Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Living in the Heat

Ok. So at this point you KNOW I live in an Airstream (crikey how I love my Melvin!), you KNOW I live in North Carolina.... but do you really KNOW what that means in July?

I've said it before and I'll say it again - adjusting to living in the south for me has been more of a re-adjustment. The parallels between NC and Japan are astonishing. Socially as well as geographically. And my life is mirroring the way I grew up in some freaky ways.

Mainly in the following 3 ways:

1) I don't run the AC

**waits for gasp from those who know the oppressive heat in the south/Asia to die down**

My beloved Melvin has an air conditioner. From 1974. And just like a car from 1974, it is well built and costs an arm and a leg to run nowadays. Added to the fact that the insulation on the camper is mah-mah (as we would say in Japan. Translates literally to "so-so", but actually translates to "not good"... nuances!), and you get inefficiency everywhichway.

And now that I have a job I work in AC - which means I am doubly miserable when I get home. Yet still thankful for what one of my co-workers calls the best invention of the 20th century - the 'climate controlled workplace'.

2) I have the damnedest time cooking dinner and eating anything hot. It starts off cool enough in the morning, but by 1pm the heat is really going, and peaks at around 3pm. And when I say 'peaks' I really mean plateau - it'll stay that shade of Hades until 9 or 10. If you're lucky. On extremely muggy days you're shit out of luck. Taking a shower to cool off? No problem! You'll start sweating as soon as the hot water hits you, and will dry off around October.

Again - thankfully I have a job in basically a supermarket and day old sandwiches often come home with me. No cooking AND cold food. Problem solved :)

3) I find myself - ME, Miss Doesn't Have a Sweet tooth - eating a much larger amount of sugar. I chalk it up to the fact that I need the extra energy in the heat, especially since my normal intake of food is down. And it allows me to  make things like the following:


**moment of respectful reverence and silence**

I like to say that I'm looking to hotter climates for ways to beat the heat (who in the world came up with that phrase? You can't ever actually beat the heat. Sans AC, anyway. And then you're just making it hotter somewhere else....hrm).

Also I miss the Bay area and its saturation of Taco joints - all with their own house made Horchata....

So. Back to the Horchata.

I follow David Lebovitz's blog, and he recently posted a Horchata recipe (Thank you Sir!). I modified the how to slightly, but not the amounts. I will let you link through to him for the recipe (and pretty pictures!), but I changed up the following:
  • I used short grain sushi rice. It's all I've got in the cupboard. Also unless absolutely necessary, I don't really like buying ingredients specifically for recipes when things I have on hand aren't *that* far off.

  • I don't have a blender - I use my (cleaned out kinda) coffee grinder to grind up the rice in the first step. I have a hand-held immersion blender I use when pureeing it with the water. But that's not as difficult as the coffee grinder does such a kickass job in the first place.

  • I abhor cheesecloth. (Except for real cheesecloth for making cheese. It's the stuff you can find everywhere that is atrocious. Hate it. Pttttoey.). I use flour sack towels instead. I like the super-duper cheap ones as they have a lower thread count (more holes), but are still substantial enough to actually wash and use over and over, which I do. A lot. I also don't feel bad about ripping them up into smaller squares that fit perfectly in my strainer. And being cotton, if I've used one piece too many times, into the garden it goes. As a mulch of sorts.

  • I also don't do stirring sugar into cold liquids. It's annoying, time consuming, and I never have superfine sugar which is really the only one that dissolves in any reasonable amount of time. So. When making this recipe, I pour the strained rice liquid, milk, and sugar into a 2 liter container (which may or may not be green plastic and which may or may not have housed the manfriend's favorite caffeinated beverage in its previous life), cap it, and shake like crazy for like 10 seconds. Done. Into the fridge and off to the races.
Now I just need a Blueberry aguas frescas recipe, and then I will really be set!

1 comment:

Kerri said...


and substitute with blueberries.

I like the first one because it includes lime juice - an important ingredient in conch salad. :)