Wednesday, December 26, 2012

For the Love of Tea

A cuppa ginger tea to cure what ails you. 

Crab legs. Prime rib. Fudge. Eggnog. Wine. Lasagna. Toffee. Caramels. Truffles. Ginger cookies. Sugar cookies. Peanut butter kiss cookies.

So what did you enjoy over the holidays?

I love to celebrate, and am endlessly grateful for the bounty of food that surrounds us, but when the joy and cheer of December 25th passes by, I feel a deep need to rebalance. I don't diet. I don't detox. I don't cleanse or fast or do anything else that you could categorize as trendy. But I do like to pare down to the simplest, most nourishing foods I can find sometimes. I find it not only brings me back to my usual light-stepping, flexible, lean-mean-machine self, but I feel calmer, more clearheaded, even more energetic.

Over the next few days, I'd like to share some of my favorite simple foods that help me push the reset button: just clean, real food that cleans my palate, my stomach, my mind. And as 2013 approaches, maybe you'll find some things that you'd like to try out, helping to start off 2013 with clear eyes and an open heart.

So my favorite teas. I love a cup of black English Breakfast with a swirl of 2% and chamomile is a favorite evening tisane, but these are my two superhero teas for post-holiday rebalancing and recharging.

Green Tea
Green tea is a morning elixir, a cup of springtime, a flavor I can only describe as grassy, and I mean it in the best way possible. The health benefits are well-known, but most green teas on the supermarket shelves aren't very tasty - and tea should be a pleasure, not a "I'm only drinking this because it's good for me" punishment. If the only way you are going to make green tea is to buy it pre-packaged in a tea bag - and if you like the taste - then by all means do it!  I buy that on occasion, but I heart whole leaf tea: fuller/better flavor, more varieties, and I get to hang out at my favorite local tea store, Steep Me, when I need to stock up. Win win.  Quick tip: if you find green tea tastes bitter, lower your water temp a bit.  Boiling hot water actually makes green tea bitter; try hot water just under a boil and you'll probably get a better taste.

Ginger Tea
For me, ginger tea is a winter cure-all, from sniffles to sneezes to a chill felt deep in my bones. Its spicy flavor clears my head and warms me up. You can find ginger tea in tea bags, but I just buy a knob of fresh ginger and make it one of two ways:

1) Cut a small peeled knob of ginger into thin slices and place in a pan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for 15 mins.  Strain and serve.

2) Grate a peeled knob of ginger. Squeeze the grated ginger to extract the ginger juice. Mix about 1/2 tsp. ginger juice with each 6-8 oz. of hot water, adding more or less to taste.

Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of honey to your ginger tea and that is winter tea heaven, my friend.


stacey said...

I feel the need to rebalance during this time, too. Looking forward to reading this little series!

Rhubarb and Venison said...

Cool, thanks for stopping by, Stacey! More to come...

Karen said...

I didn't know about the boiling water/bitter taste. Will have to remember that, especially now during "tea" weather!