Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mint and Lavender Iced Tea

Wow, how time flies when you are looking for a job, and not attending to your blog!

I made this wonderful tea. It is just perfect for summertime. It is a refreshing and calming brew, and doesn't need any sweetening. If you are in Las Vegas and you have more than sand in your backyard like me, you might just have some mint and lavender, which you pretty well here, surprisingly. I just steal my parents' leafy herbs, because they have a 30 year jumpstart on that whole making-things-stay-alive-in-your-garden thing.

Use lavender flowers, not leaves, or it may be too bitter. If you try the dried herbs, you may want to cut down on the quantity a bit, maybe half. If you do let me know how it goes.

Mint and Lavender Iced Tea

Half cup or tight handful each of fresh lavender flowers and fresh spearmint leaves
Boiling water
Half Gallon Mason jar

Pour boiling water over the herbs and let sit, covered (so you trap in the volatile compounds), overnight or for 6-12 hours. When it cools down you can put it into the fridge. Strain with a fine mesh strainer. You want it to be a little strong because you are going to add ice for iced tea.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Melon Salad

When you live in Las Vegas, you have to come up with a few summer coping mechanisms, like walking around with a lifetime supply of water, making friends with the neighbor who has a pool, and getting used to wearing very little, if any, clotthing. Our move back here from California was nothing short of shocking. All you want to do is sleep and drink water and complain. Not really anything like SLO where it rarely gets above 80 degrees and you can bike for miles and miles without feeling like you are going to pass out. So magical.

Here in our new place, we have a lovely fig tree, whose figs became fig jam the moment I saw them. Here is the recipe I always use for fig jam (I cut down on the sugar and up the spices), which  employs a microwave, because I would sooner stab myself with an icicle than stand over a hot stove right now.

Avoiding cooking is a very hard thing to do when you pour over cookbooks for leisurely reading. So, I have been sticking to cooling and raw foods. According to Ayurvedic herbalism, green vegetables, sweet fruits and milk are cooling. So I have my spinach shake for breakfast. And just yesterday, I concocted this super delicious salad from the fruits that we picked at Gilcrease Orchard. If you shave the fruits, it makes the salad look pretty fancy.

Summer Melon Salad
Romaine chopped, or use spinach
Zucchini or cucumber, sliced thin or shaved
Cantaloupe or honeydew sliced thin or shaved
Apple, sliced or shaved
Grapes, sliced in half
Juice of half a lemon or lime (I especially like lime)
Olive oil (Just a little if you just have to have it)
Black pepper (Try a little before you call me crazy)
Plain yogurt

As for measurements, I do about 1 part each of the fruit and zucchini over a bed of lettuce. Then you can drizzle on just a tiny bit of oil. Sprinkle on the yogurt and juice. Finish with the pepper. Everything is optional. Let me know if you come up with your own combinations.