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Horchata de Coco & Caballeros Pobres

Horchata de Coco

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

White Rice – 2 2/3 cups, uncooked, pulverized in a spice grinder

Cinnamon – 1/2 cup crumbled bark

Water – 4 cups, hot

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Almonds – 15, lightly toasted and finely ground

Coconut Milk – 1 can (13 1/2 ounces)

Sugar – 1 cup

Water – 1 cup, cold

Lime Zest – of 1 large, cut into long and wide strips

  • One day in advance, combine the pulverized white rice, crumbled cinnamon bark and hot water in a medium bowl.  Cool, cover, and set aside.  Refrigerate if the weather is hot.
  • The next day, stir the ground toasted almonds and coconut milk into the bowl with the soaked rice.  Working in batches, add the rice mixture to a blender and process until quite smooth.  Each batch will take about 5 minutes.  Strain through a medium-mesh sieve and pour into a pitcher.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, cold water and lime zest.  Cook, stirring, until the sugar is just dissolved.  Let cool, then remove the lime zest.  Pour the cooled syrup into the pitcher with the rice mixture and mix well.  If the drink is too thick for your taste, just add more water.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Stir well and pour over ice cubes in glass.  If desired, add a splash of light rum to each glass before adding the horchata.  Garnish, if desired, with a piece of cinnamon bark.

Caballeros Pobres

(Makes 6 servings)

Sugar – 3/4 cup

Water – 1 1/2 cups

Cinnamon – 2 bark, each 3-inches long

Cloves – 6 whole

Allspice – 6 berries

Anise – 1/2 teaspoon seeds

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Raisins – 1 cup, dark

Almonds – 1 cup, sliced

Eggs – 4, separated

Sea Salt – pinch

Butter – 2 Tablespoons, unsalted

Canola Oil – 1 teaspoon

Baguette – 12 slices, each 3/4-inch thick, crust removed

  • Put the sugar in a medium saucepan and stir in the water.  Add the cinnamon bark, whole cloves, allspice berries and anise seeds.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring gently, until the sugar is dissolved.  Cover and continue to simmer for 2 minutes longer.  Strain, add the dark raisins and sliced almonds to the syrup, and let cool.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and pinch of sea salt until fluffy.  Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a separate small bowl just until blended, then fold into the whites.
  • In a frying pan over low heat, melt the unsalted butter with the canola oil.  Raise the heat to medium and, working in batches, dip the bread slices in the egg batter, then place in the hot oil.  Fry, turning once, until slightly crisp, 5 to 6 minutes total.  Transfer to absorbent paper to drain.  Arrange the slices in a serving dish and pour the syrup over the top.  Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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