Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Steak Finger Salad and Lemon Balm Tea for a Hot Summer Day
Toooo, too hot outside. Who wants to eat anything but a salad? (I know the answer to that--teenage boys, remember?) This is the best of both--man food, as in the country fried steak, and summer food, as in the salad. Thankfully, I did not have to fry these up for our lunch today. I did that on my prep day. All I had to do was pop them in the toaster oven to recrisp them a bit. Then just grab some salad greens from the salad keeper, toss in a handful of shredded cheese and lunch is served. I'm feeling really handy today, because dinner is in the crockpot too. Sausage Pizza Soup.
No slaving away in a dreadfully hot kitchen tonight. Good thing, because the hubby had car trouble on the way to work, and we have to take fix-it supplies to him. Hopefully he can get our old truck working well enough to get it home. Then we will need a mechanic (and some money) to get it rolling in time to move my college boys back into school in a couple of weeks. As my pastor's mama said, "It's always something..."
While I was tending the garden this morning, I harvested some Lemon Balm to make a refreshing tea. This is something I have never tried before. I have cooked with herbs for years, but had never made a fresh herb "tea" (can't technically call it tea, but who cares). The herbal infusion is terrific and so very refreshing. I adore lemon flavoring, but thought this might taste grassy. I was so wrong. It is light and lemony with lingering whisper of flavor. Very tough to describe. It makes getting that water in a pleasure--even better knowing I grew it myself. Mint would work the same. Both are just the thing for summer afternoons.
Lemon Balm Tea
1 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
1 quart water
Rinse off the leaves before brewing. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Pour the water over the leaves in a lidded tea pot or large jar. After ten minutes, use a long spoon to bruise the leaves against the sides of the pot. Let the tea brew for an additional 20 minutes. Strain the tea. Sweeten if desired. Good hot or cold. I found that mine is delicious at this strength even when diluted with ice, so you can drink it right away. Store the leftovers in the fridge up to 5 days.
Even if you normally prefer sweetened drinks, try this without the sweetener first. It is very crisp and refreshing.