Apr 262011
Tea with a Twist: Entertaining and Cooking with TeaGreetings! I’m on the hunt for the perfect recipe for my next newsletter. I’ve been looking for a recipe that would incorporate something from my tea cabinet (yes folks – it is an entire cabinet). I’ve shared recipes for sweet treats, starters and side dishes – all served with my favorite teas. This time I wanted to find a recipe that incorporates the tea into the recipe. I’ve been playing around with my own recipes and poking through my cookbooks for inspiration.

Low and behold – while wandering through my favorite Made in Oregon store I found the perfect book. Tea with a Twist: Entertaining and Cooking with Tea by Lisa Boalt Richardson came out in 2009 but it’s taken me until last week to find it. Clearly I need to get out more.

This informative and beautifully photographed cook book is a collection of recipes and ideas that celebrate the use of tea as an ingredient to the recipe itself. Organized by tea party themes – from the Flower Power Tea Party to the All About Chocolate Tea Party and more. Also included are basic recipes for sweet and savory scones and the basics of brewing a pot of hot tea and iced tea. The stage for each theme is set with a charming introduction by Lisa followed by the menu and recipes for that theme. The accompanying photographs will have you making a grocery list in no time at all.

Which to try first? I think I’ll start with the recipes from the Southern Tailgate Tea Party.  Lisa has a recipe for Smokey Tea First Down Barbeque and another for Touchdown Tea Infused Pecan Brittle – both are calling my name!

Apr 262011
The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook: A Guide to the World's Best TeasLooking for a good book to learn more about tea? My most recent favorite is The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook – A Guide to Enjoying the World’s Best Teas.  

I received this book as a gift recently and have been enjoying it immensely. Written by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss this book is a useful guide to the teas and tea growing regions of the world. The reader is taken on a journey from the growing of the Camellia sinesis bush, through harvesting practices, the handling and processing of the tea leaves, purchasing the tea leaves, proper storage and enjoying of the finished tea.

The authors cover in some depth – the unique characteristics of the six classes of tea:

  • Green Tea
  • Yellow Tea
  • White Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Black Tea
  • Pu-erh Tea

Not included in the scope of this guide are herbal teas, infusions or tisanes. The authors commenting – “Many of these beverages are delicious and refreshing, but they lie outside the scope of our book and we leave the discussion of them to others”.

I particularly enjoyed the photographs of the finished tea leaves alongside the cup of tea made from that leaf within the discussion of each type of tea included in this well written book. Tea enthusiasts will also appreciate the glossary of terms included at the back of the book.

All in all – I find The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook to be a great read – and the perfect gift for the tea enthusiast.