Friday, June 18, 2010

Two super-cool avoidance techniques

I haven’t yet embraced the summertime heat.

By “embraced” I mean: boldly ignore the 90 degree Managua-esque weather and go outside to work in the garden anyhow.

By “embraced” I mean: be accepting and submissive about my skin sliming up with sweat and stink and stick.

Nope, I’m not there yet. I’m still rebelling against the extra early, hot, hot, HOT summer, trying to stay as cool as I can for as long as possible. This involves parking my rear in front of fans, gardening at dusk or dawn, and swigging iced beverages.

Normally, the people living in my happy, un-airconditioned household drink water and that’s about it. Smoothies happen, but they are a food, not a beverage (in my book), and the kids sometimes get little teeny-tiny glasses of milk at breakfast (which is crazy considering that they are eating milk-drenched granola at the same time). In fact, the kids are fond of telling me how at Grandmommy’s house, they can drink all the milk they want. Wow, I say flatly. But guess what. I’M not Grandmommy. So get over it. (My kids live such repressed lives.)

(My twice-daily coffee is A Saving Grace and counts as neither food nor drink.)

I don’t usually think twice about our water-only beverage lifestyle—it is what it is—but it get’s brought to my attention each time a foster child came/fresh air child comes into our home. The kids may not say that much, but I can tell (by their body language and the odd comments) that drinking just water is kind of weird. I like being weird though (not that I have any other option), so I take it as a compliment.

(Weird is good and here’s the proof. One of our foster daughters was on the heavy side, so I was required to take her to see a nutritionist where we learned that she had super high blood sugar levels. No surprise there, seeing as she reportedly drank large quantities of soda in her previous life. At our next appointment a month [or two?] later, her bad blood sugar scores had dropped dramatically and the nutritionist was gratifyingly shocked. Soda is evil, I tell you! Water is good!)

Lest you think I’m a saint (I humor myself to think that the thought might possibly ever cross your mind):

1. My son acquired some bottles of (sick-looking) blue and red Gatorade at a baseball game the other night, so yesterday morning after breakfast (I did insist on waiting till after breakfast), the kids indulged in Gatorade chugging contests. Then I banished them from the house. They ran shrieking down through the field and back and forth across the property as though possessed. (However, they do that even when they don’t drink neon beverages, so I guess I can’t really blame it on the drink).

2. I’ve been craving a rum and coke. I get this craving about once every three years. From past experience, I know it’s not going to go away till I go out and buy myself a coke and that then I won't even like the drink enough to finish it. But buy the coke I will.


Anyway, as part of my beat-the-heat plan (you thought I’d never find my way back to the main topic, didn’t you!), I’ve been stocking the fridge with iced coffee and tea.

Oops. What’s this? I say I only drink water and then I go on to rave about iced tea (and coffee, but that’s A Saving Grace, remember)? I’m making no sense whatsoever. I could try to remedy the situation, I suppose, but I think it would be a futile endeavor. Onward ho!


I’ve made iced drinks before, but never before have I made them without the use of heat. Aimee of Simplebites is the one responsible for my new cold drink enthusiasm. She’s the one that taught me about cold-brewed coffee and tea, all in one neat, tidy post, and it was so wonderful, every little bit of it, that now I’m going to do the same for you!


It’s so simple, really. For the coffee, just mix grounds with cold water, set the mixture in the fridge for the night, strain it in the morning, and voila!, you’ve got iced coffee concentrate!


It’s cleaner-tasting than coffees made with heat, and less bitter (and reportedly with more caffeine, though I haven’t noticed).

The same method is used for the iced tea: cover some tea bags with cold water, set in the fridge overnight, strain, add fixings, and serve. The iced tea tastes lighter; it’s very, very delicious.

Tea, after a night of chilling

(As I was proofing that last paragraph, I knocked over my thermal mug of [this time] hot coffee, spilling it all over the green sofa. Whoops.)

So now, finally, I introduce to you real iced tea/coffee, cold from start to finish, authentic through and through. Serve it up and chill out, dudes!

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
From Aimee of Simplebites

1 cup coffee grounds
3 cups cold water

Put the grounds in a quart jar and top it off with cold water. Give the slurry a stir, screw on a lid, and slip the jar into the fridge for the night (at least twelve hours). In the morning, strain the coffee (I pour it through a cheesecloth), and return the strained coffee concentrate to the fridge where it will await, ready to gracefully save you from whatever it is you need saving from.


