horchata

horchata

This HungryTexan is stubborn enough to try anything once, and this weekend I decided to try my hand at horchata – a milky latin beverage I’ve oft enjoyed at El Salvadorian restaurants. There are lots and lots of varieties of horchata made from combinations of almonds, rice, sesame seeds, barley or tigernuts. I tried an almond and rice-based varietal, and the final product was sweet and nutty with a pleasant creaminess that wasn’t overly rich. We sipped our horchata plain, but it would be a real treat frothed up in a latte or blended into a milkshake!

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Recipe slightly modified from Nosh On.It’s version:

1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1/3 cup long-grain white rice
1 cinnamon stick
5 cups of water (3 hot, 2 cold)
1/2 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp vanilla)

Beware! This is a two day project and requires a good night’s soak for the flavors to really sync. Start by blanching your almonds. Dump your almonds in boiling water for one minute and then strain & run under cold water. Blanching is key to being able to super simply pinch off the almond’s skin. Grab the almond at its fat part and pinch the skin away – they fly right off (literally, we had almonds fly across the kitchen!). Now you have a cup of naked almonds.

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Give them a nice toast in a completely dry skillet until they’re lightly browned.

Next, in your grinding instrument of choice (coffee grinder, spice grinder, food processor) pulverize your rice into a fine, fine powder.

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Then, in a large jar or jug combine 3 cups of hot water, your almonds, your rice powder and your cinnamon stick. Give it a good stir and let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating. After your mixture has had an ample soak, remove the cinnamon stick and blend everything together in a blender. Blend until your almond/rice mixture is very powdery. Add the extra two cups of cold water and continue blending.

Next comes the messy part. With a very fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth, strain your mixture. It’s slow going. Be patient! Strain it twice if you need to. Get out as much sediment as you can and then stir in your simple syrup. Pour into a glass and enjoy while listening to Vampire Weekend’s, Horchata.

Cheers,
Julia

red beans & rice

Red Beans and Rice Hero

Nothing says NOLA like red beans and rice. I know it’s sacrilege, but believe it or not these red beans and rice have no bacon, sausage or any hints of meat. They’re slow cooking, flavor-packed, and will make your kitchen smell like a French Quarter cafe. The real secret to these is time (you’ll also need a little thyme).

You’ll need:

Ingredients_Red Beans & Rice

 

Kosher salt
1 pound small red beans, rinsed and picked over
3 tbl butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 small bell pepper (I used orange), seeded and chopped fine
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper
3 cups veggie broth
6 cups water
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
Basic White Rice

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Your beans: Start by soaking & brining them — combine 3 tablespoons of salt with 4 quarts of water. If you’re a planner, you can soak your beans for 8-12 hours over night the night before. I am not that on top of things, so I erred on the side of the quick soak. To prep your beans with the quick method, rinse your beans then combine them with salt & water in a large, covered dutch oven. Bring the water to a boil and then remove from the heat and let them rest for 1 hour. Drain your beans and then start making them tasty!

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Melt your butter in a large dutch oven & add your onion, celery, and peppers. Cook until your vegetables are soft (~4-5 minutes) and then add your garlic.

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Add your spices (thyme, paprika, bay leaves, cayenne, and pepper) & let the flavors start to meld for a few minutes.

Add your beans, broth & water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once your mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour. Stir in your vinegar and continue cooking for at least 30 more minutes. Honestly, I kept the beans on low heat for at least two additional hours. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

xoxo,

HungryTexans