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

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Happy #NationalChocolateWeek!

First thing’s first, I want to give a great shout-out to the Orangeburg Library in Orangeburg, New York.   Yesterday, they invited me to come speak to their patrons about Afternoon Tea and give the low-down on Low Tea.   Over 20 people showed!   Everyone was in wonderful spirits, and we even got to use antique tea cups supplied by the Orangetown Museum and Archives!   I won’t lie, that was slightly nerve-wracking to use those tea cups, but it all worked out and I think we had a wonderful party.   Thank you to all who showed, and thank you to the Orangeburg Library for inviting me!   I am looking forward to my next trip out to your neck of the woods.

And now, onto tea….

Pretty much, I log into Facebook daily because I am an internet addict, as much as I might try to deny it.   I don’t rely on it for the likes or anything, but I am addicted to the recipes that flood my news feed, plus I love the puppy videos that pop up here and there.   Today, upon logging in, I learned it was National Chocolate Week over in the UK!   October 9th through the 15th, citizens across the pond are going to be hopping around to different chocolatiers to get a taste of some indulgence and celebrating a heavenly product.   But, what better way to celebrate your morsel of chocolate than with tea?

One of my favorite chocolate recipes to make are truffles.   Simple, elegant, and, most importantly, fun, you can experiment and make as many or as few as you would like.   Martha Stewart posted about jasmine tea-infused truffles, and that light floral note you get from the tea is well worth it.   Try it out and let me know what you think!

Jasmine Tea-Infused Truffles

Ingredients:

 

  • 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Manjari, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, preferably Valrhona 42 percent, finely chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 6 ounces Jasmine tea
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups cocoa powder (not Dutch processed), preferably Valrhona, for rolling

Directions:

1. Line a 13-by-9 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap; set aside.

2. In a heatproof bowl, set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate together until it reaches 120 degrees.

3. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat; heat until cream just comes to a boil. Place tea in a medium stainless steel bowl. Pour cream over tea and let steep 10 minutes. Strain cream mixture through 4 layers of cheesecloth.

4. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and add to 1 1/3 cups cream mixture, reserving any remaining cream for another use. Using a heatproof spatula, mix together, starting from the center of the saucepan and working your way to the outer edges until mixture is emulsified. Add butter and mix with an immersion blender until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking sheet, evenly spreading mixture with an offset spatula; cover with plastic wrap, pressing down gently on chocolate mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.

5. Line the back of another 13-by-9 1/2-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Uncover chocolate and invert onto parchment paper; remove second piece of plastic wrap. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, and a steel ruler as a guide, cut chocolate into 1-inch squares.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Roll each square of chocolate between your hands to form a smooth ball. Transfer chocolate balls to baking sheet; refrigerate for 1 hour.

7. Melt remaining 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set over (but not touching) simmering water. Place cocoa powder in a shallow dish. Place some of the melted chocolate in the palm of your hand and roll a chocolate ball in the melted chocolate to coat, then roll in cocoa powder. Repeat process with remaining chocolate balls. Transfer truffles to an airtight container, stacking truffles no more than 2 to 3 inches high, and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Bring truffles to room temperature just before serving.

 

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Another Successful Tea Love Talk!

Yesterday, I was in Mahwah, New Jersey at the Ramapo Reformed Church for my first ever fundraiser Tea Love talk.   Funds went to their Ladies Fellowship.

When I arrived, it was a gorgeous setup!   Tables with white porcelain cups and plates lined the room, each with a three-tiered tray laden with sweets nestled at the side.   Tucked in the middle were 12-inch plates packed with cucumber sandwiches, DELICIOUS cheese sticks (seriously, I need to get the recipe to share!), crab cakes, ham sandwiches, and all sorts of other goodies.   Perfect for an afternoon snack.

