Taste: Spiraling Into Control

smoothie_allegretto_vineyard_resort[Image: Courtesy of Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres]If the operative word for December is “party,” its January counterpart would have to be “cleanse.” Fortunately, Chef Eric Olsen is prepared to help post-holiday guests do just that with his detoxifying yet delicious recipes, which are served at Allegretto Vineyard Resort by Ayres in Paso Robles, California. Here, Olsen reigns over the kitchen at the resort’s fine-dining restaurant, Cello. Among the health-conscious chef’s creatively eye-catching and system-cleansing offerings is his Spirulina Smoothie.

The properties of spirulina, a blue-green algae, have been harnessed in everything from skin care to nutritional powders. “It was consumed by the Aztecs back in the day, but became popular again when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space and eaten by astronauts,” explains Olsen, who swears by the ingredient’s detoxifying and energizing abilities. Others apparently agree. “I notice that the vitamins sold at truck stops have spirulina in them,” the chef remarks. “Maybe that’s what they mean by ‘keep on trucking!’”

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The smoothie itself is a vegan-friendly, and gluten- and pesticide-free solution for Allegretto visitors, especially after a few days of exploring Paso Robles’ vineyards. “Some of our guests overindulge in this wonderful wine country, so they love to wake up to something fresh and healthy,” says Olsen. “I drink this to ward off colds and flus. Chefs work long hours and get run down, so this provides a nice energy boost!”

Spirulina Smoothie

Yields two 6-oz. servings

2 cups sliced frozen organic bananas

3/4 cup organic apple cider

2 tsp. spirulina powder 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. blue agave

Place all ingredients in a bar blender and blend well. If mixture is too thick, add 1/4 cup apple cider and continue to mix to a smooth consistency. Pour into glasses adorned with edible flowers and banana slices (optional).

–by Linda Kossoff

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