Tea Love: Instilling a Love of Tea, One Sip At A Time

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Much of Matcha Goin’ Around!

First, I want to let all of you know about an upcoming Tea Love talk!   On Saturday, November 8th, I will be returning to the Camden County Library, Voorhees Branch, in order to have a special talk on Asian tea culture.   Come learn more about Chinese, Japanese, and Singaporean tea culture, taste some matcha and Marsala tea tarik.   Not only that, we will have author Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials, come in to talk about her latest book, which will be available for purchase that day.

The talk will start at 1:00 PM at 203 Laurel Road, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043.   Call the library at (856) 772-1636 to RSVP.   Space is limited!

Second, I feel that, in order for you to understand me for Tea Love, you must understand that I am most definitely a Jill of All Trades, mostly trades that make me come off as a 90-year-old grandma instead of a rockin’ 26-year-old woman.   When people talk about getting so drunk last night, my evenings consist of baking with friends, maybe watching Pokemon or Dr. Who, and just being overall nerds.

Me Being My Dorky Self

Me Being My Dorky Self

One of my passions?   Baking.   I adore the holidays when I can bake eight batches of different cookies as well as fudge and not be judged for it.   Tell me it’s too hard to make fondant?   Watch me go!   And fail!   And have fun failing!   But that’s besides the point.

Combined this love of baking with Pinterest, my nerdy self, and you better believe I am going to come up with awesomely unique recipes, a lot involving matcha tea!

For those that do not know, matcha tea is green tea that has been ground up into a very fine powder.   You then put it in your tea mug, whisk it up, and drink up, tea leaves and all.   This produces a slightly sweet tea and is often used in desserts due to the consistency, tender sweet undertones, and very vibrant green color.   For those who love Starbucks, you can find matcha in green tea lattes.   For those who love bubble tea?   There’s a green tea version.   For those that love the color green… well, you get the picture.

Below, find some awesome links to some fantastic matcha tea recipes.

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake (From Thirsty For Tea):

One-cup recipes in of themselves are gifts from the gods.   When you are looking for something sweet but do not want to spend the hours making a whole batch of cookies to enjoy just one, throwing a mug in a microwave with a few ingredients is a life-saver (and a waist-expander).   This chocolate chip matcha mug cake appears simple and sweet.   I plan on making this baby ASAP!   Looks delicious!

Click on the picture for the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

Chocolate Chip Matcha Mug Cake

Matcha Meringues (From Bitter Sweet):

If there is one recipe I can never make right, it is meringues.   For some reason, I can never get everything come together just right, so it ends up being a puddle of white goo spread out at the bottom of my baking sheet rather than those fluffy clouds of goodness.

Bitter Sweet managed to find a vegan box recipe, which I never knew existed!   She simply added some matcha to the recipe in order to make her matcha meringues.

Click on the picture for more information:

Fluffy Green Clouds of Meringue

Fluffy Green Clouds of Meringue

Matcha Goma Entremet (From Vintage Trinkets):

So, an entremet, I found out, is a small course served between fancy-schmancy meals, or it can be simply a small dessert.   This particular one consists of black sesame cake, matcha cake, black sesame mousse, matcha mousse, and topped off with a sesame nougatine.   Pretty AND delicious!   What’s also beneficial?   This blogger also posts about her mistakes and how she corrected them so that you can make sure that YOUR dessert comes out being the best that it can be.

I would definitely say that anyone present at your dinner parties would be impressed with this recipe.

Click on the picture for the recipe:

 

Matcha Goma Entremet

Matcha Goma Entremet

Matcha Green Tea Donuts (From A Beautiful Mess):

Everyone likes donuts.   I can be adverse to most of them, but there is usually some sort of variety that people are just prone to go running to, whether glazed, chocolate, plain, whatever!   But how about one glazed with matcha tea?   Um, yes, please?   The sweetness of the donut can ONLY be complemented by the strong, slightly bitter yet sweet taste of the matcha!   And this must make for a nice breakfast when you are on the go and want something with a slight caffeine boost.

Click on the picture for the recipe:

Matcha Green Tea Donuts

Matcha Green Tea Donuts

Tea and The “L” Word

During the month of February, l’amour is found wafting in the air. The birds seem to chirp a little bit more merrily, the sun shines a little more brightly and roses and chocolates are flying off the grocery store shelves.

Now is also the month where more people search for the elusive love potion, the elixir that is destined to make men and women fall in love and bind fast to one another for the rest of eternity. People have been searching for that special mixture for ages with parties searching for items that were moist, produced flatulence (per eighteenth century Europe) and were warm. Martin Downs, author of Aphrodisiacs Through the Ages, explains, “Almost everything edible was, at one time or another” considered an aphrodisiac.

Of course, tea is no exception to this rule. In fact, it is a common belief that foods and drinks containing caffeine such as coffee and tea might stimulate the senses and cause excitement, thus setting an ideal mood. However, Paola Sandroni MD, neurologist at the MayoClinic and author of Aphrodisiacs past and present: a historical review, states, “I think the effect is much more general,” she says. Though the caffeine might stimulate the central nervous system, they do not seem to give the body the love bug.

