Pecan Milk…with Warm Mesquite Variation (Latte di Noce Pecan…con Variazione Calda al Mesquite)

Pecan milk has changed my life in a small, yet significant way.

I essentially stumbled upon pecan milk this weekend when I was making a Marsala mushroom soup and, rather than using 3/4 cup of half-and-half that the recipe called for, I thought I’d “clean” it up a bit and try it with nut milk.  Pecans sounded like they’d combine well with mushrooms and Marsala, so I figured, “why not?”  Even better, the higher fat content in pecans would make the milk less prone to curdling- a problem I often face with fresh almond milk, even when tempered.

I was ecstatic with the results!  Not only was the milk delicious on its own, it paired excellently with the flavors in the soup and didn’t curdle.  I’m not sure why almond milk gets all the spotlight.  While almond milk is delicious (especially mine 😉 ) and definitely more versatile than, say, pistachio or peanut milk, pecan milk is also quite versatile, yet it’s creamier, deeper in flavor and, because of a higher fat content, is less likely to curdle than almond milk.

One Medjool date and a pinch of salt lend the milk just enough of that sweet/savory balance you get from cow’s milk and the nuttiness is mild and bourbon-like.  Not bad :).

Health Benefits: A one ounce serving of pecans contains 60% of the daily value of manganese, which is especially good for brain function, heart health and metabolism of carbohydrates and fat.  You will also get 15% of the daily value of copper from a one ounce serving of pecans, which benefits your nervous system, cellular energy output and connective tissue.*

Step aside almond milk!

Yields 2 cups

What you need:

1 cup raw pecan halves (plus water for soaking)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Medjool date

2 cups cold water

What to do:

Place pecans in a medium bowl and fill with water two inches to cover.  Let soak at room temperature for 8-10 hours.

Strain and rinse soaked pecans and place in a blender with the salt, date and 2 cups of water.  Blend on HIGH until smooth and there are no more large specks of pecan meat.  This should only take 30 seconds in a high speed blender (A.K.A. Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja).  Allow 1-2 minutes for a normal blender.

Strain mixture through a nut milk bag or two layers of cheesecloth placed over a bowl or large measuring cup and squeeze to extract all of the liquid.  The consistency will be creamy and smooth.  Pour milk into desired storage cup and refrigerate.  Should last about four days in the refrigerator.

Mesquite variation:

You’ll also find that pecan and mesquite were meant to be together: for a cozy night cap or soothing breakfast, make this into a warm mesquite milk.  Place 2 1/2 teaspoons mesquite powder, 1 teaspoon raw honey and a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Slowly whisk in one cup of pecan milk and warm gently over a low flame, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.  Do not boil.  Pour warmed milk into a mug and serve immediately.  Mmm.

Pecan Milk (Latte di Noce Pecan) - The Clean Gourmet

Latte di Noce Pecan:

Rende 500 ml

Cosa serve:

100 grammi di noce pecan dimezzate (più acqua per mettere a mollo)

1/4 cucchiaino di sale

1 dattero Medjool

500 ml d’acqua fresca

Come fare:

Mettete le noci pecan in una scodella e coprite d’acqua con circa tre dita da coprire.  Lasciate ammollare per circa 8-10 ore a temperatura ambiente.

Colate e sciacquate le noci e mettete in un mixer col sale, il dattero Medjool e l’acqua fresca.  Fate frullare al livello max finché non siano più pezzetti visibili di noce.  Dovrebbero bastare solo 30 secondi in un mixer potente (come Vitamix, Blendtec o Ninja).  Per un mixer normale, fate frullare per 1-2 minuti.

Passate il liquido per due strati di stamigna sopra una ciotola media e stringete bene per fare sì che sia estratto tutto il liquido.  Troverete una consistenza cremosa e liscia.  Versate il latte in un bicchiere da conservazione e mettete in frigo.  Consumatelo entro circa quattro giorni.

Versione al mesquite: 

Troverete che noce pecan e il mesquite vanno benissimo assieme:  per una merendina prima di letto o come una prima colazione leggera, fate un latte al mesquite caldo.  Mettete 2 1/2 cucchiaini di polvere di mesquite, 1 cucchiaino di miele crudo ed un pizzico di sale in un pentola piccola.  Gradualmente unite 250 ml di latte di noce pecan e riscaldate leggermente sul fuoco basso, frustando frequentemente, per circa 4 minuti.  Non fate bollire il latte.  Versate il latte caldo in una tazza, preferibilmente riscaldata, e servitelo subito.

