Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking: Blanching Your Own Almonds

I went out to get myself some blanched whole almonds the other day so I can (finally) get to work on my Mk II Jester's Own Orgeat.

I take back what I said in the original orgeat post regarding the availability of blanched whole almonds. You can't find the damn things anywhere.

At least, nowhere I looked. Wouldn't surprise me if AJ's has them (at their usual exorbitant upcharge), or the mega-Fry's up on Tatum and Shea (but I refuse to shop at places that have those goddamn loyalty cards, but that's a whole other post)... Maybe I should have ducked my head into a Middle Eastern grocer? Anyway, I bought myself a pound of raw almonds from Trader Joe's, and easily turned them into a pound of blanched almonds. Here's how, it's a piece of cake.

Get some water boiling in a saucepan. How much water, you ask? About enough to cover the almonds by an inch or two. The easiest way to figure this out is to put your almonds in the empty pan, fill with water to the desired level, then remove the almonds. Once the water is boiling, put the almonds in the boiling water. Cook for about 30 seconds. Drain the almonds, and either rinse the almonds under cold water or transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Then, just pick up an almond and squeeze the big end. The skin should slip right off. Aim towards a bowl with a clean dish towel in it. The dish towel will both dry the almonds, and help keep the skinned almond from shooting across the room.

Now that you have your freshly blanched almonds, proceed as previously directed with the recipe. Salud!