Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tea and Azaleas

Happy Tuesday!  It's a rainy day here so I opted out of the farmer's market but also because I didn't want to miss any of the coverage of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  I adore royal pomp of any kind! 

Now I'm about to finish up cleaning out rooms and cupboards gathering up goodies for Saturday's neighborhood yard sale.  I've been clearing out since we've made the decision to move to Virginia and this week is the final push.  Just the kitchen, pantry and the room over the garage left.  Then I have to sort it and price it.  It's a bit daunting but we want to travel light when we move so it will be worth it.  Anything left will go on the donation truck that will come by at the end of the day. 

We've starting prepping Shady Dame for sale.  We're still about 18 months away but doing thing little by little will make things much easier when the time comes.  First up, the yard.  We had a terrible time with the lawn  at the top of the yard so instead of spending a fortune on new sod we opted to expand the azalea beds.  

It looks so nice!  Money well spent.  We'll over seed the rest of the now smaller and more manageable lawn in the fall.  Next spring the yard will have an even bigger explosion of pink.

Now it's time for tea.  Chai tea!  Do you have any international markets in your area?  Do you utilize them?  They are a great source for bargain staples and produce.  I had a tienda I stop at now and then.  I managed to get a huge block of cotija anejo cheese for the elote (Mexican grilled corn) for a fraction of  what Whole Foods was charging.  The other market I love is the local Indo-Pak.  Spices, spices and more spices and tea on top of tea and great prices on different flours, grains, ghee and produce.

I love chai tea so I was delighted to find a big box of chai masala for under $2. (Masala means "mixture of spices" either dry or in a paste.) Chai tea bags are always such a disappointment lacking in flavor and complexity and the boxed concentrate is way too sweet.  I opted to make my own and it was a smashing success!

And easy, too.  Four cups of water (two are already in the saucepan,) eight black tea bags and eight teaspoons of chai masala brought just to a boil.  Let mixture steep for about 10 minutes.  I like it strong and super spicy. 

Strain mixture into a clean, one-quart mason jar and sweeten to taste with honey while still warm.  I used just two tablespoons raw honey for the whole quart.  You need to have a little sweetness to balance the warm spice.

Label and store in fridge.  Always remember to shake the jar before making your chai!

To make a perfect cup of chai, heat half-cup of concentrate then pour in one cup steamed, frothed milk.  I like Organic Valley whole milk because it foams so well and is pasture raised.  We keep the raw milk for smoothies, kefiring and sipping.  I'm sure coconut or almond milk would be delicious in this preparation in case you're not a fan of dairy milk.  Enjoy!

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