Adventures at Sea

This past weekend, the lovely Emily and Westbrook, Captain and First Mate of the Pistachio, invited Matthew and me for a sailing trip to Catalina Island.
It was one of the better weekends I’ve had in a very long time; great company, beautiful sights, and although the island is a mere 22 miles off the coast of L.A., I felt much much further away.

Due to high winds on Saturday, we made it to Catalina in just five hours and were anchored and cracking open our first beers by sunset. The rest of the weekend flew by, with much ocean swimming, a gorgeous hike with Emily and Westbrook’s two dogs Puglsey and Reggie, and some competitive Yahtzee.

With the four of us (well, six including our canine friends) sleeping under one tiny roof, quarters were tight, but that was half the fun. It was like ocean camping, and a good reminder of how very little you actually need.

Emily and Westbrook live full time on the boat, and at times, I truthfully don’t know how they do it. But it’s weekends like these that show me why. Less closet space seems like a small sacrifice to make for being able to live somewhere that can take you anywhere. Emily has a blog documenting her boat-life, called Pistachio At Sea, which you can read here.
So thank you again, Pistachio, for such a memorable trip. Until next time!!


Strawberry Basil Iced Tea

In the battle to supply refreshing, thirst-quenching drinks to my boyfriend, and now roommate (!), who like some, rarely drinks a plain glass of water, I’ve begun making copious amounts of iced tea in attempt to beat the heat while dissuading his $20/week Gatorade habit.

So far, we’ve tried raspberry tea, honey green tea, Arnold Palmers, sweet tea, chai tea…you name it. All have been tasty, but none so unique as Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Basil Iced Tea, which we tried today.

This tea is infused with some of summer’s most poignant flavors, and would make the perfect picnic accompaniment… or Gatorade-replacer as the case may be.

* 8 black-tea bags
* 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
* 1 cup water, plus more for steeping
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 cup fresh basil, plus more for serving
* Ice, for serving

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for 5 minutes.
2. Place strawberries in a bowl. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add basil, and let steep for 10 minutes.

3. Strain over strawberries; discard basil. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Combine strawberries (with syrup) and tea in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with basil.

* My only changes: adding sliced lemon to the simple syrup, and putting another round of fresh basil into the finished tea for stronger herbal notes. Crossword suggested but not required.