Thursday, January 12, 2012
Breakfast in the Raw, Part 2: Raw Brazilian Milk and Ani’s Buckwheat Crispies...
Before I get into the Raw Brazilian Milk I'd like to talk a little bit about my breakfast.
Yesterday I mentioned that I wanted to make Ani Phyo’s Buckwheat Crispies from "Ani’s Raw Food Essentials" and so I set about prepping it. I put the 1pound bag of buckwheat groats that I just so happened to have in my pantry, into a bowl with thrice the amount of water and let it soak overnight. I had nowhere to be this morning, nor any plans, and though it might have been nice to sleep in a little, I decided to set my alarm for 6am so I could begin making my Crispies.
At six I rose with my alarm and silently padded down the stairs to the kitchen. Once there I drained the groats and began the process of rinsing them. Since it was such a large volume and my strainer is rather small I did this in two batches. After each rinse I drained them again and shook the strainer to expel excess water. I then used the back of a wooden spoon to press the groats into the mess of the strainer in the hopes of squeezing out as much water as possible. When I was satisfied that they were as dry as they were going to get I used the wooden spoon to spread the groats out into a thin layer over two dehydrator trays. I then popped them into the dehydrator and set it for 114 ‘F. Ani says to dry them at 104 ‘F but thanks to my climate region (Which is almost always either too cold or too humid) I find this is not a good temperature recommendation for me, as every recipe ends up taking infinitely more time then is specified. Since enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 118'F and since the majority of Raw Food books suggest dehydrating at this temperature, I didn’t feel bad about upping the temp to 114'F. I figure as long as I stay below 118'F I am fine. Once the trays were set in place, the dehydrator closed up and turned on there was nothing more to do except wait. As I was still a bit tired, having gone to bed around 1am I decided to return to bed, for a couple of hours.
The recipe said the Crispies would take 3-5 hours to dry. I turned on my dehydrator at 6:30am, and so I returned to check it at 9:30 am, the three hour mark. I found that the Crispies lining the perimeter were pretty well dry, but those closer to the middle where they were spread a little thicker sill had a bit of moisture. Had I planned to eat the entire batch over the course of a couple of days I might have took it out then. However I’m the only one eating it, and it’ll likely take me a week or more to do so. I didn’t want to take the chance and have the Crispies mold due to improper drying, so I rotated the trays and popped them back in.
I checked again at 10:30am and found they were almost finished. I returned again at 11am and they were done! I was so excited! I removed the trays from the dehydrator brought them to my kitchen counter and carefully transferred the Crispies to a plastic container.
Once they were put away I finished my morning Green Smoothie then my husband and I took our beautiful little dog for a nice long walk in the first snowfall of the year. It’s beautiful I might add, and surprisingly not too cold. She loved it!
Upon our return I set to work fixing myself a small bowl of Buckwheat Crispies. I used a half cup of Crispies with 3/4 C Raw Brazilian Chocolate Milk (Recipe to Follow) a handful of raw pistachios, a handful of dried cherries, and ½ Tbsp each of Ground Flaxseeds and Hemp Seeds. I wasn’t sure at all how this was going to turn out, as I find that a lot of raw food is hit or miss with me. However I was extremely surprised at how delicious this cereal was! Really, mouthful by mouthful I became more and more impressed. I could easily see myself eating this for breakfast on a regular basis, particularly on a day that I work because it’s actually quite filling. It’s really interesting how I could probably consume 2 bowls or your average store bought granola with store bought nut milk and be hungry 2 hours later, where as just a half cup of this has kept me full and satisfied since noon!
Now the Buckwheat itself doesn’t have much of a taste, it’s rather plain with a slight nutty or seedy flavor and a somewhat chalky texture. It makes a good template for any flavor profile you want to add to it. It’s also not as hard or crunchy as you might imagine considering it had been in the dehydrator so long. I mean it did have crunch but I was expecting it to be tooth cracking hard, and it wasn’t at all. It felt more akin to puffed rice cereal in my opinion. This was a really great hearty breakfast that filled me up without leaving me feeling heavy, gassy, weighed down or bloated. As I said to my husband, "It’s like granola but better!"
