Prunes with tea

Feb 16

The Zuni Cafe cookbook has a recipe for prunes steeped in tea that I gave a try the other day and although the pictures I took are the worst, the prunes themselves are absolutely delicious.  Prunes do not photograph well.  If you try this recipe and take a picture of it to share with your friends (or us), you will see.  I always wrote off prunes as old people food.  I grouped them with bran muffins, and I'm regretting that a little bit right now.  These turned out fantastic and I have been eating a few in the morning along with breakfast, but I am sure they could be used in countless desserts.  I also tried this with dried figs and they are also mouthwateringly good.

Recipe for Prunes with Tea

2 cups of 180*F water

6 teaspoons of Foxfire Teas Golden Yunnan black tea

3 tsp of sugar

4 thin slices of lemon peel

1 pound of prunes, (I used pitted)

*I also split the recipe between 1/2lb prunes and 1/2lb figs


1. Steep tea for 8 minutes

2. Strain into a container that you can easily pour from or use 16oz teapot and remove tea basket

3. Add sugar, stir to dissolve

4. Let tea cool until it reaches 100*F (we added a few ice cubes to speed up the process)

5. Place prunes in 1 or 2 jars, packed loosely, add lemon peel to each jar and fill with steeped tea

6. Let cool completely and refrigerate

7. Eat!

Next up Apricots with Tea!

World Famous Mulled Hibiscus Flowers

Dec 02

 From the December 2011 newsletter

Ok, so maybe it is not officially world famous, but I like the way it sounds and it will be very soon. I made this recipe the other night and I was really impressed with how it turned out. horn tooted. I enjoy mulled cider and mulled wine, but recently I have been wanting to mix things up a bit and this is what I came up with.

1oz Hibiscus Flowers

2 Cinnamon Stcks

4 Star Anise

4 Whole Clove

1 Apple, sliced

1 Pear, sliced

2 Oranges, cut in half

Agave or sugar to sweeten

8 cups of filtered water



1. In a cheese cloth, add hibiscus, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves; tie it up.  Alternatively, buy that same prepackage of goodies in a muslin bag from us.

2. Add water to sauce pan and bring to medium heat, add tea and spice pack, apple, oranges and pear to water

3. Reduce heat to simmer and let it do its thing for 1-3 hrs.  It should be ready after 1 hr, but more time = more flavor

4. Sweeten to taste

*tip: add delicious apples and pears to a bowl of vanilla ice cream or save for adding to oatmeal

Bon Appetit OCT 2011-Update

Oct 14

 10-14-11:  I made the Yogurt & Matcha Swirl with Mango (recipe in previous post) this morning for breakfast and it was really good.  I was a touch worried about it being to sweet, so I cut back on the white chocolate and increased the yogurt.  Yum Yum!  I would also try this with bananas, because I think that matcha and bananas work magically together.  We haven't gotten to the halibut recipe yet, but maybe sometime soon.

Smoky Udon with Asian Shrimp

Oct 12

So the whole idea behind this recipe was to poach the shrimp in a broth made of lapsang souchong so they would get all smoky and delicious, but of course the shrimp cooked in like 30 seconds and barely imparting the delicious smoky flavor I was looking for.  Plan B.  Might as well warm the udon noodles up in the broth and see if they hang on to any of the smoky goodness.  They did and this meal was mouthwateringly scrumptious.  

* I very rarely measure when I cook and this time was no exception



sweet soy sauce



coconut vinegar


1 serrano

knob of grated ginger

1 garlic clove, grated

equal parts of these ingredients and then adjusting to taste.  It tastes a bit strong and that's ok.  Whisk all the ingredients and simmer on stovetop until reduced (becomes somewhat thicker). 


We get fresh udon noodles from our grocery store in packs of two.


Make a 36 oz pot of lapsang souchong tea (6 tsp, steep for 5 minutes).  Add infused tea to a stock pot and salt and pepper to taste.  


16-20 shrimp

Butterfly the peeled raw shrimp

Putting it all together:

Sauce is getting thicker, check.  Broth is just below a boil, check. Shrimp and udon noodles are ready, check.

Place shrimp in broth and cook until pink, it took me about 30 seconds, which when I make this again, I would pull them out then instead of being stubborn and sticking to my plan of 1 1/2 minutes.  Remove and place in sauce pan and toss to coat.  Turn off heat to broth and add fresh udon noodles and let them hang out for 2-3 minutes.