That still does not stop stores from cashing in on this idea. Popular tea brand Adagio Tea, which has a warehouse in Garfield, NJ, sells an aphrodisiac tea that claims to be “Like a warm summer’s kiss on the beach, this tea will take your breath away. It’s love at first sip! Need to feel some love? Tangerines and strawberries are natural and tasty aphrodisiacs.” The NY Daily News wrote an article in May 2013 about how Ceylon tea can help rev the libido and improve blood circulation. Going down the aisle of the Asian supermarket, one can often find a box of Horny Goat Weed herbal tea for sale.

Whatever the case may be, what harm would there be to brew up a tasty cup of Masala chai and a box of truffles? Travaasa.com published a recipe that is designed to stir the senses and send the drinkers to Cloud Nine.

Ingredients:

- Bay leaves

- Cinnamon

- Ginger

- Green cardamom

- Fennel

- Anise

- Cloves

- Black pepper

- Darjeeling tea or black tea

– Combine all the ingredients except the tea in a pot of water and bring it to a boil

– Allow the mixture to simmer for five minutes

– Steep the mixture for 15 minutes

– Add two teaspoons of tea. Note, if you want a stronger brew, simply add more tea

– Boil the water for another five minutes

– Serve in your favorite tea cup and enjoy

Shedding Pounds With Green Tea?

People who know me know that I like my gym.   I might not get to go as often as I would like to, but when I do, I work out and I work out hard (and fun, usually doing something stupid like trying new machines and almost killing myself in the process).   I have been on a mission to lose weight for quite some time.   While working out this past week, a thought struck me.   Everyone always talks about losing weight with green tea.   While we all know how many snake oil products are out there, promoting their ability to help you shed the pounds in little to no time at all, I was curious if this one had any, well, weight to it.

So, curious, I turned to Facebook to ask for your opinion.   General consensus is that yes, it does help.

But Does It Really Help?

But Does It Really Help?

But, while it would be nice to take a Facebook poll and find out the secrets of the world, real life dictates you need to do your research to find out the truth, not just go by social media.

So, does it actually help?

I tried punching “green tea lose weight” into Google and came up with 22,300,000 results!   Articles ranged from WikiHow explaining how to drink tea (not necessarily green tea) to get a tiny waist, to Science Daily posting studies regarding weight loss and green tea.   Even popular website Calorie Count (of which I am a huge fan, especially for their yummy, healthy, low-fat recipes) chronicle how green tea has helped with weight loss.

There are lots of weight loss products that explain how they use the power of green tea to boost your metabolism and thus help you lose weight.   Again, a quick Google search pulled up 1,980 products in my area alone.   I think that I can go out on a limb and say that’s a lot!

Now, what do the heavier, scholarly articles say?

Well, we can’t make this easy, can we?

According to an article in Obesity: A Research Journal, a scientific study, funded by Novartis Consumer Health in Nyon, Switzerland, decided to look at 76 men and women who had BMIs ranging from 25 to 35 kg/m2, considered to be clinically obese.   The group was split where some received placebos and some received green tea pills.   From there, each division was then given a dose of low caffeine and high caffeine.   Those that had a lot of caffeine in the study seemed to have lost more weight!   However, if you do not drink a lot of caffeine, then green tea seems to help you with weight management, partially due to fat oxidation (breaking down fatty acids, which increases energy) and thermogenesis (generation of heat).

In the end, I would still always recommend exercise and eating well.   However, incorporating some tea will not hurt you in your weight loss journey and may even help out with your weight management, depending on your caffeine intake.

Drink tea, be happy, and maybe even have a happier waistline.

Happy National Iced Tea Month!

As the temperatures soar and my house starts to swelter and my body responds in kind by giving me a nasty cold, I wish you a happy Iced Tea Month!   Yes, legend has it that in June 1904, a tea vendor at the St. Louis World’s Fair was having trouble dispensing his ware.   After all, it must have been hot, sticky, and who wanted to walk around a fair with a piping hot beverage?   Even worse when you want to go on a roller coaster and you have to say, “No, I just bought this tea.   I need to wait for it to cool and then I’ll go on.”

Or You Can Always Take Your Chances And See If You Could Balance Your Tea Cup and Saucer On This Baby.

Or You Can Always Take Your Chances And See If You Could Balance Your Tea Cup and Saucer On This Baby.

So, the vendor started offering the tea for free.   People wouldn’t even accept that!   So, he decided to run the hot tea through iced pipes in order to chill the tea.   This new concoction got some attention and word quickly spread.   Then, iced tea was born.

Now, iced tea is easy to make.   You brew the tea hot, then you chill it, and there is your iced tea.   Make sure to add any sugars to your tea while it is hot, or the sugars will not dissolve.

Want some natural sweetness?   Add some fresh fruit to your cup.   Then not only will you get your Earl Grey, you’ll get a tasty strawberry along with it.

An extra tip for cooling your tea is, rather than plop ice cubes in your tea and dilute it, freeze some tea and use that as your chiller.   That will allow the tea to stay strong and will let you enjoy a cool cuppa.

