Sunday, September 18, 2011
In my last post I told you about Yvette Van Boven's new cookbook Home Made. I called the book project-oriented because Van Boven teaches you how to work such culinary magic as making your own cheese (several different cheeses, actually), making ice cream without a machine, liqueurs which begin as mere vodka and end up as flavored infusions, soups that you build from the broth up and breads that require only a tiny bit of kneading.
Each of these techniques tends to be introduced by a page of annotated color photographs. For tea, if you plan on starting at the beginning, Van Boven suggests which leaves you should think about collecting (like plantains, dandelions, nettles, golden rods, violets, rose petals or elderberry blossoms). You see the tea seeping in its glass pot, or being stuffed into individual teabags for later use.
After the initial technique is introduced, Van Boven suggests that we 'get going' by introducing a list of recipes that build on the same technique but vary the flavors. So for tea, you might combine sage & lemon, or fruit juices with cranberries & spices. Or dried lavender left-over from some baking project or another, with fresh mint. In this case, there's no gathering required.
Fresh Lavender & Mint Tea comes together almost as an afterthought. Yet because most of my bagged and loose teas are black and contain caffeine. So this simple mixture of mint and lavender can be whipped up and enjoyed any time of day or night, hot or cold, sweet or straight. I've been doing both lately, drinking it right away or leaving it in the refrigerator to chill.
Lavender & Mint Tea
Excerpted (with permission) from Yvette Van Boven's Home Made (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; September 2011)
Lavender: Yes, you can make tea from it. Combined with mint it is delicious. Here's the recipe for fresh and dried lavender.
2-3 tbsp fresh lavender leaves or 1-2 tbsp dried ones
small sprig of fresh mint leaves
Bring water to a boil. Pour over the herbs in a pot and allow to brew for 10 minutes. Strain into a cup, flavor with honey or sugar, as needed.
You can also strain this tea into a pot, flavor it with honey or sugar, and leave it to fully cool. Serve in tall glasses over ice cubes and with fresh mint leaves for show.