Monday, June 25, 2012

Almond Milk

~Dedicated to Mollie and her brood!

The RQ began making almond milk when CP, CC, & LB were very young. Now they are older, and so are the RQ and P<. Making almond milk from scratch is a treat we ALL enjoy and it promotes good health. It is easy to prepare and can be tweaked to preference. We like to add a tablespoon or two of local maple syrup and a teaspoon of vanilla.

Almond Milk
1 cup almonds
4 cups water
1-2 Tblsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

To remove almond skins
Place almonds in a heat tolerant glass/ceramic bowl.  Bring enough water to boil to cover an inch above almonds. Poor boiling water over almonds and allow to soak till cool enough to handle. Drain, rinse, and peel, using your fingertips skins pop easily off nuts. Rinse skinned nuts.

To make milk
Measure 4 cups of cold water. Place almonds in blender adding enough water to create a smooth paste that blends easily (about 1 cup of water). After about a minute or two slowly add the remaining water to the paste. I do this in two batches as my blender will not hold the full 4 cups of liquid plus almond meat. Thus, poor the first batch thru a fine mesh strainer sitting over a pot/bowl large enough to hold liquid and without strainer sitting in liquid. Use a rubber spatula press & fold any remaining water from meat of nuts. The more you press, the meatier your milk will be, or as P< says, grainy. The milk can be strained a second time if a less grainy liquid is desired. Add maple syrup and vanilla to awaiting carafe. Poor in a bit of milk and swirl to mix. Then add remaining milk, and stir. Refrigerate and enjoy!

To make banana shake
Freeze a banana (peel & wrap in plastic). Mix frozen banana with 8-10 oz of almond milk for a delicious shake!

The almond meat can be refrigerated and used as a nice body scrub in the shower! OR Dehydrated on low for 2-3 hours for a nice almond meal to be added to baked goods!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dinner in "a snap" - Grilled Chicken Salad

~Dedicated to our LOCAL FARMERS
Dinner in "a snap," code for 30-minute meal, easy as pie, duck soup, or effortless! When you want a quick easy meal any night of the week simply search for Dinner in "a snap!"

In western New York our local Farmer's Market opened last week. The connection to local farmers and produce is a magnificent way for the RQ to revive her relationship to the source of the food, the earth, as well as to the farmers who grow the crops and the family and friends for whom she is preparing the food. Our local farmer's market is open from June thru October. Available are fresh produce, all natural meets, granola, organic pasta, and much more. But the ultimate jewel is bringing home fresh local vegetables and fruits from the market. The unfolding of tonight's meal started with a vibrant head of Romaine from one farmer and a bunch of asparagus from another. It's too early for home grown tomatoes in New York so tonight the RQ used flavorful Campari tomatoes, greenhouse vine ripened and herbicide free. While the oven heats to broil for the asparagus, salad preparations begin. For blue cheese lovers the RQ tosses the lettuce with a scant amount of blue cheese dressing and then gives the pepper grinder a few turns. The tomatoes are cut in half and tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette (below). The asparagus as featured in the Roasted Asparagus with Lentils post is simply tossed with a bit of veggie oil, salt & pepper and broiled in the oven for a few minutes. Chicken breasts are grilled stovetop in a few tablespoons of oil in a HOT iron skillet for about six minutes each side; a quick and tasty compliment to the salad makes this a meal. Dress it all with any remaining vinaigrette from the tomatoes and blue cheese crumble. To satisfy our appetite for something sweet to follow, we simply munched on fresh local strawberries.

Shopping List-
Chicken Breasts
Romaine Lettuce
Blue Cheese Crumble
Blue Cheese Dressing
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Balsamic Vinaigrette- 3:1 Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Balsamic Vinegar, salt & pepper to taste

Friday, June 1, 2012

Homemade Italian Pimientos

Just have to share this simple roasted red pepper recipe from The RQ's Italian grandmother. These have been a staple since Gram first shared how easy they are to prepare. Italian seasoned pimientos are great as a side to many a meal. Roasted pimientos are also great chopped up and/or added to many a salad, sandwich, veggie or baked casserole. Pimientos can include the basic red bell pepper, cherry pepper, & of course, the chili pepper.

3-4 red peppers (bell, cherry. chili)
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
13/4 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper
olive oil just to almost cover

Bake (500 degrees) or broil, or char peppers over a gas burner (personal preference). I prefer baking or broiling as it is the least messy. Place foil on bottom of oven or lower rack if want to avoid leaking juices while the skins blacken. Don't forget to turn peppers to blacken all sides, about every 10-15 min.. Once blackened place in glass bowl and place lid on top to allow the skins to peel away from flesh. Once cool. Peel and slice. Add to oil & spices, refrigerate...ENJOY!