Dina Cheney is a connoisseur and curator of soy, nut, seed, grain and coconut- based milks and author of her sixth cookbook, The New Milks. With 65% of the world’s population being lactose intolerant, Dina Cheney personally understands the importance and value of supplementing or replacing one’s diet with these new milks. On a side note, I adore dairy and am thankful that I am not lactose intolerant. However, as part of my culinary journey, I am excited to expand my palate and enrich my plate with new ingredients. It’s fun to learn how to make these new milks and to use them in recipes. “There’s an infinite variety of plant based milks you can make,” Dina says. As a graduate of The Institute of Culinary Education and Columbia University, Dina Cheney features savory and sweet dishes such as Vichyssoise with Fennel with a base of cashew milk and Matcha Peach Ice Pops with unsweetened coconut milk. “If you’re a foodie, try the plant-based milks to upgrade your cuisine and cooking,” Dina encourages.
The first tip is to have access to three main kitchen tools: A blender, bowl and strainer. “It just takes five minutes to make a batch of nut and seed milk,” Dina Cheney explains. “To make almond milk, use unsalted almonds and soak them overnight or for a few hours, then rinse and drain. Blend with fresh water with 3:1 ratio of water to nuts. After blending, you can squeeze out the milk using a clean nut milk bag. Seed milk is higher in fat, so you need to use more water.” Use your blender of choice. I absolutely love my Blendtec blender! It was such an honor to meet the founder/owner of Blendtec at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. For legume milks, Dina Cheney reminds us to cook the legumes after soaking before blending. Dina mentions that the shelf life of these milks is typically three to four days.
The second tip is to flavor the sip. Dina Cheney encourages us to consider flavoring the milks, especially for drinking. She features a delicious recipe for Blueberry-Cardamom milk. “If you don’t like cardamom, you can omit it or substitute with ground cinnamon.” Doesn’t Raspberry-Rose Milk sound delicious!
The third tip is to use the pulp. After squeezing out the nut milk, Dina Cheney always saves the pulp. You can add the solids to batters, or better yet, you can actually make your own flour! Here’s how! Dina Cheney says to “Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the pulp in a thin layer. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Grind in a food processor and you now have your own flour mix that keeps all the nutrients!”
Here is a bonus tip from Dina Cheney! “You can freeze nuts and seeds and put grains in the fridge.”
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What is your favorite new milk?
Savor the day!
Enjoy Dina Cheney’s recipe for Strawberries with Pistachio Cream from her cookbook, The New Milks
STRAWBERRIES WITH PISTACHIO CREAM
This nourishing dessert pairs red strawberries with pale green, luscious pistachio cream. It’s also delicious with almond, hazelnut, or macadamia nut cream; follow the same recipe, just with different nuts. You can also try fresh blueberries or a mixture of berries on top. Make sure to use raw (not roasted) pistachios for a greener, fresher-tasting cream•
1 cup raw unsalted pistachios 2 tablespoons agave nectar
½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced 3 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios Optional for garnish: 1 teaspoon freshly
grated orange zest
PLACE the nuts in a medium bowl and cover with a couple of inches of water. Soak for 8 hours.
RINSE and drain the pistachios (they will have increased in volume to about 1½ cups), and transfer to a high-speed blender. Add 1 cup fresh water, the honey, almond extract, and salt, and
puree until smooth, about 1 minute. (You should yield a scant 2 cups pistachio cream.)
SPOON the pistachio cream into 4 small dessert cups or bowls. Arrange the berries on top. Sprin- kle with pistachios and, if desired, orange zest. Serve.
ALTERNATE CREAM | ALMOND | PECAN | WALNUT | HAZELNUT | MACADAMIA |