Monday, August 1, 2011

The laziest drink available.

I make almond milk because I’m lazy.

But, you say, can’t you buy almond milk from the store?

Aha, I say, but then you have to put on pants. And find your house keys. And walk to the store. Which can be like walking to Guatemala. And meet half of the community out in the streets. And you must stop and talk. Which means talking for at least 20 minutes. And then you finally make it to the store and they don't have any almond milk left. Or maybe they never had any to begin with. That’s work, people. Hard work.

Or just drink some soy milk? Isn't there always soy milk in the bodega (the storage room behind the kitchen)? How much more lazy can you get?

Alas, but then again, you have to put on shoes. And find your house keys. And walk out to the bodega. And realize that the soy milk is in a box on the shelf and is not cold. It is warm. And so you stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes hoping to chill it, only to realize that now 3 hours have gone by and you have forgotten that the milk was in the freezer and now it needs defrosted.

The solution to this madness? Homemade almond milk made from easily stored, nonperishable ingredients in less time than it takes to go to the store. And I’m only somewhat lying.

There’s no cooking. It's easy. And the best part is you have to make cookies afterward. First because you have to have cookies with milk. It's like a law or something. And secondly because you need to do something with all that left-over almond pulp. What is almond pulp, you say?? Pulp fiction, maybe?* We'll get to that. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

What you need:
1 cup of almonds
4 cups of water
A sweetener (honey, agave nectar, maple syrup...whatever floats your boat.)
Dates (I know I am always talking about finding a man, but not that kind of date, silly. You don't need a man to make almond milk...I'm talking about real dates the fruit. Use about 2 Tablespoons. Eyeball it. Whatever. To taste. If you want. I can't force you to do anything.)
Vanilla (again to taste...whatever that means, I like to use a glug. What is a glug? I dunno...a splash...a teaspoon)
A blender
A fine holed strainer or cheesecloth

I like to use raw, whole almonds. You can use chopped, I guess. Measure out a cup. I like to use a glass 2 Cup measuring cup...a 2 cup glass measuring cup? a 2 Cup measuring glass? While I try to figure out how to say that in English, let's move on. Put 1 cup of almonds in the glass and fill the measuring cup up to the 2 cup line with boiling water. This softens the nuts. Leave them for any where between 1-4 hours. If you have other important business, now is the time to do it. Like checking facebook. If you want to be really lazy, just pour regular tap water over the almonds and leave them to soak over night. I know boiling water can be vexing to a body.
After your almonds have had a good soak, drain and rinse them. Put them in a blender. Add your dates and 1 cup of water and blend the heck out of them. Let 'em have it!! Sing the Eve 6 song "wanna put my tender heart in a blender, watch it spin round to a beautiful oblivion...."** This is the part where a good blender lid is very important. you know how almost all blender lids have that little plastic piece in the middle that makes a peep hole into the swirling world of the blenderizing foods? Slip that little piece out and gradually add 3 more cups of water. Don't worry, it won't overflow. Just pour by faith. At this point the almonds should be chopped into itty bitty teeny tiny pieces. At this point, while it's all swirling and turbulent...pour in your sweetener...I dunno, I always just squirt...maybe 1-2 tablespoons. Depends on how sweet you like it. Make a batch. If it's not sweet enough, add more the next time. Add your vanilla. Stop the blender. This is a very important step. STOP THE BLENDER!!!

Next take the lid off and pour the liquid through the strainer (or through the cheesecloth) into a pitcher. Once all the liquid has been poured off, put the tiny almond pieces into a tupperware container for later use. I will give recipes later for what I have dubbed "almond pulp".

Isn't it delightful?
This is what the pulp should look like.

After that, it keeps in the fridge for up to a week.  If you're a two cup of coffee a day kinda person, you won't make it a week, though. You'll have to make another batch!!
Making coffee the Costa Rican way...

My completed almond milk and a loaf of whole wheat almond nut bread...You'll have to wait for that recipe...

Hooray for lazy!***
* Who wants to bet when this reference will seem old and absurdly dated? I call October 2011.
** OF COURSE this popped into my head while writing and now it won’t leave. If I have to suffer, you do too.  Misery loves company.
*** Thus the “kind of lying” part. I suppose it doesn’t take 24 hours to get to the store unless you’re really in Guatemala and have to go by donkey to the nearest town.