Remove noodles and place in 2 bowls.  Top noodles with coated shrimp and some sauce.  Cut some green onions up on the diagonal, add those and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.  Bing bang bong. Go Eat!

Bon Appetit OCT 2011

Oct 06


We have been subscribing to Bon Appetit magazine since Gourmet couldn't hack it anymore and I actually like BA a lot more than Gourmet.  It is well-rounded in terms of recipes, stories and education about food, which I really appreciate because I love learning more and more about food.  In the latest October 2011 issue, The Home Entertaining Issue, they have a few page spread on Matcha and how healthy it is for you.  But they don't stop there.  It also gets into how terrific this powdered Japanese green tea is to cook and bake with.  There are a few accompanying recipes like a Yogurt & Matcha Swirl with Mango and a Matcha & Pistachio-Crusted Halibut from some acclaimed chefs.  We haven't had the time to make these recipes yet, but plan on changing that very soon and I will let you guys know how it was for our tastebuds.  

Seeing this article in Bon Appetit made me very happy as a tea business owner because it is nice to see tea being used in the culinary world.  I cook with tea fairly often and it doesn't have to be with halibut, it could be as easy as replacing water with tea when making rice, or maybe even brining a pork tenderloin with some smoky lapsang souchong.  Don't have any chicken broth, but want to make risotto, just replace it with a steeped tea instead.  The options are endless as soon as you start imagining tea as a spice as well as the 2nd most popular beverage in the world next to water.  If you don't know what to add to that recipe, I say throw some tea in it.

Tea is Fun!


Fruit smoothie with matcha

Aug 11


We just got a new blender that blends and blends and blends.  That's what a blender is supposed to do, but not all blenders are created equally, so we are very happy that our new blender is committed to its job.  Now that we have a blender that is nice, I feel as if I should probably blend just about everything.  I find myself looking around the kitchen at certain items saying to myself " I could blend that".  Today I blended some normal and obvious things together and it is delicious.  

Frozen raspberries

matcha- powdered Japanese green tea

maca root- Which is apparently a super nutrient

plain yogurt

a couple tsp of protein powder


After these ingredients are blended up for a few minutes, it makes for a creamy and delicious mid-morning snack and has the added pick-me-up from the matcha.

Blend on-


Black Currant Watermelon Juice

Aug 04
I made some black currant iced tea yesterday and was at the same time staring at a giant watermelon on my kitchen table, so I thought I should probably put those 2 together in a blender and make myself a frothy black currant, watermelon and mint juice.  I would have to say that it was pretty tasty. I made about a 1/2 pint of iced tea, sliced up some watermelon, added some mint leaves and 4 ice cubes and blended for a minute or so.  Yum.  Next time I might just replace the mint with some basil and maybe even add a chunk of jalapeno in as well.


Manilla Green Tea Steamers

Jun 28

So Katherine and I joined some friends up at Potlach State Park along the Hood Canal in Washington for a little sun, relaxing and some serious manilla clam digging.  We were successful and here is a recipe that we made last night.  * My friend Paul made us his version the night before and it had straight white wine and bacon and it was very, very good.  I needed to try it with tea though.  

20 manilla clams (could have eaten double)

shallot, diced

sage, thyme and oregano, minced

2-3 british knobs of butter, knobbed

3 splashes of sherry

1/2 cup white wine

10 ounces of Teng Chong Hui Long Zhai or any other unflavored green tea, already steeped

Crusty bread for dipping, we used a garlic romano from New Seasons

S & P to taste

Over medium heat, gently soften the shallots in a knob or 2 of butter, then add the herbs and saute for a touch longer.  Now it is time to add the tea, sherry and white wine. Bring to a very gently boil and add the clams for about 2 minutes or until they spread their wings.  Salt and pepper to taste and maybe add that last knob of butter, we did.  Place in a big bowl and dip crusty bread in it and enjoy.

* Next time I would add diced bacon to the mix or a little pancetta or even some chorizo to add more depth.  A couple of italian sausage chunks would be delightful as well.

Hibiscus Margarita

Jun 22

Last night was beautiful here in p-town and it warranted a tasty margarita to satisfy my palate.  I had some leftover hibiscus iced tea, so I added to a glass of ice, about 1.5oz of tequila, a freshly squeezed lime, a splash of cointreau, and about half a glass of hibiscus.  Yum Yum!  If I had a blender that was half decent, I would have blended it up real good to make it a bit more frothy.  I think it also would be good with some ginger beer for a touch of spice to balance out the tart hibiscus and the sweeter cointreau.