Three tables lined the side wall.   One had hats of all sorts, most looking like the were from the 1920s.   A sign explained that they were from one of the church’s members.   The middle contained my normal table – six different types of tea, displays of books, a chawan, some bamboo tools, matcha tea, loose tea versus bagged tea, and a “Fandom Tea” from Adagio Teas.   The last table had a bunch of Barbie dolls with crocheted outfits from the past, including a My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle doll.

There must have been around thirty women there and even a few children (including a seventh birthday for a Miss Riley!).   We talked about tea, including the history, science, medical science, and how to brew a cup.   Finally, we wrapped up by dining on the great home-made food, drinking lots of tea, and enjoying each other’s company.

I truly enjoy each Tea Love talk that I do.   One woman at my last talk summed it up perfectly.   When I asked what people associate tea with, she answered, “Community,” stating people drinking tea just seem to become amiable and come together.   After hosting multiple Tea Love talks all over New Jersey, I can say that this is true.   I’ve seen people exchange phone numbers with complete strangers as they make plans to meet for a cup of tea.

So far, there is another fundraiser in the works for April that I am really excited for.   Keep on the lookout for the announcement!   If you are interested in having me come to talk to your organization (restricted to New Jersey), feel free to shoot me a message on Tea Love’s Facebook page and I will be sure to work out the details with you.

Thank you for reading, and happy sipping!

SUPERBOWL! TEA! SUPERBOWL AND TEA! Wait… What?

You read right!

That’s right, the Superbowl is today!   Time for wings, beer, and a bunch of guys soaked in sweat chasing after a ball (maybe deflated a little?) made out of pig skin.

Superbowl!!!

Superbowl!!!

So, how on earth does tea even manage to fit into this one?

No need to fear, Tea Love is here to help you serve your guests some awesome snacks, all of which involve tea.

The Tea Spot, a tea shop based in Colorado, posted numerous recipes that are tasty for Superbowl Sunday.

How about try their Red Rocks rub for your steak, chicken, and potatoes?   This rub is made from their Red Rocks tea, a blend of rooibos tea, vanilla, and almond bits.   They also boast a recipe for steaks (can substitute Portobello mushrooms if desired), roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, and ice cream using this tea.   A bonus?   If you forgot to make something prior to your Superbowl party, these recipes can easily be made within an hour or so (though you might want to give yourself a little lead time, just in case) and with recipes easily found at the store, so long as you have the tea for it.

Why not give their Grasshopper Green tea a try?   This one blends peppermint and green tea, yum!   A little zing from the peppermint really should enhance both the flavor of the tea, as well as the Thin Mint Green Rub, which The Tea Spot says is great on chicken, veggies, and shrimp.   Most of the ingredients should be found in your pantry already.

Those who know me know that I love mango.   Now, The Tea Spot put it in their Mango Tango tea!   The name says it all – mango with Ceylon tea and some passion fruit.   I can see this being great for a tropical taste.   Again, they have a rub using items that you can mostly find in your pantry (though I have to admit, I do not really keep wasabi in my house, so that’s a unique item).

Their Boulder Blues sounds tasty, mixing two different types of green tea with wild strawberries and rhubarb.   Personally, I know that green tea can sometimes be a bit much for me, but the sweet undertones should really help to move this tea along.   There is a rub, but you want to prepare for this one, unless you happen to have Chipotle Chile peppers and Majoram lying around.   Want to impress for dessert?   Try serving some poached pears or a fruit salad with this tea.

Earl Grey is a popular tea, and their Early of Grey sounds no different.   Take their rub and put it on your pork and fish for an awesome taste!   They even have a recipe for smoked chicken with it, as well as some easy-to-handle-while-screaming-at-the-TV cookies.

Finally, they have a Lapsang Souchong, a black tea that has a very smokey flavor.   Want to give your guests a treat?   Make them marbleized eggs with this one.   You can find a recipe on my blog, or you can use the one as posted by The Tea Spot.

So sit back, enjoy time with friends, watch the game, and enjoy some snacks with recipes from The Tea Spot!

Contest Alert All Of This Week!

