Beverages

Mango Lassi

May 9, 2011

Mango Lassi

The lassi is a traditional Punjabi yogurt based drink.  It is made by blending yogurt with water or milk and Indian spices.  The traditional lassi is a savory drink sometimes flavored with ground roasted cumin (salted lassi).  The sweet lassi is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices.  In Dharmic religions, yogurt sweetened with honey is used while performing religious rituals.  When turmeric powder is mixed into a lassi it is used as a remedy for gastroenteritis. 

The mango lassi is made from yogurt, milk or water and mango pulp.  It may be made with or without additional sugar.  It is served in a tall glass with a straw and often with ground pistachio nuts sprinkled on top.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups Plain Yogurt

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Water

1 Cup Mango Pulp

½ Cup Sugar

1 Ounce Ground Pistachios

In a blender combine the yogurt, milk, water, mango pulp and sugar.  Blend until completely mixed.  Chill for at least one hour.  Serve over crushed ice and sprinkle the ground pistachios over the top.  Makes 4 servings

A Proper Cup Of Tea

April 15, 2011

A Proper Cup Of Tea

I love a cup of tea in the afternoon.  It is a nice break in the day and a nice pick-me-up.  There are many variations on how to make a proper cup of tea.  Here is my version.

INGREDIENTS

Tea Bag or Tea Leaves

Fresh Cold Water

Teapot

Tea Kettle

Porcelain Cup

Milk (Not Cream)

Tea Strainer

Sugar (Not Honey)

Make sure to purchase a good quality tea.  A proper English tea is made with black tea.  The tea can be either loose or in bags.  A real tea snob wouldn’t even think of using bags, but you make the call.  Please avoid the cheap boxed bags that can be found at the grocery store (sorry Lipton).  It is a good idea to go to your local tea shop and scan the shelves for a nice high quality tea that is to your liking. 

Purchase a good tea pot.  This is important.  Tea needs to be able to move around in the pot to develop the best taste.  You won’t get a fine flavor by making your tea in a lonely cup.  I like to use a nice English porcelain pot.  They are more expensive, but worth it. 

Use cold fresh water.  Please do not use the water that has already been sitting it the tea kettle because your tea will taste stale.  Make sure to put fresh cold water into the kettle.  It is a good idea to use filtered water to avoid any contaminant that might spoil the taste of the tea.  Make sure to boil the water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil to make certain to get the water at the right temperature.  I prefer a stove top kettle, but some people like to use an electric kettle. 

Heat your teapot while the kettle is boiling.  Run some hot water into the teapot and let it sit for a few minutes.  Warming the teapot helps to keep the boiling water at the right temperature to brew your tea.  It will keep your brewed tea much hotter for much longer. 

Get your tea ready.  Just before the water comes to a boil, pour the hot water out of the teapot and add your tea.  If you are using tea leaves, spoon in a teaspoon for every cup.  I like to add a “plus one for the pot.”  Kind of like a pinch to grow on.  You may want to use a tea ball to hold the loose tea.  If you do use a tea ball be aware that the tea may taste slightly different than if it was loose in the pot as it won’t have much room to move around.  This is important to develop a full flavor.  If you are using tea bags then add two or three to the pot.  If you like your tea stronger then use three bags. 

Add the boiling water to the tea.  Make sure that you are adding water to the tea.  Do not add tea to the water.  Leave the tea to steep for about five minutes as it needs time to unfurl its leaves and develop its flavor.  If you like your tea stronger than let it steep a bit longer.  It is a good idea to cover your teapot with either a tea towel or a tea cozy in order to keep it warm. 

Pour the tea into your porcelain cup.  Some people like to temper their cup with hot water before pouring their cup of tea (pour hot water into their cup, let it sit for a few minutes and pour it out).  If you have used loose tea, rest a tea strainer on your cup to catch any leaves. It is best to serve the full pot of tea right away.  If you don’t plan on drinking the whole pot right way and then remove the tea bags or tea ball so that the tea doesn’t get too strong and bitter. 

Add milk and sugar if you like.  Add these extras only after you have poured your tea.  English tea is commonly served with milk but never cream.  The fat content in cream is too rich for tea’s delicate taste.  Some like to add sugar to their tea as well. Honey is never served in traditional English tea.  I prefer to drink my tea with a splash of milk, but not sugar.  If you like to drink your tea black, you may want to add a slice of lemon.

Blood Orange Mimosas

April 3, 2011

Blood Orange Mimosas

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Chilled Fresh Blood Orange Juice

1 Bottle (750ml) Chilled Dry & Good Quality Prosecco

Fresh Blood Orange Slices For Garnish

Into each of 8 champagne flutes, pour ¼ cup blood orange juice.  Top off each glass with Prosecco and a slice of blood orange. Make sure that both juice and Prosecco are super chilled.  Serves 8

Sangria

March 12, 2011

Sangria

Sangria has been important to Spanish culture for many centuries.  This wine punch has gained international popularity and is easy to make at home.  Versions of Sangria have held a planting of the Iberian Peninsula’s vineyards around 200 BC.  As Spain’s soil and weather are particularly well suited for growing grapes, the nation has maintained an abundance of red wine and its subsequent wine punch variations.  Interestingly, there is no one recipe for Sangria, as the ingredients of this wine punch are based on availability, season, and a number of other factors. 

Sangria requires a light, young Spanish red wine.  The most common of these come from the La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha and Catilla-Leon regions.  It is also necessary to include fresh fruit.  Spain’s popular locally grown fruits include oranges, lemons and melon.  Any fruit can be used, however, one might find bananas, apples, grapes or any number of fruits in Spanish Sangria.  Sangria is meant to be light and refreshing so a certain amount of juice and sugar are generally added for a more refreshing taste.  Sangria is to be served ice-cold and generally is prepared in large pitchers and served to guests as an accompaniment to a meal or tapas in the summer time

Sangria is to be served ice-cold as a hot-weather refreshment. Generally, it is prepared in large pitchers and served to many guests as an accompaniment to a meal or tapas in the summer time.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Orange Juice

¼ Cup Lime Juice

1 Bottle Red Wine

½ Cup Brandy

¼ to 1/3 Cup Sugar

Ice Cubes

Orange Slices

Lime Slices

In a 2 quart pitcher stir together orange and lime juices.  Add wine, sugar and brandy.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours.  Serve over ice.  Garnish each serving with orange and lime slices.

Chai Tea

March 11, 2011

Chai Tea

Chai is the word for tea in many parts of the world.  It is a centuries old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.  Chia from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world.  The spices used vary from region and among households in India.  The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper.  Drinking chai is part of life in India and many who travel to India come away with fond chai drinking experiences.  Chai has become common at specialty beverage shops and there is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products.  Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but I think making your own chai provides immense satisfaction and makes your house smell divine! 

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup Water

1 Bag Black Tea (Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong or Darjeeling)

3 Inch Piece of Cinnamon Stick

2 Cups Milk

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cardamon

In a small saucepan combine water, tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Stir milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger and cardamom into tea.  Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture is heated through (do not boil).  Serve warm.  Serves 2

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