notes from maggie's farm
Today we complement our Five Dollar Feast with two beloved latin american specialties, one to heat things up, and one to cool things down.
Horchata, is one of Mexican cuisine's antidote to the spicy salsas and fiery chiles in many of their dishes. For the lactose intolerant (which amounts to as much as 30% of Latin Americans) it is a way to indulge your thirst for milk, without milk. I like to add it to my coffee like a creamer. In a pinch, a carton of rice milk, some almond extract, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, over ice, is a quick way to approximate this treat. But do yourself a favor. Tackle the real deal. It's head and shoulders above the shortcut, and not very difficult, actually. Note: For the correct pronunciation, I present to you Juan and Calixto .
1/2 C uncooked long-grain white rice
1 C raw almonds, skinless, or cashews
1 cinnamon stick
4 C water
1/2 C sugar
crushed ice, to serve
In a small spice or coffee grinder, grind rice, and almonds or cashews, separately into a meal. Add to 2 cups of cold water with cinnamon stick. (Note: Optionally, toasting the cinnamon releases the oils in the stick and will enhance your finished horchata.) Soak for at least 6 hours, or preferably, overnight.
Transfer the water, rice, cashews to a blender and blend until it is very smooth (as long as a few minutes). Add the sugar and an additional 2 cups of water and continue to blend for another few minutes.
Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve into a bowl or pitcher, stirring the solids to help the liquid pass through. Optionally, drain a second time through four layers of cheesecloth to achieve an even smoother beverage.
To serve, pour over a glass full of crushed ice. Refrigerate to store up to 3 days.
To heat things up, pico de gallo, literally interpreted as beak of the rooster, (emblematic of the motion of finger to thumb before utensils were used in latin cultures) is fast, easy, economical, and a staple of the Mexican table. I prefer it to salsa, if I must choose, and I will happily toss together a salad of cabbage, avocado and pico de gallo for lunch, anytime. It's also the trick to making a good quickie guacamole. Just add a tablespoon or so (okay, less if your wimpy) to one or two mashed avocados, add a little salt, and you've made yourself a great guac. But before we get ahead of ourselves.......
is just lovely.
Yes, pico de gallo, I am talking to you. You are beautiful, no matter what you do.....words can't bring (oh, I'm sorry, got carried away.)
and when your beauty overwhelms me,
Tomorrow, on freestyle friday, we're wrapping up this Five Dollar Feast with the jewel of the crown...
You're not going to want to miss this...it's the best part of the feast!