Friday, January 15, 2010

Hot Lemonade

Continuing on two themes of my last blog, namely, new uses for common ingredients and making vegetables more fun, I will discuss frozen lemonade, as in, “if life gives you lemons.....”

Although frozen lemonade concentrate is available all year round, most of us think of it strictly as a summertime thirst quencher. It is so much more versatile than that! I use it in so many ways that are “off-label” that I totally forget about lemonade. As a thirst quencher I have two favorite drinks. For an iced tea that is so much better than any mix , bottled or canned drink simply put a tea bag in a cup, pour boiling water over it and let it stand 5 minutes. Take 1 - 2 teaspoons of frozen concentrated lemonade and put it into a tall heatproof glass. Fill the glass with ice. Put one of the ice cubes in the hot tea to cool it down and then pour the tea into the heatproof, plastic or metal glass and you’ll have a perfect glass of iced tea. A quicker drink is made by filling a glass with ice, adding 1 - 2 teaspoons of frozen lemonade concentrate and then mixing in plain seltzer to make a lemony soda. Yum.

But the best uses aren’t beverages at all. When I make a fruit salad I put a tablespoon of the concentrate in a bowl before I cut up the apple, pear, banana, etc. It keeps the fruit from turning brown, creates its own juice for the salad and adds a little tang. Its amazing how a fruit salad can come together with so few pieces of fruit and so little effort. Adding a few frozen strawberries and/or blueberries and some cut up orange sections adds color and texture as well as flavor to a winter fruit salad. And if you are tempted to put a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream on top. try mixing 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt with one tablespoon of concentrate and you have a creamy, healthy, topping. (This lemon sauce is also great on pie, gingerbread, etc.)

It is with the vegetables that the frozen lemonade shines. The absolute simplest way to dress up brussel sprouts, broccoli, cooked green beans or cooked spinach (and any other green) is to to mix a tablespoon of frozen lemonade with a tablespoon of olive oil and mix it in with the cooked greens. For a fancier dressing for vegetables, melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix in a tablespoon of frozen lemonade and a tablespoon of water and heat for 20 seconds. Add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or sliced almonds and pour over the vegetable as you serve them. Vegetables won’t seem boring anymore.

This time of year in the depth of flu and cold season there is a fabulous remedy for that sore, scratchy throat. You guessed it: hot lemonade. Put a tablespoon of frozen lemonade concentrate in a cup; pour boiling water over it and enjoy a soothing drink that will remind you that summer will come again.

No comments:

Post a Comment