I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen lately.
There’s a number of factors contributing to this intimacy I’ve rekindled between me and this one room in the house. Mainly, it’s because I am reunited with all my kitchen belongings, ones that were previously scattered about in China (or thereabouts), in DC, and in San Jose.
Sometimes I find myself stealing loving glances at the shiny ice cream scoop I picked up from the kitchen market in China, that one that I never used and had to pack into a moving box right away, so I actually forgot I had it. Other days I stare, mesmerized, into the holes of my Foldable Berry Colander- not to be confused with the ceramic berry bowls I own or the
three four five colanders sitting in the cabinet, and my eyes glaze over with happiness. Really guys, these are the things that go on in my kitchen, and those are examples of the unnecessary yet awesome gadgets that I own.
Secondarily, I’m spending more time in the kitchen because there are some amazing ingredients here. Cashews and hazelnuts by the bulk! Exotic spices – whole cardamom pods! Vanilla beans!!! I haven’t been this inspired in awhile, and it feels good.
So what to do with my elicit romances with my old culinary possessions and these constant flashes of new inspiration?
Nut milk, natch. Flavored with a spoonful of local honey, a dash of cinnamon, one amazingly fragrant vanilla bean, and a pinch of sea salt.
You inspired yet?
Nut milk is totally new to me, guys, so don’t be afraid to join me on this exploration. Previously relegated to the hippie vegan aisles of Palm Desert health food stores, I’ve been seeing more of nut milk these days, I assume thanks to greater lactose intolerance and general skepticism of milk.
My personal reason for switching to nut milk? I like knowing exactly where my food comes from, which is a difficult thing when we’re talking milk overseas. In fact, here in Dar, much like in China, the general population drinks shelf-stabilized milk, something that my American upbringing will probably never get used to, both in terms of concept as well as taste.
I also personally like nut milk over regular milk because it tastes really really good.
Speaking of pressing blend – you can make this milk in any ol’ blender, although we have a super high-tech thingymabobbo I would recommend in a heartbeat. It can, supposedly, blend anything. This, combined with straining the liquid through a cheesecloth
, makes the concoction luxuriously milky. And despite what you might think, it’s a great summertime beverage – it’s refreshing and thirst quenching. I heard there’s a bit of a scorching heat wave back home. Maybe this will help?
So go! I encourage you to have a romance with cheesecloth and vanilla beans. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Says the girl who can be found cradling her new Cuisinart food processor…
HONEY VANILLA CASHEW NUT MILK
- 2 cups unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
- 5 cups water
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean
- Pinch of sea salt
- Soak cashews in water in a small bowl overnight. Cashews should be puffy and plump the following day.
- Drain cashews. Combine in blender with water, honey, cinnamon, and whole vanilla bean. Add a pinch of salt to heighten flavors, I really recommend this!
- Blend on high for 30 seconds, or according to your blender’s specifications- ours has a setting for ‘WHOLE JUICE’ which blends on high for about a minute. Blend until vanilla bean and cashews are thoroughly pulverized.
- Set a strainer lined with a cheesecloth over a medium sized bowl. Pour cashew milk into the strainer, and let it drain for 5-10 minutes. When most of the liquid is drained, gather the corners of the cheesecloth, twist, and wring out remainder of the liquid. Discard solids (or, use in a smoothie!! I saw this online somewhere, and am excited to explore the options)
- Transfer to an airtight and/or glass vessel. Refrigerate at least a few hours, or overnight if possible – the colder the better. Drink cold, drink straight from the vessel!