Archive for the 'Cooking with Tea' Category

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Cultured Tea Butter and Buttermilk

cornmeal-biscuits-and-fresh-cultured-tea-butter2010 seemed to be the year of DIY in the food world, and I have no doubt that 2011 will continue to be the same. If the reasons are not for putting up (canning, curing, dehydrating, etc.) to preserve the abundance of harvest for leaner times like our great grandparents used to, or not meant to ease reliance on commercially-packaged, convenience foods, then it’s to satiate the curiosity of how basic foodstuffs are produced and to relish in the pure satisfaction that you can DO IT YOURSELF.

Remember taking turns to shake that jar of cream in kindergarten until it thickened and yielded a soft, spreadable butter? Patience-inducing yet awe-inspiring to a 5-year old. Making cultured butter from scratch is just one step up from that sort of classroom demo magic. And using a modern stand mixer makes it an easily approachable task if your kitchen amenities are sans old-fashioned butter churn and butter bats. Furthermore, fresh, liquid cream presents a blank canvas on which you can layer a custom flavor profile at the very foundation, before churning. You can add cultures for tangy-ness as well as ingredients, like tea, that steep best in liquid without altering the final texture. Compound butters, a different approach to flavored butter where herbs, aromatics, syrups or fruit pastes are mashed into solid butter, while good in there own right, offer only the opportunity for flavor afterthoughts, post-churning.fresh-buttermilk

So in the spirit of DIY, I present you with directions for culturing butter and flavoring it using Arbor Teas’ organic, loose-leaf tea. Cultured tea butter should not be confused with Tibetan butter tea, a yak milk-derived, fortifying hot beverage for the iron-stomached. This is a wholly different dining experience. I chose two very different Arbor Teas to make two unique flavors. The first was organic genmaicha green tea, which is composed of Japanese green tea leaves mixed with toasted brown rice kernels. This tea flavor brings to mind popcorn, and thus lightly salted butter flavored with genmaicha lends itself to savory applications: smeared on crusty bread or slathered on roasted vegetables. The second was organic masala chai black tea. Redolent with warm spice and delicately sweetened (post-churn) with honey, this makes a welcome addition to a breakfast table spread or to afternoon tea fare. continue reading »

February 04 2011 | Cooking with Tea | No Comments »

Butter Tea from Tibet: Tea Around the World, Vol 1

According to the Tea Association of the USA, tea is the most widely consumed beverage around the world, next to water. Naturally, different tea drinking cultures have developed in different parts of the world based on varying needs, tastes and types of tea available in those regions. Today, we start our journey around the world of tea with a look at “butter tea” from Tibet.

Butter tea, known as Po cha in Tibet, is made from churning tea, salt and yak butter. The tea used is a particularly potent, smoky type of brick tea from Pemagul, Tibet. A portion of this brick tea is crumbled into water and boiled for hours to produce a smoky, bitter brew called chaku. This is then stored until used to make butter tea. To make  a serving of Po cha, some of the chaku is poured in a wooden cylindrical churn called a chandong, along with a hunk of yak butter and salt and churned for a couple of minutes before serving.

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December 05 2010 | Cooking with Tea and Tea Culture | 1 Comment »


Salmon cured with Jasmine Green TeaLast time I was in DC, I made a point to dine at Teaism. If you’re not familiar, it’s a restaurant and tea shop that offers simple tea cuisine, including Japanese bento boxes, Thai curries and Indian tandoor breads. I ordered a bento box. It provided all of the ingredients necessary for makeshift handroll sushi. Tea-cured salmon was the star of the kit. Tea-curing was a new concept for me, something I just had to try for myself when I got back to my kitchen. If you think logistically, it’s basically a variation on gravadlax, but with tea leaves instead of dill. Just imagine the flavor potential tea offers! I tried three very different organic loose leaf teas from Arbor Teas collection: a smokey lapsang souchong black tea, a fragrant jasmine green tea, and a citrusy schizandra berry white tea.

Samples were offered at a brunch that centered around the task of making homemade bagels. Surprisingly, jasmine yielded the most predominant flavor, and was preferred by all who sampled. The lapsang souchong gave a more traditional lox-like option. For something light and different, schizandra berries, found in Arbor Teas’ newest organic loose leaf tea, lent a hint of tangerine. Though salmon is most common, this method of curing can be applied to any fatty fish. One day, I’d like to try it on pork belly to make bacon… If you get to it before me, let me know how it turns out!
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November 01 2010 | Cooking with Tea | 5 Comments »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Tea-Flavored Frozen Fruit Pops

Tea Flavored PopsiclesThis summer brought with it plenty of sweltering heat and an outcropping of icy treats on a stick for relief. With all the press they’re getting lately, frozen pops appear to be the latest trend. It’s peculiar how life cycles; everything once old and nostalgic is eventually new and hip again. This is fantastic news for the home cook who doesn’t have the patience or the dedicated appliance needed to whip up a batch of gelato or semifreddo or ice cream. Making popsicles is easy and requires no special equipment!

