dinsdag 25 mei 2010

Green Apple and Walnut Salad with Rainforest Maté Dressing


Recipe with thanks to blog.mightyleaf.com

1/8 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
¼ cup Mighty Leaf Tea Rainforest Maté tea reduction
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup celery, sliced on the diagonal
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, cored; each quarter then thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend.
Gradually whisk in oil.
Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Combine celery, apples, and walnuts in large bowl.
Add vinaigrette and toss to coat.
Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Use 2 Tea Pouches to brew I cup of tea following the prescribed 5-minute brew time. Then reduce the tea on medium heat to about one quarter cup.

maandag 17 mei 2010

The perfect Iced Tea


As warmer weather approaches, many tea drinkers will find themselves wanting to swap their cups of steaming hot tea for tall glasses of iced tea. Though the beverage market is swamped with a wide variety of ready-to-drink teas-everything from sugary and flavored to plain and sublime-making your own iced tea gives you the creativity to make your very own concoction with whatever tea you decide upon. It's easy to make and the options to personalize it are endless.
  • A quick recipe for one gallon of iced tea:
  • Measure out 64oz (8 cups) of fresh, cold water. Heat to desired temperature depending on the type of tea you are using.
  • Steep 3 1/2 Tbsp of tea leaves in the hot water for the same time you would do if preparing a cup of hot tea (ie, 5 minutes for black tea, 3 minutes for green, etc.)
  • Remove tea leaves from water and pour the hot tea over a pitcher of ice. This will dilute the tea and cool it down quickly. You can add more ice if need be. This step also prevents the iced tea from clouding. If you still experience any clouding in your iced tea, add a touch of boiling water.
  • Add any sort of additions you wish to, or enjoy plain.
Plain v. Flavored
There is no right or wrong- it's up to you and whatever your palette is in the mood for! If you opt for plain, use the best quality whole-leaf teas you can find. You may want to stick with teas that have 'bright'notes; teas with inherent floral or fruity notes chill well. Teas with earthier, malty notes may not sound as appealing, but to each their own! Be adventurous; you might find something you enjoy hot makes a great cold, refreshing drink.
Flavored Iced Tea
Flavored iced tea can be both plain tea with additions or a flavored tea as a based mixed with other ingredients to bring out their natural character. Here are some ideas for excellent add-ins:
  • Sweeteners: Sugar, honey, agave nectar all make for good sweeteners. If you opt to make a Southern-Style Sweet Tea, add sugar while the tea is steeping. If using honey or agave nectar, it also helps to add them to the hot tea first and then stir until dissolved. If you prefer to add sweetener once the tea has been poured over ice, a quick recipe of Simple Syrup can make it easier- Boil one cup of water with one cup of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. You can then add the syrup to the iced tea, or serve it in a squirt bottle so each person can sweeten at their own discretion.
  • Fresh or Frozen Fruit: Fruit can definitely jazz up any iced tea. If using a flavored fruit tea base, try a different kind of fruit to make a blend. Think of other fruits other than the usual lemon garnish. If using frozen fruit, they can also act as cooling agents for your iced tea. Chop up fruit into smaller pieces and add to tea after pouring over ice.
  • Herbs and Spices: Add by the teaspoon various spices to add flavor to your teas while your tea is still hot, so it will incorporate properly. Try steeping star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger along with the tea to get the full flavor affect. Fresh herbs added to the tea once over ice will also help bring a certain complexity to your brew. Clean and trim fresh herbs such as mint, sage, lemongrass, lavender, basil, verbena, and lemon balm and add to your pitcher of iced tea. They'll add flavor and make for a nice garnish.
  • Other Additions: Try sweetening your iced tea with 1/2 Cup of fruit juice or fruit puree. Pomegranate juice adds healthy components (to an already healthy drink!) and it's flavor is not too strong to overpower the tea flavor. Garnishes can also make for a winning iced tea: citrus flowers and herbs like mentioned earlier, but also edible flowers can make a darling decorative touch if you float them on top. Try also freezing juice or tea in ice cube trays and adding to the tea for both flavor, color, and to keep the tea cold. Rim your serving glasses with sugar to add a little flair!
  • Article by Christine Rillo & Cynthia Fazekas from http://www.teamuse.com

