Horchata is a popular Mexican drink – sweet cinnamon rice milk, traditionally made with water, rice, sugar, cinnamon and tiger nuts. This recipes has an added twist; made with almonds and evaporated milk making it taste smooth and creamy. Another option is following the Yucatan lead and using coconut milk instead of almonds. It can be made serval ways, but this is my personal favorite. Recipe inspired by chef Rick Bayless
6 tbsp of white rice (soaked in 2 cups water over night)
2 more cups of filtered water for blending
1 cup almonds (blanched)
2 inch Mexican canela (cinnamon stick) or 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
Soak rice in 2 cups of water overnight. Pour the soaked rice and rice water into a blender with 2 extra cups of filtered water. Add cinnamon, almonds, evaporated milk and sugar. Blend until the almonds become fine (like powder). If you have access to a Vitamix or a high-speed blender, your results will be better. Pour horchata into a fine mesh cheesecloth and press through until the almond, rice and cinnamon grit has been removed. Refrigerate and serve cold over ice. This horchata is a million X better than the powder mix at the Mexican restaurants you’ll find here in CA! Hands down!
Every time we drive to the cabin I ask D to take the slightly longer route so we can stop at the taqueria shop on Ramona Expy. They make a mean champurrado – a Mexican hot chocolate thickened with corn flour masa. It’s pretty amazing. Here’s how I make it back at home:
2 cups of water
3 star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 c. corn flour masa
4 c. milk
1 Mexican Abuelita (or Ibarra) chocolate tablet (chopped)
1/2 cup piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) or sub with brown sugar
In a large pot, combine water, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. Boil. Cover and simmer for 15 min. Slowly add corn flour masa stirring to remove clumps. Add milk, chopped Mexican chocolate and piloncillo. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot!
Spiced apple pecan bourbon ciders tonight. Sipping something cozy on the couch this golden October evening.
-Apple Pecan Bourbon Cider-
4oz Unfiltered apple cider
1.5oz Old Bally Castle Ginger by Powell & Mahoney Craft Cocktail Mixers
1oz Laird’s Applejack
1 Tbsp roasted pecan syrup (recipe below)
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with apple slices and a pinch of cinnamon.
-Roasted Pecan Syrup-
1/2 cup classic gum syrup
1/2 cup roasted pecans
Blend both ingredients in a blender until smooth. Scoop into a mini sifter and use the back of a spoon to push the syrup through. Add 1 Tbsp of the creamy roasted pecan syrup to your drink. Put the rest of the syrup in the fridge for later. Discard the nut paste or keep it for toast in the morning 😉
*Gum syrup is a rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar:water) combined with gum Arabic, an all-natural resin harvested from the Acacia tree. The gum, which is comprised primarily of fiber and protein, acts as an emulsifier in the syrup and ultimately in your cocktail.
Yes, you read that correctly. Bird nest; and I’m not talking about twigs and feathers here….this is a nest made from the magical saliva of the swiftlet bird found in Indonesia and South East Asia. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And no, it doesn’t taste like the saliva you are thinking about. I would describe it as gelatinous glass noodles with a hint of sugarcane. It’s fantastic! These nests are highly prized in Chinese medicine – fit for the emperor of China with a long list of healthy benefits.
“These bird nests are rich in several amino acids, proteins and minerals and are believed to stimulate the regeneration of cells, enhance skin complexion and support your immune and respiratory system.” – Blessing Birdnest
Blessing Birdnest is a family business that originated in the 1980’s in Cepu, Central Java, Indonesia. A few years ago they developed a unique process for making bird nest drinks, using only the finest grade nests, water and sugarcane. A delicious taste with no added preservatives. This fountain-of-youth drink is available for people in the US! It is FDA approved and imported to southern California.
Blessings Birdnest practices responsible harvesting, ensuring the safety of their employees as well as the birds. They harvest each bird nest after the eggs hatch and the baby birds mature, to promote natural regeneration. They are deeply committed to maintaining a sustainable environment for the birds.
It’s been a hot summer here in California, so I was eager to experiment with a refreshing summer recipe that complimented its eastern Asian origin.
Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper
2 cups (16oz) water
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 passion fruit
-In a small pot, boil 2 cups (16oz) water
-Cut lemongrass stalk into thin strips and place in boiling water. Boil until fragrant and water turns a light amber color.
-Strain water into 2 glasses over ice and discard the lemongrass stalks
-Add half a bottle of Blessing Birdnest drink to each glass
-Top with a spoonfull of passion fruit pulp and an extra stalk of lemongrass
-Add more ice if needed
Young coconut water
Young coconut meat
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tsp mesquite powder
1 tsp organic coconut sugar
1/2 tsp maca powder
1 handful Ice
*Blend in a blender until smooth and pour back into coconut. Top with chocolate covered cacao nibs, coconut flakes and drizzle with pb and chocolate!