Monday, 31 May 2010

What to do with almond pulp??

Week 6 after I decided it's most likely lactose intolerance which made my life a bit miserable of late, and I'm still working out how to deal with the absence of dairy.
Whenever I talk about my lactose intolerance, I find myself saying "well, you know, it's not too bad - I never ate much dairy anyways." Which is true. It's also just half the truth, as I never knew how much dairy products hide in our foodstuffs.
My idea of my dairy intake was simple: I like milk in my tea, as well as in my coffee (yeah, I've gone back to drinking coffee ... but that's a topic for some other day). I prefer cream cheese over butter on my sandwiches. No way can I have pasta without parmesan. I do like a dash of butter on my broiled veggies, and sauteed onions are so much better if it's happened in butter, or at least an oil/butter mixture.
So far, so bad - but none of these are really non-replaceable. Tea and coffee turned out to be the hardest (and easiest, in a way) to complement. Soy milk, oat milk, almond milk - mixed with tea or coffee taste like slightly flour-y water has been added to your caffeinated drink. Yuck. Lacto-free cows milk is the solution.
I haven't found a substitute for cream cheese yet - hummus works occasionally, depending on what you want to put on top of it ... great with tomatoes, cucumber, and roast chicken. Not so much with cold beef, or cheese. Cheese, I hear you screech? Isn't the whole point here to AVOID the cheese? Well, that's the morsel of good news - matured cheese is fine.
However, while experimenting with different milk-substitutes, I found out that I actually quite like almond milk - just not in coffee, thank you very much. It is, however, great with cereal. Or in smoothies. It's also quite expensive.
When I whined about the price of my favorite involving-no-cow's-udder-milk, a friend pointed out it's easy to make it yourself? What? Almond milk? C'mon, sounds like alchemy.
Turns out it IS easy to make, and much cheaper, too - and even better! One slight disadvantage: leftover almond pulp.
Now I'm a bit of a hippie and greenie at heart (I know, it doesn't go so well with my huge flatscreens attached to each of my 3 computers ... nobody's perfect, eh?), and one of my favorite nitpicks is to throw away perfectly good food. Or stuff that could easily be turned into perfectly good food - just like almond pulp.
Which, as it turns out, can be easily dried (stick into oven on very low heat, and leave till dry - or if you have one, use a dehydrator) and ground again into almond flour.
Some of which I happened to have handy today to make use of a couple of overripe pears.

So, here we go - Almond flour and pear muffins.
Makes 6 muffins.

1 cup of almond flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon (or a good pinch) of salt
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 egg
3 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 drop of vanilla extract (or to taste)
2 ripe pears

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. The almond flour doesn't require the 'haste' usually asked for in muffin dough whipping. Finally, grate the pears in, using the fine grater and leaving the skins on. Alternatively, you can chop them finely - I'm too lazy for that, though.
Depending on the ripeness of your pear, you might find that you have to add more flour.
Fill in muffin forms, about 2/3 high, and bake for ca. 25 minutes.