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Archive for the ‘Beverage’ Category

Basil limeade

We are fortunate to have a rotating fleet of food trucks that roll up to the curb at the far end of the plaza by the water fountain outside the newsroom. Stepping out of the chilly, air conditioned blasts that pour down our backs all day and into the sunshine is a must at lunchtime. People frequently preface their lunch break by saying, “I’m going outside to warm up.” Strolling down to the food trucks to stand in line only prolongs the welcome break in the warmth.

This summer, I’ve been hooked on the Thai basil limeade from the Bon Me food truck.

Limeade2go

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Hot spiced cider with a hint of orange is the perfect way to warm up in between dashing to and fro holiday errands and parties.

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Forget about buying the same old boring bottles of soda from the supermarket. There is a much better and creative way – with a little bit of effort –  to bring a bit of sparkle to your next party. The Artisan Soda Workshop by Andrea Lynn (Ulysses Press, 2012, 127 pp.) has more than 70 recipes that will help you to make your own sodas at home using fresh fruit and the real flavors of spices and herbs.

With sections ranging from “Homemade Soda Copycats” (Natural Golden Cola Syrup, Root Beer Syrup), to “Soda Adventures with Herbs and Spices” (Sea Salt-Lime Syrup, Mango-Chile Syrup), to “Seasonal Suds” and “Agua Frescas and Shrubs” there’s a lot here to explore and enjoy.

“Soda didn’t start out as a mass-produced uniform product,” Lynn writes in the introduction to “The Artisan Soda Workshop.” “A hundred years ago, soda could be enjoyed at local shops that offered it in a wide variety of house-made options. Now, more people are looking back to the history of soda and recognizing all the possibilities; they’re applying modern ideas about food to make new and exciting soda recipes.”

While homemade sodas may seem like a chore, when one could simply twist off the cap of a mass-produced drink, there are some added benefits. Homemade sodas are made with real fruit, not artificial flavoring, and you can control the sugar levels to your preference. The syrups just need to be stirred into seltzer water, and Lynn says purchasing your own seltzermaker is worth it. (She likes www.sodastream.com.) There are also plenty of other uses for your fruit syrup, such as drizzling it over pancakes or atop big bowl of ice cream.

We had a Cowboy Chili Cookoff at work this week, and instead of trying to compete among all the other chuck-and-beans creations I decided to go another route and bring homemade soda punch. It was a good decision I think – there were 19 crockpots of chili but only two homemade sodas: Prickly Pear Agua Fresca and Sparkling Watermelon-Jalapeño Agua Fresca.

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“I’ll have an Arnold Palmer.” Do you know what I mean? Lemonade and ice tea, and somehow my current favorite beverage. Named for the legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, the drink is said to have been born in the 1960s, according to Parade magazine, when Mr. Palmer asked a waitress at a course in Palm Springs to mix lemonade into his iced tea. Another customer overheard his request, and “a Palmer” was born. It’s refreshing powers are said to be the perfect drink to revive onself after 18 holes under the sun.

“You can now find it everywhere!” said Palmer, who turns 83 on Sept. 10.

Today, the Arizona Beverage Company has a corner on the market of the half-iced-tea, half-lemonade refreshment coming in bottles of all sizes, including a 20-ounce version bearing not only the image of Arnold Palmer, but a golf ball-shaped neck. Palmer, who stormed on the golfing scene to battle Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player just as TVs became a fixture in every American living room, is said to have been a master of sports marketing.

But really, how hard is it to make your own Arnold Palmer at home? Not hard at all! You can either mix up store-bought lemonade and iced tea, or you can make it from scratch.

Here are some recipes to help you stir up your own Arnold Palmer. But no promises on improving your swing.

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Spring has finally, finally arrived for good. Besides an abundance of blossoms, sunnier days, and friendlier people, long stalks of crimson rhubarb are back in the grocery produce section.

Say the words “rhubarb” and most people think of warm rhubarb and strawberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Yum! But Louisa Shafia in her lovely cookbook “Lucid Food: Cooking for an eco-conscious life” offers another tasty use for one of spring’s first vegetables: rhubarb spritzers.

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With the modern-day luxury of TiVo, watching the royal wedding did not require getting up at the crack of dawn. But I did anyway. Now we are having a feast of scones, tea cakes, and other goodies in the newsroom even as we put finishing touches on stories about Libya’s migrants fleeing the country. One needs a good strong cuppa to get through the rest of the day.

Let me share with you what I posted yesterday on Stir It Up!: A few tips to ensure that the way you serve your tea this afternoon will be properly English. (more…)

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A few days ago, I carted home a watermelon and made a watermelon pine nut salad. That was delicious, but I had a problem. There is only one of me. And I had a lot of watermelon leftover.

I was sharing this “problem” at work with my colleague, Owen. And he had a great idea: “Make watermelon lemonade.”

Drink my leftover watermelon? Of course! It made perfect sense. And it will make perfect sense for you, too, because this mocktail is delicious, refreshing, and tastes just like summer. It would have been beyond perfect if I had mint ice cubes. But fresh mint works just fine.

I found a good recipe on SmittenKitchen.com, and just altered it slightly to my liking. Oh my. You will love this and may never eat another watermelon straight up again.

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh watermelon puree, strained to remove seeds
3 tablespoons simple syrup*
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
Mint, for garnish (or mint ice cubes)

Mix together and serve over ice. Serves 2.

*To make simple syrup: Simmer 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool.

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