woensdag 12 mei 2010

Tea-Infused Cultured Yogurt


Commercially 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

Warm the starter. Let the starter yogurt sit at room temperature while you are waiting for the milk to heat and then cool. This will prevent it from being too cold when ready to add it in.
Pack loose tea in sachet. Add 3-4 tablespoons of loose leaf tea to a disposable filter and tie off with kitchen twine. Allow this sachet to float in the milk during the next two steps of heating and cooling.
Heat milk to 185° F. Using two pots that fit inside one another, create a double boiler or water jacket effect by filling the outer pot with water up to the level surface of the milk in the inner pot. This will prevent your milk from burning, and you should only have to stir it occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. If you cannot do this, and must heat the milk directly on the burner, be sure to monitor it constantly, stirring all the while. If you do not have a thermometer, 185° F is the temperature at which milk starts to froth. This should take 25-30 minutes.
Cool the milk to 110° F. The best way to achieve this is with a cold water bath, such as a kitchen sink filled with ice water. This will quickly (~4-minutes), and evenly, lower the temperature, and requires only occasional stirring. If cooling at room temperature or in the refrigerator, you must stir more frequently. Don’t proceed until the milk is below 120° F, and don’t allow it to go below 90° F. 110° F is optimal.
Add the starter. Remove the tea sachet and add 2 tablespoons of the existing yogurt, such as store-bought plain yogurt. Be certain it says “active cultures” on the label. Alternatively, instead of existing yogurt you can purchase powdered yogurt starter (freeze-dried bacteria cultures) at your local grocery store, which are often more reliable.
Put the mixture in containers. Pour your milk into a clean container and cover tightly with a lid.
Allow the yogurt bacteria to incubate. Keep the yogurt warm and still to encourage bacteria growth, while keeping the temperature as close to 100° F as possible. The best way to do this is to carefully pour the steaming water from the double boiler into an insulated cooler. Allow the water temperature to cool down to around 100° F before adding the container of yogurt. I use a mason jar lying on its side to prop the yogurt container above the water level. Keep the cooler tightly shut and refrain from disturbing during the entire incubation process. Keeping the yogurt still is important to allow the culture to develop properly.
Other options include placing atop a heating pad or in an oven with a pilot light. If your oven doesn’t have a pilot light but does have an oven light, preheating the oven to the desired temperature, turning it off, and then leaving the oven light on to maintain the temperature may work for you. Another method is to turn your oven on and then off again periodically, being vigilant that it doesn’t get too hot.
To check the oven temperature, you can set a candy thermometer in a bowl of water inside the oven. Other methods for keeping the yogurt warm include: hot water in a sink, a stove burner, a crock-pot, or a warming tray. Just use your thermometer, trial and error, and best judgment. Maintaining the proper incubation temperature is key to successful yogurt culturing. Admittedly, in a chilly winter home, I’ve had little success with most of the above techniques, except for the cooler method.
After eight or more hours incubation, you will have a custard-like, curdled texture, a sour, fermented odor, and a separation of whey (a thin yellow liquid) on top. This is exactly what you want. The longer you let it incubate, the thicker and tangier the yogurt will become.

Refrigerate the yogurt. Place the yogurt in the fridge for several hours before serving. I prefer a thicker texture akin to greek or skyr-style yogurt, so will strain the whey from a fresh batch. This can be achieved by using a specific canister designed to make yogurt cheese or by using a sieve, lined with several layers of cheesecloth, set over a bowl. Fresh yogurt will keep for 1-2 weeks. If you plan to use some of it as starter for your next yogurt making session, use it within 5-7 days, while the bacteria is most potent. If not strained, whey will rise to the surface. You can pour this off or stir it in before eating. Whey contains healthful nutrients. A decision to discard it completely should not be taken lightly.

Recipe with thanks to http://www.arborteas.com

donderdag 6 mei 2010

Cooking with tea

Article by Alexandra Zohn, from Kiwi Magazine

Update your spice rack with tea! Since the discovery of the tea plant Camellia sinensis in China 5,000 years ago, tea has been a popular drink worldwide. But the Chinese didn’t just sip it–according to Diana Rosen, co-author of Cooking with Tea, they also used the leaves to prepare fish, duck and hard-boiled eggs. “Tea is like a non-chemical MSG,” Rosen says. “It’s hard to identify it as an ingredient in a dish, but it interacts with the flavors, adding a sparkle.”

Now, tea is making a comeback in the kitchens of the more experimental chefs as a creative way to add a little something extra to dishes. Just like spices, tea comes in flavors. White tea, from young leaves, is subtle with floral and citrus notes. Green tea can have a light, smoky flavor with grassy notes. Some Oolong teas have floral, fruity or spicy hints, while others have more roasted flavors. Black tea, the most commonly consumed tea worldwide, is astringent, and its flavor varies dramatically among regions. And like grapes used in wine, tea leaves come in varietals. Their colors, fragrances and tastes are products of climate, soil, altitude and rain–factors that are collectively known as terroir.

With all this variation, tea experts and aficionados recommend that you let your own palate guide you. “Each tea is individual and should be tasted first to find its predominant characteristic–is it sharp, soft, citrus, earthy or smoky?” Rosen says. “Then it can be matched with a recipe.” She suggests using intense teas when preparing intense-flavored dishes, and pairing delicate teas with delicate foods. “Sweet, grassy, green teas are wonderful in salads or with briny shrimp or egg dishes; black tea is great with meat or poultry, and it’s delicious in fruit compotes, where it cuts the sweetness,” she says. “Fruity teas are good for ice cream or egg sauces.” When cooking with tea, Rosen suggests experimenting with the flavors and using good quality tea. She cautions novice tea-cookers to take care not to cook the tea for too long and to go easy with the amounts used. And not to worry–cooking with tea is safe for the kids. With these delicious tea-infused recipes, soon the brew will have a permanent home in your spice rack. Heat up the kettle and start cooking!

Tea Tips: Here are the easiest ways to incorporate tea into your regular cooking routine.
• Place a tea bag in warm oil or butter for a few minutes to add flavor. Stir gently, cool and refrigerate. Flavored oils can be served in salad dressings or drizzled over soups. Tea-infused butter is a hit on pancakes and in pastry recipes.
• Use brewed tea instead of water when cooking rice or pasta.
• Infuse stocks for soups or sauces by placing a tea bag in them.
• Sprinkle tea on any food to season before cooking.

Perfect Pairings: Chas Kroll, executive director of the American Tea Masters Association, offers these suggestions when choosing tea to go with a particular food. Whether you’re sipping a brew or infusing the whole dish, these food-and-tea pairings are culinary matches made in heaven.
FOOD: Continental breakfast, rolls, toast, fruit, cereal
TEA: Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Dooars, Indonesian, Kenya, Nilgiri, Terai, Travancore
FOOD: Eggs, meats, fried foods
TEA: Assam, African blends, Ceylon, Kenya, Lapsang Souchong, Tarry Souchong
FOOD: Light meals, tea sandwiches
TEA: Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Green, Oolongs, Lapsang Souchong, Yunnan
FOOD: Spicy foods
TEA: Ceylon, Darjeeling, green teas, Keemun, Jasmine, Lapsang Souchong
FOOD: Strong cheeses
TEA: Earl Grey, green teas, Lapsang Souchong