Healthy Cooking With Tea
We all know that tea has many health benefits. It tastes good, is natural and can warm the cockles of your heart on the coldest of days. Increasingly, tea is being used as a cooking ingredient. And why not? With all the flavors available tea can only add character, texture, and dimension to a recipe. It can be used as a spice, a marinade or a tenderizer. But it can also be used to create an exotic culinary taste sensation turning an ordinary menu into a gourmet work of art. Which tea should you use? Let your palate and your preference be your guide.
APPETIZERS - Tea has its place in any course. Here is a simple recipe using smoked salmon and Green Anji tea. - - The taste of this appetizer should be surprising and complex..
GREEN ANJI SMOKED SALMON BITES -
* 5 teaspoons Geen Anji tea leaves
* 1 cup water
* 2/3 cups cream cheese
* 2 teaspoons chopped pecans
* Salt to taste
* Fresh spinach
* 1/4 cup smoked salmon
Steep Green Anji tea in water for 3 minutes then infuse. Set tea leaves aside until cooled. Finely chop leaves after cooling.
In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of tea leaves with cream cheese until smooth. Add the chopped pecans, the rest of the tea leaves and salt to taste. Mix well.
Cut spinach into strips. On each strip, add a dab of the cream cheese mixture and a small piece of the smoked salmon. Refrigerate for about an hour and serve.
Breakfast -These wonderful sweet sticky buns are perfect for a quick breakfast. The combination of Pu Erh tea, butter and honey give them a butterscotch flavor. Grab a cup of your favorite coffee and indulge a little.
Butterscotch Sweet Buns
1 cup of rolled oats
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup of Pu Erh tea, lukewarm
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp yeast
1 oz. of honey
1 oz. of olive oil
1 oz of powered milk
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 stick of butter cut in pieces
zest of 3 lemons
Brew the tea and allow it to cool until it is lukewarm. Hot tea will kill the yeast. Add the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix the oats, flour and salt in a bowl. Add the tea/yeast mixture , olive oil, dry milk and honey. Knead it into dough until it is smooth. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a towel for one hour. Using an oven proof skillet, bring the water and sugar to a boil without stirring. When golden brown, whisk in the chunks of butter until smooth. Roll the dough into a log shape and cut into 12 buns. Place the buns into the sauce in the skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.
MAIN COURSE - Chicken tastes better when cooked with tea. Here is a recipe using boneless chicken breasts halves with green tea http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/green-tea-000255.htm - The chicken is tender with Asian-type flavor. It would be great served with a fragrant rice.
TERIYAKI GREEN TEA CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons of green tea leaves
1 cup water
4 chopped green onions
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium is okay)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
Directions - Steep half the green tea leaves in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain and discard leaves. Pour tea into large skillet. Add half of the chopped onions. Stir in sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and honey. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook uncovered until the sauce is reduced to about 3/4 of a cup. Add chicken breasts and the rest of the tea leaves. Cover the skillet and cook chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. When chicken is cooked, cut it into thin slices and serve with sauce and remaining green chopped onions.
Desserts - Tea is a natural choice for dessert making. Here is a cheesecake recipe with only a little guilt. It uses Chai Spice tea http://www.chai.com/chai.html to keep it light and flavorful.
CHAI TEA LATTE CHEESECAKE -
6 Chai Spice tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 packages of fat free cream cheese (8 oz each) softened
1 graham cracker pie crust (9 in.)
Steep Chai Spice tea bags in boiling water for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine tea, cream cheese and sugar. Beat ingredients well with an electric mixer. Add eggs and mix again until smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cool in refrigerator overnight.
Being creative when cooking with tea is easy because of the variety of tea flavors available.
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