The recipe guide below calls for just five simple ingredients. Adding Arbor Teas organic loose-leaf tea to the pops adds a whole new flavor dimension and an extra level of refreshment. Upon freezing, the tea flavor truly comes forward of the fruit. This is achieved by first making a tea-infused simple syrup. You could stop here and use the chilled syrup in cocktails or more casual summertime beverages, or you could forge on by adding fruit and freezing it on a stick. Wide grins are your guaranteed reward for just these few extra measures.

The flavors of pops I’ve made so far include: Peppermint-Blueberry, Crimson Berry Fruit Tisane-Cherry, Pineapple Passion Green Tea-Strawberry, and Raspberry Green Tea-Peach. Purposefully, though, this recipe is specific about ratios and vague on flavors. I’m leaving it to you to peruse the Arbor Teas selection and be inspired by what’s available at your local fruit stands. And don’t be deterred if you don’t own frozen pop molds. Try the tricks outlined here for a simple substitute.

Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea recipe From the Kitchen of Olivia!

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August 18 2010 | Cooking with Tea | No Comments »

COOKING WITH TEA: Tea-Laced Shortbread Trio Recipe

Trio of Tea-Laced Shortbreads

Requiring only a handful of ingredients, few things are more simple, yet so satisfying to make than classic shortbread.  These delicate cookie complement a glass of milk or a cup of tea equally well, and their buttery, not overtly sweet nature takes on additional flavors with ease. Here I’ve paired a basic shortbread dough with three classic organic, loose leaf teas from Arbor Teas: organic Earl Grey Black Tea, organic Matcha Green Tea, and organic Masala Chai Black Tea. With each tea selection and a few additional mix-ins, three distinctive flavors and hues spring from the platform of a once plain dough. Try all three, or mix and match to your own preferences.

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June 30 2010 | Cooking with Tea | 5 Comments »


Chinese Tea EggsA Chinese tea egg (cháyèdàn) is a traditional snack food commonly sold by street vendors or in markets throughout Chinese communities. It’s a hard-cooked egg steeped with tea leaves and traditional Chinese spices, which adds a savory, slightly salty tone to a normally neutral flavored source of protein. The shell cracking method is an important feature in this recipe that not only lends to a beautiful design, but allows the tea and spices to seep into the egg white. The tea used for making tea eggs is usually high in dark-brown tannins. Pu-erh is commonly used, but it can be substituted with any black tea leaf. Green tea is often considered too bitter, but may be worth trying if you’d like to explore the effects of the marbling pattern from an entire color palate of organic loose leaf teas from Arbor Teas.

I like the idea of imparting unique flavors directly to a hard-cooked egg, but I’m not one to eat such things directly out of hand. A quick poll of the egg eating habits of some friends, however, confirms that I seem to be in the minority. In any case, if you’re like me and prefer to incorporate hard-cooked eggs into other recipes here are a few suggestions to take tea-steeped eggs to the next level:

  • Sieved over roasted fresh asparagus or a salad of spring greens. Press the eggs through a strainer, or grate on the finest facet of a box grater to create mimosa flower-like bits.
  • Deviled with whole-grain mustard and cream fraiche to serve at you next picnic or barbeque
  • Mashed with olive oil and sea salt. Enjoy as creamy sandwich filling between slices of crusty bread
  • Stirred into a sauce gribiche, a vinaigrette bound with chopped hard-cooked egg, shallots, capers and herbs that makes a fine complement to roasted potatoes or grilled fish

Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea recipe From the Kitchen of Olivia!

Chinese Tea Eggs
6 eggs
2 TBS organic loose leaf Pu’erh
¾ cup soy sauce
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dark brown sugar
4 pieces star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)
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May 14 2010 | Cooking with Tea | 2 Comments »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Tea-Infused Cultured Yogurt

Tea infused yogurtCommercially available yogurts are usually heavily sweetened, sometimes artificially colored, and often excessively priced. Making your own is economical and a good way to avoid highly processed sugar, while providing boundless options to be creative with flavors. Lately, I’ve been perusing Arbor Teas’ line of organic loose leaf herbal and rooibos teas for inspiration in my yogurt making. Flavors I’ve made include Crimson Berry Fruit Tisane (my hands-down absolute favorite), Orange Spice Herbal Infusion (with notes of lemongrass, cinnamon and ginger), and Vanilla Almond Rooibos (pictured to the right). Albeit tart, yogurt provides an impeccably blank canvas for the flavor of even the most delicate tea to stand out resoundingly.

Using a yogurt maker* undeniably streamlines the entire process, making things easier by automatically maintaining the proper incubation temperature. However, if you are like me and don’t own an automatic yogurt machine, then follow the steps I’ve outlined below. As with most things, your first batch is always the hardest, but once you get the method down, it feels like such an accomplishment to be able to create this healthy staple in your own kitchen. Tea-flavored yogurt has yet to hit the supermarket shelves. Why not impress your friends with something completely unique and entirely wholesome? Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea recipe From the Kitchen of Olivia!

