Friday, May 27, 2011

Who're you callin' horchata?

When the summer months arrive here in Montreal, the cravings for Mexican food kick in. Serious, serious cravings. Good Mexican food is, sadly, tough to come by here, and finding a good burrito like we used to get in Santa Cruz is practically impossible. Oh how I dream of burritos from Planet Fresh or Taqueria Vallarta. God don't get me started on $1 taco night at El Palomar. *weeps bitterly*

But I digress... through trial and error and a *lot* of bad Mexican food, I have found a few good places here in Montreal. There is a new-ish place at the Jean Talon market (El Rey del Taco, I think?) that has good tacos and a staggering array of fresh drinks, and there is Taqueria Mex. The decor is gaudy and kitschy, the waitstaff not always overly friendly, but the food more than makes up for it.They have amazing burritos. They have churros. They have a salsa bar *gets a little choked up*. There are other things on the menu, but honestly I've never made it past the burritos and salsa bar ;) Gimme a chicken burrito grande with chips and point me towards the salsa, thankyouverymuch!!!

They both also have homemade horchata. You know... this stuff:

Photo courtesy of marthastewart.com


Depending on where you get it/where it's from, it could be almond, rice or barley based. It's very similar to almond/rice/soy milk with a bit of flavoring (often vanilla and/or cinnamon) and some sweetener. I find it a very comforting drink, and it does wonders cooling you off on a hot summer day.

I came across a recipe for horchata recently over at the Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking and was surprised I'd never made it myself. So of course I went right to the kitchen and made some! ;) This drink is supremely easy to make. Click on the link for the full recipe, but basically you simply put rice, water and cinnamon sticks in a bowl to soak overnight. After a good soak, you run it all through a blender or food processor (tip: respect the "Max fill line" marked on your food processor, or have a whole lotta paper towels handy! :P) then drain it through a fine sieve. I used a jelly bag and it worked great. Add in a bit of sweetener if desired and chill in the fridge. That's it! I imagine this method could also work well to make almond or soy milk.

Super simple, super tasty! Oooh, I bet horchata would make a good ice cream flavor, too. :D

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