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Friday, July 12, 2013

Simple Horchata (aka Cheater's Horchata)

Simple Horchata + a $50 @Novica giveaway |
Are you familiar with NOVICA?  It is a fabulous website with a global platform that gives artists and artisans from around the world the opportunity to express their talents and show off their creativity.  It affords access to unique and hard-to-find products, providing a bridge between buys and artisans across the globe.

And I am absolutely enamored by it.  I have been ever since I first "discovered" it a few years back...when I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to review a product from their site.  My first NOVICA purchase was something I'd been dreaming of owning for ages - a Talavera plate.  I still love and use that plate!

But do you know what's even cooler?  When you choose a product from NOVICA, you get a chance to "meet" the artist who made  your product.  Each product comes with a small introduction to the person (or persons) who used their hands to create your beautiful new prized possession.  From handbags to cardigans, from pendants to turquoise drop earrings, from masks to musical instruments, from pillows to paintings to photography to women's shawls from Central America - EVERYBODY can find something to fall in love with at NOVICA.  I, however, can find MANY things to fall in love with.
Simple Horchata + a $50 @Novica giveaway |
So, when I had the chance to work with NOVICA again, I was beside myself.  I have a ton of things on my wishlist, and just as many other wish-list-in-waiting options.  Though I could get lost sorting through all of the gorgeous handbags...and I lust after the chunky turquoise and silver pendant never fails that I find myself back in tableware.  I could fill three houses with the items that I want to purchase.  At least.

After random cart additions and subtractions (and a bit of my own money added on), I decided on these gorgeous, stunning, amazing, fabulous Highball 'Confetti' Glasses AND this Glass 'Aqua' Pitcher to go with them.  Because everybody needs a pitcher to go with their glasses, right!?  Both were made by blown glass artists Javier Gutiérrez and Efrén Canteras out of Mexico.  I adore all of their work.

As soon as I decided on what to order, I knew what I was going to put into them - HORCHATA!  I mentioned a while back that I was going to share the regular, old Horchata recipe with you (as opposed to Coconut Horchata).  Well, this is close.  It's actually the super simple, no-fail version of Horchata.  Even better, no?
Simple Horchata + a $50 @Novica giveaway |
So here's how it came about.  I've been making Horchata for years...ever since the first time I drank a tall, icy glass full in a Mexican Taqueria 13 or so years ago.  It's not hard to make at home, just a little time-consuming and "involved".  By involved I mean grinding and grinding and more grinding.  Again, not difficult, just a pain in my bum if I'm not in the mood.  And lately, I'm just not.  So I started thinking.  Thinking about why in the world I couldn't just use pre-made rice milk in place of, what in its most basic form is just homemade rice milk!?

The unique flavor of Horchata comes from the oils emitted from the peel of a lime and those gnarly sticks of Mexican Canela (cinnamon).  I can easily add those to pre-made rice milk.  So, it still takes time to let those flavors infuse, but it take no more work than peeling the skin from a lime with a vegetable peeling and little shaking of the wrist.  That.  Is.  It.

I wouldn't kid about Horchata.  I don't take it lightly.  So believe me when I tell you that this tastes exactly like the completely-from-scratch Horchata.  For reals.  The only thing missing is the hint of chalky-grit in hand-ground Horchata.  That is a trade-off that I can live with.  And I think you'll be able to, too.

Simple Horchata

Simple Horchata + a $50 @Novica giveaway |
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes + 24 hours (unattended)
Cook Time: n/a
Keywords: beverage vegan soy-free low-sodium dairy-free rice cinnamon Mexican

Ingredients (1/2 Gallon)
  • 1/2 gallon unsweetened, all-natural rice milk
  • zest of 2 limes, cut into long strips (green part only)
  • 2 sticks Mexican Canela (cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar, more or less to taste
Twist the cap off of the carton of rice milk, and remove the protective tab.

Insert the long strips of lime zest (if you have a few smaller ones, that's okay) and the cinnamon sticks into the pour spout (hole) of the carton. Replace cap tightly; shake it up. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, shaking a couple of times here and there, if you think about it.

After 24 hours (or up to 48), give it a final shake. Pour the whole thing into a serving pitcher. The lime zest and canela sticks should stay in the carton as you pour, so you don't need to worry about straining. A few stray specks of cinnamon are expected (and I like it like that).

Stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. This is exactly the ratio of sugar that I like in my Horchata, but some people like it really sweet, so taste it, and add more sugar if you like.

Serve very cold, over ice.

I could not believe that I waited so long to try this simple short-cut to making Horchata (I'd been contemplating it in the back of my mind for years). It tastes just like my beloved, entire-homemade-version - only without the "grit" that you get when grinding your own rice. And though I kind of like that grittiness, I don't like it enough to stop making this version...probably 99% of the time from now on.

You can find a 1/2-gallon carton of unsweetened, all-natural (look at the ingredients...the less, the better) rice milk in the refrigerated section of almost any supermarket near the milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc. You could substitute two of the smaller containers of the unrefrigerated rice milk in place of the carton by simply dividing the strips of lime zest and canela sticks equally between the two, they just won't be as easy to slide in due to the smaller openings on the smaller cartons.

When I make entirely homemade Horchata, I often add blanched almonds to my rice. If you want to mix things up, make an extra large batch of Simple Horchata by using one carton of rice milk AND one carton of almond milk. Double up the rest of the ingredients, adding them to the cartons in the same manner. Before adding the sugar, pour equal amounts from each carton into the pitcher, then sweeten. You could also make Coconut Horchata by using a combination of rice milk and coconut milk.
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Simple Horchata + a $50 @Novica giveaway |
This giveaway is for one (digitally delivered) $50 NOVICA Gift Certificate.  The code will be a one-time use code and will expire 9/19/13.  This giveaway is open to everybody, everywhere - but keep in mind that YOU will be responsible for costs above and beyond the $50, including shipping and handling.  Please note, taxes and duties are not included in the costs of freight if your order is being shipped outside of the US.  Taxes and duties will need to be paid to the shipping company at the time of delivery.  Please check with your local customs bureau for more information regarding taxes, duties and importation fees. Submissions will close at the end of the day on July 22, 2013.  Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the close of the giveaway, and given 24 hours to respond.  If I do not receive a response in 24 hours, I will draw a new winner.

You have many chances to enter to win, but the first and mandatory entry is to leave a blog post comment below letting me know one (or more) things that you would love to have from the NOVICA website.  Entries are being collected in the Rafflecopter widget below, and will be verified.  Good Luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided with two $50 Gift Certificates from Novica - one for my own personal use, and one to give away to one of my readers.  Any money spent above and beyond for the products seen in this post was my own, as are all opinions stated in this post.