Instant coolness can be a very enticing thing when it's hot outside! This is a refreshing tropical layered smoothie, with four different unusual flavors. All you need are a blender and a short list of ingredients- ice, milk and cream, maple syrup and four flavor bases. My favorite things about this are that it only takes minutes to make, and that it gives me an opportunity to enjoy some unique flavors that I don't have all the time and that I love. Also, while many smoothies are fruit based and require fresh or frozen fruit to be on hand, this smoothie uses flavor bases that last ‘forever’ in refrigerator or pantry- coconut milk, green tea, red bean paste and thai tea. They are neither expensive or (generally) hard to find, most or all available in a well stocked Chinese, Korean or Japanese market. Once your ingredients are measured, it takes only minutes to assemble the smoothie, and you can just as well make only one or two flavors- whatever you prefer!
In creating this, I wanted to give a playful nod to the very old Japanese culinary tradition called Kaiseki. I chose the four smoothie flavor layers to be Asian and to represent the four seasons for the maple: White (coconut) is Winter; Red (red bean paste) is Spring, with its fiery red foliage; Green (green tea powder) is Summer; and Orange (Thai tea powder) is Autumn. I first learned about Japanese kaiseki cuisine, where food and art are one, 30 years ago. While it is not a part of my daily culinary life, I continue to be fascinated by it and to hold it in reverance, like any great art that requires years of study and practice to master.
* By the way, even to just begin to approximate kaiseki principles, each smoothie flavor would be presented in its own one-of-a-kind handmade pottery dish, with a leaf or flower or other element representing that season. The flavors would not be presented together; rather, each would accompany a special meal celebrating that particular season. The minimal room appointments and the server's clothing would also reflect that season! (Maybe think about kaiseki when you plan your next theme party?!)
photos to follow
—LE BEC FIN