|| 27 July 2017
Lemon Verbena Tea — and Ice Cream?
Early this summer I began to want a lighter tea for afternoon tea — lighter than my more usual Darjeeling or Keemun. For a week or so I drank an unremarkable, but drinkable China green tea. Then, I remembered lemon verbena. Exactly what I was wanting for a summer afternoon on the Mediterranean sort of tea.
Lemon verbena is popular in Provence where it grows easily. Cookbook author Patricia Wells discovered it there and became enthusiastic about the herb — not only infusing lemon verbena leaves for tea, but using lemon verbena in cooking as the French do. Patricia Wells' The Provence Cookbook has a recipe for Creamy Zucchini and Fresh Lemon Verbena Soup — which, in my opinion, has a lot of unnecessary steps. I do quite well slicing, then cooking my squash in a covered dish in my microwave. Meanwhile steeping some dried verbena leaves in a small amount of water. Once cooled, I blend the squash and strained infusion of lemon verbena, and a bit of sea salt to a puree in my blender. Chill and add stir in plain yogurt when serving. That’s it.
Note: If you use low-fat yogurt or kefir in this soup, it is not only a refreshing low-calorie summer soup, but super low-fat as well. You should not, however, feel that eating this low-fat soup gives you license to accompany it with a large serving of French fries.
In Patricia Wells’ At Home in Provence cookbook she has a recipe for homemade lemon verbena ice cream. All her lemon verbena recipes call for infused fresh leaves. Patricia Wells has great disdain for dried lemon verbena. But the dried lemon verbena leaves I ordered from Simpson & Vail make a lovely infusion that I am enjoying very much for afternoon tea here at Provence-sur-la-Prairie.
One sip and I can almost smell the Mediterranean.
be chic, stay slim — Anne Barone