Monday, February 8, 2010

Green tea snow ice cream and more

It's a weird winter when my native Oklahoma has had significantly more snow than my current Chicago home. But we're finally due a big dump tonight, and my kettle's at the ready. Forget snowmen: it's time to get out there and make a snow pot!

Actually, if the snow on your outdoor tabletops or lawn is clean enough, make some snow ice cream. There are hundreds of different ways to do this. This is the one we've tried that actually gets some decent results (though you'll need to eat it quickly, as the snow melts easily): Beat a pint of whipping cream till it firms up, then stir in a can of condensed milk, a spoon or two of vanilla extract and sugar to taste (1/4-1/2 cup?). This being a tea blog, of course, when I tried this out last winter I added a scoop of matcha green tea powder. Fold in fresh snow — until it achieves a thick, creamier consistency. Voila!

About those tabletops, we might recommend catching freshly fallen stuff instead. Before or during le deluge, set out a nice big mixing bowl or a wide pan.

If you want to make actual ice cream flavored with green tea, well, then this is yet another gleeful opportunity to link to this bizarre video in which a dog explains how to do just that.

Or simply heap some snow in your cup or kettle and make tea. Arctic naturalists and Himalayan hikers do it all the time. Here's an outdoorsy video demonstration (chopping your own wood is, thankfully, optional...):

The winter season was ideal for making tea. With snow easily accessible, a hearty scoop with a stone pot placed atop a fire would melt the snow, and then boil the water up to the proper temperature. Snow water had a very pure and crisp taste, so Mithos & Tuna wanted to enjoy it as much as they could. This was possibly their last day together for some time, so they felt that she could be a little generous with their tea consumption.
— from Fire Emblem: The Rune of Shadows

Of note: Snow tea is an actual tisane once common in China. It's not actual tea but a rare herb, heralded for lowering blood pressure. But the snow tea herb, it seems, is endangered due to overharvesting. This "red snow tea" certainly looks absolutely delicious (now that's why you keep some glass teaware in the cubby!), but let's wait and see if this delicacy comes back before contributing to its decline.

Instead, try Teavana's Snow Geisha white tea — white tea blended with sour cherries and cranberries. Delish.

Also, dig these "snow tea cups"! Nice shape, and the glaze looks like they were fashioned from new-fallen snow. (With matching pot.)

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