Friday, August 8, 2014

Horchata

I am definitely a shortcuts kind of person. I don't mean that I like to cut corners, but if there's an easier and/or more efficient way to do something, I will definitely do it. For example, I never make a special trip to check the mail. Instead, I will walk my dog and on our way back, I'll grab the mail. Or, if I want to give myself a manicure at night, I change into pyjamas, wash my face, brush my teeth, and put my hair up beforehand so that I can just relax while they're drying instead of trying to do all of that stuff while my nails are still tacky and end up ruining them. You know the drill.

So, when a recipe requires you to soak something and wait and there's really nothing else you can do to contribute to the dish while you're waiting (except maybe watch seventeen episodes of Friends back-to-back) it irks me a little. I wish I could be mixing or scraping or rolling the other ingredients while the mixture soaks. With recipes like this, I'm like, is it worth it? Well, homemade horchata is one of those recipes; it's uncomplicated and 90% of the recipe is just waiting. I debate whether the effort is worth the reward because it involves so much patience and not much else. I'm leaning towards yes, it's worthwhile, but only because I'm drinking some as I type this and it's really sweet and delicious and it's making me v. happy.

If you've never had horchata before - pronounced "or-CHA-ta" - it's a cinnamony sweet almondy rice milk. And right there, I've basically described the four ingredients it takes to make this drink: cinnamon, sugar, almonds, and rice. It's dairy-free, which is great for my mild lactose intolerance, and frankly, it's just dessert in a glass which is fantastic.
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings]:
1 cup long grain rice
1½ cups blanched almonds
cinnamon stick
3 cups warm water
4 cups cold water
¼ to ½ cup sugar or agave nectar
+ground cinnamon

Start by adding the rice, almonds, cinnamon stick, and warm water to your blender pitcher. Cap the pitcher and leave the ingredients to soak for at least 6 hours.

Blend the soaked ingredients until smooth.
Pour the contents of the blender into a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh sieve.
Coax the liquid through the sieve by stirring a little and then just leave the whole thing alone to drip and drain for 30 minutes.
Once the liquid has drained via gravity, it's time to give the mixture a squeeze. Just pick up the cheese cloth and squish the rest of the liquid out.
Add agave nectar (or sugar) to the strained liquid and stir.
Pour in the cold water. Add more water and/or agave, if necessary. It's a preference thing.
Pour the horchata into a pitcher and then stick in the fridge to chill.
All that's left to do is serve! Pour a generous portion over ice. And if it's after five, you can spike this with a little rum or go all out and drizzle in some Rumchata, which is horchata-flavored rum.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top, if you want. This drink is sweet and milky and really delicious. If you like almond milk, this will definitely be up your alley. Just imagine yourself sitting on a sexy white sand beach, sipping this deliciously refreshing drink.

Um, you could also make horchata popsicles, which are amazing. They're creamy and sweet and cold and great as a summer afternoon cooldown snack.
Here's the recipe page:

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