Making KPK Te de Canela for a crowd. Grab your biggest pot. I use a 16 quart Farberware. One of my faves. Fill it almost to the top with cold water. Toss in a huge bunch (a few handfuls) of fresh basil, about 2 1/2 cups of sugar (I use organic) and 20-25 Mexican cinnamon sticks. Canela! You can find Canela in most grocery stores in the aisle with the bags of dried peppers and other spices; this is usually in the ethnic aisle or the Hispanic aisle of aromatics! Inexpensive, large cinnamon sticks that don't even smell like cinnamon when you rip open the bag (?) I was shocked because there was no aroma wafting under my nose like you would expect when you open a bag of "ordinary" cinnamon. It actually smelled kind of like dill. I was like, huh? Then I was like WT? JK. I think the canela is much more mild and mellow for tea. Slightly citrusy even.The flavor AND the AROMA blossom after boiling the sticks in water and then steeping. I love this tea. I especially love it with a nice big squirt of fresh lime. We serve this at the market with a fresh squeeze and then we throw in the scrunched lime wedge along with a fresh basil leaf. The lime adds a nice fresh and tart twang to the sweeter, heavier flavor of cinnamon. So, back to what you need to do. Stir the pot (I happen to know some pot-stirrers). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low boil/high simmer for about 20 minutes or until the cinnamon sticks unroll and the tea becomes a nice dark amber color. All of the basil will be wilted. Let cool, strain and reheat later or strain into a cup right away, add lime (or lemon) if you wish (and/or honey would be great if it's not too sweet). Enjoy. For me, one delicious cup delivered not only a lovely treat, but a full-blown mock-hormonal hot flash. Hey, I don't make this _ _ _ _ up. Have a fab day today and once it gets a bit colder out there, indulge in some Te de Canela. We promise our customers at the market that it will be sure to warm their cockles. I know. I overuse that word.
Notes: If you don't like sugar. Go without. I like it. : ) - or use less . . .
Also: I have made this tea with fresh mint, but I like the basil betta! P.S. This was inspired by a phone call from Franki telling me that he was having a cup of wonderful tea that one of the cooks threw together at Fio's while working in the kitchen. I tried it with ordinary cinnamon and I think I made it a bit too strong. After a speedy Google-fied hot cinnamon tea research blast, I found my way to the Mexican Canela at the grocery store. And she lived happily ever after.
Oh, also, I have done much cinnamon research in the past after being intrigued by a Fine Cooking article which had me taste-testing and baking with Chinese vs. Indonesian vs. Viet Namese Cassia Cinnamons. Too much to talk about here. Let's just say it turned me into kind of a Cinnamon snob-freak for a moment of time. Someday, I can bake you a batch of Espresso & Chocolate Mini Chip Cookies with Chinese Cassia Cinnamon (I think I like long names). They rock. Really, they do.
OK. I'm done.
Cinnamon Love to All, um, I meant . . .
Canela Amor to All, (don't hate me cuz I'm bilingual)