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Horchata

This is the fourth day in a row that the government has been closed due to snow. With so much free time on my hands, I attempted another recipe from the book Nicaraguan Cooking: My Grandmothers Recipes. This time I made horchata, an almond-rice drink.  Although the drink is served cold over ice, the flavors are warm: cinnamon, vanilla, coconut, almond.  While horchata is common in Nicaragua, it is by no means an exclusively Nicaraguan drink.  Originally from Valencia, Spain, many countries have adapted the recipe using ingredients common in their area.  Nicaraguan horchata is usually made with semilla de jicaro instead of almond – which is something I didn’t have on hand. Fresh out.

And of course, while you’re drinking this, you must listen to Vampire Weekend’s song Horchata, from their new album Contra (er, awkward Nicaragua reference…). Is the album a bit cheezy? Sure. Is it still a good time? Oh, yes.

Click below for the recipe taken from Nicaraguan Cooking by Trudy Espinoza-Abrams:

First, soak 1/2 cup of white rice in a bowl for 2 hours in 2 cups of water.  Meanwhile, grind 1/4 pound of almond (I had slivered almonds on hand), in a food processor.  Buying them already ground would save some time.  Once the rice is ready, finely grind it in a food processor.  In a pitcher, combine the ground rice, ground almonds and the following ingredients: 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 cups of milk, 1/8 tsp. allspice, 2 cups water, and 1 Tbs. shredded coconut.  Blend thoroughly.  Serve over ice in a glass, or refrigerate to serve later.

I made this a day ahead.  The heavier ingredients will fall to the bottom – just stir before serving and keep shaking your glass to mix it up.

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