Monday, May 14, 2007

The Glory of Orange-Blossom Water

I was doing a sort of kitchen inventory the other day and realized that my almost full bottle of Lebanese orange-blossom water expires in 2 weeks. My main use for this up to now has been to add it to plain yogurt, along with some sugar making a delicious and fresh-tasting snack. Evidently, I haven't been keeping up on the plain yogurt consumption, so with an orange-blossom emergency on my hands, I went to work.

I googled "orange-blossom water" and came up with a goldmine! A thread on the Chowhound forum all about different uses for orange-blossom water from orange blossom cocktails to fresh, savory salads to dozens of sweet, fresh desserts. For me, though the most appealing ideas were the simplest: orange-blossom iced tea, orange blossom rice pudding and Martha Stewart's pound cake with orange blossom syrup. This stuff is so good, I've already bought a new bottle to replace my quickly dwindling supply.

Here's my simple recipe for orange-blossom iced tea:

4 cups water
4 tsps loose assam tea
8 tsps sugar
2 tsps orange-blossom water

Fill a 1-quart (1 liter) container with tepid water and stir in the tea leaves. Allow them to steep for several hours or overnight. Strain and pour in to 2 - 1/2 liter (16 oz.) water bottles, add sugar and orange-blossom water and shake. Music to shake orange-blossom iced tea by: "Orange" by The Dandy Warhols. Serve well chilled. The effect of the orange-blossom water is to make the iced tea seem even more cooling, so it's perfect for hot days.

Tune in next for a great Middle Eastern orange-blossom rice pudding dessert and Martha Stewart's pound cake with orange-blossom syrup.


Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

that pound caske looks delicious!

4:56 PM  
Blogger Figs, Olives, Wine said...

That cake sounds heavenly, but I'm also tempted by the yogurt idea...never thought of that! It sounds so refreshing. Can't wait to hear how the experiments go.
- Figs (yes, I like that you named me that!)

6:09 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Ragazza, Thanks! Recipe's coming up this week.

Hi Figs, The yogurt is really great. There's a real affinity between milk products and orange-blossom water they produce a cool sensation together.

2:49 PM  
Blogger JennDZ said...

Can't wait for the pudding! My favorite!

5:50 PM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

a treasure in the pantry!

i recently bought a large box of mangoes with the intention to put them in all kinds of recipes. no such luck. they're disappearing at an alarming rate... being eaten, plain and simple, by me.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous ann said...

Orange Blossom is hands down my favorite scent in the whole world. I found a bottle of cheap perfume when I was in 3rd grade and visiting Miami with my parents. The scent memory haunted me until a year ago when I found it again in the St. Petersburg airport. Still cheap, still smells fantastic!
I should really consider cooking with it. The iced tea sounds perfectly dreamy!

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure to try the orange blossom ice tea as I now am addicted to this creation and have 3 different bottles in my pantry. Like Ann, this too has been a scent that none other can reckon with.
Living in Tunisian I have found this simple recipe served during pomengranate season.

-Seeds of 1 pomengranate
-bakers sugar to taste
and about 3-4 T of orange blossom water.

...then brace yourself!

12:03 AM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Anonymous, That pomegranate, sugar and orange blossom water sounds heavenly!

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Loretta said...

so glad I found this - what great idears! I'm just adding the orange blossom water, smells and tastes fantastic, and not as overwhelming as rose water can be- though I love that too.


6:17 AM  
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6:14 AM  
Anonymous Rosie said...

There is a restaurant in Tampa- "Byblos"- that serves the orange blossom tea. The first time I had it I thought I might faint. it is without question the most blissfully delicious beverage I have ever tasted. I am so glad to finally find a recipe for it. Thanks you!

11:01 PM  

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