I have had the most abysmal time baking this week! First, I tried out the Mint Bars recipe from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook. I was… not a fan. So much not a fan that I ended up throwing out the entire recipe, minus the few bites that my husband and I took to sample. I will go into more depth on the subject when I publish a successful recipe from that cookbook (as I’m sure there will be one; the Mint Bars just weren’t my bag).
Then, this past weekend, I tried to riff on the Black Bottom Lemon Pie in the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book by using tangerines, because I had some beautiful ones lying around that I wanted to use up. It was for my mom’s belated birthday celebration. Unfortunately, I tried to rush through it because her birthday get-together was planned rather last minute. So there wasn’t enough time for the crust to totally cool or the ganache to totally set up, and on top of that, the custard took much longer than anticipated to finish in the oven. I popped it in the freezer to try to chill it faster because my three-year-old nephew kept whining, “I want pie! Is the pie done? PIIIIIIIE!”
There were resultant textural issues (duh), but even the flavor wasn’t to my liking. Again, into the trash went several slices of pie, and my family members satisfied their sweet teeth on store-bought FatBoy ice cream sandwiches that my father had smuggled into my freezer.
After two baking fails in one week, I was feeling uninspired and, quite frankly, sugared-out. I like to make green smoothies for breakfast because I often forget to eat vegetables at non-dinner meals. A green smoothie is like a salad in a cup! For this smoothie I combined it with other breakfast staples: fresh orange juice (well, tangerine juice, really) and yogurt. I prefer to use Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain yogurt, because we always have a big tub of it for cooking and the full-fat stuff helps keep my hunger at bay. Also, since it’s plain, I can control the amount of sugar I’m adding to my smoothies.
Actually, not only can I control the amount of sugar I add, but I can control the flavor of sugar I add. I’m starting to accumulate quite the collection of flavored sugars. Rosemary sugar, vanilla bean, citrus, ginger… plus a few varieties my mother-in-law bought me for my birthday! Since I hate wasting the rind of a citrus fruit when I juice it, I grated the peels of the tangerines before slicing them open. I pulsed the zest together with some sugar, used a bit of it in my smoothie, and saved the rest in a jar. It turns such a gorgeous pale yellow color and it smells amazing. I can’t wait to put it into something else.
The smoothie itself is simple (as smoothies should be), and even though you can’t taste the spinach, it’s still in there working its magic, making you strong like Popeye. An added bonus about this smoothie: it’s made entirely of green, white, and orange ingredients… like the Irish flag! So Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (I wonder if Popeye has any Irish heritage?)
- zest from 2 tangerines (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup tangerine juice (from about 2 tangerines)
- ½ cup milk (any fat content)
- ½ cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Tangerine Sugar
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together tangerine zest and sugar until combined and the sugar turns pale yellow. Transfer to a jar, seal, and store.
- Combine spinach, tangerine juice, milk, yogurt, and Tangerine Sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth and all the spinach has liquefied. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.