Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Kitchen Gardener Cook

It's not just the drinks...all of the bounty at Homestead Gardens says celebrate with 'summertime when the living is easy'. In the winter, I go and visit for a break from the dreary weather and just to be near growing things. In the warm months my many trips include buying fresh (and local) produce, plants, of course and now... fired up food, refreshing drinks, friendly Ben (at the Weathervane counter) and even more inspiration.



It's the news that the outpost in the garden greenhouse of Homestead- Davidsonville has a new name and a new look with tasty offerings-all inspired! Just click in for the Weathervane menu and those enticing cool drinks:

  • Sugar Free Frozen Raspberry Smoothie
  • Frozen Peach Smoothie
  • Layered Blueberry Lemonade
  • Italian Sodas-with those swell syrups

Of course you can also experience some real quality coffee drinks-hot or cold from our local bay coffee roaster.

I was excited when I went down to Davidsonville to photograph those yummy drinks in a setting of gorgeous alfresco (or not) entertaining ware. Just as I thought, the coordinated and themed trays, glasses, pitchers, plants and produce yielded some glorious photos of the idyllic life.

You can never bypass the smokey grill essence of The Stump...yup that's the name of the mega grill space in the front of Homestead Gardens where they're cooking up pulled pork from the smoker right there on the grounds.






Fragrant Herb Ice Tea-Here's a recipe to make a slew of refreshing tea yourself. I have served this at many many summer events for large groups and it always gets raves. Herbs in your kitchen garden are a necessity though, to make it cost-effective. That's one of the many benefits of growing herbs yourself-fresh homegrown flavor!

Lavender Mint Green Jasmine Ice Tea

Makes 1 gallon

A food professional will often use 8 tea bags to make 1 gallon of ice tea. Keep that as your general rule and then add herbs as desired. If you want a bit of intrigue to your iced tea, you can add 2 cups of fresh pureed watermelon juice or even 2 cups of apricot, cranberry or other berry juice.

  • 8 slices fresh ginger root pounded in a mortar and pestle to release juices
  • 8 jasmine green tea bags
  • 6 sprigs fresh lavender
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint (spearmint or peppermint)
  • 8 cups water
  • honey to taste

In a medium saucepan bring the ginger and water to a boil. Turn off heat, add tea bags and herbs, and cover and let steep for 1 hour. Add honey to taste.

Ice can now be added to equal 1 gallon of liquid if using immediately. Or refrigerate and add cold water when serving.

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