Showing posts with label iced tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iced tea. Show all posts

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Southern Sweet Tea for the Dog Days of Summer

#Recipe from @Peg Cochran

I know it's heresy--a "Northerner" giving you a recipe for the ubiquitous drink of the South!  But to be honest with you, I never quite knew how to make really good iced tea--it would be bitter, too weak, too strong, etc.  So I started looking for an honest-to-goodness recipe and found this one which I've tweaked a bit to suit us.

According to American Table, the first published recipe for sweetened, non-alcoholic iced tea appeared in Marion Campbell Tyree’s 1879 community cookbook Housekeeping in Old Virginia Containing Contributions from 250 Ladies in Virginia and Her Sister States.  Quite a mouthful, isn't it?

And most of the tea used back then was green tea which is suddenly so in vogue again and which, during World War II, became impossible to get since it was imported from Japan--that's when black tea began appearing in everyone's cup.

 Use six tea bags.  I like to mix it up--some black tea, some green tea and, in this case, some Zen tea from Tazo with green tea, lemongrass and spearmint.

Bring two cups of water to the boil.

Add tea bags and sugar.  Recipe calls for 3/4 cup but that is way too sweet to us.  We substitute 1/3 cup of Splenda, but experiment to see what you prefer.  Cover and let tea steep for 15 minutes

The secret to iced tea that isn't bitter--a pinch of baking soda!

Add six cups of cold water or cold water mixed with ice if you want to drink it right away--although the recipe in Marion Tyree's cookbook gently suggests that if you want the tea for dinner, you should make it at breakfast!  Use a pretty pitcher or a utilitarian container that can go in the fridge with no fear of breaking.

 Pour into a pretty glass, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy.

If you'd like to visit a world where there's plenty of sweet tea and a dash might enjoy my Sweet Nothings Lingerie Series written as Meg London.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Mint Syrup

With National Ice Cream Month coming to a close, it's time to move on to lighter fare.  But it's still brutally hot outside, so I'm still not wanting to, you know, cook.

As a result, I decided to go with something simple, refreshing, and versatile:  mint syrup.

Mint is the perfect antidote to summer's woes.  The candy commercials get it right:  take a bite of peppermint or spearmint, and your core temperature seems to plummet.

Personally, I plan to spend this sweltering weekend on my front porch, keeping cool with a variety of minty treats.  And they all start with this basic mint syrup, a summer staple you can make for a specific recipe or simply keep in the fridge for whenever you want an extra dose of refreshment.

Hibiscus-Mint Iced Tea
Mint Syrup

2/3 - 1 oz. fresh mint leaves
1 c. sugar

Chop the mint.  Combine the mint, sugar, and 1 c. water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Simmer syrup (without stirring) 2 minutes.  Allow the syrup to cool for 15 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the mint.  Cover and chill up to two weeks.

What to do with it:
  1. Add a couple of tablespoons of the chilled syrup to lemonade, limeade, iced tea, or a combination of the above.
  2. Drizzle the syrup over well-chilled cubed or sliced watermelon (1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of syrup is enough for a regular-sized seedless watermelon).  If you like, squeeze the juice of a fresh lime (or two) over the melon, too.
  3. Make minted hibiscus iced tea:  Bring 6 cups of water to a boil.  Remove from heat, stir in 1 oz. dried hibiscus flowers, cover, and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain the tea.  Stir in another 4 cups cold water and 1 cup of the minted syrup.  Serve chilled over ice with wedges of fresh lime.
  4. Make mojito slushies:  combine 1 recipe of the syrup with 1/2 c. fresh lime juice, 1/2 c. light rum, and 8 cups crushed ice in a blender and, well, blend!


    Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.