almond milk

April 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

Homemade almond milk. Just almonds, water, a few dates, and a little vanilla. This is one of those cases in which homemade is substantially better than store-bought. I learned this years ago when my friend Margie started whipping up batches of this stuff. It tastes way fresher, is free of weird stabilizers, and is ridiculously easy to make.

Put one cup of almonds in a bowl of water before bed. Wake up and rinse them off. Throw ’em in the blender with about 4 cups of water and a few pitted dates. Maybe some vanilla. Strain through cheesecloth. That’s it. The almond meal that’s leftover is great to add to all kinds of dishes. Recipes abound on the internet.

My current favorite thing to do with this milk is make a smoothie with just it and a frozen banana. Wow. Try it! Milkshake without dairy coma.

I moved to a new house back in February, and my workshop is in boxes until renovations are complete. This means all art-of-life pursuits are concentrated in the kitchen. Sometimes this sparks a mild identity crisis involving too much domesticity (give me whiskey and tour vans, quick!), but I’m trying to keep in mind that it’s all part of a bigger beautiful-life picture. Drinking my own almond milk from a glass bottle makes me feel off the grid in some way. Knowing how to make things is part of how I like to live.


infused honey

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

A trio of infused honeys for a bridal shower gift. Lemon ginger, rosemary, and sage. The couple getting hitched are both excellent cooks with exquisite taste, so I thought they’d appreciate having these to add nuance. I made a lavender honey from my garden years ago, and it was killer on roasted on figs with pink sea salt.

The infusing method is slow but simple. You start with a mild honey and warm it gently in a water bath, trying to keep it below 120 degrees (any hotter and the medicinal qualities of the honey can diminish). Add chopped fresh herbs or zest, let it steep, strain. I wanted a stronger flavor so I also added fresh herbs so they can continue to cold-process on the shelf.

There’s also something about hand making gifts for these life-milestone events that I find extra meaningful. Something involving an older sense of community spirit, the kin and kindred stocking the cupboards of a new couple or family to show support of their venture. One of my favorite gifts from my own shower, approx 100 years ago, was from an artist friend – a set of mismatched & lovely china tea cups and saucers she’d compiled from yard sales, all wrapped beautifully in a fabric in a wooden crate. In a bohemian world it was a queenly gift, and it showed me that she’d considered and comprehended my aesthetic. That thoughtfulness saturated the gift, and I still think of it today when I reach for one of the cups.

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