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Horchata – Rum Spiked or Not?

10 Dec
20121210-100820.jpgI wouldn’t normally write a post about Rum, but when I opened the box from Shellback I was inspired! First off the box was personalized just for me, how cool is that? When I opened it up, inside I found a very funny certificate (pictured) about the Rum.  The packaging was flawless, each bottle nestled in a pillowed covering and unharmed. ” Sourced from some of the finest Caribbean sugarcane,20121210-095747.jpg and blended with twelve spices and other natural flavors, Shellback is a modern rum for discerning palates.” The website is really fun….check it out!20121210-095801.jpg
I thought, how can I write about booze on this blog? Then it hit me…it’s holiday time and I bet you need a break, just a small moment of peace, something that the kids will like while mommy or daddy relax too.
Growing up I never had Horchata, that sweet, cinnamon-y, creamy frothy beverage. We had Knishes, Matzoh balls and occasionally chinese take out! Mexican food in the 70’s in Upstate NY was just not something we had.  Since I moved to the Pacific coast I have been introduced to so much fun Mexican food and Horchata is one of my favorites.20121210-095755.jpg
Some say Horchata has roots in Egypt, Spain and then Mexico, Some use almonds some use rice as the base, either way it is a deliciously sweet indulgent treat. Traditional Horchata is dairy free, made only with rice or almond milk.
If you can’t have milk this recipe is easily made dairy-free, just skip the milk and condensed milk.
So make up some tacos and Horchata and for dinner and spike yours with yummy Shellback Rum! The kids can have theirs too but make sure to keep the rum all to yourselves!20121210-095816.jpg

Horchata with a Twist

This recipe will come out best if you have a high powered blender like a Blend Tech or Vita Mix but you can use any blender or food processor.
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 quarts warm water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum, or to taste (optional)

Mix the rice and warm water together in a bowl, and let stand for about an hour.  Drain the rice and reserve the water for later use. Place the rice in a blender, add the cinnamon and process until a paste forms. (you may want to add a bit of the reserved liquid if it too thick) Return the rice to the water and let stand at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally as the water turns milky white.

Strain the rice through a fine strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Using cheesecloth in a strainer will give you the best results. Stir in the milk, condensed milk, vanilla until evenly blended. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Before Serving toss in the blender  or use a stick blender to froth.

Pour the chilled horchata over the ice, add  even amounts of rum to glasses.

For the kids OMIT the RUM!!

If you are looking for some other rum drinks check this out.


Ready Set Go…Thanksgiving 2012 (post 1 of 2)

17 Nov

Marinated Dry Jack

Yes, it is RIGHT around the corner, you know, TD, Turkey Day! I wanted to give a few ideas to help spruce up your gobble gobble party (I made that one up)  So I wrote a post on getting organized and shared some recipes for make ahead foods but you can’t see that yet! I couldn’t resist sharing this scrumptiously easy appetizer with you first.
So if you are going out or having the whole family over you may be needing some recipe ideas. This one is easy, beautiful and can be morphed into many many different ideas. This is a cheese you can marinate for up to a week (he hem, it’s less than a week away..panic sets in)
If you have some pretty jars around, mason jars or French Jelly jars save them! Never toss pretty jars, thy come in handy a lot, I especially love to give gifts in them. When my guests arrive I don’t want them to fill up on chips and junk, I want them to have small nibbles of highly flavored snacks. When I saw this recipe I knew it fit the bill, who doesn’t like cheese, olive oil and garlic?
The herbs are in the in the garden, the only thing I didn’t have on hand was the cheese. A Parmesan Reggiano would be fantastic or  marinate a fresh mozzarella or even olives. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my next post on getting organized  and see my menu for Thanksgiving.

 Cheese Marinated in Herby Olive Oil

Do not store this for more than 10 days, garlic in oil can eventually have botulism and can pose a health risk. Use the oil up for cooking a few days after you eat the cheese, and always refrigerate this recipe.

  • 7 oz dry jack cheese, rind removed and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh sage leaves (I didn’t add sage)
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 sprig(s) fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon(s) pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) black peppercorns
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled,smashed
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oi

Layer the cheese, sage, basil, and rosemary, the peppercorns and garlic  in a decorative jar and pour the oil over the top until the cheese is almost completely covered.  I leave the tops of the cheese dry so the guest can pick up the cheese stick without getting greasy.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, I used a large jar and wanted to eliminate air on the cheese so I used some seal wrap, pressing it down directly on the olive oil and on the sides of the jar.  for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.


