February 24, 2014

sunday southern sweet tea

What a week I've had since announcing the Euna Mae's retail store! Sam and I have met with bankers, contractors, painters, more contractors, more bankers, and more painters. I've spent loooooong days at my desk ordering products and filling out paperwork. It's all so exciting! I'm humbled and giddy with your response!! Lots to do. Lots to do.

I've hardly cooked much in the last week. Well, I've cooked - but I'm not cooking much of anything new. I resorted on the faithful and comforting chicken and dumplings that I was able to drive to a friend's house who had surgery. And I made a pan of the double chocolate blondies to share as well....and because mama needed a little sweet. {wink} I fixed a quick version of chicken parmesan that I ate on a paper plate at my desk so I could keep working. And I made an EASY flavorful, fall-apart load of carne asada that we forked into flour tortillas with sour cream and fresh avocado. We ate it for two days straight, it was that good. I'll share that one with y'all this week for sure. 

But the one thing I make every. single. week - no matter how busy - is southern sweet tea. I've made a gallon of it every Sunday for as long as I can remember. And I've served it to I-don't-know how many hundreds of people over the last 20 years in ministry. 

A good glass of sweet tea is something we Southerners will drive ten miles out of our way to go get. We'll choose one restaurant over another simply on the merit of which has the better sweet tea. We make it in the sun. We make it on the stove. We drink it in plastic, styrofoam, mason jars, or our favorite SEC stadium cups. I even caught myself telling my 21 year old nephew this weekend that he needed to marry a girl who loved Jesus and made good tea. True.

So when I was steeping and stirring my one millioneth gallon of Sunday southern sweet tea yesterday, I remembered that several of you had asked me how to make it. So here ya go. Happy Monday!

{makes one gallon}

10 regular-sized tea bags
1.5 cups of sugar
a one-gallon pitcher
 a bunch of ice
 mint and lemon for garnish, optional

Boil 6-8 cups of water in a tea kettle or on the stovetop in a saucepan. While the water is coming to a boil, scoop 1.5 cups of sugar into the bottom of the one-gallon pitcher.

I confess two things at this point.
1) My 1.5 cups of sugar is heaping. Like, heaping.
2) My pitcher is a big ugly plastic Rubbermaid. It's not magical.

When the water comes to a boil, slowly pour the hot water into the pitcher of sugar; stirring as you pour.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Hang 10 regular-sized tea bags over the side of the pitcher, making sure the bags are submerged in the hot, sugary water. Do not stir them; just let them hang out. (Get it? Hang out?!) Let them steep in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. Carefully lift and remove the bags from the pitcher - DO NOT SQUEEZE THEM  or the tea will be bitter. And stir the hot tea mixture to combine. Then fill the remaining space in the one-gallon pitcher with ice. Stir and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with fresh lemon slices or a sprig of mint stirred into the glass.