Culinary Tea Party


Culinary Tea cookbook

The Fearless Cooking Club and friends gathered to celebrate all things tea. We had food steeped from tea in eggs, candy, fruits, vegetables, and salmon. We also drank tea as well. Culinary Tea written by Cynthia Gold, the tea sommelier at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers, was the basis of most of the recipes. Char visited Boston last fall and enjoyed an afternoon tea a the hotel. She delighted us with her cooking skills and beautiful setting to enjoy a culinary tea.

Char and Debbie greeted us at the door with a flute of champagne infused with raspberry truffle tea syrup. Wow!

hostess and greeter

the culinary tea table

Each guest was presented with a card to keep track of types of teas tasted.

place setting

culinary tea card

We started with a flowering tea pod or bud.

pouring the water

After pouring hot water atop, the bud opens into a beautiful flower

flowering tea

Our first course was marbled eggs. They were hard boiled eggs, the shells cracked but left intact then steeped in green tea with brown sugar. After two days of steeping in the refrigerator, the shells were removed and voila marbled eggs.

marbled eggs

The marbled egg was served with rose petal and wine salts and mixed green salad.

marbled egg, flavored salts

Each guest brought a tea pot. We all went around the room telling the story of our teapot and the type of tea we were sampling. This was an opportunity to share our teas with others.

tell us about your tea pot

The main course was salmon en papillote steeped with darjeeling tea and acorn squash with chai cherry walnut tea.

Salmon en papillate with acorn squash

To cleanse our palate before dessert we had a Blackberry tea sorbet. I was surprised it wasn’t made with a blackberry tea. Instead fresh blackberries, sugar and Darjeeling or Assam tea.

blackberry tea sorbet

And for dessert (I was so full by this point), Riesling Poached Pears with Cardamon cream and

White Chocolate chai and Earl Grey Chocolate  truffles

poached pears and truffles

Patty’s Points:

1) Everything was sumptuous and beautiful. Char hit a high mark with her beautiful presentation and culinary tea skills. Her dining room was a beautiful tea room.

2) Char said that if she could change one thing she would’ve put more cracks in the egg shells before steeping them in the tea for 48 hours to add more marbling. I thought they were wonderful. The salts made of rose petals and wine were Mary Beth’s contribution from her trip to Europe this past fall. Thanks Mary Beth, they were a spectacular addition.

2) Everyone had a touching story to tell about their tea pots, given to them by loved ones or special memories of purchasing it. I didn’t have a remarkable story to tell about my tea pot, I had just purchased a new one the day before as I had broken mine. Pictured below is a combination tea pot and cup that belonged to my mother. She purchased it in Ireland (I believe), made in Galway. My father is caring for it at present. I carefully dusted the glass shelving it sits on along with twelve Irish coffee cups. I hope to collect it someday.

Irish teapot and cup

Thank you Char for a wonderful afternoon of all things tea!

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The Korean Dinner Party

Kimona wine bottle cover

The Korean Dinner Party was a two-part adventure. The first party was held at Seoul Barbeque in April.

The thought of making the food for an actual Korean party was a little overwhelming. We thought we would partake in one of the best Korean restaurants in Denver first.

at the restaurant

Look at all the little side dishes that go with the sliced beef!!!

Seoul Barbeque

While we munched on all the delicious food, I showed this article from Bon Appétit about hosting a Korean dinner party.  After a short discussion we decided that we could put this party together! Barb volunteered to host.

Fast forward five months….

