May is peach season in Arizona. Sometimes it spills into early June, but when we see the first “local” sign hanging off a box of peaches at the corner grocer, or see that tweet from local peach growers, we all know it’s time to act fast. Our season is over almost as soon as it begins.
In June of 2010, I started a smoothie project, by accident, honestly. It was hot and I had gorgeous fruit on my counter, including local peaches and melons. One thing led to another and since then I’ve concocted more than 300 gourmet smoothies, all posted on social media. I’ve posted a few recipes here and here and here. Edible Phoenix wrote a story about them when they launched their Drinkables section.
I’m always dreaming up new flavor combinations. For inspiration I look to my pantry, filled with an ungodly number of spices and dried herbs. I think about smoothies when I see desserts, wondering if I can use the same flavors a pastry chef dreamed up for a pie in my yogurt-based smoothie. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
And sometimes I outsmart myself, like I did this past week. I had gorgeous Schnepf Farms peaches, so I rummaged around in my pantry and found Aleppo pepper. It’s a Turkish spice, although the chile is named after the Syrian city of Aleppo. It reminds me of what an ancho (dried poblano) would taste like if it was spritzed with a squirt of lemon as it dried — smoky and tart.
Building on the Middle Eastern theme, I dug up a tiny box of Iranian saffron my husband brought back from a business trip to Turkey. I was jazzed about this new flavor combination: Peach + Aleppo + Saffron!
I made the smoothie, tasted it and fell in love.
I keep a running list of all the smoothies I’ve created, but it’s not very well organized — it’s just a word document. Silly me didn’t search the document first. If I had, I would have discovered I made this exact combination on May 19 of 2011.
Yep. My new creation was technically Gourmet Smoothie #131…. not #304.
Back to the drawing board, I quickly came up with another peach smoothie I’d not done before and sent that out via social media. Not that anyone would have noticed. If I can’t keep track of what I’ve done, no one can. So this summer I plan to get that list organized. Maybe I’ll write some more posts about the ones that knocked my socks off.
In the meantime, here’s the recipe for Gourmet Smoothie 131:
- 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
- 12 - 13 ounces (~2 medium) peaches
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
- Pinch saffron (between 1/16 & ⅛ teaspoon)
- Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender if necessary. Serve immediately. (Makes about 2-3/4 cups)
P.S. If you are interested in seeing more of my gourmet smoothies, check out my Flickr smoothie photostream.