sewing really does not have a direct impact on this post).  So I suppose it should come as no surprise that two of my kitchen appliances, members of the family for the better part of a decade, started their slow gallop to destruction, disorder, and chaos.

One of them, my Kitchen Aid food processor is cracking everywhere it is possible to crack, and sounding a bit sickly and protesty when I ask it to work ... although work it still does.  This saga requires a post all its own, complete with piss poor customer service responses, and a backward motor!

The other appliance, my Oster Commercial blender, began sounding really loud, and while the glass jar has never seated all that securely, I've had to start applying amazing amounts of downward force (and I lift weights two times a week) to keep that jar from taking off like Wonder Woman's Invisible plane.  Not to mention the thing refuses to grind up ice in a smoothie anymore.  It is more along the lines of pea and lima bean sized cubes of ice in a halfway blended smoothie.  Uh, ick.

I've started drinking a lot of smoothies, and therefore my blender is getting a lot of workouts.  Smoothies are a great way to get more fruits and vegetables in my diet ... though really, it is the vegetables that I am missing.  I've been pushing my workouts the last couple months trying to "transform my body" to slightly mis-quote Jari Love.  Incidentally, my body type is most like water polo player, Simone Abbate, according to the BBC Olympic app ... or, if my plumbing was different, equestrian Scott Brash.

So gritty, lumpy smoothies were turning me into grumpy, irritated wife who bad mouths the appliances, and the hubby said, "Buy what you want."  Oh, boy, always a dangerous thing to say to the wife.  Of course, this is my "anniversary" present ...

A quick search quickly revealed there are two major players in the American blender market, Blendtec and Vitamix.  Both companies get great reviews, "tend" to produce quality products, and have a substantial warranty (which is good considering how proud they are of their products).

So, I finally settled on a Blendtec DesignerSeries (or Designer Series) for a handful of reasons.  1) Wildside jar - big, but not tall, 2) touch interface! - what can I say, the looks won me over, 3) idiot proof buttons - I really wanted a machine that I walked up to, hit the smoothie button, and Voila! out comes a smoothie, 4) No tamper - I neither need, nor want, another accessory to keep track of, 5) it fits under my kitchen cabinets on the counter, and 6) it was "supposed" to be quieter, although if it is quieter than any other Blendtec blender, I'd recommend hearing protection for all of them!

This is the blender I bought.  It "blends" in well with my counter, and is easy to clean.  A plus since it is getting daily use, and never gets put away.

It has a smooth (and dark) touch surface that is not apparent until you touch it to activate (yes, be aware, this will probably be the first thing to go out on the machine.)

The idiot proof buttons.  I've used the Ice Crush (it gets a 6/10, there are some lumpy pieces of ice left with this button), Smoothie (ah, yes, more smoothies please, no lumpy ice issue, so a 9/10), and now the Soups (used once, and so far 10/10, while I retain the right to change the scoring in future).

That heartbeat signal on the far, lower right is the pulse button.  Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't.

All photographs "borrowed" from Beyond Blenders, which, coincidentally, is where I purchased my blender.  So far (always hedge your bets), I have no complaints about their customer service, shipping, or email processes.

Back to the newest member of the household - Smoothies have been wonderful with this machine.  I'm making a smoothie a day, usually, and it has chowed through everything I've placed in it.

Tonight, I decided to really go crazy and make a soup.  Why soup?  Oh, for various and sundry reasons ... I hadn't used that setting yet, I had found a recipe online, but, ultimately, I wanted to use up some of my ridiculous stash of Indian Spinach.

This is the leaf that my CSA has delivered in large quantities for the last month.  I've tried it in smoothies ... too green, even greener than kale, if you can believe it!  I've tried it in cooked recipes, but it has a weird result.  It was edible in a potato and spinach dish, but just barely.

Indian Spinach is a great summer crop (I assume, since my CSA seems to grow so much of it so easily!), but the leaves are thick, thick, thick, and very mucilaginous (think okra, think aloe vera, think Alien gun goop*, think snot).  And this combination makes the leaf fairly unpalatable, trust me, I've tried.  So I saw this recipe online and thought, "Hm, I don't have half those ingredients, but I bet I could substitute, and I can say I've tried again as I dump the nasty soup into the compost bin."  And honestly, that is what I thought.

So, the recipe ... from Blender Girl - http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/vegan_cream_of_spinach_soup/ - Vegan Cream of Spinach Soup

Here is what I did -
2 cups thick Indian Spinach leaves de-stemmed and coarsely chopped (very coarsely)
1 crook neck squash, diced (around 1 cup)
1/2 cucumber, diced (around 1/2 cup)
4 tsp dried parsley
4 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons roasted, diced garlic
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 packets True Lemon
a dash of salt

Cook the first four ingredients in a pan on medium for five minutes.

Add in broth, garlic, and true lemon, bring to boil, turn down to simmer for 20 minutes.

Carefully! transfer to blender along with cashews, attach lid, push soup button.

Experimentally taste, prepare to make ugly face.  However, ugly face never materialized, this is a surprisingly good tasting recipe.

This makes 6 appetizer sized servings of 43 calories each, via myfitnesspal.

Hey, what can I say.  I made a keeper.

* Exactly where does the "Alien" goop come from (see, pretty much any Alien movie ever made, even AVP)?  The audience always knows "the Alien" has been along that corridor, because of the resultant sticky, goopy mess left behind (usually stuck to a rifle of some type, or gluing the rifle to the floor) and discovered by victim next.  But what I want to know is, what body orifice produces it?  Their saliva seems much more liquidy, and their blood is acidic, not to mention yellow.  So, inquiring, biological minds want to know ... from whence does goop arise?

Don't even get me started on the host cocooning substance.  Maybe those skinny, little, useless looking abdomens are multipurpose???

And this is why it can be scary to release a biologist in the kitchen ...

1 comment:

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