To serve: Mix equal parts coffee concentrate with milk, water, or cream. Add sugar (sweetened condensed milk, liquor), if desired, and serve over ice. Or, use it to make a coffee shake by blending with vanilla ice cream. (I haven't tried that yet, but I plan to.)


Yield: Enough concentrate for four to six coffees, depending on the size and strength of the drinks. At first I thought that was a small yield for a full cup of grounds, but then I measured how many grounds I use for my regular cup of coffee (more than a quarter cup of grounds!) and decided it was a pretty good yield after all.


Cold-Brewed Iced Tea
From Aimee of Simplebites

I use four extra-large Lipton tea bags, but this last time I used just three and added two regular-sized bags of Red Rasperry Zinger which added a delightful dimension.

6 tea bags
1 gallon cold water
½ cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced

Put the tea bags in the water and put in the fridge to steep for the next twelve hours. Remove the tea bags, squeezing them to release all of the flavor, and add sugar (or honey) and lemon. Serve over ice.


About one year ago: In honor of Father's Day: the giant green slug

12 comments:

  1. Hi, I'm a local reader that's never commented before. I just wanted to tell you that my husband and I are starting a 3 year MCC term in Managua starting in August...I can't even begin to imagine the heat. yikes!

    I love cold brewed iced coffee and wanted to share my tip. I just use my french press so I don't have to mess with straining it. I mix the coffee and water the night before and in the morning, all I have to do is push the plunger down. Easy and tasty!

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  2. Tell me about it. I won't go out and work in the garden until M is in bed. Iced coffee, huh? Is there any chance a non-hot coffee drinker might like it? Oh, wait. I still want M to take naps and sleep at night. Maybe I should wait:-).

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  3. Theclanks, We were with MCC from 1997-2000! I'd love to hear more about your plans...

    ThyHand, You can make the coffee decaf, you know.

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  4. Mmm, I've been making iced coffee occasionally for Brad. But I do it the hot way and then add homemade chocolate syrup, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and ice. Mmmm, I have to say I indulge every now and then (but of course only if it's decaf). It's the only way I'll drink coffee, and yes, I'm well aware I'm basically drinking sugar. But hey, it's better than running to Burger King and buying their iced mocha crap, which is actually really good but I don't want to buy from them!

    Next time (maybe tonight) I'll try the cold method. See if Brad can tell a difference.

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  5. I am very much wanting some of that tea right now - my mama is from TX and she taught me to appreciate that form of refinement. :)

    I just posted the recipe for you - knowing you you'll make it divine. Let me know how it turns out and what you change! I'd love to do whatever you add in. :)

    M.

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  6. well, cool!
    I'm definitely going to make tea that way. My husband still drinks hot coffee in this heat, so I just refrigerate any leftovers, hey presto - iced coffee.
    Question on the tea: do you actually steep the lemon slices too? I'm thinking that could be rather too strong with the rind overnight. Or maybe you just put the slices in for pretty.

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  7. what a great post, just what is needed as i can't drink hot coffee in the hot weather, but i need that creamy iced coffee hit!

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  8. Today we're looking at rain and a high of 63. Would you like to come visit? If summer ever gets here, we'll definitely be making iced tea!

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  9. I meant to say one more thing (as I come back to copy down the little recipe): I'm very impressed that you all just drink water. And you don't even fall for the line that kids need to drink milk all the time to be healthy. I use milk as food, not drink, so my kids often get it with breakfast and snacks. And I consider juice candy. But I like your simple approach of water only!

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  10. Margo, I added the lemons to the tea after removing the bags, but then left them in---we finished the tea up in two or three days and it wasn't too strong/bitter at all. For the second batch, I just squeezed the juice in, so either way works fine.

    Juice is definitely candy! I have an aversion to giving my kids drinks that, when dripped, leave sticky marks that need to be wiped up. So really, it's all about making my job easier.

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  11. I'm so happy to inspire! Wonderful recap. We've been drinking so much of these. I love having something always ready for when people drop over, too.

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  12. I love cold brewed ice coffee. I also like my sugar in my ice coffee but hate how it never dissolves completely. So I started making a simple syrup by boiling the water and melting the sugar in it then letting that cool. I then use this for the coffee. It makes me smile just thinking of it. Now I have to go start a jar for tomorrow.

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