How to make kombucha

Jun 17

1. Clean and sterilize the 1 gallon wide mouth glass jar (I use iodine and hot water) 
2. Place 2 quarts of filtered water in a stock pot and bring to a boil 
3. When water comes to a boil, add 1 ounce of loose leaf tea and 1 cup of sugar; stir until sugar is dissolved 
4. Turn burner off and let tea steep for 15 minutes 
5. Pour tea mixture through a fine mesh strainer into 1 gallon wide mouth glass jar and let cool for a few hours 
6. Fill remainder of jar with filtered water leaving about 2 inches of room available 
7. Make sure tea mixture is at room temperature and then place SCOBY and at least 1 cup of kombucha starter (the liquid the SCOBY is residing in) 
8. Cover with cheese cloth, tightening with a rubber band 
9. Place covered jar in a warm spot (60-70 degrees F) and out of the sunlight for 7-10 days and potentially longer to reach desired taste, but taste after 7 days. A lot of people like to just keep it in the kitchen or put it in a closet. 
10. After it reaches desired taste, remove SCOBY (it should have doubled and will look like 2 pancakes on top of each other) with some tongs and place in a quart jar. Fill quart jar with the kombucha you just made, cover with cheese cloth and put in refrigerator until you want to start the next batch. You want the SCOBY to be fully covered with kombucha liquid. 
11. Fill sanitized bottles almost to the top, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space 
12. Screw the cap on and place at room temperature for a few more days to become more carbonated 
13. Drink and enjoy! Remember to start off slowly only drinking 3 oz a day, gradually increasing your consumption. Most kombucha drinkers consume 8-24oz per day 

 A few tips and ideas: I like to make some interesting combinations to switch things up a bit. Get creative, it probably always won't be the best thing you have ever tasted, but you never know. 

 * I have made some pu-erh kombucha, but during the steeping period I will crush up some cardamom pods and add them to the tea to create a more savory kombucha 

 * Silver needle white tea with fresh thyme. I then mixed this with some vodka and champagne for a nice kombucha cocktail. 

 *TIP- this is a very helpful tip that I just discovered a few weeks ago. If the temperature in your house isn't warm enough, place the gallon jar of kombucha on a seed starter warming mat. It kicked my kombucha action into gear big time. I had a nice sized scoby in just a few days.

Updated Lapsang Brined Chicken

Jun 14

So the chicken turned out really well after I roasted it for about an hour at 450*F.  The mashed potatoes became more of smashed potatoes, which worked out perfectly.  The morel gravy I am still having beautiful dreams about.  I could drink glasses of it.  All I did was slow saute the chopped morels with some onions, a bit of garlic and a sprinkling of thyme.  Cooked them until they were soft and the chicken was done.  While the chicken was taking a nap, I stole its tasty juices and added them to the morel pan.  I added some flour and a bit more water and like magic, gravy happened.  I don't have an exact recipe because I didn't use a recipe and I forgot to write one down.  This is primarily how I tend to cook, so this is how most of the posts will be like.  I think substituting chanterelles when they are in season would also be a great way to go.  

Lapsang Souchong Brined Chicken

Jun 09

Last night I started a brine based loosely on a recipe out of the Charcuterie cookbook, and when I say loosely I guess I just referenced it to see how much sugar and salt to add and how long to let everything hang out.  The chicken I used was a whole chicken and I decided to brine it with ingredients that I had around the house.  So what did I have around the house?  Lemons, sage, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, lapsang souchong black tea, thyme, bay leaf, sugar and salt.  I let this wonderful mixture brine over night and then I drained and patted dry and let sit uncovered in the fridge for the day.  I'll update tomorrow on how the roasting went, but the plan is to do some sort of roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and a morel gravy (using these morels from a weekend foraging/fishing trip along the Green Ridge and the Metolius River).  I'll try and put together a recipe soon if it turns out real nice.  I think the smokiness of the lapsang combined with the mushroom gravy should be lights out.  Tea is fun and fun to cook with.

