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Esalen Harvest Milk

Inspired by a walk through the Farm & Garden as farmers harvested for Thanksgiving dinner, this spiced nut milk is infused with the spirit of Esalen. Warm and nourishing for the body and mind, Harvest Milk is luxuriously creamy on its own, makes a great base for smoothies and is wonderful in a latte.

This recipe makes about six cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 12-15 fresh culinary sage leaves (set a few aside for when you're ready to serve)
  • 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon, extra to sprinkle upon serving
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla bean paste (can be substituted with real vanilla extract)
  • 2 oz. pure maple (dark amber Grade A) for sweetener to taste
  • Water to soak, blend and thin

Equipment

  • Measuring cup and spoons
  • Blender
  • 1 to 2 large glass containers with airtight lids
  • Fine mesh nut milk bag
  • Large saucepan
  • Whisk

Method

  1. Place nuts in a glass container and add water until they are covered by one inch. Cover the container to seal and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to two days. This is key for creating a smooth, silky texture.
  2. Once nuts are thoroughly soaked, drain and discard the liquid. Rinse nuts thoroughly with cold water.
  3. Purée one cup of the soaked nuts with three cups of hot water (not boiling) in a blender on high speed until the mixture is smooth. This can take about 45-60 seconds. Line a saucepan with the nut milk bag, then pour mixture into the bag and let strain through. Repeat the blending step with the remaining nuts and pour that into the bag as well. Gather the open end of the nut milk bag around the mixture and twist closed. With clean hands, squeeze and press the mixture, extracting as much liquid as possible into the saucepan. The remaining pulp can be refrigerated and used within three days as meal/flour for raw or baked recipes.
  4. Place the saucepan over a burner and turn it to medium heat. Add in sage leaves and cinnamon. Whisk the mixture and simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes, whisking again every few minutes. If mixture begins to boil and bubble up, turn the burner down to a lower heat for the remaining time. The liquid will reduce slightly. Rinse nut milk bag to use again in the next step.
  5. Turn burner off and allow the nut milk to cool for five minutes. Line a clean glass container with the rinsed nut milk bag and pour contents of the saucepan into the bag to strain out the sage leaves. Be careful, as your milk may still be hot! You may want to add a bit of cold water to cool and to reach desired nut milk consistency. Add in vanilla bean paste and sweeten to taste with maple. Whisk to thoroughly combine.

You can enjoy this deliciously nourishing Harvest Milk warm or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate to enjoy later. It is best enjoyed within three to four days.   

When you are ready to serve, whisk to recombine. Rub a leaf of Sage around the rim of each glass to release a bit of the aroma, then pour Harvest Milk into the glass. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon and take a moment to close your eyes. Imagine walking through Esalen's beautiful Farm & Garden, your fingers brushing the sage bushes. Take a deep breath in...and out...and drink up!

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