Thursday, May 18, 2017

Almond Milk

"The hardest part about being vegan is having to wake up at 5am to milk all the almonds."

There's a lot of basic almond recipes out there and this is the version I make for my spouse. He loves cereal but his tummy can't handle processed dairy milk. And I'm quite happy to help us decrease our dairy intake.

1 cup raw unpasteurized almonds from Terra Bella Farm
spring water
2 1/2 medjool dates (or to taste)
a goodly pinch of sea salt
1/2 inch vanilla bean pod or a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Soak almonds in spring water for 12-24 hours (this makes the milk creamier).

In a blender, add almonds and enough water to measure 4 cups. Add dates and salt. Blend on high for 2 minutes. Strain with cheesecloth, or better yet, a linen napkin (this part takes forever because I want to squeeze all the liquid I can out of the cheesecloth - save that almond paste for other recipes). Scrape vanilla bean seeds into the milk and shake to combine.

Makes about 3 1/2 cups. Lasts about 3 days.

Organic Almond Sauce

Looking for uses for leftover almond meal from making almond milk, I did a little research into recreating a certain farmers market sauce with organic ingredients:

2/3 cup spring water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2  cup leftover almond meal (real raw almonds from Terra Bella Farm)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from my tree
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic, from Schaner Farm
2 teaspoons bragg liquid aminos
1/2 dried new mexican chile
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Place all ingredients in a quality blender. Slowly blend for one minute, then blend on high for another minute for a smooth and creamy consistency. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 2 cups

Great for dippin' raw veggies and tortilla chips, or use 3/4 cup water for a thiner salad dressing.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Lemon Almond Cake

I've starting making almond milk so now I need to figure out what to do with the leftover almond paste.  Yes, I can compost it or feed it to the chickens but it's still edible and almonds from the farmers market aren't cheap.  So I remembered my mother-in-law making a cake using store-bought almond paste.  My almond milk paste waste worked perfectly.  I tweaked the recipe a bit.  It turned out phenomenal! Moist, super light, and a little lemony:

1 1/2 cups evaporated cane sugar
8 ounces (weighed) almond paste from making almond milk
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
zest of 1 large lemon (or orange or limes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs from the backyard chickens

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch cake or spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until it looks like sand. 

Add the butter, zest and vanilla extract, and process until the batter is smooth and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder and salt.

Add half the flour mixture and pulse until just combined, then add the rest, pulsing until just combined (do not over mix).

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set in the center.

Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, losing the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and set on a cake plate until ready to serve.

Lovely on it's own or serve with mulberry compote, sliced strawberries and whip cream, or drizzle with a lemon glaze.

Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts & Lindsay Remolif Shere

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ian's Latkas

Chag Urim Sameach!

2 cups Yukon potato, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 egg from a backyard chicken
1/4 flour
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
safflower oil

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil on medium-high.

Squeeze liquid out of the grated potato and onion.  In a bowl, mix the potato, onion, flour, egg, salt and pepper together well (don't be afraid to use your hands).  Form a handful into tight balls, place in oil and press down to 1/2 inch height.  Cook until the edges are golden brown and flip, about 5 minutes per side.  Serve with applesauce.

Makes 6 latkas

Friday, July 8, 2016

Calamondins in the Giant Forest

I just figured out that those are not super sour kumquats growing in my backyard.  Thanks to a fb post in the San Diego Backyard Fruit Exchange, I found that I have calamondins!  Not that it makes a difference but it's nice to know.


It's so hot and I'm prone to heat-induced vertigo.  With this in mind, I stocked up on white tea for the summer.  And I wanted to bring a beverage for our camp trip in the Sequoias.  This was the perfect thirst-quencher while I soaked my feet in the deliciously icy river.

1/2 oz white peony tea leaves from the co-op
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (or sweetener of your choice) from the co-op
3/4 cup fresh squeezed juice from my backyard lemons
1 cup calamondins from my backyard, cut in half, seeded if you like
spring water

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add the tea leaves.  Stir briefly to submerge the leaves and let steep for about 10 minutes, to taste.  Stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Strain into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and allow to cool.  Add in the lemon juice and the kumq..., I mean, calamondins.  Add more water to fill to 1/2 gallon.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Beans Revisited

After reading Decolonize Your Diet I had to revisit how I cook beans.  Now I'm skipping all the soaking, water changing, skimming...no need to plan the day before and it doesn't take that much longer to cook.  This method is so flavorful, you can eat it as a soup as is.  Here's my version:

sunflower oil from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op
1/2 yellow onion, diced from Schaner Farms
3 cloves garlic, minced from Schaner Farms
1/2 poblano chile, seeded and diced from Suzie's Farm or JR Organics Farm
small sprig of oregano from my garden
1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op
spring water from Palomar Mt
1/2 tsp sea salt from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op

Heat a medium-sized heavy pot (I like enameled cast iron) on medium-low heat and lightly cover the bottom of the pot with oil. Stir in the onions and cook with lid slightly askew until soft.  Add the garlic and chile and saute until soft.  Add the oregano and beans and cover with a 1/2 inch of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered until the beans are soft (a couple hours), checking occasionally and adding water as needed to keep them covered.  When the beans are almost done, add salt and cook until soft.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Herbed Chevre Spread


Now that I've got my hands on a goodly quantity of local goat milk, I can try my hand at cheese!  I've made mozzarella from cow's milk a few time before, which is a little more involved than this recipe. Chevre is surprisingly simple to make. I justed heated the milk to 86 degrees, sprinkled in the chevre culture, stirred it a bit, let it sit over night and then drained the curds in cheese cloth for a few hours, then mixed in 2 tsp sea salt.

Now I have a ton of goat cheese to play with!

1 cup chevre
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh grated lemon zest (from my tree)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced (from Schaner Farms)
a handful of fresh herbs from my garden, minced: parsley, thyme, chives

Mix ingredients together.

Serve with Prager Brothers bread, olives, and almonds from Terra Bella Farm.