What am I eating? Homemade Almond Milk

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Image courtesy of tasty-yummies.com

In a bid to try new things and learn about how to prepare fresher foods, I came across the idea of making my own nut milk. This is not a new idea by any stretch of the imagination, but new to me. I was always under the impression that doing things like making your own nut milk or coconut butter required a lot of machines, know-how, and time. All of which I am in short supply of. I do like almond milk from the store, but I find that I am getting really picky with it. If it isn’t one particular brand that I like it tastes metallic and almond milk is not supposed to taste like a copper penny right? bleh.

13701634563_457dec5e49_z.jpgA few days ago, I found a very easy guide (which I will post below) and gave it a go. What came out was the most delicious creamy wonderful almond milk I have ever had. I am digging it, plus it is fun to try out new and sometimes better ways of doing things. Give it a try. If you can use a blender you can do this. Pistachio milk?! Yes, please!

 

 

 

 

 

How To Make Various Milks

Homemade Nut Milk
makes 1 quart

  • 1-2 cups raw unsalted organic nuts*
  • 4 cups filtered or purified water

Optional:

  • pinch of himalayan sea salt (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoon local raw honey or other sweetener (optional)
  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

1) Soak your nuts and vanilla bean (if you are using one) for at the appropriate amount of time (see above chart for appropriate soaking times)

2) Discard soaking water and rinse your nuts and the vanilla bean.

3) Place soaked nuts, the whole soaked vanilla bean (you can chop it up or split it open if you wish) or vanilla extract, honey (or other sweetener), a dash of sea salt and 4 cups of water in a blender. Cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. It will be milky and have a bit of foam on the top.

4) Strain milk through a nut bag and squeeze into a bowl. (see my suggestions below on what I use)

SERVE.

I Try a Boston Cooler

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Image from atlasobscura.com

Once again, in my attempt to try the unusual I came across a “recipe” for this drink on one of my favorite sites, atlasobscura.com In a section called gastro obscura people write in on local favorites of their homes. A Northeastern treat of the US is a soda shake that is made from ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. Sometimes blended, often times just a float. It is a spicy and foamy treat that is perfect on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Normally this treat is made with Vernor’s Ginger Ale, but I couldn’t find any after visiting three grocery stores so I settled for a locally made spicy ale that was made with real sugar instead of corn syrup. Pretty good stuff. It is delicious, and I think I prefer it to the famous root beer float that is so popular in the United States. Root beer lends itself to tasting rather medicine like, while good ginger ale is spicy and creamy. Definitely try it if you can find a good ginger ale, or make your own. (Which is another adventure entirely)

 

The recipe is taken from https://www.geniuskitchen.com/

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ginger ale (Vernors is the best)
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Pour ginger ale in very large glass.
  2. Add 1 large scoop of ice cream.
  3. It will foam quite a bit. You may add more ginger ale or ice cream, to suit your taste.
  4. Enjoy!

What am I Eating? Sour Cherry Jam

It’s my jam…

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Excellent cherry porn courtesy of Sugarlovespices.com

In my personal quest to try all 1001 Foods before you die list, I have come across both the exotic and the more mundane. However, what is ordinary to one person is downright unapproachable or extraordinary to another. That is why this little quest is so much fun. There is so much to learn about and experience in this world, and while I get to taste all sorts of different things, I also try to learn a little about what I am trying so I have some context.

Sour cherry jam is one of the more mundane foods on the list, but no less delicious. It has an absolutely extraordinary flavor. Basically, a cherry pie shoved into a jam jar minus the crust. Who likes the crust anyway? This type of jam is about as “cherry” a flavor as it can come. I want to put it on ice cream, and bread, and my face.. oh um. Not really the bread. I am gluten intolerant. But you get the idea…

I came across this recipe for a fancyfied version of Sour Cherry Jam, and it looks incredible. The method can be found on SugarLovesSpices It takes something delicious, the basic jam recipe, and adds booze to it which makes it more delicious. Boozy = more delicious, usually. Maybe that’s just me, but pairing Grand Marnier, lemon and cherries seem like a heavenly combination.

