The horchata we had in Mexico was made from rice, sugar, and cinnamon, and maybe rice milk added in. Many a Mexican restaurant will have the churning white liquid in a countertop fountain dispenser, mesmerizing to watch as you wait for your tacos de asada. Originating in Spain using tiger nuts, horchata can also be made with almonds, barley, sesame seeds, morro seeds, or peanuts depending where in the world you might be.
I found an interesting recipe at oneingredientchef.com that includes cashews with the rice and dates instead of sugar. I was intrigued. I didn’t have dates so I substituted Calmyrna Figs—a lovely caramel flavor without being too sweet. It’s an easy and delectable treat for a hot afternoon!
Speaking of hot afternoon….
We’re heading into deep summer and the oppressive heat really separates out those with air conditioning from those without. By now acclimation has happened and the pores flow freely for us—not unlike in a sauna, but not nearly as pleasant. It’s right around this time every year that I am quietly (or not so quietly) celebrating being past the summer solstice and heading the other way, back into the longer nights and eventually…winter. Good sleep, slow cooking, fuzzy sweaters, and hopefully snow!
But I must confess that developing my minor addiction to annual flowers has helped me get through these sunny times called summer. It’s a somewhat new urge, and I’ve been feeding this appetite a little more every year, so who knows how it will all unfold.
Enjoy your horchata in this summer heat!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Soak Time: 8-12 hours
Mix in a bowl or small pot:
1/3 cup White Rice
1/4 cup Raw Cashews
3 cups Water
Cover and let soak for 8 hours, or overnight.
After soaking drain off the soaking water and discard.
Transfer everything to a blender, Vitamix or food processor and add:
1 cup Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla
5 Calmyrna Figs (or Medjool Dates, pitted)
1/4 teaspoon plus a little more Cinnamon, ground
Blend until smooth. Add and blend again:
2 cups Water
Strain the liquid through a fine strainer or cheese cloth, then squeeze the pulp to release any flavor-filled liquid. Chill and store in the refrigerator.
When serving, sprinkle on top:
My friend and photographer Linda Slining has an ongoing project of photographing old signs. Recently Scott and I did a tour of the tiny town of El Dorado, I thought Linda would have wanted me to get a shot of this.