Friday, February 7, 2014

Going for Gold in Sochi

When the Olympic torch is lit tonight in Sochi, Russia, my family will cheer on hometown girl, Elana Meyers, competing again on the U.S. women's bobsledding team. Having any Olympian from our suburban Atlanta, Georgia, community, is one thing, but quite another to have a winter Olympian from a town that shuts down when two inches of snow falls.

Elane Meyers, Georgia girl and Olympic bobsledder. From Twitter.

Elana was a standout athlete in high school and aspired to become a summer Olympian. In 2007, she was recruited to try out for the bobsled team and made the team her rookie year. She won a bronze medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics and is a favorite to medal again in Sochi. We're proud of you, Elana! Bring some gold back home to Georgia~

Russian tea. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

I don't suppose I know any "real" Russian foods, just American foods that are described as Russian ~ Russian dressing, which to my mind is Thousand Island by another name (minus the pickle relish). And Mexican wedding cookies are sometimes called Russian tea cakes ~ I love those shattery cookies dusted with powdered sugar.

And then there's Russian tea, the mixture of Tang, powdered tea, cinnamon and clove, given as hostess gifts throughout the holidays of my youth. Small Mason jars with circles of  gingham lodged between the lid and ring always make me smile.

Here's the recipe that I remember for Russian Tea from a mix:

 1 cup instant tea powder

2 cups orange flavored drink mix

1 (3 oz.) package powdered lemonade

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Add 2 heaping teaspoons to 8 ounces of hot water to serve.

For a real treat, I made Russian tea from scratch for my family, using freshly squeezed juice. This has been our wintertime luxury ~ fresh juice from oranges, tangerines and Meyer lemons .

Temple oranges. Lucy Mercer

Juicing oranges. Lucy Mercer.
Russian tea from scratch
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 4 regular size tea bags
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 cup sugar
  1. Boil water with cloves and cinnamon sticks for 20 minutes, remove from heat, add tea bags and let steep for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add juices and sugar, bring to a boil and let simmer.
  3. Skim foam from mixture. Let cool slightly, strain and serve.
This post is part of #LetsLunch, a global Twitter party. This month we're celebrating the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Check back for links from these great writers from around the world:


Annabelle said...

Hot drinks sound just perfect with the weather this winter! I feel like I'm freezing all the time...

Nancie McDermott said...

I love Russian Tea! Good memories of something wonderful from my childhood, which reminds me how the seasons do roll on by. What was cool and fashionable becomes "so last year", to make room for the next New Thing. I loved this then, and I love that you shared the real thing, and a 2014 version, from scratch.

Mai said...

Love this! Might have to make a cup to have while I watch the Olympics on TV tonight! :) (And to stay warm when temps drop into the teens! Yikes!)

HapaMama said...

I've never heard of Russian Tea before! Love learning about all the regional specialties, and I'll have to try your recipe, as I love anything citrusy and spicy.

Unknown said...

The fresh juice version looks bed-and-breakfast-worthy. I'll have to bust this out on a day I need cheering up!

Betty Ann @Mango_Queen said...

This Russian tea looks like a winner. It's so simple to do, yet must be perfect to energize you. Love the aromas and flavors here :-)

linda @spiceboxtravels said...

Lucy, I love citrus and spice. This reminds me of Bigelow Tea's Constant Comment, the tea I drank in college and thought made me sophisticated (that and Raspberry Royale) :)

Lucy Mercer said...

@Linda ~ Ah, Constant Comment! Still a favorite.