Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Musings and Raw Almond Milk

Today my kitchen has been a flurry of activity.  As some of you may know, I'm working on making all the recipes in my vegan/vegetarian cookbook over...with photographs this time.  Fingers remain crossed that I have found a publisher!  Anyway, I seem to be cranking out dishes and photos faster than I can write the posts.  Of course, I'm not posting ALL my secrets because then no one would buy my cookbook.

I started out this morning by making more raw almond milk since I used up the last batch this morning in my green smoothie.  I had soaked the almonds over night so they'd be ready this morning.  In case anyone does not know how to make raw nut milks...I'll explain.  Its terribly simple...not really a recipe at all.  I will give a bit of advice on raw nut milks though, they spoil quickly!  I only make what I know I can use in 3 days...MAX!  Beyond that, they begin to get a funky smell and even funkier taste and thats just...well...bad ju ju. 

To make about 2 cups of raw almond (or any nut) milk, I start with 1/2 cup of whole unpeeled raw organic almonds.  Put them in a glass bowl (plastic may leech BPA which again is bad ju ju) and pour distilled water to cover the almonds.  I do this in the evening and soak them overnight so I can make the fresh almond milk in the morning.  If you soak much longer than 12 hours you run the risk of the nuts becoming rancid or sprouting.  Drain the soaking water and rinse the nuts.  Place them in your blender and fill the blender to the 2 cup (up to 2 1/2 cups for this amount of nuts) mark with fresh distilled/purified water.  Blend at high speed until the nuts are pulverized.  The pieces should just be tiny flecks. 

You'll want to have a strainer, a large bowl for it sit over and some clean undyed, unbleached cotton cloth.  Place the strainer on the lip of the bowl and line with the cotton cloth.  Pour the nut milk into the cloth and allow to drain as much as will pass though. 

Bunch the cloth up and twist until the nutmeal is squeezed into a ball.  Just keep twisting and squeezing until you cannot wring out any more milk.

Pour the fresh raw milk into a glass jar with a lid and place in fridge right away.  Use within 3 days.  Don't waste the left over nutmeal.  You an spread it out on a cookie sheet and dry it in your oven or dehydrator and bake with it or use for whatever other purpose you can dream up!

Make sure to shake the jar before pouring.  As homemade raw almond milk is not homogenized, it seperates as it sits.

Believe it or not, this milk is extremely creamy...creamier in fact than the store bought sweetened almond milk I think.  Plus, it really TASTES like almond milk and not sugar.  I hope you'll try making your own sometime even if you only do it once...just to taste the difference!

Once I had my almond milk made, I set about putting out some wheatberries to soak.  My ex-husband's mother used to make this stuff with ground wheat berries, powdered sugar, ground walnuts and nutmeg.  I'm probably spelling it wrong but they called it Zhito..Zito...I can understand Serbian but I can't read or write it!  Anyway, it was for Slava (families patron saint day) celebration and the Orthodox priest would come to the house and bless the bread and wheat.  After the wheat was blessed then everyone who stopped by had to take a spoonful of the wheat and a little chunk of the bread (with a generous amount of homemade pear brandy at my father-in-law's behest). That wheat was absolutely delicious.  My ex's sister and I used to eat the left over wheat COLD right out of the fridge the next morning.  It wasn't particularly good for you with all the powdered sugar that went into it but the basic concept is a good one.  I just worked on it a little to make it healthier. 

I soak my wheat at least 8 hours, drain and rinse and then cover with water in a pot and simmer until it's tender;  about 3 hours depending on how much wheat you are cooking.  Next I drain and cool the cooked wheat and put it in my food processor with raw walnuts, dried cherries and a few pitted fresh medjool dates.  Then you grind that stuff to a fair-thee-well!  It comes out kind of like pate.  In fact that is what I call it...Wheatberry Pate.  So...I've got wheat simmering for that.  I suppose I'll get it made tomorrow and post the pictures.  It makes a fabulous spread for apple or pear slices or heck...just eat it by the spoonful right out of the fridge.

Next I moved onto Chickpea and Bulgur Croquettes which I serve with a Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Sauce.  Can I just say...they turned out AMAZING!  If I wasn't doing a raw juice detox for the next couple of weeks you can belive I'd have been stuffing my face with these!

Having made these many times before, I know how good they would have tasted!  That Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Sauce is the nectar of the Gods!

Both of these recipes will be in my cookbook.  This dish is completely vegan by the way.

Next on the agenda was getting something on for the carnivore to devour when he gets home from work.  I picked up some beef short ribs at the grocery this morning and am making a tagine of beef short ribs with them.  They've been in the oven for a couple of hours now...braising away in rich sauce made from the pan drippings, beef stock, dried apricots, prunes, currants, preserved lemons, Moroccan spices, slivered almonds and a couple of cinnamon sticks.  I KNOW the aroma has reached across the canal because the dogs in the house directly across the water from mine are sitting on the boat dock with their noses in the air and looking like they are considering a swim!  My dog is basically lying in front of the stove, nose and ears twitching trying not to look too expectant in the hopes I will THINK she's not interested and leave something unguarded.  I've got her figured out.....

Now I'm just chillin'...like a villian cuz I'm old and not willin'...to work anymore cuz I'm spillin'...stuff on the floor and its conjealin'...         Ah well...guess another career as a hip hop artist is out huh?? 

I'd do it but I'm afraid they would make me change my image and well...Aging Psycho Gypsy is a look I've obviously perfected!

(c) copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet


  1. Huh, that is so cool. The milk recipe is cool. I have never tried something like that. And I think you need to pursue the hip hop career.

  2. This is such an awesome post Jilly! I am making this almond milk tomorrow for me and Cauldron Boy. By the way, I like your witchy cool fingernails!

  3. This is absolutely brilliant!!! I've just recently starting buying almond milk and loving it. But knowing that I can make it at home is even more intriguing. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  4. Thanks Jenn. Glad to share. I almost didn't post it because I thought it was TOO simple and everyone knew how to make it. Now I'm glad I did :)

    Rick... I will need a catchy new name. Maybe you can come up with something? You always name your desserts with such aplomb..

    And Stella...you ain't the only witch on the block dearie ;) Believe it or not...these are my REAL nails too. I get them silk wrapped and coated in mylar so I don't chop them off with my big Santoku knife. I told my nail girl to give me something a little "goth"...I like that hint of red that looks a drop of blood. The design I had before this was black with silver mylar and then I had black little dead trees painted over the base. LOL...Everyone called those my "Tim Burton nails"

  5. Those chickpea and bulgur croquettes look so good! BTW, I did notice those nails....

  6. Thanks! I'm trying to get all the recipes posted but I am a little behind because I write for so many publications that it takes a few days to make the rounds. I try to post something to my blog everyday if I can. I will get the chickpea croquette recipe up pretty soon though.

  7. btw, meant to say: tried making almond milk and now I no longer look longingly at Almond Breeze. Thanks JillyAn!!!

  8. Oh Great Jenn! Isn't raw almond milk wonderful?


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Fort Myers, Florida, United States