Another scorcher here means I'm bundled up in a fleece in the back of our shop and I haven't seen a customer since noon. I can't blame them. The chocolates are shivering in their cups just thinking about being toted around out there; undeniably cruel and unusual punishment on a day like this. Any customer within a five mile radius is up the street at the coffee shop getting something cold, blended and covered in whipped cream...
For the rest of the world (ie those of us not returning to college in T-minus two weeks) August and September mark the beginning of the end of island vacations, long weekends, cooking on the grill and late-night date-nights. We're back to the dull daily grind while summer, with its sun and short shorts, beckons to us from office windows, classrooms and the coat closet office of your local chocolate shop. The drudgery of the end of a fantastic season is really wearing on me. The wrap with grilled chicken, lettuce and mango-peach salsa I ate for lunch even seemed to have been affected by the residual boredom of the bland, anemic tag "Wednesday August 11".
So, sitting here listening to the hum and whirl of the central air, I can't help but think that there must be some way to brighten and enliven these arduously slow afternoons. What better way than with a fun, fruity summer beverage that is easy to make, simple to carry and tasty enough to trick your taste buds into thinking, even for half an hour, that it's Friday? I choose to use peaches in this recipe because we have 3 wrinkling on our counter but mangoes (if you you have the patience to peel them) or strawberries would work wonders too. Replace the basil with fresh mint for a nice twist. If you're living in a new apartment chances are your freezer isn't as old school as mine (which doesn't have an ice maker). Ice cube trays come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are very cheap. Buy up one or two to make these cubs or mini ice pops or, ahem, other adult treats.
Note: Cold brew tea bags are especially easy if you're not in the habit of keeping hot tea around. Buy up during the warmer months because it is almost impossible to find "cold brew" tea during the fall and winter.
Ingredients: 3 peaches, very ripe honey, to taste 1/4 cup water 3-4 black tea bags 3 or 4 basil leaves
Preparation: 1. Heat 6 cups of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the tea bags, remove from the heat and steep according to your taste. Alternatively, use cold-brew tea (available at your local grocer) and prepare as directed. 2. Sweeten the tea to taste while it is still warm. 3. Peel the peaches, discarding the pit. Toss the peaches into a food processor (or blender) with the basil. Pulse until the mixture is pureed. Add a 1/4 cup water and blend again. 4. Add 1/3 of the peach mixture to the tea. 4. Pour or spoon the rest of the fruit mixture into ice cub trays and freeze until ready to serve. 5. To serve: fill a glass or container with the tea, add 3-4 fruit cubes, and go. As the cubes melt, keeping the tea cool, they will infuse the drink with fresh peachy-basil notes. Who says you're not still on vacation?!