Shopping at M Mart

All adventures must start with shopping. M Mart is a Korean/Japanese Grocery Store.  We let Barb take the lead with shopping she had more experience. She and her husband adopted their son from Korea. Barb has visited Korea twice and raised her son by exposing him to his native land. M Mart has a great choice of meat and authentic Korean ingredients.  The meat for bulgolgi is thinly sliced rib eye steak on the cross grain.

stacks of rice

stacks of rice

IMG_3202Korean radishes

After filling our baskets we ventured over to the H Mart which is a large Asian grocery market. It was huge. The produce and kitchen wares were overwhelming. What fun it was!

long green beans

Really long green beans

tons of wares

Asian housewares

Now, lets get down to cooking.  First with the rice.  This is a Korean rice cooker – the Cuckoo. Three minutes before the rice was cooked, the top shot off steam. Then it spoke in Korean that the rice was done (I’m guessing) and it tweeted “Cuckoo!” So cute!

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This is when it is good to have a lot of people in the kitchen… chopping and shredding and mixing ingredients.

chopped vegetables

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Bibimbap

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Doenjang Jjigae soup

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Bulgolgi

Doenjang Jjigae

Rice starch water:  rinse rice once with water and drain.  Add a 1/2 cup of water again, toss and swirl around the rice for 30 seconds. You will see the water turning milk-like.  Add 2 cups o water and swirl to collect all the starch from the rice. Drain to save the starch water in a bowl (it doesn’t say how much rice to start with – we used a couple of cups of dry).

2 cups rice starch water (see above)
6-7 dried anchovies (cute little silver fish)
1 piece (3″) dried sea kelp
2 generous TBSP Doenjang (soybean paste)
1/2 package (4 oz) firm tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
1/2 onion diced
1/2 zucchini diced
1 tsp Korean chili flakes
1 garlic clove chopped
1 green or red chili sliced (I didn’t use this)
1/2 package enoki mushrooms or one handful of any mushrooms sliced
1/2 Asian leek or 1 green onion sliced

Directions:

1.  Bring small 1 quart stone or heavy bottom pot over medium high heat.  Toast the anchovies for 1 minute and pour the rice starch water into the pot.  Add the sea kelp and bring to boil; simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove the anchovies and sea kelp and discard them.
2.  Using a course mesh strainer, mash the Doenjang paste into the pot so it incorporates into the stock. Add onion, zucchini, chili flakes and let them boil.  Add tofu, garlic, chili and cook for 2 minutes.
3.  Lastly add enoki mushrooms and green onion.  Remove the pot from heat and serve hot with rice.

Patty’s Points:

1. The key to a good Bulgolgi is how the meat is cut. Barb said that she once purchased a ribeye at a local market and tried to get the butcher to cut it thinly on the cross grain. It didn’t turn out that well.  This is where an authentic Korean market shines.

2. The bibimbap bowl is made of granite. It is heavy-duty so it can be heated on the stove top. It has a specific handle that looks like a clamp, to transfer it to a serving plate. The hot bowl crisps the cooked rice, then each ingredient is added and topped with a fried egg. Prior to eating, all the ingredients are cooked when mixed together.

3. The Doenjang Jjigae reminded me of Miso Soup (which is Japanese). The difference is that all the ingredients are Korean based.  The fish broth was easier than I thought. The dried anchovies were cute.  Anchovies and kelp were added to the rice water but removed/strained before combining the ingredients.

4. Barb said that everywhere they went in Korea, they were served watermelon for dessert. Our dessert was watermelon, Asian pear and a matcha tea roll cake.  They were nice and light sweets after a full meal.

5. The key to our successful party was gathering together to prepare it. We all brought our own knives and cutting boards to keep up with all the chopping. All week I thought about how much fun the party was; it brought a smile to my face 🙂

드세요
deuseyo
“bon appetit”: French » Korean

ExperimenTea-ing

I have revved up my tea and herbal infusion intake over the past year. Here is a sampling of types I tried.

tea 1

Celestial Seasonings Herbal Infusions

tea 3

Organic

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Potpourri

For Christmas I received this super Cordless Programmable Kettle by Cuisinart. This appliance has kicked my tea consumption into high gear.

