Cooking with tea is nothing new, but it is an exciting and healthy way of cooking. You need only a few pieces of equipment including a tea strainer, teapot, a spice grinder and a sieve or French press-style tea infuser to add taste and flair to foods. Tea may be used as an herb or spice for rubs, seasoning, sauces and dressings; as a marinade/tenderizer for meat; as a broth for braising, poaching, soaking & cooking; as an aromatic in a smoker; as a green with earthy, spinach-like taste; as soup stock and to perk up stews & chili; as a garnish for crunch and flavor and last but not least as desserts like sorbet since tea takes sugar well or in cakes, cookies and puddings.
CHICKEN SALAD PUFFS: Place 4 chicken breasts in water, add 1/4c soy sauce, 1Tbs LAPSANG SOUCHONG tea leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes. Remove chicken, cool and chop, then combine with 3/4c mayonnaise, 1/3c each diced red and yellow bell peppers, 1 diced Granny Smith apple, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 1/4tsp grated fresh ginger plus 1Tbs soy sauce. Chill. To make puffs, melt 2Tbs butter in 1/4c boiling water then add 1/4c flour, a dash of salt & stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Cool slightly, add 1 egg and beat until smooth. Drop onto greased sheet. Bake at 400 about 20 mins. Cool, split & fill.
CREAM CHEESE TEA SPREAD: Grind 1Tbs OOLONG tea leaves in a spice grinder, then blend with 1-8oz cream cheese, 1Tbs mayonnaise and 2Tbs snipped fresh chives. Refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors. Spread on pumpernickel bread and garnish with chive florets.
TEA LEAF PINWHEELS: Brew 2Tbs GUNPOWDER GREEN tea leaves two times and reserve the leaves. Cream together 1-8oz pkg cream cheese, 1/2c melted butter and 1Tbs herb seasoning. Add the used tea leaves and refrigerate. To make pinwheels, spread mixture onto flour tortillas and roll up, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. To serve, cut into ½” slices and garnish with paprika.
DOUBLE DECADENT TEA BROWNIES: Steep 1Tbs KEEMUN tea leaves in 1/2c boiling water for 5 mins then strain & allow to cool. Melt 4oz unsweetened chocolate with 1c butter then beat in 2c sugar and 4 eggs and set aside. Combine 2c flour, 1tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt. Stir in chocolate mixture and cooled tea. Stir in 1c semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2c chopped walnuts. Spoon into greased mini muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool slightly and then remove from tins.
CHAI TAPIOCA TARTS: Heat 3 c milk with a pinch of salt to a simmer and then add 1Tbs MARSALA CHAI tea leaves and steep for 10-15 mins. Strain and return milk to saucepan. Add 1/4c quick-cooking tapioca, 1/2c sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract and simmer uncovered 10-15 mins. or until thickened. Serve in phylo cup shells.
CINNAMON GREY TEA CAKES: Steep 1Tbs EARL GREY tea leaves in 1/2 c boiling water for 5 mins. Strain and add 2Tbs poppy seeds and 1Tbs fennel seeds to 1/4c tea to soak. Combine 1c flour, 1/2tsp baking soda and 3/4tsp baking powder. Set aside. Cream 4Tbs butter with 1/2c sugar until fluffy then add 1 egg, 1tsp vanilla extract and 1 1/2tsp cinnamon. Add dry ingredients alternatively with 1/2c sour cream until smooth. Add tea and seed mixture. Pour into greased & floured mini muffin pans and bake at 350 degrees 15-20 mins. Let cool then turn out on wax paper upside down. Combine the remaining 1/4c tea with 3/4c confectioners’ sugar to make a glaze and pour over bottom of tea cakes.
NUTTY BUTTER COOKIES: Cream 1c butter and 1c sugar, then add 1Tbs GENMAICHA tea leaves and 1 egg and mix well. Add 2½c flour and 1tsp baking soda, then 1tsp almond extract. Roll into two logs, wrap & refrigerate overnight. Slice, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
“Be joyful always; pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18