Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'TEAS' Your Food: Tea + Seasonings = Tea-sonings

One of the easiest ways to use all the tea in your pantry is to use it as a culinary ingredient. Cooking with tea is as old as its history. The ancient Chinese stuffed and steamed fish with oolong leaves; they smoked duck with tea leaves; they infused boiling water with tea leaves to poach shrimp and make marbled hard boiled eggs. There are so many creative, fun and tea-licious ways to TEAS your food. You can TEAS dressings, marinades, brines, spreads, broths, sauces, salsas, soups, etc. In my opinion, the easiest way to get started cooking with tea is to make a Tea-soning

What's a Tea-soning? Tea + seasonings = Tea-soning, a word I coined when you mix ground tea with other seasonings, spices or herbs.

To make a Tea-soning, use a grinder to finely grind loose-leaf tea. Combine the ground tea leaves with herbs, spices and/or seasonings. Don’t ever grind tea in the same grinder you grind your coffee because it will impart coffee flavors that will overpower the tea flavors. Use what is already in your pantry but be creative. Think about how flavors complement or contrast each other. For example, let's say you have a fruity green tea you want to make into a Tea-soning. Think about what would complement and contrast the fruity flavors of the tea. Although I believe that loose leaf tea is fresher and more flavorful than the tea in bags, you can use teabags. Just rip the teabag open and pour the tea out of the bag.

Below is a Tea-soning I created with our BOULDER BLUES, green tea blended with strawberry & rhubarb. Blending ingredients that complement the fruity flavors (i.e. orange and lemon peel)  with ingredients that contrast the fruitiness(i.e. Chipotle Chile pepper, cumin) create layers of complexity. I recently used this Tea-soning to tenderize and bring flavor to hamburgers. 

Visit Margaret Studer's, write for Tea-Examiner.com to find my recipe for my famous Casanova Burgers.

Ingredients: BOULDER BLUES Tea-Sonings

Yields ~ 9 TBS 

· 2 TBS BOULDER BLUES, finely ground

· 2 TBS Chipotle Chile Pepper

· 1TBS orange peel, dried

· 1 TBS lemon peel, dried

· 1 TBS salt

· 1 tsp thyme

· 1 tsp cilantro flakes

· 1 tsp cumin