So, I am inspired again. I got on a big kick trying to find out everything about espresso machines, drooling over the Breville Infuser (on sale at bestbuy) and after a facebook post asking for feedback on home espresso machines, a friend contacted me saying she had an espresso machine in her basement that I was welcome to. It turned out to be a Starbucks Barista, which is probably 10-20 years old, but in great working condition and actually a pretty capable machine. My main reason for wanting to try an espresso machine is because I love Almond milk lattes from Second Cup (or anywhere really) but I can’t seem to give up half and half in my coffee at home. I like my coffee rich and creamy. Adding a little almond milk in regular coffee works sometimes, but it’s just not the same. It can get me through a few days, but I always crave that rich thickness that cream gives it, along with the mellowing of the acids. You know what I’m talking about right? Silk coffee creamers work sort of, but they are so sweet. I am used to drinking my coffee with no sugar or with the occasional teaspoon of honey or sugar when I feel like it. Anyway, hope you enjoy this.
To blanch the Almonds, first, boil 1 cup measure or 150 g weight of almonds in water for a minute or so, turn it off and then let it sit for a few minutes. Drain off the liquid and refill with cool water and peel the almonds. It might take some practice, but it should take under 5 minutes once you get the hang of it. You could also just buy blanched almonds. I weighed the almonds after peeling and there was about 180 grams. Rivy (19 months) helped me on her little red chair by peeling a few and picking up any that fell on the ground. Cheli (also 19 months) was still napping, so she missed out on the action.
Put the almonds in the Vitamix and fill to 1000 ml mark. Blend for 1 minute on High. I like to pulse it a few times on 1 at the end to break down some of the foam. If you don’t have a Vitamix, blend for an additional minute or so. Your ricotta won’t be as smooth, but it should still be usable.
You will need a strainer or a nut milk bag. I use a square of nylon woven fabric draped over my stainless steel mesh strainer. I have it over a 2 quart bowl here. I use the same setup on a 1 gallon bucket when I make soy milk.
To strain quickly, stir around the bottom with a spoon, scraping the pulp away from the bottom.
When it looks like ricotta, you are done. If you use a nutmilk bag, or if you pull together the corners you could squeeze out more liquid, but this time I wanted a wet cheese so I didn’t. Nutritionally speaking, this stuff should be low in fat and high in fiber. I am pretty certain that most of the fat ends up in the milk.
To make it into ricotta, just add a little salt and lemon juice. Use it in lasagna as a low fat vegan pareve ricotta cheese or spread it on crackers or toast. It’s nice as a spread with herbs. I like basil and garlic, but I recommend using whatever seasonings your family usually likes. See, I got 304 grams.
Now I rinse the Vitamix, strainer and cloth and set them to dry, pour the milk into a jar and rinse the bowl. Basically, never leave any of the cleanup until later, because it is soooo easy when everything is still wet.
Over 600 grams weight of milk, which was about 3/4 of a liter (I know, the picture angle makes it look like less). I did not weigh the original 1000 ml, but I think loses were minimal.
For the latte, I used 1/2 cup of milk, which expanded to about 3/4 cup once steamed. I heated it to almost 160, and it made nice micro foam with no curdling. The milk sat warm for a few minutes due to some little people in the background needing help, which may have allowed the foam to deflate a little bit by the time I made my latte.
I pulled a nice double shot, using about 18 grams weight of ground espresso.
I usually pour the shots in the bottom of the cup, followed quickly by some of the milk, syrup, and then the rest of the milk. In this case, I made the latte plain so I could try it. It was good. The almond was a very strong flavour and not in a bad way, but because I really wanted some sweetness I added about 1/4 of a shot of maple syrup, drizzled over the foam like the caramel on a caramel Macchiatto (Starbucks) or caramel Caretto (Second Cup). I was going to snap a picture, but my 3 year old Ashi bumped it just as I went to snap the picture and it all sunk. Oh well, it was delicious and completely satisfied the craving.