Simply and crudely put, aquafaba is “bean juice.” More accurately, it’s the liquid leftover from chickpeas stored in water; and was named from the Latin words for both “water”and “bean”. I put chickpeas in salads all of the time, so I wish I had known that there was some other utility for the contents left inside of the can. What’s so amazing about this this slightly bizarre bean-derived liquid is that it functions as a great vegan substitute for eggs. Its properties closely mimic that of albumen, so it works well as a binder, thickener and emulsifier. It’s versatile, because it can be used successfully and undetectably in a variety of dishes and cocktails (whether you’re vegan or not), and works particularly well within recipes that require fluffy meringues. To calculate how much aquafaba you’ll need for your recipe: 3 tablespoons are the equivalent of one egg; 2 tablespoons are the equivalent of one egg white. Also, a standard 15.5 oz can of store bought chickpeas holds about 12 tablespoons of aquafaba.
I found a lovely macaron recipe posted by Jasmine Lukuku from Black Food Bloggers Club (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere). They are not only delicious, but absolutely beautiful. I love hosting English tea parties for my friends, so I might have to put these bad boys into circulation on my tea tray. Whatever the case, expand your culinary horizons and try using aquafaba in a few sweet and savory dishes. It’s a great option for people “who can’t take a yolk.” Da-dum-tum!
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love dogs. It doesn’t matter what breed, size or age – they make me feel blissfully content and never fail to elevate my mood. I’m convinced that those male dating coaches who advise men on how to pick up women by walking cute dogs in the park, had women like me in mind. I’ll approach a complete stranger at a cafe, or on the street, just to engage their canine companions. I’m an equal opportunity animal lover, but if I’m being 100% honest, cats just don’t do it for me like dogs do. Cats always seem so aloof, so emotionally unavailable, that they
represent men that I’d never date or friends that I wouldn’t mind losing. Dogs, on the other hand…well, there’s just something so pure about the raw expression of their needs, that they just seem so…honest to me. They’re often loyal to a fault, and the majority that I’ve come across, just love being loved. Luke Skybarker*, my German Shepard/Lab mix, lives to please and protect my family. He’s a “working dog.” One that’s been bred with a distinct purpose in mind, whether that’s herding animals or protecting its home and family. I cherish him, and, also, Jimmy Chew*, my chihuahua/terrier mix, although, he serves a completely different emotional purpose. His canine footprint is tiny, but his presence is large. I adopted him from a shelter, and lore has it that he was abandoned with his litter mates in a dirty barn somewhere in Modesto, California. I fostered this feral little dog, and he imprinted upon me like a newborn duckling, totally at the expense of loyalty and affection for the rest of my family, and feels no shame in his lack of familial warmth for everyone else. They could move out of the house tomorrow, and he wouldn’t miss a bark or experience the feeling of loss for the very people who keep him alive. Out of all the things that he’s expressed, he’s made one thing quiet clear: he’s a one woman dog. I guess this makes sense: The Maya used to view the ancient predecessor of the Chihuahua as guardians of the afterlife, and would often kill dogs after their owner’s death, and bury them alongside their masters, so that they could accompany them into the next world. Frankly, I think this ritual wasn’t spiritually based, but, rather, recognition that no one else could command respect from these mercurial, little buggers and deal with them after their owners had passed. It was more of a mob clean up job, than an act of spiritual elevation. If nothing else, the chihuahua is a “ride or die” companion. If I was bedridden with an illness, or stricken with a life threatening disease, I know that I would never be left alone with little Jimmy Chew in my life. Whichever the dog, or strange peculiarity of the breed, I am so grateful that they play such a selflessly pivotal role in my happiness and well-being. I hope that I do the same for them.
*I’ve changed the names of my dogs in order to protect the guilty.
additional articles on the health benefits of dog ownership:
It’s no secret that almond milk has long been THE plant-based beverage du jour. Its flavor is mild, nutty, versatile and pleasing, although, oat milk is beginning to give it a run for its money. The health benefits of almond milk are undeniable, and it’s a wonderful alternative to dairy, which is good news for African-Americans, who suffer disproportionately with lactose intolerance. Although, almond milk is readily available in almost every grocery store, I prefer to make my own at home. Why, you ask? Well, the answer is so that I can control the purity, taste and thickness of the final product. The percentage of almonds used in production, is one of the most important variables that I want to control, because it’s responsible for the thickness, creaminess, taste and mouthfeel of the milk. Almonds are expensive to produce, which is why most almond milk manufacturers include 2% or fewer almonds, resulting in an unnecessarily thin and watery product. They compensate for the thinness of the product, by adding fillers and binders. Whatever your personal preference, making nut milks is simple and fun to do. Once you’ve made one batch, you’ll find that it’s easy to adjust it to your personal taste.
Here’s an easy recipe to try at home:
1 cup whole raw almonds, soaked 8 hours, rinsed and drained
2-3 cups water
1-3 pitted Medjool dates
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Combine all ingredients in an high-speed blender and process until smooth.
Separate the milk from the pulp by squeezing the mixture through a milk bag. Compost the pulp or reuse it as a flour substitute. I give mine to my chickens!
Serve chilled. Stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Almond milk will keep for up to 4 days.
Note: Once you’ve made 1-2 batches, you’ll have a better sense of your personal preference. Do you prefer it sweeter? Add more seedless dates? Does it taste too one-dimensional in flavor? Maybe you should add a pinch of salt or nutmeg. It’s your party, so celebrate your creamy, white mustache in your own, unique way.
Ah, it’s Spring again. The days are longer, the weather’s getting warmer and the clothes are getting skimpier. Oh, wait! You forgot to exercise all winter and your legs are looking pale, flabby and doughy? Still rockin’ sweatpants and those roomy boyfriend jeans? Well, never fear! Run Stella Run is here to suggest some of the fastest and most efficient ways to get your legs tight and right for the summer. Also, stay tuned for some cool athleisure wear that will help you show off those gorgeous gams that you worked so hard to achieve. Sexy is forever, but life is short, so we included a “how to” video by YouTube’s Tiffany Rothe, to get you there faster.
Wishing you iron thighs, platinum abs and buns of steel.