During the winter, my drink of choice is hot chocolate.
As much as I realize tea is healthy, I just don’t enjoy hot tea, especially when there’s hot chocolate available. I do, however, make my hot chocolate sugar-free and I still like it better than tea.
But when summer arrives, I do love the iced tea.
I drink my first glass of the season last month and have been drinking it frequently since. It’s so refreshing and tastes so clean.
I prefer mine with no sweetener of any kind. I know that’s sick, but that’s how I like my tea.
I do like a slice of lemon and sometimes add slices of lemon, lime and orange to the pitcher.
There are so many ways to enhance tea, even to brew it.
If you have a special way of making tea, please share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share it with my readers.
Meanwhile, Numi Organic Tea celebrates June, which is National Iced Tea Month, with some tea cocktails created by tea sommelier James Labe and using their teas.
They are beautiful, too.
GREEN ICED TEA
1 Numi decaf Ginger Lemon tea bag
3 ounces fresh cucumber Juice
1 ½ ounces tequila
Splash of lemon uice
Infuse one tea bag in tequila for 30 minutes, then remove bag, squeezing out excess.
Combine and stir ingredients. Serve on the rocks, garnished with a lime wedge.
CANTALOUPE TEA DAIQUIRI
1 ½ ounces Numi Emperor’s Puerh Tea
1 ½ ounces Van Gogh blue Vodka
3 ounces frozen, cubed cantaloupe
1 oounce coconut milk
Splash of lemon juice
Steep tea at four times the normal strength for two minutes, then remove tea bag and chill liquid for later use. Combine and blend ingredients in blender, adding a splash of lemon for each serving.
Serve on the rocks, garnish with lemon wedge.
1 ½ ounces prepared Numi Earl Grey Tea
1 ½ ounces Van Gogh Oranje Vodka
Steep tea at four times normal strength for 2 minutes, then remove tea bag and chill liquid for later use. Combine and stir ingredients. Serve on the rocks, garnish with lemon wedge.
I learned to make iced tea from my husband, who had a very specific way of doing it. I didn't learn this until I got married, because my mom always used instant iced tea mix. No wonder I came to drinking ice tea later in life!
I still make it the way my husband liked it. That is, to use one tea bag per cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and pour of the tea bags and allow to steep for five minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing them. He liked to add his sugar to the tea while it was hot, but never to the pitcher, because I take my straight, Yep, I'm hard core.
One of my favorite cookbooks, “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombaer, Marion Rombauer and Ethan Becker, recommends using filtered water to brew tea and, when making iced tea, recommends using twice the amount of tea as you would use when making a cup, adding lemon slices, mint sprigs, sugar or honey or a teaspoon of rum per serving.
Although not iced, the book gives this as a fancy tea recipe for parties.
Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
Remove from heat and add
4 strips orange zest
4 cardamom seeds, crushed
one 3-inch cinnamon stick
Meanwhile prepare the tea by bringing
5 cups of water
to a boil.
Pour over 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon loose black tea (contained in a tea ball) into a teapot. Steep for three to five minutes.
Pour spiced mixture into a heavy crystal bowl.
Strain the steeped tea over the mixture and serve immediately.
This also is a party drink but served cold. It’s from “The Bartender’s Guide” by Peter Bohrmann
TEA PUNCH 1
2 lemons, sliced
3 cups cold, strong black tea
juice of one lemon
3 1/2 ounces lime cordial
1 small bottle run flavoring
3 bottles nonalcholoic sparking wine
Cut linces of lemon in half and put them in punch bowl with the tea, temon juice, lime cordial and a little rum flavoring, as desired. Cover and refrigerate for two to three hours. Stir and top with nonalchollic wine. Makes 10 servings.
Reader Roberta Kemper is an Ashland native living in Nashville now, but she has The Independent mailed to her.
“I’m a faithful Independent reader,” she said.
She called to ask about the recipe for the Amish bread starter. She has a recipe for what to do with the starter, just not a recipe for the starter itself.
A friend here at work found a recipe for the starter and shared it with me. The directions say to use it with your favorite Amish bread recipe, but I included one here.
AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD STARTER
Original Recipe Yields 4 cups of starter
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.
Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day one of the 10-day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.
Days two through four: stir starter with a spoon.
Day five: stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days six through nine: stir only.
Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread, give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe.
Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).
AMISH FRIENDSHIP BREAD
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To your starter, add
1 cup oil
½ cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoons baking power
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 large box instant vanilla puddling
½ cup applesauce
Grease two loaf pans. In a small bowl, mix ½ cup sugar and 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon and dust both pans with half the mixture. Pour batter evenly into loaf pans and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.
Bake one hour ; cool until bread loosens from the pan evenly. Serve warm or cold.
TIP: Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least three hours at room temperature to thaw before using.
While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to email@example.com.