Monday, December 11, 2006

Goji Berry Ginger Healing Tea

During my two-week sojourn earlier this year in the Culinary Suite of The Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I focused my cooking experimentation to juices, smoothies and hot drinks.

Over the past week, my son suffered from the flu and missed several days of school. Yesterday, he noticed that his body aches and fever were ebbing away but a sore throat and congestion were taking their places. He likes eating foods with cayenne pepper, so I decided to create for him a hot, throat-soothing tea also using cayenne. I placed about a teaspoon or so of Ginger Wonder Syrup in a coffee mug, also threw in a ginger teabag, added five or six dried goji berries and finished with just a dash of cayenne peppper before adding the hot water. Steep time: five minutes.

I had already made myself the test cup to try it out before he did and I had added too much cayenne pepper (one shake). Some powdered cayenne is more firey than others, and the stuff at our house could practically burn a hole through metal. So I added just a smidgin to his cup -- probably something like 1/16 of a teaspoon. After I padded up the stairs to his bedroom and presented it to him, he took one look at the goji berries floating in the cup and asked, "What is this?" But after he sipped the drink, he said it tasted good. Before long, he finished it up, goji berries and all.

Both the ginger and the cayenne are supposed to battle symptoms of a cold, warm up your system and help you "sweat it out." The goji berries, that puffed up like juicy raisins in the hot water, were placed in the tea because they are good immune system strengtheners and, according to Asian tradition, just "make you happy," and my son needed to get back to happy.

I borrowed the idea of floating something in tea from a Korean restaurant that had floated pine nuts in my ginseng tea. It gave me something hot and soothing to drink, but also a little something to eat. ◦

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