Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I'm back in the habit of freezing bananas

Sorry we've been gone for so long! A busy month turned into a busy summer, turned into a hectic fall, and here we are... But we've still been dining on Wednesdays (fish tacos with lemon olive relish, juicy burgers, gluten-free duck quiche!) and loving food all the same, which means we have lots of exciting things to report. If anyone is still out there, that is.

You can tell from the sunny photo above that my return to posting is taking us back a couple of months, not quite to the beginning of our silence here, but to one of the last beautifully warm weekends in September. However, I promise that this recipe will be useful even now when we no longer have unexpectedly hot afternoons to deal with.

Ever find yourself emerging on a weekend morning (or afternoon) dreaming of a thick, cool, smoothie, but knowing coffee also has to be a part of the waking up? I do. Which leaves me walking down Davie street juggling a Jugo Juice in one hand and a cup of espresso in the other. It's a little awkward.

Someone else must have had this same problem, because they created the perfect, inspired solution and put it on a juice bar menu in Cowichan Bay. They combined the coffee and the smoothie. Genius. I wouldn't have thought it was possible. Not only that but it's dairy free, and has no bad stuff in it at all.

I can't remember what the cafe (it's actually a cafe/gallery/ecoventure center) called it, but it was so perfect I had to go back for another one the next day. Darryl and I got to know the friendly girl who worked there. I sent my Mom and my sister there the next weekend, and they were hooked too. Then my sister came to visit and we recreated it in my kitchen. It woke us up every day for a week.

So, to the Liquid Cafe & Juice Bar in Cowichan Bay – I owe you big time for improving my mornings. I promise I'll visit again next summer.

Until you can get there yourself, here's what to do once you freeze those bananas:

Combine in a blender:
1 shot espresso* (I use one of those little stove-top espresso makers – if you don't have one, you could probably just brew a small amount of strong coffee for this)
1 frozen banana (I break each banana into 4 pieces before freezing, for easier blending)
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
a generous splash of soy milk
a handful of ice cubes

Blend until smooth, thick, and icy (if your blender has an ice crush setting, use that). Pour into a big glass and drink with a straw.

* If I have time, I cool it a little while in an ice bath (pour the espresso into a little cup and place this inside a bowl of ice water).
Liquid Cafe & Juice Bar
1721 Cowichan Bay Road
Cowichan Bay, BC, V0R 1N0

If you make the trip to Cowichan Bay, make sure you go to Hillary's Artisan Cheese and True Grain Bread and Mill. There's so much awesome food stuff going on on Vancouver Island right now. Another post coming soon on the epic food and wine adventure my Mom and I had in the area in August. Can't let the decadent days of the past four months go unshared!

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