Want to win some Salada Pomegranate Acai tea and a Zumba Cardio Party CD?

Enter here! 1,400 winners will be chosen (I know that I am going to be submitting!). Definitely a good way to get in shape, drink something delicious, and get to your 2015 weight goals. I’m looking forward to getting down to 135 – 140 pounds finally and I am sure this will help 🙂 :

If clicking the link above does not work, please be sure to copy and paste this link: http://woobox.com/p42i8u/dcc5h3?r=ufp__6xfNilTVx

Another Successful Tea Love Talk + “Chocolate Tea”

Each time I have a Tea Love talk, I am always amazed listening to myself and hearing how far Tea Love has come.   It just astounds me.

This past Saturday, Tea Love had another talk in conjunction with author Ovidia Yu (one of the sweetest people I’ve met!).   Ovidia met me in my boyfriend and me in my hometown of Cranford, New Jersey, and we trekked to Voorhees to talk at the Camden County Library -Voorhees Regional Branch.   I started the talk, telling everyone about tea culture and tea facts in China, Japan, and Singapore.   She wrapped us up by talking about tea culture in Singapore, elaborating on some interesting tid bits from a first-hand perspective.   From there, we all drank matcha tea, pulled tea (which everyone kept referring to as “chocolate tea”), and munched on some Asian-inspired goodies.

I saw some people from my previous talk at the library, which was wonderful!   We talked about what they liked, what they didn’t like, their experiences since my last Tea Love talk, and just life in general.   As I talked and explained both Tea Love and my life to people, I was slightly floored.

Tea Love started as a result of me not getting a particular job that seemed highly promising.   While I had a job, this one was in my field of interest, would have paid very well, and meant working in the City, a huge perk.   When I was informed I did not get the editing position that I applied for, I was a bit downtrodden.   After all, an English major who has been out of a job for over a year after graduation is never anyone’s cup of tea.   Throw on top of that that quite frankly, I have never been without a job in my life, and the pain was there.

Rather than sulk, I decided to start a blog and decided to dedicate it to tea.   Initially, I heard all sorts of weird reactions (and still do when people learn about my blog).   “How much can you even write on tea?” “You’re talking about the drink, right?” “Um… do you sit at home listening to classical music on weekends too?”   But now, since 2011, my readership has reached over the thousands, I have working relationships with various vendors, my Facebook page is doing well, and I even got to do a talk with an esteemed author.

So, I guess in a way, I am thanking everyone for making Tea Love truly what it is today.   I never run out of subjects, and everyone always has such a unique perspective on tea.   And of course, I receive so much support from my family, my friends, and my boyfriend that it warms my heart more than a nice cuppa 🙂

So thank you all so much ❤   And now, for the “chocolate tea” recipe that was provided at Saturday’s Tea Love talk:

Spiced Tea Tarik (Marsala Tea Tarik)

Recipe provided by Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials

‘Teh Tarik’, Malay for ‘pulled tea’, is a favorite old time Singapore roadside drink, so called because it appears  pulled between cups as it is dramatically poured between them to cool it and create its characteristic froth.   Masala chai or ‘spice tea’ is another popular drink seasoned with a combination of ‘warming’ spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, fresh ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorn, and cloves.   Some claim marsala tea stimulates the circulation while calming the digestion and easing sore throats and cold symptoms, but you really need no excuse to enjoy this sweet spiced tea, and it is even more enjoyable as a pulled tea.

These local teas are traditionally made with tea dust—the ground up remains of broken leaves.

