I went to Reading Terminal Market at noon on a Friday because I am a sado-masochist with a death/murder-wish. I had just crossed the street into the market after having visited the Philadelphia Horticulture Society’s Annual Flower Show where I had made friends with a butterfly that reminded me of the beauty of fragility and gentleness.
But do you know what ruined my butterfly-inspired chill? HOARDS of tourists inside Reading Terminal. And they don’t know where anything is, so they’re just slowly wandering around aimlessly talking about all the good smells. I want to grab them by the shoulders and yell, DON’T YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET A CHEESESTEAK AT ANY PIZZA SHOP WITHIN A 50-MILE RADIUS OF THIS PLACE??? But instead, I channeled the butterfly as I flapped my elbows at them on my way to the groceries and the broccoli rabe sausage stuffed Amish pretzels, which were my market goals.
After my pretzel, I went to Iovine Brothers for produce, where I got a container of strawberries for $1, which probably means that they’re going to go bad in like 4 hours. I was then enticed by a game of “How to eat a container of strawberries by yourself in one day.”
At first, I thought, milkshake! But I don’t have any ice cream. Sad face. Then I got a craving for that sickly sweet Nestle Quik Strawberry Milk I used to drink as a kid. You know, the one that tastes like a mix of sugar and pink Starbursts.
I combined my cravings into one super-craving for a batido (known in some countries as a licuado), which is a smoothie-like drink they make in many Latin American countries using fresh fruit and milk (in Brazil I think they use condensed milk and also spike it with Cachaça, a cultural practice I wholeheartedly endorse). I once had a passionfruit batido in Costa Rica that might have been the best thing I’ve ever had in my life. But this strawberry one is good too.
And because I’m fancy I added some aromatics, in this case tarragon because that’s what I had and because it tastes real nice with strawberry, but you could add basil or mint leaves instead – they also complement strawberries, IMO. Tarragon, however, is particularly special because it is so sweet and buttery. You could also forgo the herbs and experiment with a bit of cracked black pepper.
And let’s also get this part out of the way: you can make a batido with any fruit that blends nicely (in this case “nicely” means it doesn’t separate when you blend it) – mango, banana, raspberry, blueberry, peach – if you think it would taste good with milk. Just adjust the sugar content and which herbs you use based on your fruit. This is a great recipe to have in your pocket for a beach weekend – to make something special and refreshing and healthy and hydrating that doesn’t require an extensive ingredient list and uses up fruit that might be on its way out.
Now, there is an advisory note: this recipe tastes strawberry-y, but if you want a more intense strawberry flavor, you should cook the strawberries with some sugar for a little bit to condense the flavor (and then forgo the agave). You’d be making a compote. I didn’t have time for that, and plus I liked the fresh strawberry flavor.
Makes 1 large batido
6-7 very ripe strawberries (more if they’re small), washed and hulled (you could also use frozen berries and skip the ice)
3-4 cubes of ice
1 cup whole milk (you can use whatever you like here, but I wanted something decadent)
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract (mine is homemade, because I’m an asshole like that, but try to use a real extract rather than a synthetic vanillin)
1-2 tsp raw agave syrup (or sugar)
1/2 tsp finely chopped tarragon
Combine all ingredients into a blender or Nutribullet and blend until smooth and frothy. Batido should be cold but not frozen. Enjoy!