DIY Tea-Flavored Yogurt
1 quart (4 cups) milk (any kind will work including whole milk, 2%, 1%, skim, pasteurized, homogenized, organic, raw, diluted evaporated, dry powdered, cow, goat, soybean, etc)
2 TBS existing yogurt with live “active” cultures, or powdered yogurt starter (freeze- dried bacteria cultures such a Yogourmet); this is the starter
3-4 TBS organic loose leaf tea

* If you are using a yogurt maker, follow the instructions from the manufacturer.  Incorporate the sachet of tea as described below during the heating and cooling of the milk.  Remove the sachet before adding your starter/culture.
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March 26 2010 | Cooking with Tea | 2 Comments »

Matcha Pancakes – Just in Time for St. Patty’s Day!

Matcha Pancakes

Our amazing food blogger Olivia May (From the Kitchen of Olivia) found this wonderful recipe for Matcha Pancakes.  Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, this recipe looks fun, festive, and fabulous!  Of course, you know where to look if you are searching for the organic matcha required to make the recipe.  Check out the full recipe at the blog Une-deux senses.

March 16 2010 | Cooking with Tea and Tea Fun | 1 Comment »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Earl Grey Tea Madeleines

Earl Grey Tea MadeleinesButtery and cake-like in texture with an ornamental, fluted shape, the madeleine is quite likely the most beautifully described cookie in literary prose.  For it is the taste of a madeleine dipped in tea that sets into motion a vivid flood of memories recounted in Marcel Proust’s fictional novel,  A la Recherche du Temps Perdu.  Traditionally a dry cookie, perfectly conducive for dunking into a complementary cup of tea, this madeleine recipe combines the elements of tea and cookies in a singular elegance. The citrusy flavors of bergamot (from the tea) and orange (from the zest) play brightly in the foreground of these delicate cookies, while brown butter provides a nutty base. Although it may seem a bit unusual, adding ground tea directly to the batter creates lovely flecks of texture (not unlike a poppy seed) in addition to flavor. Grind loose tea leaves in a coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle and use straight away for maximum freshness. Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea Recipe  From the Kitchen of Olivia!

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Makes 12 large or ~36 mini madeleines

6 TBS unsalted butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 TBS Earl Grey Black Tea, ground to a powder
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup sugar
Zest from ½ an orange, grated
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 TBS honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and then continue cooking, swirling the pan often to prevent burning, until it turns light brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Cool completely before using. Meanwhile whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground Earl Grey tea, and salt in a separate bowl. continue reading »

February 17 2010 | Cooking with Tea | 1 Comment »

COOKING WITH TEA RECIPE: Dragonwell (Green Tea) Chicken Noodle Soup

The health benefitsGreen Tea Chicken Noodle Soup of green tea seem to be popping up perpetually in the news these days. Just recently a published study found that drinking green tea increases the effectiveness of antibiotics. Good news for those suffering this flu and cold season! Another well-vetted remedy for these ailments is a humble bowl of chicken soup. Why not combine the two to give your immune system an additional boost? Yes, green tea can be incorporated into the broth of the soup, but did you consider for an extra-added health benefit that the steeped leaves could also be eaten—as a vegetable? Go ahead; incorporate some of the unfurled tea leaves within the soup instead of discarding them in the compost bin.

In developing this recipe, I played quite a bit with the ratio of green tea to chicken broth. The tea adds subtle notes of astringency as its smooth, light-bodied flavor competes with the aromatic celery, parsley and peppercorns on the palate. Be it your goal to boldly bring forward the tea’s flavor or to creatively incorporate more green tea in your diet, try playing with the ratios yourself to suit your taste preferences. A good starting point is 1 teaspoon of loose tea per 1 cup of chicken stock. Interestingly, the noodles absorb the green tea flavor and color as they cook in the soup, providing yet another vehicle with which to consume the tea. As for any soup or stew, homemade stock makes all the difference in this recipe, adding a level of clarity and richness to the flavor. It is well worth the extra time it entails.

Wishing you wellness this winter. Hope you enjoy this Cooking with Tea Recipe From the Kitchen of Olivia!

Dragon Well (Green Tea) Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 4-6

1 whole roasting chicken, rinsed well
1 large onion, quartered
6 carrots, divided
4 celery stalks, divided
One bunch of parsley, stems and leaves separated
6 ounces pappardelle (or other wide style) egg noodles
About 3 TBS loose, organic green tea such as Dragonwell (Lung Ching)
1 TBS (or to taste) salt
1 TBS (or to taste) whole peppercorns

In a large stockpot, combine the chicken with onion, 3 carrots and 2 celery stalks cut into two or three pieces, parsley stems, salt and peppercorns. Add 8 cups water (or just enough to cover chicken) to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Skim and discard impurities from the top frequently.
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January 21 2010 | Cooking with Tea and Tea and Health | No Comments »

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