In the last few years I’ve come to love cooking and baking. I’m glad I finally caught the cooking bug because I come from a long line of amazing chefs including my grandmother, mother and brother. Now in his retirement, my dad has caught it too! I’ve done some experimenting and had some success but I am still much better off with a great recipe. I’ve made bread from scratch, chili, enchiladas, lasagna, and too-many-to-name desserts. And I love looking at the amazing food photography in some of the cookbooks I have stowed on my shelf. Food photographers have amazing patience and technical skill that I just don’t have. It’s ok – I can’t be good at everything! But I do enjoy making delicious food and that sense of accomplishment that comes with my husband Nick’s “mmmm’s!”
Earlier this summer Nick and I visited my parents in Baltimore. While we were there, we went to a great Mexican restaurant on the east side of the harbor where they had amazing horchata. Horchata is a Latin American drink made of rice, almonds, cinnamon and sugar. It’s served cold over ice or simply chilled and is perfect for those who are lactose intolerant (or for those like me who are trying to limit their dairy intake.) It’s creamy and sweet, and so delicious. After taking a few sips I told Nick, “I bet I can totally make this at home!”
I found a few recipes and have since learned that there are lots of variances to the recipe. Some other ingredients include ground cocoa, vanilla or milk. I haven’t tried any other recipes because this one is so delicious, but if you have, let me know. I’d love to experiment. Maybe a little Kahlua or banana liquor would be a nice treat!
Hochata De Almendra
2/3 cup medium or long grain white rice (raw)
1 1/4 cups almonds, blanched (blanched = run some hot water over them for about 15-20 seconds)
3-inch piece of cinnamon stick (I’ve used ground cinnamon and it works just as well)
2 1/2 cups water (hot)
2 cups water (cold) (or milk)
1 cup sugar
1. In a large bowl combine rice, almonds, cinnamon stick and 2 cups of hot tap water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Pour the mixture into the blender, add sugar and blend on high for several minutes until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add up to 1/2 cup of water as needed to blend into gritty mixture.
3. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, pressing on the solids until only a dryish pulp remains.
4. Pour into pitcher and add remaining cold water (or milk), taste and sweeten with more sugar if you wish. Serve over ice.
Yields 4 servings.
Tip: I feel wasteful throwing out the pulp, so I have soaked it overnight again in an additional 2 cups of hot water. The flavor is not as intense as the original batch but it does yield more.