Saturday, July 30, 2005

Iced Tea

I like my tea amber gold, minty and slightly sweet. True to my upbringing, however, I leave the sweetening to the individual, although I have discovered a mere 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sugar added along with the tea bags during the brewing process cuts the acidity of the tea without adding any noticeable sweetness. A pinch of baking soda will also do the same thing--it's your choice. I've never had much luck with sun tea and I like instead to brew a concentrate to which I add cold water. That way, my tea is ready to drink right away without having to chill in the refrigerator, and (even better) the ice cubes don't melt and immediately dilute my tea to dreck. I don't think you need to be too fussy about the kind of tea you use. We all grew up on Lipton's and that's the flavor most people are looking for in a good glass of iced tea. That being said though, my personal favorite is a half and half combo of any good quality English breakfast and orange pekoe teas. The orange pekoe gives it that Lipton-y amber flavor and the English breakfast tea lifts and lightens it a bit (Yorkshire Tea, if you can find it, is another good choice). Water? I use tap water but I'm sure the more discerning would prefer spring water (they always do). Just make sure it's at a full, rolling boil before you pour it over the tea. None of this "near boiling" stuff you read about for brewing hot tea; you want to extract all the flavor you can and you don't need to be finicky about it. Iced tea should be easy to make, at any rate, and watching the proverbial pot doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Lastly, pour over ice in a tall glass, sweeten to taste, and garnish with a sprig of mint if you have company. Ahhhh . . . now sit back, relax, and cool off. All those sweaty chores can wait for another day.

Iced Tea (makes 1/2 gallon)

6 tea bags or 8 teaspoons loose tea in a large tea ball
1 bunch fresh mint
1/2-1 teaspoon sugar
2 quarts water

Add mint to the bottom of an unbreakable pitcher and bruise with the back of a large spoon. Add tea and sugar. Bring 2 cups of water to a rapid boil and pour the tea. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain out mint and tea, and add 6 cups of cold water. Serve.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Julia Child's Hollandaise

3 egg yolks
2 TB lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of white pepper
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted until bubbling hot

Place egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in blender. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Uncover, and still blending at high speed, start pouring in the hot butter by droplets. Allow time for the butter to absorb and emulsify with eggs. When about two thirds of the butter has been added, you can pick up the pace a little more. Makes about 3/4 cup.