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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Try Cooking with Tea for Nuanced Flavors

Try Cooking with Tea for Nuanced Flavors

The chilly temps of Autumn have us sipping steaming cups of hot tea while spending more time looking for new recipe inspirations.  When we started wondering about cooking with tea we consulted local experts and CT friends at  Leaf & Ardor Tea Co. to get the skinny. They sparked our imagination by showing us that cooking with tea opens the door to distinctive twists on classic dishes. And it’s a bonus that these methods provide yet another way to reap tea’s health benefits too.

We were really surprised and tickled to consider their super creative ideas!

“For us, food and ingredient pairings with our teas are always top of mind,” says Cristina Copersino of Leaf & Ardor. “We want to provide people with new and modern ways to use our teas and herbal blends for a full culinary and sensory experience. Cooking with tea adds a depth of flavor that is hard to replicate with other ingredients.”

Harvest Brew

Here are some key tips she says to keep in mind:

Use loose-leaf tea for greater versatility. The leaves themselves are edible so you can use them as dried herbs in things like marinades or rubs. Cristina emphasizes that green tea can be very tasty atop salads or rice. NOTE that spices like whole cloves are often added to teas and are not edible.

When using in a rub or marinade, be sure to grind the leaves finely with a mortar and pestle or grinder.

A tea infuser or infuser teapot can be especially helpful in preparing loose-leaf tea, but a fine-mesh strainer will also do the trick.

Substitute tea for water or stock in a recipe to give steamed fish, veggies, soups and noodles an extra dash of flavor. You can also infuse tea into liquids like coconut milk, simple syrup, or even vinegar for a dressing. All you have to do is steep it in the liquid until you reach the desired flavor strength.

Powdered Matcha Green Tea is particularly versatile (and super healthy!) and can be added to smoothies, baked goods and seasoning.

Smoked tea adds a whole new dimension to dishes, especially chicken or salmon. And it’s not as hard as it seems: wet the tea leaves (we recommend black tea) and use them just like you would as mesquite chips on the grill.

For indoor smoking, line a wok with foil and throw in the tea leaves and some brown sugar (helps speed up the process) and heat until it smokes. Put the chicken/salmon, etc. on top of it sitting on a cooling rack and cover with foil so it can absorb the flavorful smokiness of the tea.

 

And when it comes to flavor pairing, these gals have it down. “We try to use seasonal ingredients whenever possible – it makes the dishes taste better and allows us to source locally” says Cristina.

Heaven and Earth_Tea Leaves

And this is exactly what they had in mind when offering the recipes below. “Rich, chestnut colors” abound in their Heaven & Earth Quinoa, which is dotted with chopped pistachios.

Pair it with their Roasted chicken and Mushroom-Apple stuffing with Maple-Balsamic Glaze using their Harvest Brew tea full of comforting, autumnal warming spices and you’ve got the perfect seasonal meal.

Scroll to the two next posts to find these recipes.

Other fantastic flavor pairings include mint tea with fresh greens and cucumber, English Breakfast tea with fresh berries and basil, and Masala Chai with banana and almond.

 

Thank you to both Cristina Copersino and Connie Pappas of Fairfield, CT’s Leaf & Ardor Co. for their delectable contribution!

Read more about Leaf & Ardor on their website: http://leafandardor.com

You can buy their teas right on their site or select ones at various local retailers here.  Also, be sure to check out their seasonal gift boxes. For Kosher Like Me readers only, enjoy FREE shipping on online orders of $35 or more using the checkout code “COOKWITHTEA”!

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