Sweet Tea

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     It wouldn’t be summer in the South without sweet tea. Perfect for sipping on porch swings, lake docks and the like, this refresher is often reported to have originated at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Though the drink was popularized there, most culinary historians now agree that sweet tea actually developed in the South long before 1904.      The first tea plants in the US were harvested around Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1700’s. Shortly after, many American (and English) cookbooks began including recipes for serving tea cold, though most of the early recipes were for green tea to be brewed and served with copious amounts of booze for tea punches. Sweetened iced black tea recipes began appearing the latter half of the nineteenth century, most notably in The Kentucky...

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Sweet Tea

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Sweet Tea Yields 1 gallon Ingredients 1 gallon of cold water, divided 1 cup granulated sugar 2 family sized iced tea bags, such as Luzianne mint leaves or lemon slices, for serving Procedure Bring 2 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar, stir to combine, remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Add the tea bags to the sugar water and steep for 8 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Combine the tea and remaining water in a large pitcher. Chill before serving. Fresh brewed tea lasts about a week in the...

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Sweet Tea Grilled Pork Chops

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Sweet Tea Grilled Pork ChopsYield 4 servings Ingredients 2 cups Sweet Tea1/4 cup kosher salt1 teaspoon red pepper flake4 12 ounce bone-in pork loin chops, approximately 1 inch thick Procedure Combine the sweet tea, salt and red pepper flake in a gallon sized zip-top bag. Add the pork chops and brine the chops for at least 2 hours or overnight. Heat a gas grill to high, or ignite a chimney starter’s worth of lump charcoal for a kettle grill and wait until the coals are ash-white to dump them into the grill. Remove chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Set the chops on the grill and cook covered for 4 minutes. Rotate the chops 45 degrees, cover, and grill for another 4 minutes. Flip the chops, cover, and grill for 4 more...

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Earl Grey Peach Preserves

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     A jar of this came in the mail at Christmas. When I begged for more after rationing and hoarding my supply, I was told it came from a church bazaar that was no longer being held. At my first opportunity, I bought a half bushel of “ice cream peaches,” the peaches too soft to sell at the farmers market, for $10.      I read many recipes on the internet and settled on my own experiment on my own terms: I wanted as little refined sugar as possible and to incorporate honey, let the peach flavor shine through, and avoid using pectin or other additives. The result is a delicious concoction with peach, lemon, and tea flavors. It’s runnier than traditional preserves but still delicious on biscuits, oatmeal, ice cream, breads, spoons, and fingers....

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Southern Tapas

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Who Are Your People?      We want to know. When we meet you, we want to know. Who are your people? Are you kin to the Greenwood McDowells or the ones from Ware Shoals? Didn’t your daddy used to work in the mills in Pendleton?      It’s not that we’re nosy. We just want to establish some bona fides. Historically, we have been messed with by folks who seemed to be well-meaning, but turned out to be after our land or our sisters and daughters. So we’re a bit cautious and we’d really like to know if we can trust you unsupervised on our property. If we are related, or we at least know or know of your family and its reputation in these parts, we at least can start out on firm footing....

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