Towards the end of last week's heat wave, as temperatures soared well into the high nineties, I gave the oven a rest and had the ac working on overdrive. Not much cooking was accomplished, but I did find time to kick back and sip on one of my favorite cool drinks. Chai tea is very popular and available at cafes and coffeehouses everywhere. I found myself drinking mugs of hot chai tea this past winter, its spicy kick keeping me warm in the cold weather. It's a black tea with a blend of spices that typically include cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and anise.
What could be better than transforming this hot tea into an iced version for hot summer days? Keep it at close reach in your refrigerator; pour it over ice, sprinkle it with a touch of cinnamon, and you are in business. I prefer this version to iced chai teas in coffeehouses, which often use a concentrate or powder form. These are sometimes too sweet or chalky for my liking. My version is sweetened with some honey and vanilla extract. I've added vanilla soymilk because I like the extra vanilla flavor. If you wanted a creamier version, you could replace the soymilk with whole milk or even half and half. For a milk substitute, coconut milk works well too. It's so simple; I hesitate to even call it a recipe. It's more of an idea I thought some of you might enjoy as much as I do. I like to make a batch or two of this and keep it in mason jars in my fridge.
While keeping cool in the air conditioning, I did manage to arrange a few of my favorite flowers I thought I'd share. We have beautiful deep blue hydrangeas lining both sides of our driveway. When we first moved into our home a few years ago, I was immediately drawn to these flowers as they started to bloom. To me, they symbolized a new beginning. Just after moving in, they greeted me every time I arrived at our new home. When it came time for our wedding last year, I chose a bouquet of these same blue hydrangeas to symbolize yet another new beginning with my husband.
Photo: Michael DillonWhen I saw them in bloom this summer, I was reminded of our special day. I sat back with a great summer read, admired my flowers, and sipped on my iced chai tea. It was a good reminder to slow down, reminisce, and find pleasures in the little things this summer...even on the hottest of days.
~Iced Chai Tea Recipe~
5 cups water
10 chai tea bags
1/4 cup honey
1 cup organic vanilla soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a teapot (or saucepan) bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep for 5 minutes. I use a teapot and let the tea steep right inside. Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess liquid. Transfer tea to a glass pitcher. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Refrigerate and let chill for 2-3 hours. Once cold, add vanilla extract and soy milk. Stir to combine. Serve over ice. You could drizzle more honey over top or add a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Serves 4.