One of our editors goes gaga over the chilled hibiscus tea served at an Indian restaurant on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Now, she has started brewing this bold refresher at home. The dried plant is available loose or in tea bags online or at natural-food stores, Latin and Asian markets, and high-end supermarkets. (There are about 10 cups of dried hibiscus in a pound. One cup steeped in two cups of hot water makes eight cups of tea.) Other drinks made from it include cinnamon-spiced sorrel (in a nod to its lemony tang) of the Caribbean islands and Latin America's sweet and tart agua de Jamaica. The dark pink beverages can be enjoyed as alcohol-free drinks or spiked with spirits for cocktails.



Cherry Picking From Start to Finish

Cherries are at their peak in late spring. The sweet fruit shipped to North Carolina works well in everything from appetizers, such as salads, to baked goods, such as tarts and pies. And the jam, oh my!






Superior Grilled Cheese

Throwing together grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids in Cary? Make it even yummier! Use good bread with substance, flavorful cheese and a mixture of butter and mayonnaise. The mayo raises the smoke point of the butter, allowing the sandwich to grill hotter, which is especially important if you're adding multiple fillings. Want to go upscale? Use Burrata, an Italian specialty cheese that envelops a gooey center of cream and curd in a mozzarella ball.




Garlic Lovers' Corner

Garlic has a versatile and welcome taste, but it's pungent enough to overpower other ingredients. Mincing garlic into uniform pieces creates a less-intense flavor than mashing or grating, and heat and acid can both temper its assertiveness. Young green garlic has a fresher, milder zing than that of more mature, dried garlic. The delicate stalks can be chopped and used in a salad or cooked with butter to make a simple sauce.




Charcoal or Gas, Grills Rule!

Firing up the grill to cook ribs in Durham or salmon in Raleigh? You're in good company! Outdoor grills are owned by 180 million Americans. A debate over the superior fuel for them has been raging since the 1950s. Proponents of gas praise its convenience and superior temperature control while a wood or charcoal-powered model lends authentic smoke flavor - ideal for searing steaks.