As a food writer, cook and an urban farmer, most people assume I eat well all the time. It is my job to test recipes, eat out and harvest seasonal produce and any day finds me doing any combination of these work tasks. While it is likely true that I do eat well (comparatively speaking) for someone who grows and cooks food for a living I am often astonished at my poor nutrition. There are plenty of occasions where I will skip a meal, forget to drink water the entire day or succumb to ‘Popcorn Dinners’ because I am too tired or lazy to cook after a long day running around. Breakfast, for the most part, is my downfall. My mornings are full with answering emails and getting organized for my day, a cup of coffee in hand. It is often the case that I’m flying out the door, laptop in one hand, bow rake in another before I remember that I forgot to eat. I hate those mornings because inevitably, I’m already late and don’t have time. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t even like breakfast. I never have. Eating a meal in the morning is often too much for my stomach and if anything, I want something light and digestible, especially because we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When I’m in a rush or don’t feel like sitting down to eat, I whip up a nutritionally dense and super easy breakfast-on-the-go – a batido.
Batidos are chilled drinks made with fruit and milk. I add some fiber to mine by shaking in flax meal and every so often, I’ll add a raw egg. Yes, a raw egg. Eggs add protein and calories to an already light meal and also give the ‘shake’ body and froth. I make certain to purchase eggs from local, organic farmers and I’m still alive to tell you about it so I must be doing something right. Just try it – you’ll like it. This is one of my favorite batido combinations and it's perfect for winter, as it relies on dried fruit and flower buds - both available in the bulk section of your local co-op.
Excerpted from Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen By Amy Pennington, Skipstone 2010
Fig & Flower Batido
1/2 cup milk 4 dried or fresh figs, quartered 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers (optional) 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed Spoonful of flax meal 4 ice cubes
Combine the ingredients for your chosen combination in a blender and whiz on the lowest setting for 2 minutes or so. After the ice is fairly broken up, switch to a higher speed (purée or liquefy) for 3 to 4 minutes. Letting your blender run this long ensures that you won’t be stuck sucking on big ice cubes and that you’ll incorporate enough air to make the drink fluffy, so it feels like a proper frozen drink. Pour into a glass or a to-go thermos and hit the ground running.
Pantry Note: Adding fresh herbs or flower leaves to batidos is not only delicious, but adds a new flavor for your palate. Try mint, scented geranium, or garden roses. Flax meal is used only as an addition of fiber, so feel free to omit if you prefer.