Cuisinart tea pot

  • Six pre-set temperatures
  • 30-minute keep warm option
  • Memory-holds settings when removed from a swivel base

teapot 2

The readings are in Fahrenheit, heating your water for tea to the perfect temperature:

160 = Delicate tea

175 = Green tea

185 = White tea

190 = Oolong tea

200 = French Press

Boil = Black tea

This tea bag squeezer helps get every last bit of your steeped tea or herbs from the tea bag.

tea bag squeezer

I purchased this “squeezer” at the Celestial Seasonings Tea Shop. Great, inexpensive buy.

tea bag squeezer 2

Bagged teas are readily available almost everywhere with many brands and flavors to pick from. Because of the popularity, the tea aisle at my grocery store is completely separate from the coffee aisle. I used to pick the same teas and herbal infusions every time I went. It was easy and didn’t take much thought. Now I spend a lot of time there perusing the brands.

I have discovered that I like certain brands. I’m preferential to Celestial Seasonings. I think their Master Tea taster has excellent taste buds. I also like Stash, Bigelow and Twinings brands. I continue to check out different brands.  I am now drinking Organic Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Coconut Chai black tea. It has a lovely flavor with steamed milk.

Every morning I have one cup of black tea steeped in hot water and almond milk and one cup of green tea with lemon. I split one Stevia sweetener packet between the cups. I never used to drink green tea because it tasted bitter, adding the lemon juice helped.

Midday, I have a cup of decaffeinated Earl Grey with almond milk. After dinner I have an herbal infusion that is calming or will help me sleep. I’m drinking about 4-5 cups per day!

Patty’s Points:

1. I have so much to learn. I have barely scratched the surface of tea. There are a growing number of tea blogs out there in WordPress-Land.  People are cuddling with tea cups and tea pots, writing poetry about tea, steeping leaves of all kinds in hot water, and hanging out in tea houses.

2. So far I haven’t much cared for the taste of roobios, it tastes like licorice. I’ll have to give it another try someday. I’ve tried oolong tea once and thought it was good.

3. I love my hot water kettle and the temperature settings. It was a pricey little kettle, but I got it discounted at a department store. There are lesser priced kettles out there for around $20.00 or more; but they have only one temperature = boil.

4. Tension Tamer by Celestial Seasonings has catnip in it. Yes, catnip tea.  It helps with headaches and is detoxifying. My husband drank it and felt sleepy immediately.

5. I follow a blog called Scrubs Nurse.  She has a recent posting on the health benefits of tea that is worth reading.

6. Tea is becoming more popular in the U.S.  You know tea is becoming mainstream when you see more varieties than Lipton at a truck stop next to the coffee. Tea has been around for thousands of years and is universal. I guess us Yankees are just catching on.

Right now I have 17 boxes of tea in my cupboards. My husband wonders why I need that many and continue to bring new varieties home. I like choices.

Loose tea and tea pots are my next adventure. In the meantime, happy sipping and tasting!

tea at Brown Palace

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King Oscar’s Torta

Oscar's Torta

The second annual Epiphany Party, the twelfth day of Christmas was held this past Sunday. Last year I made The Gift Cake so I thought I would continue the tradition of making a cake.

I saw the recipe for Oscar’s Torta recently published in the January 2013 edition of Martha Stewart Living magazine. This cake, with lots of hazelnuts, is named for Oscar II (1829-1907), king of Sweden and Norway.

January 2013 Living

Ingredients

Cake:

12 egg whites, room temperature

3 3/4 C powdered sugar

15 oz hazelnuts, chopped fine

1 3/4 sticks butter, plus more for pans

Glaze:

8 egg yolks

1 C cream

1 C sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp coarse salt

2 TBSP sliced almonds toasted,for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment. Separate eggs, placing 12 egg whites in 1 bowl and 8 egg yolks in another (reserve remaining 4 yolks for another use). Beat egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in hazelnuts and confectioners’ sugar. Divide among pans, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. (Cake layers can be made 1 day ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerated.)

