During the cold and windy Mediterranean winters, it’s become a habit to make some tea around 4:30 or so in the afternoon. Usually by then, the day is winding down because the sun only has a few hours left and the temperature starts to drop again. So what do I do? I reach for the tea! The tea I use is a blend of dry herbs and flowers. But of course you can use whatever blend you like, just make sure it’s loose tea to get the maximum flavor.
Now I prefer to use bay leaves when making this tea because, first of all, it’s everywhere here in the Mediterranean…now I know why Julius Caesar wore a crown of bay leaves! My neighbors have walls of bay leaves that separate the properties of one another. As a matter of fact, last week my one neighbor called the gardener to trim her bay leaf “wall” and the branches we coming down like huge corn stalks! My husband and I happened to pass by just at the right moment! I asked my neighbor if I could take a branch or two (6 feet tall each and full of leaves!) and she was more than happy to give them to me! “certo, prego!” (of course, help yourself) she said. And there I went, back to the house with two 6 feet stalks to bay leaves. They are now “planted” in my kitchen =)
Before we go back to the tea, I have to share with you some of the things I do with bay leaves:
- Tea (recipe below)
- When boiling pasta water, throw in a bay leaf or two for a fragrant aroma. My mother always did, and we always knew when she was making spaghetti =)
- When marinating fish or meat the night before, throw in some bay leaves! Your marinade will smell so wonderful =)
- When cooking tomato sauce, throw in some bay leaves.
Anyway, back to the tea……
-Just drop some loose tea into your smallest cooking pot and add a couple of bay leaves (or mint leaves, lemon leaves…..whatever you would like).
-Add the rind of 1 fresh lemon or orange.
-Add enough water for the amount of cups of tea you want to make, and set aside for 10-15 minutes….this allows the water to flavor.
-Bring the tea to a boil and let boil on low for an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and serve. Enjoy!
Happy Tea making!