Crisp, cool, comfortable Autumn is on its way. Joel’s extra blanket convinced me to stay in bed until 7:30 this morning, so we decided to put off breakfast and have blue cheese and bacon hamburgers at 9:30. We drove down Central Avenue to the Minneapolis Public Library so that Joel could re-register his card. Chiapas orange awning called us in for tortas as it was past 1:30. Joel had chicken. BBQ pork was my choice. Heated salsa with the fresh tortilla chip basket was a first. Chilled Cinnamon Horchata for me. Sangria pop over ice for Joel. But he got the bonus bug in the cup. Poor guy…Joel or the bug? Good tortas. Joel ate the whole thing. I saved half for supper- the sandwich fills a whole oval plate! Avocado, refried beans, lettuce, peppers, meat, and who knows what else all on a huge roll.
Horchata is an old-world drink that was enjoyed by the Aztecs. Today this agua fresca is served throughout Mexico, as well as in many authentic Mexican restaurants in the United States. Horchata is a cool and soothing enhancement to spicy food.
1 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 cup ground, blanched almonds or almond meal
1 cinnamon stick
6 cups water, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
Put the rice in a blender and grind to a powder (about 2-3 minutes). You can also use a spice grinder or coffee grinder for this. Grind the mixture as smooth as possible. Combine the pulverized rice, ground almonds and cinnamon stick. Cover tightly and allow to set overnight or at least 6 hours.
Remove the cinnamon stick and place the rice mixture in the blender. Blend for 4 or 5 minutes until the mixture is smooth, powdery and no longer has a gritty texture. Add 2 cups of water, and blend again for about 15 seconds.
Strain into a pitcher through several layers of dampened cheesecloth (or coffee filter). Do not skip this step or the drink will have a chalky taste.
Add 4 more cups water and the vanilla and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. If the mixture is too thick, add some additional water. Horchata should have the consistency of milk. The drink is supposed to be sweet, so taste and add more sugar, if desired.
Cover and refrigerate. Horchata will keep several days, refrigerated. Serve it chilled in tall glasses over ice. Makes 1-1/2 quarts.