Hearing words like "smooth," "smoky," and "floral" might bring to mind thoughts of bourbon, tequila, or gin, but those terms could also describe roobios, green or black teas. The subtle similarities between teas and spirits make them perfect companions in a cocktail. (More to come … Continue reading →
To welcome in the first days of summer I made a simple but refreshing chamomile tea. High quality chamomile tea makes all the difference in this recipe. I used loose tea from Finger Lakes Tea Company in Waterloo, NY. It produces a well-rounded and very aromatic tea when brewed properly. Start checking after 3 minutes to make sure the tea is full flavored but not bitter. It can take 3-5 minutes to achieve the best flavor profile.
Iced Chamomile Tea with Candied Ginger Syrup
8 oz brewed chamomile tea
*2 tbsp candied ginger syrup
2 tbsp blueberries
Garnish with blueberries and a piece of candied ginger
1. Brew tea for 3-4 minutes depending on desired strength. Place tea in fridge to cool down
2. Once tea is cooled add simple syrup
3. Add to an 8oz glass, add blueberries. You can also freeze the berries before adding to keep the tea cooler. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger and a few blueberries.
For simple syrup mix ½ cup water 2 pieces of candied ginger and 1 1/2 tbsp sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off flame. Let sit until thick and room temperature.
In celebration of National Iced Tea Month I'll be bringing you a new recipe each week. This week it's all about the vibrant flavors of pineapple and mint. Instead of just using one tea I've also added green tea ice cubes to slowly melt into the tea to avoid diluting the refreshing flavors.
Iced Mint Tea with Pineapple
8 oz brewed mint tea (I used Egyptian Mint from Zhena’s Gypsy tea)
¼ cup canned pineapple with juice
*3-4 green tea ice cubes
*Stevia leaves (optional)
1-2 springs of mint for garnish
1. Brew tea for 3-4 minutes and remove tea bags. Place tea in fridge to cool down
2. Once tea is cooled add 1/2 to a blender with the stevia, pineapple and some of the juice and blend until liquefied
3. Add to a tall glass, top with remaining mint tea and add ice cubes. Garnish with mint leaves.
Brew enough green tea to make a few ice cubes. Place tea in ice cube tray and allow to set.
If you want your tea sweeter I like to use fresh ground stevia leaves. I purchased mine from Finger Lakes Tea Company. They are dried leaves of the stevia plant that I crumble directly into the blender for some added natural sweetness. Go easy on the leaves they are much sweeter then typical sugar.
Zhena’s Gypsy Tea recently found its way into my hands. Its cute packaging is both functional and environmentally friendly. The variety stackable sampler includes Raspberry Earl, Egyptian Mint, Ambrosia Plum and Italian Chamomile. All the tea is 100% fair trade and organic. The company prides itself on being socially and environmentally responsible through education, community and its harvesting practices. The tea is affordable and continues the trend of giving back to the communities where these teas are harvested and reducing the environmental impact on all levels.
Let’s celebrate National Iced Tea month with a tall glass of chilled green tea with a twist. When you make your own ice tea it trumps anything you buy in a bottle; you control the sweetness and the additives. You can be as simple or experimental as you want. Just keep two things in mind when making iced tea, if your adding ice you will need to compensate for diluting the tea so brew it strong but not bitter. Also when using loose tea please make sure to do an initial rinse of the tea. If you’ve never done this before I’ve included a link with a simple explanation and instructions on how to: https://www.theteafarm.com/tea_rinsing.asp
Iced Green Tea with Watermelon and Rosemary Syrup
Brewed green tea (I used 12 oz of water to 2 tbsp of Genmaicha tea and brewed for 3 mins)
*Watermelon and green tea ice cubes
*1 tbsp Rosemary simple syrup (use more or less depending on desired sweetness)
1. Add watermelon ice cubes to cooled down green tea. Make sure tea is cooled before adding watermelon cubes or they will instantly melt.
2. Add simple syrup and stir well
3. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon and a spring of rosemary
Watermelon ice cubes are just 2 cups of cubed watermelon and ¼ cup of brewed green tea pureed into a liquid. Fill an ice cube tray and freeze.
For simple syrup mix equal parts water and sugar on a stove. Let cook just until the sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat. Add a few springs of fresh rosemary and let seep for 3-4 hours or until you reach the rosemary flavor you want.
