The perfect blend
Bursting with nutrients, full of flavor – there’s nothing like a colourful smoothie to brighten up your day. Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl, shares her secrets.
If there’s anyone who knows a good smoothie, it’s Tess Masters. The Australian cook and actor is best known as The Blender Girl, the mastermind behind the Blender Girl smoothies app and cookbooks. Now living and working in Los Angeles, Tess shares her vibrant blender-based recipes online, passionately spreading her philosophy that nutrient-rich food can be quick, easy and delicious.
We took a moment to chat with Tess about all things blended.
What was your motivation to start creating recipes and your blog?
No matter what your dietary stripes, fresh fruits and vegetables are a boon to health. But, we’re all so busy that it can be challenging to find easy healthy options to nourish our bodies.
Enter the blender, and healthy fast food becomes possible. Blending levels the playing field in the kitchen, and allows anybody to whip up nutrient-dense, tasty foods with limited skills and time. Blending fruits and vegetables makes them more fun, more tasty, and opens up limitless flavor combinations.
I started my blog to help people include more fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, and superfoods in their lifestyle, and to spread the message that healthy food can be quick and delicious.
I also wanted to show people that you can use your blender to make things beyond the expected drinks, smoothies, and soups. I favor blender-inspired dishes—appetizers, snacks, salads, desserts, and easy main dishes you can attack with your trusty knife and fork. The blended components—sauces, spreads, and condiments—play a vital role in these dishes; a delicious pesto or homemade mayo can elevate that basic bowl of pasta or plate of steamed vegetables from bland and boring to brilliant.
My simple and versatile recipes can all be adapted to your personal taste, and tweaked right up to the moment of serving.
What’s your smoothie philosophy?
When I create a smoothie, I want fabulous flavor and nutritional power. Basic smoothies containing liquid, fruits, vegetables, and ice can be yummy, but these simple blends often taste a bit flat and uninteresting.
For me, a smoothie can be a meal, and I love adding fresh herbs, dried spices, leafy greens, cold-pressed oils, and superfood powders to create a dimensional drink that takes me on a flavor journey like a textured dish.
Having said that, some exotic concoctions blend up into what looks like a big glass of death, with an unpalatable sickly tinge and a mealy or sludgy texture. We take the first sip of a smoothie with our eyes, and only hard-core addicts thrill to a rhapsody in brown.
Experimenting with thousands of combinations, I’ve developed a set of strategies for healthy, creamy, or frosty smoothies that look gorgeous, taste amazing, and offer big nutritional bang for your buck. There is a Build Your Own Smoothie chart in The Blender Girl Smoothies book to help you make your own sensational smoothies.
We’ve heard you say smoothies aren’t just for summer! Is there such a thing as a winter smoothie?
Yes! The key to enjoying raw blends containing cooling fruits and vegetables without that undesirable damp feeling in the winter is to add naturally warming ingredients like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, curry powder, cardamom, and peppers like cayenne pepper, green and red chillis, and dried red pepper flakes.
You can also utilise leftover cooked vegetables like steamed beetroot, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower. Savory and spicy gazpacho-style smoothies are also great options in the cold weather. My Grapefruit Fennel smoothie and Chai Tai smoothie are great examples of delicious winter smoothies.
What’s the smoothie recipe you get most positive feedback about?
The most popular smoothie recipe in my book and smoothies app is the Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream-Kale smoothie. I get hundreds of emails a week from former greenophobes hailing it the holy grail of kale. This smoothie is the sexiest and most fun introduction to green smoothies I’ve ever tasted. It’s creamy, sweet, and insanely delicious, and really does taste like ice cream. Not to be missed.
You’ve settled in LA, so for our travel bugs, what are your top 5 things to do when visiting LA?
1. A hike in one of the canyons for breath-taking views – Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon, and the trails from Griffith Observatory are all great options.
2. Take a walking tour of Downtown LA – it’s so rich in history, Art Deco cinemas and theaters, and fabulous eateries.
3. A scenic drive along the coastal road from Venice up along PCH to Malibu and have lunch.
4. A walk along Hollywood Blvd to see the stars on the sidewalk, the Chinese Theater, and have a bite to eat one of the old Hollywood diners, and a drive along Sunset Blvd at night to see the nightlife.
5. Spend a day in Venice with a stroll along Venice Beach for people watching, and some shopping and a bite to eat on Abbott Kinney.