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Home Front: Taste of the Tropics

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Kachkchkchkchk. Whirrrrrr.

That's the sound of the 45th margarita you've consumed this summer. Your blender is bored, you know. It's so over pi¤a coladas and corn-syrupy daiquiris. It wants to make something a little more exotic, a lot more refreshing.

Batidos were manna when I was a broke, beach-bound student in Costa Rica. After too many meals of beans and beer,

we gave our few colones to

roadside vendors, who would cut fresh fruit and whirl it with whole milk in a blender. The result was a frothy, cool, rich, sweet drink you felt could sustain you all day.

The recipe:

Slice 1 cup fruit -- mango, papaya, pineapple, banana or, best of all, guanabana pulp, if you can find it. (Guanabana is a spiky green fruit with a heavenly flavor.) Add 1 cup milk. Blend.

Modify as you wish. You can freeze the fruit first or add ice. You can use skim milk, mix fruits, add vanilla, sugar or lime. Or, to give your poor blender a break, visit Café Cuba in Stratford Hills for an authentic rendition of the beverage.

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