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