This month's edition of Is My Blog Burning? is all about tea! Now, I love tea. I started drinking tea at an early age, surely because my dad would drink a mug of Red Rose tea every morning. I loved to take the teabag out of our cool little octagonal container, I loved filling up the container from a new box, and I especially loved to find the little ceramic animals that used to come in the big box of Red Rose.
When I was younger, we would go on vacation to Toronto, Canada, and we would stay at the Guild Inn (sadly closed now). I must have been 10 when we started going there. My family would have afternoon tea in their restaurant, and I would drink so much tea during our week trip that I would go through withdrawal once we got home.
Then in college, I took my first trip to London. Ah, now the British can make a good cup of tea. My first fancy high tea (silver teapots, endless sandwiches, little pastries) was at Harrods, and boy did I have alot of sugar and caffeine that day! Dave and I have been to London many times since, and still like to stop by Harrods for a fancy high tea. But tea is so much a part of the culture there, I just love it. I love the ritual of tea, especially loose leaf tea. Sometimes you'll use a teaball, sometimes you get a little seive that you use when pouring tea from a teapot to your cup to catch the leaves.
My favorite tea spot stateside... Tealuxe of course. Tealuxe is in Harvard Square, and there is nothing I like more than sitting with Dave at one of the counter seats overlooking Origins and the Coop, people watching and enjoying an iced tea or a hot tea. (Boy, thank goodness we're going to Boston this weekend, I've made myself so nostalgic!). I'll take some pictures of Tealuxe and post them once we get back home, you'll see why I like it so much.
Tea drinkers are a special breed. Coffee gets you wired more quickly, usually you're grabbing a cup to keep you awake, a quick energy burst, breakfast from your local doughnut place (with a doughnut for dunking). Tea is for enjoying with friends, for winding down at the end of the day. Tea matches well with food, whether the tea is hot or iced. Tea has been enjoyed for many years by so many different cultures, from tea ceremonies in Japan to mint tea at the end of a Moroccan meal. Brewing loose tea in a clear mug or pot is a beautiful sight, the tea leaves blooming before your eyes.
I'm a black tea drinker myself, with milk and sugar please. I love to buy herbal teas as well, and tend to enjoy them more iced. And I am starting to drink more green and white tea, no milk in those! When I saw this edition of IMBB, how could I resist? Would I make ganache for truffles and infuse it with chai tea? Would I make some tea-smoked tofu? Would I make a pavlova with earl grey whipped cream and berries? So many options!
I happened to be looking at Chika's site, She Who Eats, and saw that she had made some tea gelatin. Now, that's a perfect idea! It's hot out, so I wouldn't need to bake. And it's a healthy treat (keeps me from taste-testing chai truffles after getting home from the gym... not a terrible thing, mind you, but defeats the workout a bit). I had received some delicious tea from Adagio, and this little tin of Yunnan Jig was just waiting to be used. So I took out some unsweetened gelatin, and worked up a recipe. The amounts can easily be multiplied, though the amount of tea could vary. Basically, the guidelines are 1t. tea/cup. Use more or less tea, and sugar, to taste.
Thanks to Dave, my highly skilled (and much loved) photographer.
And thanks to Clement over at A La Cuisine for hosting this month's IMBB event.
Iced Tea Gelatin
2 envelopes unsweetened gelatin
3 C. H20
3t. tea (or 3 teabags) - I used Adagio's Yunnan Jig
6T sugar (or to taste)
Heat up 2 c. of the water, pour into a medium sized bowl, and brew your tea. When it's reached the strength you desire, remove the tea or tea bags and dissolve your sugar in the tea. Let the tea cool. Keep in mind the tea will be diluted by an additional cup of water, so brew it a little stronger than if you were drinking straight. (Of course, if you had one of these very cool teapots from Adagio, you could brew your tea in it and then pour into a bowl to cool. One of these days I'm going to pick up that teapot!)
Once the tea is cool, sprinkle (rain) the gelatin onto the tea and let hydrate for at least 10 minutes. Then, bring the last cup of water to a boil, pour over the tea/gelatin mixture, and stir to dissolve the gelatin completely. Either pour the gelatin mixture into individual cups or leave in the bowl. Refrigerate until firm, at least a few hours or overnight.
To serve, add a garnish to the individual cups, thin lemon slices are perfect, as would be a sprig of mint. If you chose to refrigerate your gelatin in a bowl, you can scoop the mixture into glasses and garnish, as I did.