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

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ 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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Fairy Water – Making Water “Sexy”

So, recently, I just heard about a drink people are making called “fairy water“.   This was featured on the Ellen Show with TV personality guest Padma Lakshmi.   The goal?   Make water “sexy”.   Looking at the recipe, it seems like they are pretty much making a tea!   She even calls for tea to be added to the water!

Some of the ingredients I have been seeing people using are:

  • Edible dried rose petals
  • Lemon and/or lime sliced in rings
  • Star anise
  • Dried jasmine flowers
  • Rosemary
  • Cucumber
  • Bay leaves
  • Easy Exotic Blooming Green Tea
  • Apple slices
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Mixed berries
  • Strawberries

Have you caught onto this “new” (well, I see this as being infused water with tea, so not necessarily new, but well branded!) water?   What kind of ingredients do you like in yours?

Spring Time = Tea Time

Spring is here, the grass is green, the beaches are full, and everyone is getting as much time out in the sun as they can (hopefully with lots of sun screen to avoid any nasty burns!).   Along with that, why not have a cool drink using tea?   DavidsTEA has a bunch of recipes that I adore, and I highly recommend trying some for your Memorial Day BBQ tomorrow!

DavidsTEA Matcha Mango Smoothie

DavidsTEA Matcha Mango Smoothie

DavidsTEA Moroccan Mint Iced Tea DavidsTEA Moroccan Mint Iced Tea

DavidsTEA Hong Kong Milk Tea DavidsTEA Hong Kong Milk Tea

DavidsTEA Spearmint Tea Mojitos DavidsTEA Spearmint Tea Mojitos

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!

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!

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

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