It's Christmas Eve here at the house. I have been banished from my son's bedroom while he and Missus wrap a present, presumably for me. Of course, I am in the kitchen. It is cold outside and I have my warm Fox River socks on. I have a large pot of my very own chai tea simmering so the house smells wonderfully exotic. I am making oatmeal bread. Son and I have made a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough (I swelled with pride when he checked to make sure that the butter and eggs were at room temp.) and soon will be baking off the cookies for Santa.
Dinner will be a simple meal of pasta with Boggy Creek Farms spinach and leftover salmon, BCF arugula salad (supplemented with some baby greens cuttings from our own garden). Chocolate truffles for dessert.
There is no sense of tradition in this menu but that doesn't really matter. What matters is that we are all here together, it's cold outside, and the house smells as if Lady Hestia has set up camp for the night. This is what Christmas Eve should be. I hope that for all who stumble across my humble blog. And especially for my three loyal followers. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyful Kawanza, and blessed Yule. I hope that covers everyone. Enjoy the tea.
Fill a 3-4 quart sauce pan with water (well, not all the way full but 3/4 full). Add the following:
12 black peppercorns
24 cardamom pods
3-6 cinnamon sticks
A palm full of star anise (optional)
A 2 inch piece of ginger root, sliced into medallions
Bring to a boil and let roll for 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let simmer for 3 hours or so (your house will begin to smell very sexy so be prepared to get it on). After simmering, add 1-2 tsp. black tea (use decaf if you want but the caffeine amount will be fairly marginal) and let sit, covered, overnight.
The next day strain the mixture into a pitcher and fill the rest of the pitcher with water. Don't dilute the tea too much, though.
Reheat as needed. I like to hit mine with a little almond milk and honey. Relax.