Morning Glory Whiskey

May 24

So this is my first attempt at infusing some rye whiskey with some of our teas and herbal infusions.  I'm a fan of the old fashioned and all of its cinnamon goodness, so I thought that our most cinnamon forward herbal infusion might make a nice infusion.  I added 6 heaping tsp of morning glory to a pint glass filled with Jim Beam Rye Whiskey (very good rye for $14), lidded it and let it sit for 2 days.  Cocktail time came and I made this.

2.5oz of morning glory infused rye whiskey

dash of old fashioned bitters


Put all that shake weight practice to good use and shake it real good

Fill a glass with ice, add an olive, pour whiskey infusion about three quarters and top off with some ginger beer, stir.

So as you can see I decided not to make an old fashioned this time, but a twist on another one of my favorites, the Jim Ginger.  It was pretty good.  You definitely need to be having a love affair with cinnamon and licorice, but as the drink emptied I was actually really enjoying it.  Next time I think that I might only infuse it for a few hours instead of 2 days to have a little less of a cinnamon and licorice parade.

Infusing liquors with tea seems to be very easy and quite fun.  I have some more ideas. Do you?

Pea and Radish Crostini with Lapsang Souchong and Matcha Salt

May 13

 * this was from the April Newsletter

Katherine and I had some friends over the other night for dinner and we made this delicious spring appetizer.  

Pea and Radish Crostini with Lapsang Souchong and Matcha Salt

2 cups peas, thawed (we used frozen)

6-8 radishes, sliced wafer thin

3 garlic cloves, 2 minced and 1 cut in half

olive oil

1 baguette from Little T, sliced

lapsang souchong salt

matcha salt

pecorino romano or any other hard shaveable cheese


In a medium skillet, heat some olive oil and saute minced garlic for a few minutes.  Add peas and saute for a few more minutes.  Meanwhile, toast baguette slices until crunchy. Toss peas and garlic into a food processor with a touch more olive oil and whiz until desired smoothness.  Remove to bowl.  Cut extra garlic clove in half and rub twice over toasted baguette slices.  Scoop some pea puree onto bread, place a little cheese on top, put 2 radish slices on the cheese and sprinkle tea salt on that.  Eat and enjoy!

Tea Salts

add 4 tsp lapsang souchong black tea (slightly crushed in mortar and pestle) or 1 tsp ceremonial matcha or matcha for cooking to a 1/8c of finishing salt (we get ours at the Meadow) and toss until mixed well.


I haven't tried it, but adding some fava beans and mint would be nice or maybe a little lemon juice and lemon zest would brighten it up a bit.

Open Faced Lox Sandwich with Lapsang Souchong Salt

May 05


Oh how I love this light dinner.  Smoked Salmon on some Little T whole grain/sourdough bread. The lapsang souchong adds additional smokiness to the open faced dream come true.  I think some red onion and some homemade mustard would also be nice instead of the cream cheese.


Smoked Salmon (lox)

Little T Whole Grain Bread

Hard boiled egg

Butter or cream cheese or both

Black pepper

Micro greens

lapsang souchong salt 


Assemble however you choose and find a nice spot in the sun and enjoy.

The Dandy Hamdelion Pizza with Lapsang Souchong Caramelized Red Onions

Apr 06


Store bought pizza dough (we use New Seasons)

Pizza Sauce- we used homemade, but Eden makes a good one

Fresh mozzarella



6 slices of ham (we used nieman ranch, sliced thin)

3/4 of red onion sliced thin

5 tsp balsamic vinegar

3 tsp of tea seed oil

1 tsp freshly ground lapsang souchong

dandelion greens

lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (don’t forget to put your ceramic pizza stone in if you have one); roll out your pizza dough; add onions to saute pan with a splash of tea seed oil and saute over medium heat until they become soft and limber; add the lapsang souchong and cook a bit longer; now add 3 tsp of balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 minutes; take out pizza stone and put dough on it; spread the sauce on and top your pizza with fresh mozzarella, shredded fontina, ham, smokey balsamic onions, some more fontina and parmesan (obviously you can be as liberal with the cheese as you please, it’s your pizza); looks good right; now place that extremely attractive pizza in the oven for roughly 12 minutes (stay close and keep an eye on it, every oven is different); while the pizza is cooking, chop up the dandelion greens and dress them it a pretty little pink dress, oh wait, no don’t do that. Dress them with 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp of tea seed oil, pinch of salt and pepper and the zest of a ½ lemon; let sit; remove pizza when done and top with dandelion greens; slice and serve.

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