Friday, May 29, 2009
We walked down to the Mediterranean Foods Market near our house to marvel at the whole lamb ($99), selection of pita, jarred vegetable spreads and spices. Partially inspired by our friend Alex, we walked away with some new tiny tea glasses, which are the perfect size for a sweet glass of mint tea.
For some reason, there is not really a tea culture in the United States (unless you count sweet tea for Southerners-I don't). In Britain, you get Earl Grey, with lemon or sugar. In many countries, heavily spiced black tea with copious amounts of sugar and milk is ubiquitous. Here, we have a lot of choices, but no national cup per se.
Green tea is good, especially for health-minded people entranced by its potential antioxidant-related benefits. Heavily sweetened, minty green tea is better, especially for people in it mostly for taste. Taken with the morning paper and a Digestive, it's pretty close to heaven.
2 c filtered water
2 green tea bags
1 bunch of mint
2 tbsp sugar
Bring water just to a boil. Pour over tea bags, mint, and sugar; let steep for two minutes. Remove tea bags, but leave mint. Stir well and enjoy.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Often the clock has struck ten by the time I return home from work, smelling like a million-dollar meal but with an empty stomach. There's never time to cook up a true dinner; nor do I want one at this hour. If there's nothing waiting on me (husband, what?), I sometimes reheat leftovers. More often, however, I treat myself to what seems to me to be the most perfect supper one could ask for. Little nibbles that go perfectly with a late-night newspaper, an Orhan Pamuk masterpiece, or a slow-moving art house movie.
My balanced meal consists of toasted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), a hunk of some mild sheep's milk cheese, crackers (if I'm lucky, this kind), a gin y tonic prepared á la fuego negro, and some roasted chickpeas. Nothing I ever put in my mouth past nine p.m. really makes me happier. Except when I'm in Europe and most of what I eat goes in after nine. I hope you have little meals of pleasure like this. I also hope you've had roasted chickpeas, because they're much different than their raw cousins. If not, here you go.
1 can chickpeas, drained (or dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and simmered until tender)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
Combine all ingredients. Roast in 400 degree oven until crunchy, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.