In the winter we crave food that fills our bellies and gives us the energy to traverse through snow and below freezing temperatures. When the long days of summer are gone, our bodies naturally turn toward breads and fats that will sustain us throughout the day and warm us up at night. I like the tartness of milk, but it is missing from a lot of non-dairy alternatives because of the high sugar content. I prefer the rich and sour flavor of milk versus the sweet alternatives or at least the nutty flavor and aroma of almond or cashew milk. A lot of non-dairy baking calls for soured milk, or a non-dairy milk that is spoiled with an acid. I love the taste of soured almond milk, which is thick, creamy, and tart. —Austin | Tea & Stories
For this recipe, we start by souring the almond milk with apple cider vinegar. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the two together until bubbles form around the rim of the liquid. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly coagulated. Mix brown rice, soured milk, vanilla, and maple syrup together in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook covered for 50-60 minutes, or until brown rice is soft and fluffy. While waiting for the rice, roast 1/4 cup of blanched hazelnuts for 8-10 minutes, or until they release a nutty aroma when you open the oven. Coarsely chop hazelnuts and set aside.
Once the rice has finished, top with chopped hazelnuts, sliced blood oranges, dried dates, and maple syrup.
You can use other grains in this recipe, like millet, oat, barley, or white rice. I chose brown rice because I enjoy the nutty flavor of the grain and I anticipated that it would pair well with roasted hazelnuts. I also want to try this recipe with rye or triticale, which is seasonally available in the northeast through the fall and winter, because I think it would add more earth to this recipe.