*Sources:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/walnuts-vs-pecans-nutrition-1576.html

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html


Mushroom and Tempeh-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cider Glaze

I love fall.  I mean, look at it:

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cider Glaze - The Clean Gourmet

This is the first east coast fall I’ve had in six years, so I’ve been especially excited to cook with the seasons and have stocked up on various winter squashes from the local orchard.

This recipe might have more ingredients than the average person will cook with on a Wednesday night, but I highly recommend it for a healthy Sunday dinner.  The five-grain tempeh and mushrooms take the place of meat in this stuffing and the cider not only helps cook the squash, but creates a nice autumnal glaze.  Also, feel free to reduce the amount of rice to 1/2 cup (uncooked) if you’re carbohydrate paranoid.

I served this with a salad comprised of: red romaine, orange bell pepper, jicama, red onion, pomegranate and feta with balsamic-mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

For the squash:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 acorn squashes, halved and seeds removed

2/3 cup apple cider

For the stuffing:

1 cup brown/wild rice mix, cooked in 2 cups light vegetable or chicken broth

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 packages 5-grain tempeh, crumbled

1/4 cup sage leaves, minced (or 1/2 tsp dried ground)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1/4 tsp dried ground)

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 bunch kale, destemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup parsley, minced

1/3 cup apple cider

1/3 cup raw pecan halves, roughly crumbled

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pour olive oil and apple cider in the bottom of a high-lipped pan or baking dish.  Arrange squash cut side down and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice in the broth and begin to make the vegetable-tempeh mixture.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook for about one minute.  Just as the garlic begins to brown, add mushrooms.  Stir a few times, but allow time in between stirs for the mushrooms to brown.

After about two minutes, add the celery, tempeh, sage and thyme.  Brown for about a minute, add wine (or broth) and cook for another three minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Add kale, parsley and apple cider.  Cover again and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and mix in the cooked rice, pecans, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust for herbs and spices, adding more, if needed.

Take squash out of oven and flip, cavity side up.  Stuff generously with vegetable-tempeh mixture and serve immediately with a generous helping of fresh salad.

….Oh and meet my east coast dog:

Oreo


Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oatmeal (Avena Semi-Intera alla Mela Selvatica)

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Yes!  You can eat crab apples!  They’re super cheap and, despite their super tartness when raw, are sweeter than regular apples when cooked.  The best place to find these is at your local farmer’s market (or on your neglected apple tree).  If you can’t find crab apples, one or two regular apples work too :).

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup steel-cut oats

4 cups water

pinch salt

1 banana, mashed or thinly sliced

4-5 crab apples, cored and small/medium dice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup raisins and/or goji berries

about 1/2 cup chopped pecans or whole pumpkin seeds

Milk or almond milk, to serve

What to do:

Bring water, oats and salt to a boil in a covered medium-sized saucepan.  Once to a boil, uncover and cook at boiling for about 2 minutes and then turn heat to low.

Add the crab apples apples and banana.  Cook for 15 minutes, then and add spices and raisins.

Cook another 10 minutes, or until oats are cooked and most of the water is absorbed.  Turn off the heat and stir in nuts.

Serve with milk or almond milk and enjoy warm.

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

Avena Semi-Intera alla Mela Selvatica:

4-6 porzioni

Ingredienti:

1 tazza di avena semi-intera

4 tazze d’acqua

pizzico di sale

1 banana, passata o tagliata in pezzi sottili

4-5 mele selvatiche, snocciolate e tagliate in pezzi piccoli

1 cucchiaino di cannella

1/2 cucchiano di chiodo di garofano

pizzico di noce moscato

pizzico di pepe della Giamaica

1/2 tazza d’uvetta e/oppure di goji

circa 1/2 tazza di noci pecan o noci, a pezzetti

Latte o latte di mandorle, per servire

Cosa Fare:

Fate bollire acqua, avena e sale in una pentola media.  Appena bollente, scoprite e continuate a far cuocere per circa 2 minuti prima di abbassare la temperatura.

Aggiungete le mele selvatiche e la banana.  Fate cuocere altri 15 minuti quindi aggiungete le spezie e l’uvetta.

Dopo 10 minuti, o quando la maggior parte dell’acqua sia assorbita, sarà pronta.  Spegnete il fuoco e aggiungete le noci pecan.

Servite con latte o latte di mandorle, oppure lasciatelo raffreddare prima di mettere in frigo.  Dura 5-6 giorni.

Crab Apple Steel-Cut Oats - The Clean Gourmet

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