Saturday, June 27, 2009

Strawberry-Basil Iced Tea: A "Simple Saturday Sipper" from Martha Stewart and Pictures from a Weeknight Tapas Party

When the weather is warm and muggy, nothing is better than pulling open the refrigerator and being able to pull out a big pitcher of a thirst-quenching drink. Finding this Strawberry-Basil Iced Tea in the latest Martha Stewart Living, it seemed the perfect choice for a "Simple Saturday Sipper". Using fresh, sweet Waimea Strawberries from the Big Island and basil from my CSA box made this especially fresh, and using a berry-flavored black tea bag allowed me to cut down on the sugar. Black tea is full of antioxidants, basil has lots of Vitamin K and strawberries are filled with fiber, Vitamin C and other good for you stuff, so this sipper is not only delicious--it's good for you too!

Strawberry-Basil Iced Tea
Martha Stewart Living, July 2009
(Makes 2 Quarts: Serves 6 to 8)

8 black tea bags
1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
1 cup water, plus more for steeping tea
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil, plus more for serving 
ice for serving

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes. Place strawberries in a bowl. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add basil, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain over strawberries, discard basil. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Combine strawberries (with syrup) and tea in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with basil.

Notes/Results: Delicious, cool and refreshing, this is a wonderful drink for summer. The basil comes through with a nice subtle herbal taste, but since I like even more intense basil flavor, I think will up the amount of basil leaves and steep it a bit longer next time. Using a natural berry-flavored black tea enabled me to cut the sugar down to about 1/3 cup, so I reduced the water for the syrup to 3/4 cup. I served this in tall glasses and garnished it with plenty of fresh basil. Be sure to include a tall ice-tea spoon to scoop up all those yummy strawberries. This is a keeper recipe for sure.


What is better than enjoying delicious food with good friends? Having friends that are incredible cooks. My friend Natalie had a small group of us up for Spanish tapas this week. I have known Natalie for about 13 years and she is one of the best cooks I know, as well as a recent addition to food blogging at Ask Natalie Hawaii. The food was divine, (Natalie outdid herself with many different pupus to try), the wine brought by everyone was delicious and the company was wonderful. It was a chance to escape from the world's craziness and we all left full and happy. Here's a few shots of just some of the food we enjoyed. (Please note that my photography skills decline in relationship to the amount of wine and food I consume).

Sweet Piquillo peppers stuffed with homemade corned beef and grilled:

The finished pepper dish:

This is black garlic (read about it on Natalie's post here). This was my first time trying it and I liked the earthy, slightly licorice taste of it.

It was perfect on top of this bacon-wrapped pork loin. (Is there anything better than bacon wrapped around pork?!)

Grilled "Gambas

Grilled sweet green peppers (we ate lots of yummy peppers!)

Nat let me contribute a couple of cold tapas so I brought the Gazpacho that I made for Barefoot Bloggers (here) and it was perfect as "gazpacho shooters" to start our meal.

This is Goat Cheese with Mojo Verde that I made from The Barcelona Cookbook by Sasa Mahr-Batuz & Andy Pforzheimer. This is the current cookbook I am reviewing and I just started trying recipes from it, (hopefully the review will post sometime next week). This yummy dish passed the "foodie friend test" with flying colors! You can find a copy of this recipe here

This doesn't begin to cover the spread of food we enjoyed: rice, lots of veggies, Spanish ham, cheese, grilled bread, etc. It was a lot of food!

Mahalo again to Nat for hosting such a great night!

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Wow! Your dinner with friends sounds so delicious and yummy, what a spread! I love your Saturday sippers, keep it up!

  2. yum, seeing lots of basil and strawberry combo Rebecca

  3. I think your drink for this week is my favorite yet. I love strawberries and the thought of them with basil sounds SO intriguing. The tapas party looks so fun! There's nothing better than sharing good food with friends.

  4. What a great dinner! I love small plates meals, so nice to have the variety.
    The sipper looks perfect for summer, I can just taste it from here.

  5. Looks like a great dinner! That strawberry tea sounds divine and the gazpacho shooters are so cute.

  6. Mmmmm - everything looks so wonderful and tasty. Perfect get together, I'd say.

  7. everything looked so good and that tea looked so refreshing!

  8. That black garlic will haunt me until I try some...I wonder if I can find it anywhere around here? Looks like a great party...and your strawberry basil iced tea looks perfect and super refreshing!

  9. I love meze type meals and everything you've created for this one looks delicious.

  10. that garlic freaks me out!! haha
    I had bacon and pork last night too. pure awesome.

  11. Your dinner party looks like it was so much fun and SO delicious.

    I've already printed the recipe for the strawberry basil iced tea. I'm looking for refreshing and healthy summer drinks for the family and this one sounds perfect. I will definitely use the berry tea bags and reduce the sugar like you did.

  12. The strawberry-basil ice tea sounds so refreshing - I definitely have to try this as I am so fond of the strawberry and basil combination now! Your dinner looks excellent, what a delicious spread!

  13. As if it isn't enough that you live in Paradise, you have wonderful cooking and eating enthusiasts as friends. I'm so envious!!!!!!

  14. Strawberry ice tea.. sounds yummy.. Iced tea is also a popular packaged drink. It can be mixed with flavored syrup,with common flavors including lemon, peach, raspberry, cherry. the most common among the these are lime and peach. Apart from this herbs are also sometimes served cold and referred to as herbal iced tea. It is also quick and easy. A cup of tea actually contains more of these compounds, called antioxidants, than a serving of any fruit or vegetable! And do watch the calories if you drink tea with added sugar.

    Ice Tea


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