As for the Milk, I made it yesterday in anticipation of today’s breakfast. Since I was having a raw breakfast cereal I didn’t want to use pasturized store-bought nut milk on it, and so my only option was to make my own milk. I used Brazil Nuts because I bought them a while ago for a recipe I ended up never making and rather then see them go to waste I figured why not experiment with them? I’ve never seen commercial Brazil Nut Milk before and so I was curious as to what it might taste like.
Brazil Nuts if you are not familiar with them have a slight bitter edge to them, some people might not like that but the milk turned out really well, it far exceeded my expectations of it. Although to be honest I wasn’t thrilled with it upon my first stip straight out of the blender. It is definitely the kind of thing that needs to be refrigerated for a few hours, and perhaps preferably over night so that the flavors mingle properly and mellow out a little.
And just a quick word before I bestow you my recipe, trust me when I say that making your own nut milk is actually really easy. It is! I know you may be sitting there reading this and feeling somewhat skeptical. Maybe the idea of making your own nut milk is a little too intimidating, maybe you feel unsure, nervous or a little afraid to try your hand at it. I completely understand because I used to feel that way too. I never thought in a million years I would make my own nut milk, why bother when you can buy it? I always said, but you can’t buy Brazil Nut Milk, or Cashew Nut Milk, or Peanut Nut Milk or several other kinds of nut milk, and as far as I’ve seen you can not buy them raw. So trust me, and take a chance it is so much easier then you might be imagining, I wouldn’t steer you wrong! All it takes is a bit of patience, and a little self-confidence, I was amazed yesterday and then super proud of myself for giving it a try. If I can do it so can you!
So here is my recipe, I really hope you give it a try, and if you do I hope you enjoy it. I’m actually finding it kind of addictive right now! Haha...
Raw Brazilian Milk (3 Ways!)
3/4 C Raw Brazil Nuts (Soaked in warm water 2 hours) ***
8 Medjool Dates pitted
4 C Filtered Water
Stevia to taste (Optional)
Chocolate Variety - Add between 1-3 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder (or to taste) into the mixture when you blend. If you don’t have Raw Cacao Powder and don’t particularly care about keeping your meal 100% raw then by all means use whatever Baking Coco you have.
Cinnamon Vanilla Variety - Add the scrapings from one Vanilla Bean Pod, or1-2 tsp Pure non-alcohol Vanilla Extract and Ground Cinnamon to taste when you blend. I like at least 1 tsp of Cinnamon but feel free to use more or less.
- Place all ingredients except stevia in highspeed blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Depending on your blender, how long you soaked your nuts or if you soaked them at all this could take anywhere from 2-5 minutes. Don’t worry if it takes longer, as you really want to make sure to get the mix as smooth as possible. Take your time and be patient!
- Once the milk is at the consistency you like it taste for flavor. If the milk is not sweet enough for you, or the bitterness of the nuts is to much I recommend adding in 2 packets of stevia or more or less to taste. Blend for another few seconds until incorporated and taste again. If you taste it again and still don’t think it’s sweet enough or isn’t quite to your liking I recommend you hold off on adding more sweetener right away as I think a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge really goes a long way to enhancing the flavor of the milk. You may want to wait till the next morning before adding any additional sweetener. However it’s entirely up to you.
- Next you have two options. You can either leave the milk as is or you can strain it through a cheesecloth. If you leave the milk as is, even if it’s pretty darn smooth it may still be a bit pulpy or grainy. The Vitamix can definitely pulverize but it doesn’t remove fibrous flesh or pulp. Some people don’t like that, I personally don’t mind. Though I recommend that if you do plan to just drink the milk straight it will probably taste a lot better strained. If you’re using it solely for cereal or other recipes in which the milk will be combined with other textured things then I see no harm in leaving it a bit pulpy, that’s what I did.
- Once you’ve strained your milk (If you choose to go this route) and it’s a nice smooth consistency to your liking you can discard the pulp unless you have other plans for it. Pour the milk into an air tight jar or container and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or preferably overnight. Enjoy in the morning with your breakfast! You see, it’s as simple as that!
*** Note - If you don’t have time, or simply don’t want to soak your nuts you don’t have to. Although keep in mind that soaking your nuts will release more enzyme activity and it will also soften the nuts which will yield a smoother milk. However if you’re using a vitamix and straining through cheesecloth your milk will be pretty smooth as is. The choice is yours, do what best fits into your schedule.***
PS: And yes I will post the recipe for Sesame Asparagus Maki tonight as promised! Two recipes in one day, exciting!