Gail Simmons serves up summer recipes

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 05: Top Chef Host Gail Simmons mixing her Pure Leaf Lemon Ginger Tulep at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for Pure Leaf) Stephen Cohen

"Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons serves her Pure Leaf Lemon Ginger "Tulep" at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012, in Louisville, Ky.
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(CBS News) Gail Simmons is ready for summer.

The "Top Chef" judge and author of "Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater" created two drink recipes - one inspired by her trip to the Kentucky Derby earlier this month - that are perfect for the coming season.

Simmons, who has teamed up with Pure Leaf Iced Tea, developed the Lemon Ginger "Tulep" as she prepared to attend the Derby for the first time.

"I love the kick that fresh ginger gives to all kinds of beverages. It's so refreshing in the summer heat and adds great dimension to fresh herbs like mint, as well as fruit such as peach or lemon," the Pure Leaf spokesperson told CBSNews.com. "I wanted to create a riff on the classic Derby cocktail -the mint julep - and thought that making it with real-brewed Pure Leaf iced tea and spicy ginger syrup would add a modern, global twist."

Simmons also revealed she's ready for warm weather and summer foods.

"I can't wait for peach and berry season to be in full bloom - I love incorporating all kinds of both into desserts and drinks. I muddle blackberries or sliced peaches with iced tea or even just sparkling water, and bake crumbles and rustic tarts whenever I entertain through the spring and summer," she said. "I am also looking forward cooking with fresh corn and heirloom tomatoes."

See below for Simmons' Lemon Ginger "Tulep" and Peach-Ginger Fizz drink recipes, as well as one for Tea-Marinated Duck Tacos.

Lemon Ginger "Tulep"
(Makes one serving)

  • 3 tablespoons ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
  • Ice
  • 1 cup Lemon Pure Leaf Iced Tea
  • Cold club soda
  • Candied ginger, for garnish

In an old fashioned glass, muddle ginger simple syrup with mint leaves. Add ice and Lemon Pure Leaf Iced Tea; stir well. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a slice of candied ginger and a sprig of mint.

To make it a cocktail: Add 1.5 ounces overproof Kentucky bourbon before adding the tea.

Ginger Simple Syrup
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

In a saucepan, combine the ginger, sugar, and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and then set aside to cool. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Peach-Ginger Fizz
(Makes one serving)

  • 1/4 cup ginger simple syrup (see recipe above)
  • Ice
  • 1 cup Peach or Diet Peach Pure Leaf Tea
  • Cold club soda
  • Candied ginger, for garnish
  • Fresh peach slice, for garnish

Pour ginger simple syrup into a highball glass over ice. Add Peach Pure Leaf Tea and stir well. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a skewer of candied ginger and peach slice.

To make it a cocktail: Add 1.5 ounces silver tequila before adding the tea.

Tea-Marinated Duck Lettuce Cups
(Makes four servings)

Marinade:

  • 2 cups Lipton Pure Leaf Unsweetened Tea
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 duck breasts, rinsed, patted dry, fat scored gently in a cross-hatch pattern
  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

Salad:

  • 1 tablespoon Lipton Pure Leaf Unsweetened Tea
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks (preferably on a mandolin)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks (preferably on a mandolin)

Lettuce Cups:

  • Butter lettuce leaves
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed
  • Sriracha
  • Coarse Salt
  • 2 limes, quartered

Make the marinade: Combine tea, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, black peppercorns, lime zest, and garlic in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place duck breasts in re-sealable bag and pour in tea mixture. Seal well with as little air as possible, making sure duck is completely submerged. Place in large bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove duck from marinade and lightly dry with paper towels. Allow to come to room temperature. Sprinkle with salt. Discard marinade.

Heat large heavy-bottomed skillet or pan with oil to medium-hot. Add duck breasts, skin side down, and cook until skin is golden and rendered, pouring off fat as it accumulates if needed, about 8 minutes. Turn duck breasts over and move pan to oven to roast for about 10 minutes, to medium rare. Set duck aside on cutting board covered with foil to rest. When slightly cooled, slice thinly on diagonal and then cut into strips.

Make the salad: In a large bowl, whisk together the tea, soy sauce, lime juice, and sesame oil. Add the radishes, carrots, and cucumbers and toss to evenly coat.

Assemble butter lettuce cups: place a small handful of salad in a butter lettuce leaf, add some slices of duck, and top with a sprinkle of scallions, cilantro, and mint. Drizzle with a little Sriracha and season with a small pinch of salt. Serve with lime wedges.

Note: Recipe can be made using small flour tortillas instead of lettuce cups if desired. Add a dollop of hoisin sauce to base of tortilla before assembling, for added moisture.

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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