Monday, June 16, 2008

Lemon Verbena Iced Tea

Start this one the night before so the sugar syrup mixture has time to absorb the flavor of the lemon verbena fully. Lemon verbena, I discovered with a little research, is a shrub indigenous to parts of South America. If you want to grow your own, it likes lots of sun and lots of water. The leaves will add a lemony flavor to any wide variety of dishes - marinades, salad dressings, sorbet - so investing in a little lemon verbena plant is a fun idea. I, however, just purchased my little plant for this recipe and plucked the leaves. I found mine at Whole Foods with the other potted, fresh herbs, but check local farmer's markets, too.

Bring 1/4 cup raw sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil and cook for one minute, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Cook 1/2 cup lemon verbena leaves in boiling water for one minute. Drain, plunge in ice water, then drain again. Combine the leaves and the cooled sugar mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and chill overnight.

The day of, strain the lemon verbena mixture through a fine sieve, and discard any solids. Brew three cups of hot tea, and chill (figure about one tea bag per one cup of water. Don't use a really strong flavor like Earl Gray or it will overwhelm the delicate lemon verbena - I used Darjeeling which seemed to work nicely).

Place 2/3 cup ice cubes in each of three glasses. Fill each with one cup of the chilled tea and two tablespoons of the lemon verbena mixture. Stir. Garnish with lemon wedges or mint sprigs for a pretty presentation! Each serving is 70 calories.

A note of caution: I tried to halve this recipe, since it's just me sipping the iced tea - don't! It resulted in so little of the sugar/water/verbena mixture that my blender almost couldn't mix it. I recommend making the full batch regardless of how many people you intend to serve, and then just brewing the proper amount of tea.

lemon verbena $3.99
Darjeeling tea $4.99

No comments:

The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance