Friday exhale - FamilyEducation

Friday exhale

March 25,2011
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

This week that started out so poorly, has ended on a really good note. Not only is it Friday, but the magnet school lottery results are in, and, as my Facebook status read yesterday: the magnet school lottery gods have smiled on us.

I feel a huge sense of relief; now we just have to carefully figure out where to go from here. But we have OPTIONS--which is all I ever really wanted.

Options...what a beautiful word.

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On Thursday night my parents and I cooked up a big Mexican meal--black bean tortillas, tacos, rice, mangoes, corn and a shredded lettuce and tomato salad with all the fixings. I also made a big pitcher of Mexican horchata. There are many ways of making horchata--with ground almonds, or barley, or rice, as is traditional in the Mexican version. We're lucky to live near a good Mexican restaurant, and while the kids aren't crazy about Mexican food in general (although T. will only eat cheese quesadillas at this restaurant and never at home) they are always excited to order tall, iced glasses of horchata (free refills!). Since we discovered horchata a year ago, I've wanted  to try making some in my own kitchen. When I did some internet sleuthing I found horchata recipes that ranged from the more complicated, to the simpler, less time-intensive. I decided to do what I usually do with recipes--adapt a couple of appealing ones and add my own personal tweaks.

Even though it was chillier last night than the night before, we ate on the screened-in-porch. We plugged the tiki lights in, lit candles, and it all felt, well, a little celebratory.

Horchata

1 1/3 cup rice  

3 cups water

2 cups rice or vanilla soy milk

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken up

2/3 cup white sugar

Pour the rice, water and one cup of rice milk/soy milk into the bowl of a blender; blend until the rice just begins to break up, about 1 minute. Let rice and water stand at room temperature for a minimum of 3 hours (mine stood for just under 3 hours and it came out perfectly).

Strain the rice water through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a pitcher and discard the rice. Stir the remaining milk, vanilla, and sugar into the rice water. Chill and stir before serving over ice. Top with a dash of cinnamon.

Happy Weekend!