In my search for all things tea inspired I sometimes forget about old favorites. Whenever I take a trip to Atlantic City I always stop in the historic town of Smithville, New Jersey. Located near Absecon, Smithville is home to a village of shops and restaurants that I’ve been frequenting for two decades. Some of my favorites include Smithville Bakery where you can buy homemade loafs of bread for under $3 and Little Egg Harbor Soap Company that sells inexpensive all natural bath and body products. A trip to Smithville is never complete until I stop in Cook’s Corner. They have coffees, specialty food items, and kitchenware but I go for the tea.
They have shelves filled with everything from a smooth chocolate chai to a well-balanced majestic earl grey. Since most bags are in 2oz portions and average around $3.99 per bag one can experiment with a variety of types and flavors. They also sell a variety of tea brewing items and a beautiful selection of teapots.
If you don’t find yourself heading to South Jersey, Cook’s Corner has a great retail site. They list over a hundred different teas for purchase and many herbal and fruit teas as well. They’re a cozy store that offers great products and just one more reason to try something new.
Walking the crowded streets of Flushing, Queens can make even the most patient person weep in frustration. My suggestion is to take the 7 train to Main Street make your way through the throngs of people and head toFang Gourmet Tea on Roosevelt Avenue. The unassuming store specializes in rare and expensive teas. You can choose from a menu of dozens of teas to sample, each costing $5 or $10 dollars. (More to come … Continue reading →
Tea infused bake goods is a no brainer. It can add a unique flavor profile to something simple and with the variety of tea blends the possibilities are endless. It isn't an exact science, you need to taste and make sure the teas are strong enough to cut through the base recipe. A great way to start is with a basic sweet bread like banana. The flavors are not overpowering so a good tea will not get lost. The teas in these recipes do not overwhelm but instead serve as a background note to enhance the other flavors.
Banana Green Tea Coconut Bread
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oat flour (I just used a food processor to grind up old fashioned oats)
¾ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tbsp + ¾ tsp ground good quality green tea
¼ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup low fat canned coconut milk
2 ripe bananas
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp coconut oil
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
¼ cup plain 0% greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350
Spray a 9.25 x 5.25 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray set aside
Combine all the dried ingredients except the tea into a bowl. Add all the wet ingredients to a food processor including the tea. Pulse the processor until everything is combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into a large bowl. Incorporate the dried ingredients a little at a time and whisk. Once fully incorporated now would be the time to test the sweetness of the bread. Some bread will be more or less sweet depending on the ripeness of the bananas. You can adjust the sweetness to suit your taste. Pour the bread into the loaf pan and place in the oven for 35-40 minutes. You should check the bread at the 35-minute mark for doneness. I like to remove my bread when a knife comes out mostly clean. Keep in mind it will continue to cook as it rests for 20 minutes.
If you enjoy tea history the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C might be worth a trip. From now until July 27th the gallery is hosting an exhibit called "Chigusa and the Art of Tea". The exhibit is small but thorough in its examination of the Chigusa, a jar used to store tea leaves. Also on display are various tools used in the Japanese tea ceremony, video demos and a replica of a Japanese tearoom. The exhibit is also filled with Chinese calligraphy and diary entries from tea men from as far back as the 16th century. It's a unique and educational exhibit that successfully creates a Zen like atmosphere. The museum is free and photos are not allowed in the exhibit.
When traveling nothing excites me more then finding unexpected places. A good trip can be long or short but the best trips are those that provide something new and unique. During my recent trip to the Finger Lakes I came across that special place in Geneva, NY.
Dallywater’s is a British eatery that relishes in its authenticity, especially when it comes to their afternoon tea service. The owner Janice Dallywater-Harwood was proud to inform me that everything except the Devonshire clotted cream is homemade. She offers four different tea services along with an a la carte menu and a wide selection of fair trade teas. Me and my husband soon learned that smell and sight are two strong elements of Dallywater’s. A rotating tea rack is brought to our table containing 18 various teas. We are encouraged to smell each one before making our final decision. Also arriving at our table is a four tiered dessert tray with all the homemade goodies of the day. Any sense of restraint quickly leaves my body as I decide to try each one.