Homemade almond milk

This is the purest way to enjoy nondairy milk. Raw almonds and water. That’s it. None of the other ingredients added to commercial almond milk. It also tastes the best. Truly like almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2812.jpgThe task might sound intimidating at first, but with the right tools, it is quite simple. I make a batch every two weeks and it takes about one hour. Very much worth it. Taste-wise and health-wise. Please, do try for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2623.jpgIngredients:
500 g raw almonds (about 4 cups)
8 cups filtered water + for soaking

Special equipment:
Food processor fitted with a steel blade
Chinois and pestle (or fine sieve)
Cheese cloth

Plan the day before.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2627.jpgPlace the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2641.jpgThe almonds will plump and the water will become cloudy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2643.jpgDrain the almonds.
Now there are two ways to proceed. You can peel the almonds to obtain a pure white milk, a very lengthy process, or simply not peel them and use them as is. I will show both ways.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2647.jpgPeeling the almonds is not complicated, just time consuming. If you have help in the kitchen, it can be a fun task to do together around the kitchen table/counter and enjoy sharing time this way. You can use a paring knife, or simply your fingertips. Whichever works best for you. You may want to add a little water in the unpeeled almond bowl to keep them moist, as they dehydrate quickly and are easier to peel when fully hydrated.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2654.jpgI’ve peeled half of my almonds to show you both ways. Same process, slightly different results.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2657.jpgPlace the almonds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Depending on the size of your bowl, you may want to do this in separate batches so the bowl doesn’t overflow when adding the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2664.jpgFirst, grind the almonds alone.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2671.jpgThen add about 1 cup of filtered water for 1 cup of almonds slowly through the feeder while processing.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2684.jpgYou will obtain a creamy milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2686.jpgSet out your chinois (or sieve) for straining the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2692.jpgPour the milk through the chinois, over a tall container where the milk can drain.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2698.jpgMix the pulp around with the pestle until all the milk has been extracted.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2708.jpgScrape the sides of the chinois with a spatula.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2710.jpgPlace the pulp back in the food processor for a second round. Process by adding the same volume of water as the first time around.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2719.jpgPlace through the chinois again to extract the milk.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2729.jpgScrape the pulp from the sides of the chinois onto a baking sheet so you can dehydrate it to transform it into almond meal. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2742.jpgDrape a cheesecloth over another container and pour the almond milk through it to remove the finer almond grains remaining.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2760.jpgPull up the cheesecloth to let the almond milk drip.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2764.jpgSqueeze the milk out of the pulp inside the cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2771.jpgOpen the cheesecloth to remove the fine pulp and combine it with the previous pulp onto the baking sheet. Set aside.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2780.jpgPour the milk into a bottle with a tight cap. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Shake the bottle before using as the particles will separate while refrigerated.
Now for the unpeeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2786.jpgPlace the unpeeled almonds directly in the food processor, and proceed as for the peeled almonds.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2784.jpgGrind them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2785.jpgAdd the water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2789.jpgExtract the milk through a chinois.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2790.jpgWhen the pulp remains, place back in the food processor for a second round. Pour through a cheesecloth.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2796.jpgAnd finally put the remaining pulp onto a baking sheet.
To make the almond meal, I place the baking sheet in the oven on the proof setting for a few hours. Sift the almonds when dry enough. Place back on the baking sheet and back into the oven, on proof setting, for another few hours until completely dehydrated. If you have a dehydrator, that would work very well as well. Then store in your pantry and use in your baking or cooking recipes as you would store-bought almond meal.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/753/42979938/files/2014/12/img_2800.jpgHere is the difference between the two milks. Purely visual. Taste wise, no noticeable difference. Either way, I wish you to enjoy it in your coffee, hot chocolate or in your baking and cooking recipes.
Delicious for your taste buds and your body!

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Pear and Celery Soup with Roquefort, walnuts and pomegranate

A light, colorful and delicately fragrant winter holiday soup with a well balanced combination of tart, sweet and savory flavors.

IMG_2591.JPG
The immersion blender makes this soup very smooth. By contrast, the walnuts and pomegranate seeds give it texture.

IMG_2561.JPGIngredients for the soup:
6 pears d’Anjou, ripe
1 celery bunch
1/2 sweet yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 cups water

Garnish: pomegranate, Roquefort, walnuts
Serves 4

IMG_2562.JPGPeel and chop the onion finely.

IMG_2563.JPGHeat the oil on medium high heat in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and reduce to low. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

IMG_2565.JPG Wash each branch of the celery carefully and absorb excess water with a kitchen towel.

IMG_2566.JPGCut the branches of the celery lengthwise, then chop them into small pieces. Reserve the leaves for garnish.

IMG_2569.JPGAdd the celery to the pot with the onions. Raise the heat to medium low and cover, cooking another 12-15 minutes.

IMG_2572.JPGCut the pears in half, then quarters. Reserve two quarters for garnish. Peel the other quarters (5 1/2 pears total) and cut them into large slices.

IMG_2574.JPGAdd the pears to the pot with the celery and onion.

IMG_2576.JPGAdd two cups of water, season with a pinch of salt, bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Keep cooking covered about 8 minutes.

IMG_2578.JPGTurn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup.

IMG_2582.JPGThe soup should be completely smooth.

IMG_2587.JPGThinly slice the reserved pears.

IMG_2584.JPGRemove seeds from the pomegranate. Crumble some of the Roquefort.

IMG_2585.JPGServe the soup in bowls. Arrange some celery leaves, walnuts….

IMG_2588.JPG…Roquefort, pear slices and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Serve at once and enjoy!