Tea For Two
“Tea is a drink that just tastes better when you’re enjoying it with a friend or two.”
~ ~ ~
I just returned home to Austin from visiting my Cousin Julie in San Antonio and she always has a fresh pitcher of brewed tea on her kitchen counter. I had a glass of Julie’s tea and told her there was something special about it. She said the tea was made how my grandmother “Nanny” liked it, so you know in a flash it became my newest-oldest favorite drink! Shazam!
Julie said Nanny would add a flavorful tea called “Constant Comment” to regular tea as she brewed it. She sent me home with a few bags of the stuff and now I’m brewing my tea the way my Grandmother liked it best. Since I haven’t enjoyed any of my Grandmother’s foods since she was living in the 1990s, this has become a way for me to celebrate my Mom’s Mom’s favorite beverages. Pretty. Darn. Cool.
Cheers to you, Nanny … and Julie!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ While I grew up drinking Lipton instant tea I actually think Luzianne makes a better brew.
♥ For brewing, I use a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker.
1 tea bag | constant comment brand tea
2-3 tea bags | regular tea
per instructions | water and ice
optional | lemon wedge
ii. what to do
1. Brew the tea as you normally would … but include one bag of the magical constant comment tea.
2. Pour brewed tea over ice.
3. If you want to make it extra special, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a friend or two – share the moments of the day over a great cup of tea.
“Artichoke!” “Artichoke, who?”
“Arti chokes when he eats too fast!”
This was one of my most favorite childhood jokes. While many friends say I have a good sense of humor, my biggest deficit is I can count on one hand the funny jokes I can remember. Go figure!
When I think of Mom, I think of her special white artichoke plates; these made frequent appearances for our great gatherings in the 1970s. I don’t think I’ve had an artichoke since then but was happy to be reunited with their taste as an adult – the artichoke reminds me of the great taste of an avocado – just with a different texture/composition.
Foodie Tips ~
♥ My Grandmother “Nanny” absolutely loved Falfurrias brand butter. If you want to make your taste buds happy, buy it!
♥ I’m a big fan of warm butter. I don’t have any butter warmers but will be looking to get some soon!
1 or more | fresh artichokes
1-2 | cloves (optional)
1 | lemon slice (optional)
1-2 | bay leaves (optional)
¼ cup | falfurias brand butter
1-2 teaspoons | lawry’s brand seasoned salt
ii. what to do
1. Wash the artichoke well and drain. Prepare the artichoke by cutting and discarding about ¾” – 1″ of the artichoke top as well as part of the stem. Some folks like to eat the stem but you can remove all of it if you have no plans on eating it.
2. If you want a “restaurant style” presentation, you can cut and remove the tops of the leaves as shown; this is typically done to remove the thorned tips of the leaves. Rub the top and bottom of the artichoke with lemon to help prevent discoloration.
3. You can boil, microwave or steam your artichoke. Mom always steamed her artichokes so this is how we’ll detail them here in this post. To do so, insert a steaming basket into a pot and fill with water (fill to just underneath the bottom of the basket). You can add a couple of cloves, a slice of lemon and a bay leaf to season the water.
4. Place the artichoke on top of the steaming basket, cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the artichoke for 25-45 minutes – until the leaves are soft and they can be removed.
5. Just before the artichoke is done prepare the sauce by melting the butter and mixing some Lawry’s seasoned salt into it.
6. Remove the artichoke from the pan and place on a serving dish similar to the white one shown – below not the soup bowl I used (sorry, I don’t have the proper plates)! Remove a leaf, dip the bottom/root end into the sauce and place it in your mouth, dip side down, and pull the leaf through your teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.
7. Dip, pull, repeat until all leaves are gone! You can enjoy the artichoke heart by scraping out and discarding the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut it into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.
With roots from Spain, it’s hard to believe that Sangria may have been first tasted here in the U.S. at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964.
While I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage until I was 17 years old (and it was a wine cooler popular at the time), this sangria recipe is easy to prepare and omits the brandy commonly found in other recipes.
Either way I think you’ll agree sangria really cools down hot summer days.
foodie tips ~
♥ Best enjoyed fresh.
♥ On the next go of this, I’m trying the brandy. To taste my options. :)
1 tablespoon | sugar
1 bottle | spanish red wine, chilled
to chill | ice cubes
12 ounces | carbonated water
to garnish | spirals of lemon peel
to garnish | orange slices
ii. what to do
1. Put the sugar in a large pitcher.
2. Add wine, ice cubes and carbonated water.
3. Drop in lemon peels and orange wedges; stir.
4. Pour into serving glasses and enjoy!
Yields: 1½ Quarts
Each summer, the Kiker Family of 5 usually found our feet in the warm and sandy beach of the Texas Coast…
…Dad sporting his silver anti-reflective hat, Mom wearing her hand-painted denim shirt and a straw hat wrapped with a brown burlap ribbon. Me? I was reluctantly wearing zinc oxide on my nose and face… and a sunburn on the rest of me.
Here in Port Aransas, you’d find Dad, Tim and Roger fishing in the Gulf. And Mom? You’d find her (and alternating family members and friends) at the South Jetty with nets in hand.
