A couple of weeks ago, I was having drinks with some friends when one of them uttered an absolutely baffling phrase: “beans alla gin with oat milk.” I laughed so hard I was moved to tears. What, pray tell, were beans alla gin with oat milk?
Ever the resourceful cook, my friend Madison had recently set out to make a pasta alla vodka-style dish, but with beans. Except she didn’t have cream, she had oat milk creamer. Oh, and she also didn’t have vodka. But she did have gin. She made her swaps accordingly and enjoyed it thoroughly, she said.
I was skeptical, namely of the juniper-scented gin. But a week later at her house, I ate a big bowl of beans alla gin with oat milk — and my words.
Adaptability is a kitchen skill learned through practice and patience, with the help of a little courage and intuition. When it comes to mastering substitutions, a great place to start is not necessarily with liquor or dairy, but with beans, the genesis of Madison’s dinner experiment.