Summer has finally come to San Francisco, and it’s REALLY HOT. I thought I’d share some recipes for staying cool.
It’s glorious out, for the first time this summer. It’s going to be a beautiful fall. I went outside and watered, and picked some lemon verbena and borage to make sun tea. The lemon verbena is the only herb in the herb spiral that has a tree-like habit, so I’ve been trying to pick it more frequently to bush it out a bit more. I had thought I was going to transplant it, but it seems very happy where it is.
I picked a couple of handfuls of lemon verbena leaves (my grandmother’s recipes all began with handfuls), and then the borage flowers caught my eye. Borage has a wonderful, cucumber-like flavor, and, like cucumber, it has cooling properties.
I washed them gently, and cut them up with a scissors into a large 2-quart mason jar, filled it with water, then placed it in the sun (washing may not be necessary if you live in a pristine area). I’ll let them brew for a few hours today and tomorrow, then strain, put the herbs in the compost and the tea in the fridge.
In the meantime, because I want a cold drink now, I’ll mix up some pomegranate-cranberry limeade. I always have pomegranate syrup on hand, use it all the time for cooking. The cranberry concentrate is unsweetened, so I’ll add some stevia powder to the mix:
- Fill glass 3/4 way full with filtered water.
- Add a couple tbsp. each cranberry and pomegranate concentrate. (or 4-5 tbsp. of one of these)
- Add sweetener to taste.
- Add a good squeeze of lime and a couple of sprigs of lemon verbena, borage or mint, and a twist of lime.
- Add ice if you want to.
I made this earlier and mixed it with some home-made chai (before adding milk to the chai), and it tasted really good, though that may be too odd for some people. I’ve also been mixing it with tulsi, or holy basil, another herb I’ve been drinking regularly.
Some other great cooling herbs are elder (flower) and any mints or lemon balm, and I think good old fashioned black or green tea (Camellia sinensis) is also cooling. Here is a post with some elderflower recipes.
The other standby foods that I eat when it’s hot are cucumber salad and watermelon. Mmmm, watermelon! I always eat a few of the seeds along with the fruit, as it’s such a tonic in Chinese medicine.
I made some cucumber salad last night by cutting organic cucumbers in half and seeding then slicing them, then adding finely chopped garlic and red onion along with sage and dandelion vinegar (more on making herb vinegars soon). Balsamic, apple cider, or rice vinegar is fine too. I added a pinch of cilantro, and often add mint or basil instead.
Here are two more fantastic-sounding drink recipes from the kitchn, a matcha green tea shake and a green tea mojito, made with shiso, which happened to be more handy than the traditional mint for the author. These are the kind of happy accidents that delight and surprise at the same time.
How do you stay cool? Share your favorite recipes or teas here.