Sour Cherry Jam with Lemon and Grand Marnier

  • 6 cups sour cherries, washed, dried and pitted
  • 2.5 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 lemon, the juice
  • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
  1. Wash jars and lids and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 250° F. Let dry for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Stir together cherries and sugar in a large saucepan. Add lemon juice and Grand Marnier.
  3. Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the foam on top
  5. Cook for about 40 minutes.
  6. Loosely blend with a hand blender.
  7. Ladle jam into warm jars, wiping the rims and close tightly.

Oh, holy crap… FEED ME SEYMORE

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Gianduja – Nutella’s Sexier and More Sophistcated Older Brother

#968 of the 1001 Things to Eat Before You Die – Gianduja

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Image courtesy of Betterwithlemon

I selected this little recipe of excellent as my first list item to formally attempt, Gianduja,  because it is near and dear to my heart. I lived in the Piedmont region of Italy for three months on an educational trip. I love the cuisine of that area, the fresh fish, and the food festivals. It was one of the greatest summers of my life. Enter idea to finish the 1001 things to eat before you die list. I have been privately and gleefully marking these off for years, but I have decided to make a more constructive leap towards finishing.

Gianduja

Type Chocolate
Place of origin Italy
Region or state TurinPiedmont
Main ingredients Chocolate, hazelnut paste
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A most unholy pair: chocolate with hazelnuts.

What It Is

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I know, DAMN. Piedmont, Italy

According to Wikipedia, “Gianduja or gianduia (Italian: [dʒanˈduːja];[1] Piemontesegianduja [dʒanˈdʊja]) is a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30 % hazelnut paste, invented in Turin during Napoléon’s regency (1796–1814). The Continental System – imposed by Napoleon in 1806 – prevented British goods from entering European harbors under French control and put a strain on cocoa supplies.[2] A chocolatier in Turin named Michele Prochet extended the little chocolate he had by mixing it with hazelnuts from the Langhe hills south of Turin.[3] Based on Gianduia, Turin-based chocolate manufacturer Caffarel invented Gianduiotto in 1852.[4] It takes its name from Gianduja, a Carnival and marionette character who represents the archetypal Piedmontese, a native of the Italian region where hazelnut confectionery is common.”

Thoughts

It is crazy to me that I didn’t taste this while I was there. I even went to a slow food event at our castle, they had may local delicacies, but this wasn’t one of them. From my reading, Gianduja is the older, sexier, more sophisticated big brother of what we know as mass marketed Nutella. Having been a Nutella aficionado for many years, I am excited to make the comparison. Also, the recipe seems pretty straightforward. The words “Straightforward” and “great” seem to be synonymous with food during wartime dishes. Which is interesting to me for entirely different recipes. Looks very minimalistic.

Recipe

2 cups skinned hazelnuts
cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pound semisweet chocolate (55 to 65 percent cacao), roughly chopped into chunks
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt

1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they are fragrant; cool.

2. In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts and sugar for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they form a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times with a spatula as the mixture thickens.

3. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and set a large heatproof bowl on the saucepan to cover it; it should not touch the water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and let it sit, stirring occasionally, until chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the heat. Wipe the bottom dry.

4. Stir in the butter until it melts completely. Add the cream and salt and mix until incorporated. Stir in the hazelnuts. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until cool. It will firm and turn into a spreadable consistency similar to cream cheese. Keep covered and chilled until serving. Gianduia can be refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Remove a spoonful from the container and let it soften at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

Recipe courtesy of : The Boston Globe

Conclusion

Holy crap on a cracker Batman, this is good! I want to unhinge my jaw and swallow the entire bowl. But I won’t because I am a lady.
It literally shames Nutella and tells it to take its ball and go home. My only caveat is that you absolutely need a blender capable of making nut butter. I have no such mixer, so mine was a little grainy from the hazelnuts. Who cares! Grainy is the new black, or whatever.  It is amazingly good. Make it, bring it to your friends’ houses, so they like you more. Give it to your boss, so she gives you a raise. Wow.