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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fresh fig and banana smoothie

After the Labor Day festivities have concluded, there is a noticeable shift in the air in New York City. Street side parking resumes its notorious status of being (at best) frustrating and (at worst) downright impossible. The carefree people on the subway sporting sundresses, sandals and weekend bags have been replaced with sightly glummer-looking (albeit tan) professionals. The facebook statuses have shifted from idyllic photos of sandy toes set on the backdrop of a glistening ocean to posts about the inevitable, but unwelcome, end to summer and the resumption of school, work, or just normal life.

When it becomes tempting to slump over and wave goodbye to an always too short summer, I remind myself of the wonderful things that this season can bring; more of those refreshingly cooler days, the start of football season (go Giants ... and Bengals!) and what I feel is the best harvest time of the year.

The warm weather will, at the least, stretch on for a couple more weeks and, with that, we will continue to have an abundance of late summer tomatoes, corn and zucchini. The transition between summer and fall also brings forth crops that required all summer to develop and ripen to perfection, like eggplant, red peppers and figs.

I will share a few of my favorite recipes for ways to use this late summer bounty. But, first, I want to share a super easy way to use one of my absolute favorite fruit, figs. Figs are in season from the late summer through fall. They are wonderful for snacking, in salads and desserts, but also in somewhat more unexpected places, like smoothies. In this recipe, if it could even be referred to as such, I blend figs with a banana and a handful of spinach for an oddly satisfying and healthful drink. While the spinach will change the color of the drink, trust me, you won't even taste it and it is an easy opportunity to sneak in a few extra leafy greens to your diet.

Fig and banana smoothie
I use a frozen banana, versus a fresh banana, so as to eliminate the need for ice, which can water down the smoothie.

Yield: 1 smoothie

6-8 medium black figs
1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup cold water
handful of fresh baby spinach leaves

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, adding a little extra water if it is too thick.