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Blackberry Sweet Tea

I grew up on sweet tea, literally. My mom says she remembers putting it my mine and my sister’s bottles when we were fussy, and wouldn’t you know it we grew up just fine. Sweet tea is a staple in my home today and while I didn’t bottle-feed it to my kids, I introduced it to them as soon as I could and they’ve loved it ever since.

 

Like most folks here in Texas, you typically you wouldn’t find me messing with a good thing, but tis the season, blackberry season! Several years ago we had a bumper crop of huge, quarter size blackberries and this recipe came out of the overflow of that harvest.

 

There is an art to good sweet tea; it’s a lesson I learned from my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother. One eye-opening lesson was never (and I mean never) use teabags. Only use loose tea leaves. Both of these ladies used Lipton loose tea and that’s exactly what I use. Second, but not far behind is sweetening. For a 1-gallon pitcher, use 1 ½ cups granulated sugar. The sugar is dissolved in the pot while the water is heating, before the tea leaves are added. Lastly is the steeping process. Removing the boiling water from direct heat, then stirring in the tea leaves, covering the pot with a tight fitting lid and allowing it to steep for no more than 5 minutes will allow the tea to concentrate. Don’t allow the tea to go past steeping for 5 minutes or it will become bitter.

 

For blackberry tea we reduce the amount of sugar because we’ll be using homemade blackberry syrup that is heavily sweetened.

 

Blackberry syrup is a delicious addition to lemonade as well. You can also serve this syrup over pancakes, waffles or vanilla ice cream.

 

Blackberry Sweet Tea

Yield: 1 Gallon

Blackberry Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • Blackberry Syrup:
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Blackberry Sweet Tea:
  • 3 heaping tablespoons loose tea leaves
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. blackberry syrup
  • ½ gallon cold water
  • fine wire mesh sieve
  • paper towels or coffee filters

Instructions

  1. Bring berries, sugar, and water to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  2. For the syrup:
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft, about 30 minutes. Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing gently on and then discarding solids.
  5. Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 8 months.
  6. Blackberry Sweet Tea:
  7. In a large pot, bring half a gallon of water and ½ cup sugar to a boil. Once bubbling, remove from heat immediately, add the tea leaves, and stir for about 30 seconds. Cover with a tight fitting lit and steep for exactly 5 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, fill the pitcher ¾ full with ice cubes. Place the sieve over the pitcher’s opening and place a clean paper towel or coffee filter into the sieve. Immediately after steeping for 5 minutes, pour the brewed tea through the lined sieve. Discard the leaves and stir in the blackberry syrup to combine. Serve in a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with skewered blackberries.
http://jennifercooks.com/blackberry-sweet-tea/

Marinated Cheese

marinated-cheese-recipeIsn’t this a beautiful appetizer?  My friends and neighbors, Jillian and Thad brought it over not too long ago for us to snack on while we finished grilling dinner…and it was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!  Jillian gladly let me snap a quick picture and jot down the recipe.  This marinated cheese appetizer is easy to put together and can be done the night before.  It’s one of those dishes that is not only eye catching, but a favorite at parties.  You might want to make extra, because it goes fast!

*Important Note:  Jillian suggests using a cheese wire slicer like this one for smoothly sliced cheese.  Also, she places the cream cheese in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes prior to slicing to firm it up and allow for more even cuts of this soft cheese.

wire-cheese-slicerTry this great appetizer at your next party!  It’s perfect for a wine tasting party too!

Marinated Cheese

Marinated Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz.) block sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • Marinade:
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. white wine vinegar
  • 3 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 T. chopped fresh basil
  • 3 T. minced green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (2 oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  2. Make sure cheeses are well-chilled (you can put them in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes). Cut block of cheddar in half lengthwise; then cut crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices. Set aside. Cut the cream cheese, following the same procedure. Arrange cheese slices alternately in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on ends. Pour marinade over cheese slices. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, transfer cheese slices, with a large spatula, to a serving platter in the same alternating pattern. Spoon marinade over the cheese. Serve with assorted crackers.
http://jennifercooks.com/marinated-cheese/

German Chocolate Snack Cake

german chocolate snack cake

Southerners put their heart and soul into their cooking, and take great pride in bringing a smile to a loved one’s face when they bite into one of their delicious creations.  And no dinner is quite complete without something sweet! So, when I was recently contacted by the publishers of Southern Living Classic Southern Desserts […]

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Buttermilk Pound Cake

Buttermilk Pound Cake

This recipe for pound cake is one of the best I’ve ever had and hails from Huntsville, Texas where a great friend and cook shared it with me.  Mrs. Lanier heard that my husband loves pound cake and while we were visiting one evening, she wielded her recipe box out touting that she had received […]

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Greek Tostados

Greek Tostados

OK.  Now you’ve made the Grilled Steak Gyros, Hummus, and Tzatziki Sauce and you might have leftovers, so why not throw together Greek Tostados?  That’s what I did for this recipe and it was a huge hit with our family! PrintGreek Tostados Ingredients8 whole pita breads 1 cup hummus 1 pound chopped steak, grilled 2 […]

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Hummus

Hummus

Hummus seems to be all the rage today, especially as a low fat healthy alternative to dip.  You can use it with fresh veggies, as a sandwich spread, or to dip with fresh pita bread (my favorite!).   Hummus can be bought at most supermarkets, but it’s super easy to make at home with just a […]

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