Lightly whisk egg yolks in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk in cream, granulated sugar, and salt, whisking constantly until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, and let cool in a bowl of ice water until cold (you should have 2 cups).

Melt butter (do not let it color), and add vanilla. Stir into egg-yolk mixture. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, and spread with 1/2 cup glaze. Repeat with a second layer and another 1/2 cup glaze. Place third layer on top, and spread with remaining 1 1/2 cups glaze, letting it drip down sides of cake. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and garnish with almonds. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Patty’s Points:

1. One of my friends discouraged me from making the cake due to the cost and labor intensive prep of the hazelnuts. 15 ounces of hazelnuts cost $5.50 which wasn’t too bad. The challenge was the removal of the hazelnut skins and chopping of the nuts. My daughter looked up on the internet this website on how to shell hazelnuts. Luckily I didn’t have to crack the nuts open, only remove the bitter skins.

hazelnuts

bitter skins

2. After roasting the nuts in the oven I placed them in a wet towel to steam for 2-3 minutes. I then rubbed them in a towel to remove the skins. It took me several attempts at repeating the process to get the skins removed. About a quarter of the nuts still had the skins adhered. Apparently that small amount doesn’t cause any bitterness to the entire recipe.

Chopped hazelnuts

putting it together

3.  The entire preparation of the cake and glaze took four hours, which was about the entire length of a football game.  My spouse was busy watching the Packers v. Vikings game. He was happy the Packers won. I was really tired by the time it was all completed.

Packer backer

4. The cake was a hit at the Epiphany Party. A woman who is gluten-free was excited about the cake and wanted the recipe.

5. If the recipe had some cocoa in the recipe it would replicate the flavor of Nutella, which I am a fan. Maybe next time.

Old Year. New Year. Thank you fellow bloggers.

I work full-time at another job and this blog post is a creative outlet to a crazy world. I thank everyone who stops by and admires what I do to share my thoughts and talents with the blogging world.

In November 21, 2012 Life is Short Eat Hard  nominated me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Make sure and check out her blog. She is an Aussie living in Arizona. Thanks very much.
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In November 11, 2012 Virginia Views, a city girl who lives in the Virginia countryside, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award.

liebster-blog-award

In December 10,2012 The Food Gypsy a writer’s journey into experimental cooking nominated me for the Liebster Award.

liebster-award2

For my thanks I have responded in the following way:

  • Link back to the blogger who gave you this award
  • Post the award to your blog
  • Post 11 things about yourself.
  •  Nominate 11 people and have them answer the same questions about themselves.
  • Go to their pages and tell them they have been chosen.

Gosh. Thanks. I am going to combine all of these awards into one response. I’ll do the best I can.

1)    If you could go anywhere in the world and stay for a month, where would you choose to go?

Australia because our son just moved there. Second choice would be Europe because I have never been there.

2)    What is your hobby?  Baking. Knitting.

3)    What was your childhood dream? To be a singer and a nurse. The nurse won out.

4)    What was the best gift you ever received?

A Christmas ornament, a fishing reel and a marriage proposal as one gift December 1985.

5)    What is your favorite movie?

Something’s Gotta Give, Wizard of Oz and Pride and Prejudice. If these movies are on TV I stop everything to watch them.

6)    Who is the person who inspired you the most?

I have been inspired by strong women: my three aunts – my father’s sisters and my nursing instructors. My aunts were all different one never married but was the matriarch of the family; one married, had a family had a strong faith and I am her spitting image; and one had a professional career when it was rare for women to have one, married late in life and is the wise sage of the family.

My nursing instructors showed me how to be a caring person, be a strong woman leader and to face your fears.

7)    What is your favorite dessert?

Pure dark chocolate with orange.

8)    What is your favorite quote?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

This quote ends all my email messages at work. Work email is where messages can be promoted to help a project move forward, but also be misinterpreted and cause rifts in team building. I pride myself in speaking the truth and keeping communication lines open.