Ingredients (for 2 cups):

  • 4 Tbsp powdered black tea (use 2 teaspoons of leaves or 2 tea bags if you can’t get tea dust)
  • 4 Tbsp condensed milk
  • 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • Any combination of 2 or more of the following spices (lightly crushed in a mortar or under a rolling pin): 1 tbsp of cardamom seeds, small piece of fresh ginger, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 2 or 3 cloves, Stick of cinnamon, pinch of fennel seeds
  • Boiling water

Instructions:

  • Have two mugs or jugs ready—at least double the volume of the tea you are making
  • Pour boiling water over your tea and spices in one mug and leave to stand for 3 minutes
  • In the meantime, put the sugar and condensed milk in the other
  • When the time is up, pour the spiced tea through a filter into the mug of milk. Now you are ready to ‘tarik’ or pour the hot tea from one mug to the other with some distance between the 2 cups, until it becomes thick and foamy.   In the hands of experienced street vendors, this is performance art
  • However, if you don’t feel ready to take part in one of the region’s ‘teh tarik championships’ (measuring the greatest distance pulled without spilling), then you can put your condensed milk into a jar, add your hot tea, close the jar, and shake until you get it foamy. It will do you just as much good with much less mess!

Another Thank You To West Milford Township Library!

Hello tea lovers!   This past Friday, Tea Love had its first ever children’s tea talk, complete with pretty dresses, a few princesses here and there, and of course, lots of tea 🙂

West Milford Township Library invited me a second time (I held an adult’s talk over there a while back) to come speak to a group of little girls (and one gentleman) and their mothers.   There, we had a lot of fun learning about afternoon teas and talking about tea in general.   I was amazed by how many of these fancy boys and girls had actually sampled tea prior to my talk!

After talking to the kids for a bit, we had a relay race.   There, children balanced a book on their heads (because after all, that’s what fancy people do to stand up straight), walk tea cups to a plate, take a “sip” out of their cups, and place their cups on the corresponding color that was underneath the cup.

After all that fun, everyone was hungry, and who wouldn’t be?   We had snacks of sandwiches, homemade cookies shaped like tea bags, and English muffins with some lemon curd and fruit!   The kids REALLY liked the cookies and the English muffins (I had to wait until I got home so I didn’t get my dress all messy, but I think they all came out rather well).

My favorite part was when we got to read Fancy Nancy, a book about a little girl who is just oh-so-fancy!   We heard all about Nancy’s super fancy boutique (that’s fancy for really amazing shop) and her efforts to try and buy a fan by selling all of her old clothes and a rhinestone necklace that her little sister truly wanted.

Finally, what would a tea party be without some tea?   Tea Love supplied four different types of tea from Clara Ngo, offering every child a small sample of any tea they wanted (with their parents’ permission, of course).

We held a raffle where six children won a Golden Tea Bag plaque and everyone took home coloring pages which will hopefully be submitted soon for an amazing blog!

So again, thank you so much for your hospitality, West Milford Township Library!   I hope to work with you guys again 🙂   And thanks to all the wonderful parents and the darling children that came out to the talk to partake in a fun afternoon.

 

Happy Birthday Clara, Supplier Of Tea Love Talks!

This blog is to wish a very happy birthday party to a very important person for Tea Love, Clara!

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Happy Birthday, Clara!

Clara is an awesome woman who has put up with me time and time again sending her messages for my Tea Love talks.

When Clara and I first met, it was at her shop in my hometown.   Quite frankly, she should have just kicked me out of her shop and asked me not to return, now that I look back at it.   Her shop was in a small corner of town, one that I feared her to be in (not for safety, but for marketing).   No one really knew where she was since she was on the outskirts and I had flat-out said to her that I was worried for her shop’s future.

Boy, did she prove me wrong!

Her shop became popular with her marketing and connections.   In time, she and I formed a partnership and she became my main supplier for my Tea Love talks.

Soon, the demands of her life and child had her make a hard decision – she sold shop.   Dismayed, I started researching other tea vendors to supply my tea for my talks.   However, no one was quite up to par with Clara.   I sent her a message on Facebook, explaining my predicament.

Happily, she said she would continue to supply my talks!   To this day, when I have a Tea Love talk, you can be sure Clara is behind the tea you are sipping on.   Her tea is always supreme and I constantly get positive feedback.

So raise your mugs in honor of Clara today!   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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