We Were Crabbin’
There on the jetties, I spent many a day darting amongst the giant rocks looking for floating treasure… yet our favorite treasured time was checking the traps to see if we might have caught gold; crabs. Female crabs went back in the water, but males, we would keep. Mom would boil them rosy red later in the day back at our hotel (usually Executive Keys) and transform them into seafood spectacular.
In the meantime, grab a couple of fresh crabs (or canned ones if you’re celebrating the simplicity of the 70s) and give props to the kissin’ cousin of la quiche… Crab Supper Pie!
Even though I don’t love seafood without a disclaimer, there are a few dishes I love (fried shrimp, grilled salmon creamy nutty tuna)… and now creamy, crunchy crab supper pie.
Let’s Go Crabbin’
1 cup | natural Swiss cheese, shredded
9-inch | pastry shell, unbaked
7½ ounce can | crab meat, drained and flaked
2 | green onions, sliced with tops
3 | eggs, beaten
1 cup | light cream*
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon | dry mustard
dash | mace
¼ cup | sliced almonds
ii. what to do
1. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell.
2. Top with crab meat and sprinkle with green onion.
3. Combine eggs, cream, salt, lemon peel, dry mustard and mace. Pour over crab meat.
4. Top with sliced almonds.
5. Bake in a slow-oven (at 325°F), for about 45 minutes or until set.
6. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Great For Breakfast Or Dinner
♥ Despite the fact I’m not a Sea Foodie at heart, I added more canned crab because it was sold in 6 ounce cans (not 7½ ounce cans). The result? Uber meaty crab pie!
♥ Mace? I had never heard of this as a seasoning but turns out that mace is not something you spray in someone’s eyes… it’s a warm spice that’s a milder cousin to nutmeg. Think pepper + cinnamon. It’s about $9.00/bottle, so get ready for this nutmeg substitute!
Family Fun Fact ~
♥ A “Port A” ritual was for mom to get her chicken gizzard fixin’ and for us… a bean burger on Mustang Isle.
While most folks cringe when hearing me speak of a “bean burger,” relax… it’s a beef burger topped with refried beans, cheddar cheese and fritos… something we enjoyed back home in S.A. at Sills Snack Snack on Austin Highway. Later on at college I found a replica at College Station’s Deluxe Burger bar (now closed).
Put a twinkle in *their eyes* by making a batch of this fall flavor favorite (a “flavorite?”).
2 trays (24 cubes) | cranberry ice cubes, see below
24 | lemon slices
2 ice cube trays (about 1-2 cups) | cranberry juice cocktail
28 ounces | orange flavored carbonated beverage, chilled
28 ounces| carbonated water, chilled
to garnish | fresh mint
ii. what to do
1. To make the special ice cubes, put a lemon slice in each section of an ice-cube tray and fill with cranberry juice cocktail. Freeze overnight.
2. Mix the beverages just before serving and serve over the cranberry ice cubes in a punch bowl or large pitcher.
3. Top with mint sprigs, if desired.
Raise your arms in the air… you’re done!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ 1. Want to put a twinkle in their smile? Toss in some Vodka when nobody’s looking!
♥ 2. Repeat tip #1.
♥ 3. The Sangria recipe below? An extra bonus for you! It’s just between us.
Dinah Shore was one class act. Dinah was one of mom’s favorites and her 1950’s variety show paved the way for Oprah (Sorry, O)!
This soup recipe was hand-written in the black cookbook and I chuckled when I saw the note “17 cents/serving… serves 6.” “Nothing much” costs 17 cents these days ~ not even just the tax. But I’m willing to give this recipe a run for my money. It sounds great!
Foodie Side Note ~ I calculated the cost of the soup based on today’s (2011) costs and arrived at a $1.64 per serving cost. While still affordable, that’s an increase of about 900% over the past 60 years!
i. soup ingredients
1 ½ pounds | lean ground beef (or lean turkey)
chopped | fresh parsley
¼ cup | uncooked rice
to taste | salt and pepper
to taste | paprika
handful | flour
8 cups* | water
6 | chopped green onions
3 | chopped carrots
2 cups | fresh tomatoes
½ | chopped green pepper
more | fresh parsley
2 | eggs
1 | juice of lemon
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Based on my preparation, I’m not sure how 50 meatballs would fit into 4 cups of water. I believe this was supposed to be 4 quarts of water (not 4 cups). I even found validation of a derivative of this recipe at Vicki Lawrence’s website (she knew Dinah, too)!
♥ If you refrigerate any leftovers, you can discard any grease that rises to the top, which will be more heart healthy.
1. Mix the ground beef and some chopped parsley, the rice, salt, pepper and paprika. Form into meat balls about 1-to-1 and 1/2″ round, roll each in flour and set aside.
2. To 8 cups boiling water add the onions, carrots, tomatoes and green pepper. Simmer 30 minutes.
3. Gently drop the meat balls into the boiling stock and simmer about 40 minutes, or until rice is done. Don’t have the stock boiling too fast ~ just simmer ~ when adding the meat balls, or they will fall apart. And nobody likes mushy soup!
4. About 5 minutes before the stock is done, add more fresh parsley.
5. When done, beat the eggs with juice of one lemon. Add a little of the hot broth to the eggs so they will not cook too fast. Then slowly add this mixture to the soup. You’re ready for take-off.
A photo of mom’s original recipe below!