9)    What do you do for relaxation?

Take a bubble bath.

10) What is your favorite remembered scent/smell from childhood?

Snickerdoodles baking.

11) If you could be a character in a book, who would you choose to be?

This is tough because I really enjoy biographies of real people. Probably Julia Child because her life was so interesting. She serve in WWII where she met her husband Paul, she traveled the world, she learned to cook when women didn’t become chefs, and she was a late bloomer.

I admire the following bloggers:

JannaTWrites – My most faithful follower and commenter

jothetartqueen – Another faithful follower and wonderful cook/chef.

theseasidebaker – A baker and food photographer living in California, we met at the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle.

boulderfoodie – An engineer who cooks and eats fresh local foods and restaurants in Colorado

Marinating Online – A chef living and cooking in Colorado foothills

Mama’s Empty Nest – Nuff said? I can totally relate.

The Hungry Australian – A freelance writer, blogger, cook and photographer in Melbourne.

Nurse Frugal – A nurse and blogger living frugally in California and working on paying off the house.

Sugar and Spice Baking – A social worker living in England, bakes a lot and works out a lot.

Los Rodriguez Life – A couple living in Kentucky with a bilingual blog who post on their lives, music and photography.

Piglet in Portugal  – An American posting on gardening, cooking and living in Portugal.

Happy New Year of connecting with each other through blogging. And as the Brits say Keep Calm and Carry On.

Waltzing Matilda

It has taken me, what it seems like, forever to make Pavlova.  And look I even have a tea towel from my Mom and Dad when they traveled to New Zealand in the 1990s.

Well my time came. My son took a job in Australia so I had to give it a try.

According to What’s Cooking America the Pavlova recipe started appearing after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926 and 1929. The airy dessert was created to honor the dancer who “soars as though on wings”.  There is disparity between Australia and New Zealand on who created the dessert first. They both claim it as their national dessert.

My friend Joy, whose two children have been to Australia as exchange students, has made Pavlova a lot. This is her Pavlova plate that is oven-safe and beautiful enough to serve from oven to table for presentation.

Joy made the Pavlova for Ben’s going away party. Then I made my Pavlova after the tea towel recipe

4 egg whites

Few grains of salt

3/4 C castor sugar (granulated sugar)

1/4 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade (300 degrees Farenheit). Brush the plate with melted butter and dust with cornstarch. Beat the egg whites to a foam with an electric mixer, add the salt.  Beat to a stiff foam, add 1 Tbsp of sugar at a time until form stiff peaks. Remove the beater then add the vinegar and cornstarch and blend together.

Spoon the meringue onto the plate forming a 9 inch circle.

Bake at 140 degrees C (275 degrees F) for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 120 degrees C (250 degrees F) and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.

Serve with whipped cream atop then decorate with strawberries, kiwi, mango or any fruit of choice.

Patty’s Points:

1. I let the egg whites come to room temperature before whipping. I’m not sure why my whipped egg whites weren’t full and piled high. Baking caused it  to spread out on the plate. Egg whites are sensitive to heat and humidity; that could have been the reason.

2. Cooling the Pavlova while in the oven was a perfect technique as it allowed it to cool slowly and prevent the meringue from cracking.

3. Pavlova in an egg. Okay what? Joy told me about a product where all the ingredients for Pavlova are in an egg-shaped container. Of course we are talking about dried egg whites. I found a website review of Pavlova Magic by blogger foodycat.  Joy’s Pavlova in an egg version turned out well. It piled high on the plate for a pretty presentation.

4. The taste? It was good, but then again I’m a sucker for baked egg whites. I’m obsessed with macarons remember? I skipped the whipped cream with mine but it is a fabulous addition, also adding height.

Our son has started a new chapter in his life. He is waltzing Matilda, Aussie-speak for wandering happily. It’s also the unofficial Australian national anthem. This food blog wanders happily in cooking adventures. Happy trails in cooking all.