Raw Voilà Recipe: Brazil Nut Milk

‘Brazil Nut Milk’

Rich, creamy and an excellent source of selenium.

3 cups pure water
1 cup raw Brazil nuts, soaked (preferably 1 to 4 hours)
1/2 of one very large date, pitted
1/16 teaspoon pink crystal salt (fine grind)

Using a high-speed blender, first blend together the Brazil nuts and water until creamy. With either a tightly woven cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve, separate the Brazil nut pulp from the liquid and pour the milk back into the blender. Add the pitted date and salt and process until the date has been completely broken down. Separate the date fiber from the liquid and pour the Brazil nut milk into your choice of airtight container. The finished milk should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 5 days.

A few tips…

Double or triple the recipe as needed.

The Brazil nuts were measured before soaking.

In general, soaking nuts allows for greater availability of nutrients and less impact on digestion. Since Brazil nuts are fairly oily and have a very thin skin, I prefer to only soak them for a few hours (up to 4 hours). Plus, Brazil nuts will lose a bit of their bite and become relatively sweeter as they soak, which I believe deeply enhances the overall flavor of the Brazil Nut Milk.

Depending on the type of blender you have, the exact length of time needed to process the Brazil nuts will vary. When you first begin the blending process, the Brazil nuts will cause loud rattling, and as they become pulverized the rattling will lessen. It may take a bit of trial and error to gauge how smooth the pulp should be. If the Brazil nuts process for too long, the pulp will be superfine and require more time and effort to strain. However, if the Brazil nuts do not process long enough, the milk could end up watery instead of creamy. After you have made Brazil Nut Milk a few times, you will get the hang of it.

This milk is meant to be mildly sweet. In the list of ingredients, I noted 1/2 of one very large date, pitted. 1/2 of one very large date is equal to about 1/2 of one tablespoon. I chose to freely list the date to make it easier, but you can go with the 1/2 tablespoon measurement if you prefer.

If your dates are not soft and pliable, you can soak them in a small amount pure water, just enough to cover the dates, for fifteen minutes or longer until they plump up enough for ease in blending. If you store your dates in the refrigerator, they will become stiff from the cold but will usually somewhat soften up after being left out at room temperature for a while. If they still seem hard, then definitely utilize the soak method.

To ensure a silky texture that I prefer when making nut (and seed) milk, I use a tightly woven cheesecloth to separate the Brazil nut milk from the nut pulp as well as the date fiber. However, a fine-mesh sieve is also a good option.

You may notice the separation of nut fat from the water. Not to worry, that is completely normal. Just give the Brazil nut milk a gentle shake before you use it.

While it would certainly be easier to blend all of the ingredients in one go instead of through a two-step process, I prefer the latter as a plain, unseasoned nut (or seed) milk pulp is much more versatile and consistent.

The leftover Brazil nut milk pulp can be either used immediately or reserved for later. If you are not able to utilize the Brazil nut milk pulp right away, you have a few choices as to how to store it for future use. It can be stored in an airtight container and kept inside of the refrigerator for one to two days, or it can be kept inside of the freezer and thawed when needed. For long-term storage, the leftover Brazil nut milk pulp can be dehydrated until completely dry, ground into a fine flour, stored in an airtight container and kept inside of the refrigerator.

Use the leftover Brazil nut milk pulp for making breads, crackers, cookies, burgers, wrap fillings, etc. Using the pulp instead of ground whole nuts lends a wonderfully light texture to your creations.

Raw Voilà Recipe: Creamy Cremini

This savory soup is one of my favorite recipes that has been in meal rotation since 2009.

A flavorful, surprisingly filling herby blend that’s wonderful to sip on a chilly day or night.

‘Creamy Cremini’

Not your ordinary cream-of-mushroom soup.

