Sometimes the best laid plans get up and walk away — and I’m not talking about when these Pernod-soaked figs self-flambéed as I turned off the heat. (Note to self: use a taller pan next time.)
I’m talking about my BIG plans for my 200th gourmet smoothie — the one where I’d finally stop the smoothie madness.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I’ve got a little love affair going on with smoothies.
When I started the Gourmet Smoothie Project in the summer of 2010, I didn’t have a plan.
It was hot… I was thirsty… and there was a gorgeous melon on my counter… so I made a Melon + Peach + Chai smoothie.
The next day, I made another one: Strawberry + Basil + Lime.
Before I knew it, I’d made 199 gourmet smoothies.
(You can see a good chunk of them in my Flickr Smoothie Set.)
I had big plans for a fantastic, final smoothie. Number 200.
It was going to be epic.
It was going to be boozy. (Why not? It’s the holidays.)
To make my gourmet smoothies, I pilfer my packed pantry, experimenting with ingredients such as pink peppercorns, lavender buds, juniper berries, and rose water.
I study my chef comrades, stealing their ideas, such as a Honeydew + Hatch Green Chile + Lime smoothie, based on a chilled soup I slurped at Chef Joshua Hebert’s Posh restaurant in Scottsdale.
Recently, had a dessert with Sambuca macerated figs and a bit of orange, draped over a ricotta cheesecake. The cheesecake was so-so, but the figs were outrageous. I didn’t have Sambuca, but I had Pernod, the French substitute for absinthe that tastes of licorice.
Perfect! So I set about to make (and document) my final smoothie. But I forgot the crucial element one should consider in a final anything.
Does it blow me away and scream “That’s IT!” ?
This one? Eh, not so much. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s very tasty.
Thick and boozy, figgy and orangey.
On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a solid 8.
In my head, though, this one was a 10. It sounded like a 10, but as it turns out, it tastes like an 8.
There’s nothing wrong with that. I have had plenty of 8’s I’ve been thrilled with and still make because they are really delicious, for example, the Pineapple + Black Pepper + Saffron and the Papaya + Coconut + Curry.
But I can’t quit on an 8.
So, I’ve decided this will not be my last smoothie. No way. Ain’t gonna happen.
Smoothie # 200: Fig + Pernod + Orange
Here it is — #200 — a very good smoothie — just not the final one.
Makes 2-1/2 cups: enough for 2 large or 4 small servings
2-1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) dried Mission figs, stems removed and halved
1/3 cup Pernod
Bring figs and Pernod to a vigorous simmer in a tall saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer 1 minute and then turn off the heat. Set aside to cool. Figs will soak up some of the liquor, but not all of it. Chill figs (with liquid) until ready to use.
1-1/4 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
Figs from above (with liquid)
Leaves from 2 (4-inch) sprigs of tarragon
1 tablespoon Pernod
Place all ingredients (in the order listed) and puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Note: If you substitute Sambuca for the Pernod, use slightly less (1/4 cup with the figs, and 1 teaspoon at the end), as it is a much stronger tasting licorice flavor and much sweeter liquor than Pernod.