Saturday, October 23, 2010
During our recent trip to Colombia, I had this incredible "something" to drink that I had somehow missed in previous visits. It was so good, I had it several times! And with cooler temps heading our way, I plan to duplicate this at home.
The idea is to put various fruits and herbs in hot water, let it stew or steep a while, at least ten minutes, then serve. The flavors are different depending of course on what you decide to put into the pot. I am not going to give an exact recipe because there really isn't one right way to do it.
Start by slicing whatever fruits you choose. In this pot there are papaya, kiwi, strawberries, plus guanabana, granadilla (relative to passionfruit found in the Andes region of South America), and a couple of various other fruits that we cannot find here in the states. You can add some slices of lime or lemon or orange, too, and almost any other fruit you can imagine. I even found a few grapes in the bottom of one of my cups while we were shopping/dining/indulging ourselves one night in Hacienda Santa Barbara.
Next, add the essential ingredients, fresh herbs. You can use almost anything typically used in both sweet and savory dishes: primarily mint, but also lemon balm, cilantro, bay leaves, spearmint, or even chamomile flowers or other typical plants that are used to make herbal teas. The point is that everything is fresh, though, and the water is barely simmering. It sort of very gently cooks the fruit while it is steeping, and blends the flavors of everything in this unusual sweet-savory combo that is just a little unexpected and yet, very soothing and almost luxurious at the same time, especially when it is chilly outside.
After the water-fruit-herbs concoct for a while, spoon some of the fruit into the bottom of each cup, add a few sprigs of the herbs, and pour the remaining liquid into the cups. Then add a bit of honey and a fresh squeeze of lime or lemon, if you like that sort of thing, and serve with a spoon. You can also choose to just serve the liquid without the fruit, as my father-in-law does. My husband told me his dad eats the cooked fruit himself because his mom just prefers the liquid, which he brings to her in bed EVERY MORNING, lucky woman. Nice way to start the day, right?
By the way, the pot in the picture above is stuffed with fruit, but some of the places we went did not use this much fruit. It does make a beautiful presentation, though, and added to the warm, cozy feeling I got when drinking this!