Friday, February 18, 2011

Compotes for Thought: Bringing the Blending Back

Since acquiring the Magic Bullet, I am blending more than ever (ever being never, since the mere thought of a standard blender's cleanup was far too daunting for me). Smoothies, dips, hummus, sauces; you name it, I mix it. I am especially fond of  these compote combos that I discovered, as usual, by what was available in my cupboard. (Yes, I am owning my completely circumstantial cooking method.) The findings will astound you! Okay, a tad exaggerated, but fun and flavorful nonetheless. Even if you don't have a Magic Bullet, any blender or good ol' fashioned hand-mixing 'n' mashing will suffice. Try these simple concoctions to get your puree fix:

Beets and Cauliflower 
    • FLAVOR: fresh ginger, black pepper, paprika, garlic cloves, fresh lemon juice, touch of red wine vinegar
    • PREP: Cook the cauliflower to soften for easier blending (steam, roast, boil - they all work). Same goes for the beets if you use fresh ones. I find the canned work just fine, and it saves you the red-handed mess.
    Avocado and Calabaza (Spanish pumpkin)
    • FLAVOR: fresh basil, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, fresh lime juice, touch of fresh orange juice
    • PREP: Ripe avocado out of its skin, as is. Same as the cauliflower, cook the calabaza until tender, removing the skin before blending.

    Yellow Squash and Ripe Plantain* 
    • FLAVOR: curry powder, cumin, black pepper, garlic cloves, fresh lemon juice, touch of red wine vinegar
    • PREP:  Wrap both in aluminum foil and bake in the oven at around 400 degrees F for 30 mins/until extremely soft. Skin can stay on the squash but definitely peel the plantain!
    • NON-BLENDED ITEMS: after mixing the above ingredients, add texture by folding in diced tomatoes and onions (very fresh salsa-esque!)
    *I've also substituted the sweet plantain with sweet corn and it works just as well!

    And there you have it, just a few magical mixtures that hold their own as main-meal sides, saucy toppers, ready-for-dippers, and even true stand alones, ala baby-food style (wherein the Spanish word compota is so apropos). And the best part is -  it gets better? yes. - you can play with any and every combination that flutters to your blending brain. The aforementioned are of course, just ideas to get that train truckin'. So I say unto you, in the words of my uncle (props to you if you got that Iron Chef allusion): BE BOLD AND BLEND.