In Honor of Julia

15 Aug

I couldn’t resist sharing this video with you, it really brought me back, I hope you like it too.

I grew up watching Julia Child on PBS. My mom and I would snuggle in bed and watch, and watch and laugh. We laughed about how she’d spill something and scrape it up off the counter, pop it in the pot and continue on cooking. She wasn’t graceful but boy could she cook! I do believe that is where I learned to remember a recipe with out writing it down. I had a knack for remembering ingredients and technique I’d seen on TV.  Mom is a great cook who highly influenced me. We would discuss the recipes and think about how delicious Julia’s kitchen set must have smelled.

When I grew up I had the distinct pleasure to work on the set of Jacques Pépin’s PBS Show, Jacques Celebrates. While working on that show Jacques often talked about Julia, how they fought over whether you salt the burger before cooking or after. They disagreed about so many topics but he always spoke fondly of her and with the utmost respect. He, a French trained chef who was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle, and Julia, a home cook who discovered French cuisine later in life, made a perfect pair. I bet some of the things I learned from Jacques he may have picked up from Julia! I consider myself lucky, although I never met her (my husband did get that chance, lucky duck) she is all around me. Thanks Julia for your inspiration and fun spirit, you are missed.

Ice Ice Baby….

22 Sep

This summer has been so much fun for our family, we traveled, gardened, went to camp, taught camp and were lazy and very busy.  We also purchased an old (1973) pop up camper from Craig’s list. We fixed it up and took it out and had the best time, we are converts now, and we want to camp as much as we can.

So where does the ice come in? Well being a 1973 camper it has an  old-fashioned   icebox in it. For the ice box to work, you have to get a large block of ice, the  old-fashioned   kind. The ice fits in the top of the icebox and as it melts it drains out the bottom into the ground. If you camp for one night then you have a great big block left when you get home, I threw it in the freezer for another day. This is where the play comes in, what to do with an over sized block of ice?
It was hot after school and the kids needed something to keep them busy. I put the ice outside on some rocks far away from anything valuable. 
I got a few turkey basters (I have no idea why I have more than one) and filled a few cups with warm water. The water got a few drops of food coloring so the kids could see how the warm water affected the ice.

We shot the water in to the ice and made craters and rivers, they had such a blast with it. I did end up running to the kitchen a lot to refill and change out the colors per request.
It was a great experiment for them; we talked about what happened when you shoot the warm water in, as opposed to slow drips. We talked about freezing our own ice with rocks so they could get the treasure out by the force of the water. You could make ice blocks with all kinds of goodies in them, army men, gems, blocks to name a few. It was a great afternoon and I can’t wait to do it again.
Who knew camping could lead to such a fun after school activity.

How to Avoid "Sugar and Stress"

8 Jun

School is out and summer is here as far as I am concerned. Today we got the chance to walk downtown and see one of my favorite bands, The English Beat. What the heck is the English Beat doing in Novato anyway??

I discovered them in High School, my older brother was into them and I wanted to be cool too. Now let’s get real, the last time I really danced to their music was probably in college and we can all guess how many years ago that was. Now things are different, we have a 5 year old in tow and showing up at the concert with a red wagon and sun screen is the norm.

The thing that doesn’t have to be is eating really bad food, and spending 5 dollars on a cup of shaved ice doused with sugar syrup.
I knew my daughter would want a hot dog, to avoid that and keep dollars from flying out of our wallet we opted for a movable dinner. There is a time and place for hot dogs but we have such a variety of foods to choose from in the grocery store why not stock up. You can stock up on healthier versions of the standards like, tofu pups, turkey or chicken dogs, what ever you like that resembles the fair food.
We had a light snack before we left, so I was able to keep our dinner to go on the simple side.
We packed up the wagon with the essentials, sunscreen, blanket for later, water, Margaritas (for us silly, not the kid) and a bag of homemade fair food.I threw together turkey hot dogs wrapped in crustless wheat bread, with a squirt of ketchup. I wrapped them in foil and they stayed nice and warm.
We always pack nuts for a quick energy boost to avoid the low blood sugar tantrum. Too much sugar, too little sugar, how is one to keep track, just have snacks to avoid the whole thing.
We all danced like fools, ate our dinner, watched the sun set and got home without spending a dime and we were just as happy as if we had. We had a ball and I am sure there will be a lot of really sore middle aged people in

Novato in the morning!
Now our daughter knows all about the English Beat and we avoided “Sugar and Stress.”
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