Reblog – Don’t spoil good Tea with bad preparation

While searching the web, I stumbled across the Tea Trunk, another blog dedicated to tea.   On it, the writer posted Don’t spoil good Tea with bad preparation, a movie from the 1940s detailing how one should properly prepare tea.

Definitely sit down, relax and have a look!

A Time To Celebrate, A Time To Love, A Time To Drink Tea!

Perfect Holiday Tea

Perfect Holiday Tea

It’s that time of year again!   Scrambling for presents, decorating houses with Christmas trees, menorahs and/or snowflakes, and hosting holiday parties to gather friends and family in order to exchange gifts and share happiness.

Well, what kind of a “tea-o-phile” would I be if I did not prompt you to have a Holiday Tea Party?

There are plenty of cute ideas that you can do in order to make this holiday merry, bright and tea-rific!   Why not try to…:

  • Have an area where people can decorate their own tea mugs!   You might have seen the pin on Pintrest suggesting this fun activity.   All you need are some mugs (found cheap, about $1.29 at The Christmas Tree Shop), some assorted colored Sharpies and an oven to throw your mugs in once you are done decorating.   This activity is fun for both children and adults.
  • Stock up on some holiday tea.   Just go in Google and type, “Holiday tea” and watch the onslaught of tea!!!   Personally, I love Celestial Seasoning’s selection.   A green choice and all very tasty.
  • We all know about mulled wine, but what about mulled tea?   Check out Food.com for a yummy recipe.
  • Sit down and watch some tea-inspiring movies, such as Alice in Wonderland, or some nice Beauty and the Beast.
  • These recipes made with Bigelow Tea are bound to make you drool, whether you choose to serve appetizers, a meal or some sumptuous desserts.   Personally, I am contemplating persuading my family to let me try Jasmine Green Tea Truffles.
  • Make cute gifts for your party guests, such as a tea traveler pouch!   Need ideas?   Go on Tea Love’s Pintrest page.
  • And of course, relax, and enjoy your good company.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, however you choose to celebrate, make sure that it is a happy one!

Bubble Tea Pearls As A Carcinogen and How To Combat It

Now, those who read this blog know about my love for bubble tea.   Whether it be in a smoothie or iced tea, the taste of tea intermittent by the sudden gulp of tapioca balls is a nice surprise in a drink.

Cute Cups of Tea!

Cute Cups of Tea!

So, imagine my surprise when I saw news articles on how the bubbles in bubble tea are carcinogens!   Apparently, a German-certified government lab tested some tapioca balls coming out of an unnamed German bubble tea factory and found that the tea contains PCBs, a material that was once used in coolant fluids but, due to toxicity, was banned from the US in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2001.   On top of that, this organization argues, the balls pose a choking hazard.

Now, bubble tea’s history is no clearer than that of regular tea.   The exact origins are unclear but it is believes that bubble tea was started in the 1980s, possibly by a Taiwanese tea shop owner Liu Han Chieh who wanted to start a new creation.   Eventually, a Japanese TV show happened upon the intriguing drink and showcased it, releasing the beverage to the world.   Since its inception, there have not been any reported accidents of bubble-tea related accidents.   If there have not been any accidents in 30 years, I would argue that bubble tea’s drink-ability is fine.

Obviously, not being a scientist, I cannot argue with the PCBs.   However, as a tea fanatic, I have searched around and found a quick recipe online for making your own tapioca pearls.   The process is not difficult at all, is very forgiving and can prove to be a fun activity to do with the kids:

For this activity, you will need:

- Tapioca starch

- Food coloring (if you want to have a bit of fun with it.)

Directions:

- Put your tapioca starch in a bowl (no measurement, as that will vary depending on how many balls you want to make) and slowly add boiling water.   Make sure your water is boiling, or this will not work.

- For a bit of fun, add in your food coloring.

- This is the part that you can have fun with.   Knead the starch until it has the same consistency of play-doh.

- Roll your play-doh dough into bite-size pearls on a wet towel.   Make sure they’re not too big!   If your dough starts drying, then just add a little bit of water.   If it gets gooey, throw in some more starch.

- Let the tapioca balls dry.    This will vary depending upon preference, but overnight should be perfect.

- In order to make the drink, throw your pearls into some boiling water and wait for them to rise.

- Depending on preference, you can leave them in for a few more minutes (since once they rise, they are only half-way cooked) or you can let them soak for longer.   Personally, I like mine a little chewy, so the shorter amount of time, the better.   Otherwise, they turn gooey and make me feel like I am drinking fish eyes.

- Drain your pearls and quickly put them on ice.

- Throw in your tea and enjoy!

While I must say, I do not think that this tea is a carcinogen nor do I think it poses a choking hazard, having a recipe on hand is fun and handy, allowing there to be no question what you are putting into your body.   Since you can roll the pearls to whatever size you would like, you can also avoid a choking hazard.   Have fun, make a night of making delicious tapioca balls and then spend the next day reaping the rewards by sipping on a nice, cool cup of bubble tea.

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