Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.
by Sandra Bowens
Tea is an herb too, and can make a delicious addition to a wide variety of foods. Here are 100 recipes to get you started.
Sun tea was all the rage years ago. Special jars were marketed and everyone had an opinion on how many hours of sunshine netted the perfect brew. Then came the high-tech iced tea brewing machines for that "restaurant taste at home." One might wonder, why make it so complicated?
It's easy to "brew" a pitcher of iced tea right on the kitchen counter. The only effort required is waiting a couple of hours. Try it.
Start with a 2-quart pitcher with a lid, plastic is just fine. Run the tap until you get hot water. Fill your container and add six tea bags. Drape the bag tags over the top edge and fit on the lid to keep them from falling into the tea. Allow to sit at room temperature for four to six hours. Remove and discard the tea bags. Pour the tea over ice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.
Mint tea is especially refreshing on a hot day. Using the method above, add a handful of torn mint leaves at the same time as the tea bags. Strain before serving (perhaps the lid to your pitcher has a slotted side to its pour spout, this works well). Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves, if desired.
Spiced tea is a cinch to make. Just add one or two cinnamon sticks along with the tea bags. One cinnamon stick will give you a mild spicy flavor but will increase in flavor the longer you leave it in the tea.
Sugar never seems to dissolve well in a cold drink. Try sweetening your tea with a simple syrup instead. Stir 1/2 cup sugar into 1 1/2 cups hot water until it is dissolved. Cool to room temperature or chill. This will keep several weeks in the refrigerator. For added convenience, store the syrup in one of those maple syrup servers available at your local discount store.
Mint ice cubes add even more flavor as well as a stunning visual effect. Simply fill an ice tray with cold water and push a single mint leaf into each cube. Freeze as usual.
Lemon wheels are an attractive garnish for iced tea. To make them, cut the ends off of a lemon. Lay the lemon on its side. Carefully cut a slice about one third of the way through the peel and flesh on one side. Cut thin circles through the lemon and use the slit to place it on the side of a glass.