Month: November 2014

#8 – Brazil Nut Milk*

In recent years it has been great to see that not only are dairy milk alternatives becoming more accessible, but more types of them are emerging as well.  I most prefer the nut-based varieties and judging from what I’ve been seeing in the supermarket lately, I’m not the only one.  I think almond milk might now be either tied with or coming in at close second-place behind soy among consumers in the category.

One I haven’t seen at all though is brazil nut milk (at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if it indeed is out there and I’ve just not come across it yet).  That being the case, I thought to try making it myself – which I actually do with milk 99% of the time because just like anything else, fresh & home-made is always better than off-the-shelf from the grocery; I only make an exception when I catch those I like in the store at a super sale price.  Whereas the nut itself has a similar look and texture to almonds, I went with the same procedure for making it.  The end product turned out great; tastes quite similar to almond milk, a tad bit more savory perhaps.  I now alternate making almond/brazil nut milks whenever I’m in the mood for some… basically just going by whichever is available and less expensive where I get them from at that time.

The process is quite easy.  Just soak the nuts overnight

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Put them in a blender with water at a 1:2 ratio

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Blend thirty seconds – one minute depending on the strength of your blender

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Strain

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This is my method for making all dairy milk alternatives.

*This will be a three-part post.  I won’t give any details yet about the upcoming two other sections so-as to avoid spoiling the mild suspense over them which may have some duality in being bad since we’re talking about food.

#7 – Repurposed Eats: Vegetable Broth

A common complaint and misconception about eating vegan by those who are not one of us is that it is expensive, theoretically more-so than what they usually consume.  That however is dependent on what & where you eat, plus if you often do your own cooking (which ironically, most people I hear this from do not).  Making your own cuisine at home is the best way to see the myth expelled and in addition to that, there are methods for stretching veg eats beyond how the average person may think to do so.

If one chooses to embrace the lifestyle of healthy habits in their kitchen to a point that they continuously matriculate with the processes, there likely may come a time when a vegetable juicer is added to the list of tools in that room.  Once it is put to use, what is likely the most popular vegetable juice, carrot, may be made.  That is what happened to me and I now have a favourite vegetable juice combo – carrot, celery, ginger.  One day I realized that these three are also common ingredients in packaged vegetable broth & bullion and the mental light bulb went on to experiment trying to make my own broth with the pulp from the juicer.

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I added it along with the two other prominent ingredients, garlic & onion (whole…yet to find an appetite for garlic or onion juice), to a pot with water at a ratio of 1:2, boiled it and allowed it to steep overnight.

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The end result was great; I strained it into containers and froze them.

photo 3 (2)I now make it on a regular basis.  Notice how I use different size containers; I can pull a big one out the freezer for a big pot or small one for a small pot.  It makes a fantastic substitute for dishes calling for chicken or beef broth and making it with scraps one would usually just throw away seems to make it taste even better especially considering the savings over buying pre-made vegetable broth from the grocery store.  Combining carrots, celery, and onion like this is also a mixture that the alleged culinary champs, the French, use so often that they have given it a name – mirepoix.

#6 – Jamaica’s National Dish

Achieving the smell and taste of fish (salt-water breeds) in foods is one of the easiest vegan tricks to perform; simply replace the fish with seaweed.  Doing so with Jamaica’s National Dish – Ackee & Saltfish – works extremely well and considering how easy it is to make, I encourage everyone familiar with the usual way of preparing it to try it this way to determine if it is just as appetizing if not more so.

Ingredients:

19 oz. ackee (BKA 1 can)

1/2 cup tomato

1/4 cup onion or scallions

2 TBS olive oil

1 TBS garlic

1 TBS thyme

1/4 cup seaweed

1/2 TSP spice blend

1 TSP lime juice

1 cup water

1 habanero pepper (optional)

salt to taste

Method – Heat oil in pot/pan then add onions/scallions, tomato, and garlic.

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Once the tomatoes “melt”, rinse the ackee then add to the pot, followed by the seaweed (I used a mix of kelp, hijiki, and wakame), thyme, and pepper.

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Add remaining ingredients; when it comes to boil, lower heat, simmer for 10 minutes and it’s ready.  Enjoy with cooked green bananas.

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