Horchata


This year winter is threatening to last forever. It seems that I have been cold for so long and I yearn for summer to come. I took it upon myself to see if I could hasten its arrival.

My abuelita used to say that summer and horchata was a natural pair. You couldn’t have one without the other. I have fond memories of drinking horchata on hot summer days. It was so cooling and fresh; it tasted like nothing else.

Since my grandma said the two went hand-in-hand and I knew that whenever summer came we would have horchata – logic would have it that the reverse was also true. Therefore, if I whipped up a jar full, summer should result. I had not tasted it for years and I began to look forward to this exercise.

I went to work and gathered up the ingredients. I blended rice, water, and canela. I let it soak in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I added milk, and sugar. A splash of vanilla topped it off and I was in business.

I poured a tall glass and headed for the kitchen table. Glancing out the window I saw it had begun to snow. I knew it was not going to be easy to banish the winter. I brought the glass to my lips, took a sip and closed my eyes. I was immediately transported to my grandmother’s kitchen. It was warm and the smell of cooking meats and breads perfumed the air. My abuelita would hum a tuneless song as she worked; and all was right with the world.

I glanced out the window of my kitchen again. If anything the snow was coming down harder now. So, it’s on then. I was prepared to drink the entire pitcher right now, if need be. I was done with winter. I craved summer. I topped off my glass and raised it in challenge to the winter snow.


Too many words, sorry about that Light and Shade.  Here’s a recipe.

 

Horchata

1 1/3 cup rice
5 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup milk
1/3 cup white sugar (or to taste)
Vanilla (to taste)

Put 1 1/3 cup rice in the blender with about 2 cups of water and 2 cinnamon sticks. Blend until the rice and cinnamon are roughly ground. Add the remaining water and blend thoroughly. Pour into a pitcher and place in the refrigerator to soak (overnight is best but if you can’t wait that long go at least 4-5 hours).
Strain the mixture. Add the milk, sugar (a rounded 1/3 cup for ‘not too sweet’ – 2/3 cup for ‘sweet’) and a generous splash of vanilla. Serve chilled