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The Arbor Teas Blog

Cooking with Tea for the Holidays: 5 Menus

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You love tea. You love food. So why not combine the two? Cooking with tea enables you to add layers of complexity to even the most ordinary dish, while also enhancing the health benefits of your food. In the spirit of the season, we put together a few menus where each dish incorporates some kind of tea.

Enjoy, experiment, and happy holidays!


POT LUCKING IT
Potlucks are fun because you don’t have to do the heavy lifting of creating an entire meal, and are free to experiment – contributing something that is uniquely you. The trouble comes when its time to transport your dish. These recipes were selected with that in mind – they’re delicious, creative and easy to transport.

Appetizer: Smoky Lapsang Souchong Spring Rolls .These perfectly packable spring rolls are the ideal potluck companion. Simply assemble them ahead of time and pop them in the oven when you arrive.

Green Tea Soup

Main: Dragonwell Chicken Noodle Soup . Potluck main courses are typically the domain of casseroles and savory pies. Buck the trend and be a potluck hero by bringing this hearty soup flavored with Dragonwell tea . To transport it, simply pour it into a large Mason jar and secure the lid tightly.

Dessert: Indoor Tea S’mores.These s’mores require a little effort, but offer big reward. Keep them cool while driving over the river and through the woods and they’ll look just as great as they did when you made them.

A QUIET DINNER FOR TWO 
Not every holiday dinner has to be a huge affair. In fact, some of the best holiday dinners are a little quieter. If you’re keeping it small this year, try this menu:

Appetizer: Rooibos Butternut Pizzettas . Rooibos sweetens up the already sweet butternut squash for an almost irresistible appetizer. Top your pizzettas with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts for added complexity.

Main: Tea Rubbed Salmon . This simple and light recipe makes use of Ming Tsai’s Five-Spice Chili Tea Rub , which combines Lapsang Souchong with red pepper flakes, chipotle powder, and Chinese five-spice powder, garlic and salt. Serve over rice and with a side of sautéed green beans.

Dessert: Smoky Lapsang Souchong Caramels . One challenge with having a small dinner is that you don’t want a ton of leftovers – especially when it comes to dessert. These caramels can keep for weeks in the refrigerator, so you can enjoy them throughout the holidays, or even give some as gifts.

THE BIG FAMILY DINNER
The big family dinner requires you to have a little something for everyone, and most are eager for traditional fare. Satisfy their expectations, while enjoying a little experimentation, with these inventive and thoughtful dishes.

Appetizer/ Side: Roasted Butternut Squash and Green Rooibos Soup . This soup is creamy, warming and indulgent. Brewed Green rooibos acts as the base, adding antioxidants without the caffeine.

Main: Marmalade Glazed Ham with Orange-Tea Sauce . This recipe calls for orange spice tea or traditional black tea. We recommend forgoing the orange flavoring and using an Earl Grey, which is naturally flavored with bergamot oil.

Dessert: Black Tea Apple Pie . We are completely smitten with this tea’riffic apple pie. Use a high quality traditional black tea such as our Organic Ceylon Greenfield Estate Black Tea , and try your pie a la mode by topping it with this Vanilla Chaiscream .

FRIENDSGIVING AT YOUR PLACE  
Like the holiday itself, your Friendsgiving meal should offer a fresh takes on the traditional Thanksgiving favorites, alongside a few stunners to impress your guests.

Appetizer: Chamomile Thyme Miniature Chess Pies . These savory little pies are just as fancy as they sound. The cream in the custard is infused with chamomile tea, for a delicately floral and decidedly fancy-pants start to your meal.

Main: Tea-Rubbed Turkey . As more and more cooks incorporate tea into their cooking, tea rubs have become a popular way of infusing the distinctive flavor of tea in all kinds of roasted meats. For thanksgiving, we recommend going for a black tea such as a smoky Lapsang Souchong .

Masala Chai Pumpkin Pie

Dessert: Masala Chai Pumpkin Pie . It’s not Thanksgiving (or even Friendsgiving) without pumpkin pie. This one is easy to put together and offers the unmistakable taste of chai spice with every bite.

A VERY VEGAN THANKSGIVING 
It can be difficult to “veganize” traditional meals, and there’s only so much Tofurkey one can take. Luckily, if you thoughtfully prepare a few sides (incorporating silken tofu or nut cream instead of the real thing, or using olive oil instead of butter) many of your traditional sides can suddenly become vegan. There are even a few great vegan holiday showstoppers that also incorporate tea.

Appetizer: Black Tea Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. Smoked black tea, such as Lapsang Souchong , combines with salt and fat for a delicious, crunchy and unexpected appetizer. This recipe makes use of butter, so replace it with a vegan alternative such as Earth Balance. Want a heartier vegan appetizer? Go for our Chamomile Hummus.

Main: Tea Crusted Tofu over Polenta . Tofu and tea are natural companions. This tea-crusted tofu dish is served over warming polenta, for a perfectly hearty vegan holiday meal.

Dessert: Matcha Raspberry Bliss Balls .This recipe does require you to buy raspberries out of season, but you only need a few. You’ll blend them with matcha, cacao, dates, almonds and a salt for a raw truffle that’s so healthy you might want to eat it for breakfast the next morning – provided there are any left!