The Covered Dish
By Debbie Dance Uhrig
This week I received a request for ice tea tips. I’ll start out with some generalized tea brewing information. Then I’ll provide you with my favorite ginger tea recipe, from a 2019 column, lastly I’ll share a quick ‘Debbie’ version for strawberry poke cake. Not much ‘chatter’ this week, but lots of information on tea and a refreshing cake.
Regular Ice Tea Suggestions:
- Allow tea bags to soak in boiling water for only about 8 minutes, tops.
The longer you allow the black tea or maybe Earl Grey to sit, it releases tannins, which make a bitter or sharp taste in teas.
- For transporting ice tea take the ‘brew’ with you and then you won’t have so many ‘jugs’ of ice tea taking up the refrigerator space.
- For sweet tea, put the sugar in after the bags have been removed, stirring well to blend. How much? Depends on your sweet tooth. You can always, add, but not take away.
- For entertaining, in the summer I like to make at least a couple types of tea and I do not sweeten any of them. Instead I make simple syrups that can be poured directly into the tea to sweeten. My favorites would be mint and orange for summer.
- Consider doing a honey sweetener or an agave for those who have sugar issues.
- Make ice cubes ahead of time, made from frozen ice tea. The drink never goes flat!
- Make sure to brew your tea to the proper temperature.
- The best water to use would be cold and filtered.
- Bring water to a boil to oxygenate, but don’t over boil because that takes all the O2 away.
- Be sure to have fun garnishes ready for the tea, mint leaves, fresh fruit, etc.
- Never squeeze a tea bag too tightly when removing from the brew. This will release the tannins into the brew, so gently press the bags, no squeezing.
- If you are a tea-a-holic consider taking a container of brew with you, on the road. Take a container that fits in your ice chest. All those gas station bottles add up really fast.
- Little tip, remember the heat is turned off while you are brewing!
I love the benefits of green tea, which this recipe is based. White tea would also compliment this recipe quite nicely. Tea doesn’t have to be loaded with caffeine, keep in mind green tea comes in decaf. Green tea has multiple health benefits, one of course being weight control and cancer fighting.
The biggest problem with green and white tea is remembering the temperature for steeping. For green 175 degrees is recommended for a 5-6 minute brew. The reason for the longer brew is so you can pull more antioxidants, from the tea. Black teas are to brew at 212 degrees for only 3-5 minutes. I know, I do mine for 8-10 for stronger tea. The health benefits are excellent. Ginger can be used for inflammations, upset stomachs and motion sickness. Be sure and use crystallized ginger for this.
Ginger Honey Tea
4 cups water
Fresh Ginger, 2 thumbs worth, peeled and sliced into nickel sizes
7 regular size green tea bags, not family size
1/2 cup honey
5 cups additional cold water
Peel and slice ginger, place with 4 cups of water in saucepan. Heat until ginger comes to a boil and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes. Bring heat back up to approximately 160-170 degrees. This is when you have a light bottom boil on the water. Add the 7 tea bags and allow to brew for 12-15 minutes. Lightly squeeze/tap the tea bags and remove. Pour mixture through a sieve to remove ginger and any floating pieces. Stir in 1/2 cup honey into the warm mix to dissolve. Lastly add the 5 cups of cold water and stir to blend. Serve over ice with embellishments.
Strawberry Poke Cake
1 regular strawberry cake mix
1 strawberry jello (3 oz.) regular or sugar free
3/4 cup hot water, 3/4 cup cold water
8 ounces whipped cream
8 ounces cream cheese
Bake cake according to box directions, in a greased 9 x 13 cake pan. Just before the cake comes from the oven dilute jello in hot water and then add the cold water, blending. After cake is removed from oven, poke holes all over the top, using the handle of a wooden spoon. With a good pouring cup, distribute the jello into the holes. Set cake to the side and allow it to completely cool out.
For the topping I soften the cream cheese in the microwave, then using a rubber spatula it’s blended into the whipped cream. Smooth over the top like icing, and refrigerate.
If you have a bit of strawberry jam on hand you could enhance both the filling and the topping by stirring in some jam!
I made this cake this past week. I don’t know how long it’s been since I made a ‘poke’ cake. Remember this cake is refreshing and can be made into a multitude of flavors. Lemon cake and lemonade, orange, you get the picture.
Enjoy the week, Simply yours, The Covered Dish, www.thecovereddish.com.