I was recently introduced to the smash–muddled fruit mixed with simple syrup and spirits, topped with crushed ice. So I made one yesterday. It was hot. Let me tell you that baby was refreshing and delicious. I made it with blueberries and a peach and orange vodka. I sipped it while grilling vegetables on the deck. I looked out over the green fields and truly enjoyed a moment of summer. I will be revisiting the smash again during these warm days. Summer is short.
We have a big old patch of mint in the herb garden next to the house. I am always looking for ways to use it. Last summer I made fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream (and I kick myself for not having made it yet this summer). This summer I may have a new mint hit–maple mint tea. It is way simple to make, and on these hot days when I have been out sanding or painting the house, it is mighty refreshing. Here is how to make it:
- Take 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves and add them in a pot to 8 cups water
- Bring almost but not quite to a boil
- Remove from heat and let steep for about an hour
- Strain into a pitcher or, if you prefer, strain and then pour into a pitcher
- Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and stir well
It takes a little time but, like I said, it is tasty and refreshing. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
I have been wanting to purchase a counter top carbonation machine for a while. These jobbers take tap water and add carbonation. Voila! Seltzer made at home. You can also add whatever flavoring you want to make soda or spritzer or what have you. Problem: they require a big investment. OK, we’re not talking solar panels, which are even better an idea but cost what some might literally call a fortune, but still, these babies are pricey.
How pricey? Well, I have pretty much decided that Sodastream is the brand to get. The entry level model cost a hundred clams. That gets you what you need to get started, including the replaceable carbonating cartridges. Once you use up the carbonation you can send them back and get more (for a fee, of course). The top of the line model cost twice that for the basic package. Of course, you can also buy extra bottles, extra carbonators, flavor mixes, what have you. They make four models of increasing sleekness, although they all do pretty much the same thing. The one I want, of course, is the top of the line model. I would be happy to settle for a “lesser” one but that one contains less plastic and uses glass (instead of BPA free plastic) bottles. Go figure.
I placed a few bids on the classy one on eBay but the bids went too high. Not worth it. Then I found a mid-range model on eBay and bid on that, but got outbid. It is hard to find a bargain on these things apparently. I will get one at some point. I have some cash set aside from my birthday and other events. I’d rather spend less if I can. Duh. The thing is, it pays off in the long run. We got through spurts of drinking seltzer but that gets expensive and there are lots of plastic bottles. Not only do the bottles get created in the first place but I have to deal with recycling, and that chore is a big fat hassle. I’d like to leave that one behind. And save money. They estimate a liter of seltzer costs about 20 cents with this thing. I guess that depends on how you factor in the original purchase price but still, it will save money.
And we will drink more seltzer and other fizzy drinks if we have one of these on the counter. I love to drink the bubbly stuff, but I often don’t, either because we are out or because I can’t bring myself to buy any more. This would alleviate both of those issues. A carbonating cartridge makes about 60 liters so if we had a couple of those we could make a lot. And we could have soda parties, just for fun. We could make tonic water for summer beverages. We could go places with this thing, be popular, make a name for ourselves.
Or we could just enjoy some fizzy drinks. Either way. I just need to get the best price I can and make the plunge. Soon. Soon.
We used to drink a lot of tea. We had a whole drawer in the kitchen devoted to tea. We would have a dozen different types of tea in that drawer at any given time. We don’t drink so much tea anymore. It is too bad, really. We drink coffee in the morning every day, not tea. The drawer has turned into a plastic box. The prominent location has shifted to inside the pantry closet. Tea has taken a back seat.
I used to drink coffee only sometimes. My wife spurned it, so I mostly drank it when she was not around. Occasionally I would make some when she was home, but most of the time we both drank tea. Then I got a good coffee maker. I drank more coffee. I then I turned her, somehow, into a coffee drinker. Now she drinks coffee daily. Some husband I am.
I still feel that tea is more civilised. It seems more pure. That is bogus, of course. It is merely that I make it that way, like we make more of fancy jeans and colorful cell phones than is warranted. Coffee has certainly become more chi-chi, but tea still has its quiet nobility. It is healthier and simpler. With coffee, you pick beans, dry them, roast them, grind them up and then pour water on them. With tea, you pick leaves, dry them and then pour water on them. In these dire times, who can waste all those extra steps?
Not that I am switching to tea. I still drink some tea, and I have considered drinking tea instead of coffee. Really, I don’t need to drink either, but a hot drink on a cold day sure is a fine thing where I come from. So I will brew on.
I like the idea of drinking more tea, however. I am going to start that right up. I am going to have some tonight, in fact. It is chilly. The fire is out and I won’t start one this late. I could use some hydration and coffee won’t do that. I did have a foamy espresso drink this afternoon. Boy was that good. It was decaf, but still, it’s not filling the well, just flushing the pipes.
Anyway, I have been thinking about tea. It is good stuff. I wonder, if I can manage to take the kitchen real estate required to start the tea drawer back up, will I drink more tea? That is an experiment worth trying. But is tea more important than pot holders? I’ll have to think about that for a bit.