3 cups pure water
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, sprouted
1 tablespoon date, pitted, chopped and tightly packed
1 teaspoon pink crystal salt (fine grind)
1/2 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon red onion, brunoise
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon first cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 level teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves, minced and tightly packed
1/2 cup zucchini, peeled, small dice and tightly packed
1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded, small dice and tightly packed
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms (aka crimini mushrooms), stemmed, small dice and tightly packed

Using a high-speed blender, first blend together the sunflower seeds, chopped date and water until the sunflower seeds and date have been completely broken down and everything becomes milky. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until liquefied. That could take several minutes, depending upon your machine—more power, faster process. When the color of the mixture turns deep caramel, the ingredients will most likely have been properly combined. If you have a Vitamix or other type of powerful blender, you can simply let the mixture continue blending until it becomes warm.

Divide the mixture between two large bowls and garnish with a few thinly sliced cremini mushrooms and a sprinkling of fresh marjoram leaves. Serve immediately. Store any leftover soup in an airtight container inside of the refrigerator and use within 1-2 days.

A few tips…

To help limit your exposure to harmful pesticide residues and waxed coatings often associated with conventional produce, try to purchase organically grown vegetables as often as possible.

The listed ingredients roughly amount to five cups of soup, good for two large servings as a main course or four small servings as a starter dish.

Seeds that are soaked and sprouted are filled with life, allow for greater availability of nutrients and have less impact on digestion. Sprouting sunflower seeds is easy. First soak the sunflower seeds in pure water for a maximum of two hours, then thoroughly rinse and drain them. Let the sunflower seeds sprout for one day, rinsing and draining no more than two times. It really is okay to let the seeds become somewhat dry during the sprouting process. I have found that it produces better results. I sometimes like to use a fine-mesh sieve for sprouting since it allows for easy rinsing, draining and proper air circulation. But I also like to simply use a bowl, making sure to thoroughly drain the seeds in between rinse cycles. You can use whatever method works best for you. After one day of sprouting, there should be a small to medium-sized tail on the end of each sunflower seed (as shown in the picture above).

In the list of ingredients, I noted 1/2 level teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves, minced and tightly packed. Definitely adhere to the ‘level’ measurement. Marjoram is a pretty potent herb, and adding too much of it will ruin the batch.

In the list of ingredients, I noted 1 tablespoon date, pitted, chopped and tightly packed. My ultimate favorite type of date to use for this recipe is Hilawi, however Medjool also complements well.

Cremini mushrooms are actually immature portabella mushrooms (aka portobella or portobello) and can also be referred to as baby portabella, baby bella, crimini or brown button mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms are similar to white button mushrooms but have a firmer texture and a richer flavor. They are also a great source of selenium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium as well as some B vitamins.

Raw Voilà Create: Rustic Raw Bread

In regard to general raw bread making, I like recipes that are uncomplicated and versatile. Of course, there are times when I want something a bit elaborate, but for everyday dining I prefer to keep it simple. Countless ingredients can be used to create a raw bread. For a base, one could use ground nuts and seeds, leftover pulp strained from nut and seed milks, leftover pulp strained from juices (as demonstrated in my ‘Carrocumber Bread’ recipe here), sprouted grains such as rye or wheat, sprouted pseudograins such as buckwheat, etc. Depending on personal taste and how the bread will be enjoyed, it can be made savory, sour, sweet, spicy, herby, plain, or any combination of flavors.

I consider bread to be a comfort food, one of a few that I choose whenever a craving for cozy arises. The raw bread shown here is not only a basic staple but also a favorite, satisfying and reminiscent of a traditional whole-grain bread without being overly dense. I love using it to make raw almond butter sandwiches, especially while it’s still warm from the dehydrator. It wonderfully pairs with fruit spreads (as shown below with raw black mulberry jam) or sweeteners such as raw coconut nectar or yacon syrup. It’s also great eaten straight or alongside fresh fruit. And since the weather has now cooled, it will soon be dipped in various warmed raw soups. As you may tell by the pictures, I don’t always utilize a knife. There’s something special about breaking off a piece of freshly made bread and indulging.