Monday, June 30, 2008

a cup of tea

I really like herbal tea. I've gotten in a habit over the last year or more of having at least a cup a day- sometimes more, depending on my mood. Sometimes I like it in the morning as my warm waking-up beverage. I love it mid-afternoon when I'm feeling the munchies, but don't really need anything to eat. Plus it's really great for taking a moment to slow down before moving on with the rest of your day. The British hit on something with Afternoon Tea. I wish my kids liked it. I think we could all use a moment to sit and reflect and calm down after a busy day. The other time I tend to drink it is at night, again when I want something warm and relaxing.

Since many of my friends wonder which kinds are best and don't drink much tea, I thought I'd share my favorites. All are caffeine free and herbal. Oh, and just a couple of tea brewing tips. Bring a pot of water almost to a boil and pour over the tea bag in a mug and let sit for 4-5 minutes. Squeeze out the bag and remove. I like to add a teaspoon or less of honey to the cup. It's better to not let the water boil, or to leave the tea bag in too long so the tea won't be bitter. I know you've probably done both, I do it sometimes too, but you will notice a difference if you do a side by side test. It shouldn't stress you out, just advice for the perfect cup. My current top three teas are:

Zhena's Gypsy Tea in "Fireside Chai". It has a very warm flavor with herbs and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper. It is particularly great on a cold day (like summer here in San Francisco!). I buy it at the store around the corner but you can always order some online.
Another one I love is Numi's Chamomile Lemon Myrtle. This is a good calming nighttime tea, but I also like it in the afternoon when I need to relax. It is sort of sweet with just a hint of lemon. Nothing overpowering. Of all the chamomile teas I've had so far, this is my favorite.

Mighty Leaf's loose tea, Verbena Mint Chrysanthemum, is so great. Something about it is so fresh and invigorating. This is the perfect tea for getting you through the rest of your afternoon. The mint provides a pep to your step and lemon verbena leaves you feeling nourished. So, to prepare a loose tea you need a tea pot with an infuser inside or a tea cup with the same. I have a great Bodum mug I usually use, but you can also use a tea ball. The advantage to using a bigger infuser is that it gives the flowers and herbs room to expand and flavor the water. Of course you can always just put the tea in your mug and then strain it out later, it just means you are dirtying an extra mug and strainer!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

summer's bounty

This is what I had for lunch one day last week.

One of the things that makes me the happiest and makes me feel like I take care of myself is to go to the farmers' market and buy fresh, local, incredibly flavorful organic fruits and vegetables. I often go to the Ferry Building on Tuesday markets to miss the Saturday crowds and get in and out without it turning into a whole-day event. Last week I took the kids, and this bowl is one of the results of our excursion. Nectarines, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.... I would be happy eating this all summer! It's funny, the kids rebelled about going with me (except Abby, of course, who goes with me all the time and knows exactly how good it all is). Once we got there I could not stop their sampling and asking for more and more. We got beautiful rich red pluots, tangy apriums, sweet berries and crisp, fresh butter lettuce. They tested the fruit at each stand to see which was best. Isn't summer great?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

yael naim in sf

I've had lots of you comment how you loved Yael Naim's song I posted about back in January. Well, I have great news! She will be here in San Francisco next Tuesday, June 24, at Bimbo's 365 Club in North Beach. Anyone want to go? David says I can do a girls' night; he'll be watching the Lakers game anyway (if they make it that far). Tickets are $25...