Archives for posts with tag: Almond milk

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No doubt chia is trending. By now you’ve probably heard it’s packed with fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and, like flax, can be used as an egg substitute for vegan baking. I love it for breakfast, a late-afternoon snack. It’s the new oatmeal. Or yogurt. Or something.

The gelatinous quality of the gel, which is formed by combining the seeds with liquid, slithers and satisfies, but may not be for everyone. My stepmother, when I texted her a photo of the pudding, asked if it was for eating or facials. It took me a while to drink kombucha with chia seeds but now I like the slimy seeds sliding down my throat.

There are infinite substations you can make here, using your favorite spices, berries, sweetener. You could add pepitas, almonds, sunflower seeds; cardamom instead of cinnamon; agave instead of maple syrup. You can add more or less vanilla and cinnamon, to taste. I make this pudding incredibly not sweet, and I’ve had some with no sweetener at all—both are good. Adjust to your taste. You want approximately 1 cup of liquid per 1/4 cup of chia seeds — and beyond that you can decide what kind of milk to use, or yogurt. I like the combination here of almond and coconut milks.

Oh and since the ground is still frozen here in New York, and berries are a mere dream of a food I once tried long ago, I used frozen blueberries here. Worked like a charm. Now thaw, ground, thaw.

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Chia Seed Pudding
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 1/3 cup almond milk (my recipe for homemade here)
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup, more to taste
1/2 cup chia seeds
coconut chips
blueberries

In a blender combine the almond milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup and blend just until smooth. Place the chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl and add the liquid mixture. Stir until combined and let sit for a minimum of a half hour, or as much as overnight. To serve, transfer to a bowl or small jars and layer with the blueberries and coconut chips. Keep refrigerated and eat within a few days.

Pic below from an exhibition on plastic at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass.

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Kehinde Wiley show at the Brooklyn Museum, opened last week.

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Chinese New Year, on Pell Street in New York’s Chinatown last weekend.

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Snow reflecting on the mirror inside La Colombe, some of the best coffee in town. Lafayette Street, New York.

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Yes. I. Did. I so went there. In my last post I solicited ideas for using the leftover almond pulp from making almond milk. And wouldn’t you know my friend Monica wrote in with a great recipe from the Wishful Chef blog. Thank god, because who wants to throw out a pound of perfectly good organic ground-up almonds? Not I. Also, thanks Moni for introducing me to this great blog by a fellow Brooklynite.

So, here goes. One reason I made this, in addition to wanting to use all the leftover almonds, I had all the other ingredients on hand. Flax seeds: check. Coconut oil, almond milk: check, check. I didn’t actually have the two dates called for, but improvised by using dried apricots instead. This is a fast and forgiving recipe—I didn’t even quite measure everything exactly. And feel free to substitute if you don’t have all the right ingredients. No vanilla sugar? Just use sugar and vanilla extract. No coconut oil? You could use walnut oil, grapeseed oil, canola, etc. No dates? Any dried fruit would do.

These are great for a not-so-sweet accompaniment to your late-afternoon tea/coffee run. (Full disclosure: I’ve been eating these for breakfast.) It’s sort of like having almond butter on toast. Sort of. And the dark cocoa powder satisfies chocolate cravings, sans dairy, flour, or eggs. Magic.

While I really like the way these turned out, I will not be bringing them to my grandmother’s on Sunday. I think these definitely fall in the “too scary” category for her taste. Also, they are barely sweet at all. Kiss of death. (More for me.)

Actually, you could add some agave syrup to the mixture to increase the sweetness factor if you want something more desserty, but I kind of like these just the way they are.

Coconut Almond Cookies
Adapted from The Wishful Chef

2 c almond pulp, leftover from making almond milk
2 dates (or apricots, prunes, etc.) chopped and soaked in 2 tbsp hot water, then mashed to a pulp
1/2 c dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1/3 c almond milk
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tbsp vanilla sugar (or 2 tbsp raw cane sugar plus 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp agave syrup, optional
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll mixture into balls using about 1 tbsp of dough. Flatten out with the back of a fork, and bake for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

So I was at my happy place yesterday afternoon (the PSFC, which you should know by now is the Park Slope Food Cult), slicing a wheel of Humboldt Fog, bantering with my fellow workers about topics ranging from: if the quality of red meat continues to improve with grass-fed beef and small farmers, will overall meat consumption rise? How to make french toast with tofu instead of bread (tell ya later). And using Tuesday’s general meeting on the Israeli boycott as a venue for one’s performance art. In other words, we were a parody of ourselves, what Samantha Bee called “a diverse group of NPR listeners.” (If you haven’t seen the Daily Show clip on the co-op, click here.)

My little crew of Week-A Friday food processing workers is a delightful bunch of folks including the NYC Bikram Yoga champion; a journalist exposing a cover-up at Fukushima; an event planner organizing a 1,500-person NYC Easter egg hunt next weekend; a midwife; writing professor; and metal-worker jewelry designer. We come together once every four weeks to wrap cheese, package dried mango, and debate things like the Pfizer birth control recall and the best new burger joint in the Slope, for precisely 2 hours and 45 minutes.

We started talking about almond milk and one woman mentioned making her own. I’ve been wanting to try this since I go through about a quart a week and, well, generally prefer making to buying. She told me her method, I committed it to memory, and after our shift I bought about one pound of raw, unsalted almonds, the only ingredient you really need. This is the easiest thing I’ve made for this blog yet (except maybe for one of my first posts, last April, on Vermont Iced Coffee.)

The benefits of homemade almond milk are more about flavor than cost effectiveness. In fact it may even cost more to make it yourself, even when buying from the co-op’s bulk bins, but not much. The price I paid was $4.21 per pound (for organic), and you need about 1 pound of almonds to yield one quart of almond milk, whereas buying a pre-made quart is usually $2 to $3. But the flavor is incomparable. This homemade stuff is rich, creamy, not watery, with a very distinct almond flavor. Buy your almonds from a place with high turnover. Nuts go rancid rather quickly; they should be as fresh as possible, I wouldn’t really bother with stale almonds. The resulting flavor is so good, and texture so smooth, I will definitely finish this quart before next week.

One more thing, in order to do this, you need a powerful blender, preferably one with at least 1,000 watts of power. A VitaMix is ideal, although expensive I know (but such a good investment); I use the Ninja blender I got a few months ago, which makes amazing green smoothies and blends everything from ice to vegetables in seconds.

You can adjust the amount of water in the recipe below depending on how thick you’d like the results. These proportions will give you a creamy-ish milk but not all that thick. Get blending!

Homemade Almond Milk

1 pound (about 3 cups) raw, unsalted almonds
3 cups water (for soaking) plus 2 more cups
a few drops of vanilla extract
tiny pinch of salt (optional)

Place the almonds in a bowl or pot and add the 3 cups of water. Cover with a lid, and let soak for at least 12 hours.

Place the almonds and their soaking liquid in a blender and blend until creamy. Halfway through blending, add the vanilla and about 2 more cups of water, gradually. This will take anywhere between, say, one and two minutes depending on your blender.

Line a large bowl with cheesecloth (or, I used a reusable cloth produce bag) and place the contents of the blender (liquid, almond pulp, and all) into the cheesecloth or bag, over the bowl. Strain the mixture into the bowl, squeezing all the liquid out. You’ll be left with quite a bit of almond pulp – I’m taking suggestions on what to do with this since it seems like a shame to just throw out.

Ode to Milk Thistle Farm – paying tribute by using their old glass bottle to store my almond milk. (I mention here how they sadly went out of business recently.)

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