It started by accident. The ultimate winter smoothie, in our book at any rate, is the magical combination of perfectly ripe bananas, soft dates, lime zest and juice, raw honey, plain kefir and ice. While these ingredients are available year-round, they really shine in the winter months.
If you're ever in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, you must stop by Shield's Date Garden. Get a date shake, tour the gardens, learn about the history of date cultivation in the Coachella Valley by watching the 1940's feature film The Romance and Sex Life of the Date, and stock up with a year supply of dates. This may be the only place in America to find such an array of dates under one roof. Our advice is to taste the Abbada and Black Beauty. They are exquisite in texture and flavor.
The beauty of this drink is that you can make a large batch and leave it in the fridge to drink throughout the week. All you have to do is give it a little stir. This recipe serves 2 as a light breakfast, but can easily be doubled or tripled. Adjust the honey, date and lime zest to your taste preference. You may also use plain yogurt instead of kefir. If you are lucky enough to have a Vitamix, use the "Smoothie" setting for an easy preparation.
1 c. plain kefir
zest of 1/2 lime (add a little lime juice if you like more acidity)
1 ripe banana
a good drizzle of raw honey (about 1 tablespoon)
a few ice cubes
4 pitted dates
1. Put the zest and juice in the blender pitcher first. Next, add in yogurt or kefir and follow with remaining ingredients.
2. Blend until nicely incorporated and drizzle a bit more honey on top and a bit of lime zest or date slice to garnish if you're feeling fancy.
Using ingredients fully yields the best results. I learned to cook this way out of economic necessity and found it to be the most rewarding and nourishing way to approach food. It happenst to be the best for the planet too. These recipes are a tribute to my Italian grandfather who inspired the zero-waste philosophy by teaching me how to turn leftover polenta into lasagna.