Posts Tagged ‘tea’

by Caitlin Saniga

Pomegranate orange peel tea with gingered honey

The timing of this month’s guide couldn’t be more perfect. I’ve been battling a cold since Christmas Day, and although the worst of it is over, I can tell you for a fact that this tea soothes an uneasy stomach and encourages stuffy nasal cavities to loosen up. Ginger and honey are classic remedies for upset stomach and sore throats, respectively, and the benefits of orange and pomegranate peels were new news to me. Both are high in vitamin C and calcium. Orange peel tea has been used to treat heartburn and indigestion, and pomegranate peel tea has been used to soothe sore throats. One thing to keep in mind when purchasing your fruit for this tea: Organic is absolutely best, as peels touched by chemicals tend to absorb those chemicals.


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by Sarah Steimer

Chamomile honey whiskeys

You could probably consider this to be a tea cocktail, but this tea IS made of merely dried flowers! I prefer to use loose, dried chamomile flowers in my teas because the flavor comes across as far more floral and less herbal than the tea bags. This is the perfect light, refreshing cocktail for a hot summer afternoon.


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by Caitlin Saniga

Rose iced tea

I was so happily surprised by this tea, and so were the guests at a recent brunch at my mom’s house. Some were a bit skeptical of the strong rose fragrance of the tea, but the flavor is more delicate. Sipping on this tea is like drinking a rose! Rose water is popular in Middle Eastern recipes. Look for it at natural food stores, the ethnic food section of your grocery store or online. I picked up a bottle at Fairway in New York City, but before that, I’d been shopping around on Amazon and found some decent offerings.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey (or to taste)
  • 5 single black tea bags
  • 1 cup rose water
  • 2 trays of ice cubes
  • Rose stems and mint sprigs for garnish

I froze rose petals in the ice cubes I used. If you decide to do the same, some tips: Fill the ice cube trays about halfway with water, add one or two petals to each slot, freeze, and then fill to the top with cold water. Freeze the cubes the rest of the way. This ensures that the petals don’t float to the top and become disconnected.

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Stir in the honey.

Remove the pot from heat, and add the tea bags. Let the tea steep about 10 minutes.

Remove the tea bags, and store the tea in the fridge for about 1 hour, or until it is mostly chilled. Add the rose water and ice cubes. Serve immediately in chilled glasses, garnished with rose stems and mint sprigs.

Makes about 10 servings.


Thai lemongrass and ginger iced tea

by Sarah Steimer

Caitlin went Middle Eastern – and I went Far East. My iced tea also has an ingredient you’ll have to make a little effort searching for: fresh lemongrass. Head to the Asian market! Lucky for me, there’s a whole Asian food district off the Argyle stop on the Red Line, only blocks from my apartment. I would also bet you could find this at a good produce market or ethnic grocery store.

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
  • 1 small knob ginger – about an inch and a half – sliced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups brewed black tea using two tea bags or two heaping teaspoons loose black tea (I used Darjeeling)

Using the butt of a knife, pound the lemongrass until lightly bruised. Slice into thin pieces – it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Keep the lemongrass-ginger syrup you don’t use! I have the rest of mine in the refrigerator for iced tea later this week. I’ll just have to make more black tea each time. In all, I probably made enough syrup for eight to 10 glasses of iced tea.

Add the lemongrass and sliced ginger to the six cups of water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and let stand, covered, for 20 more minutes.

Strain the lemongrass and ginger from the water – which at this point is a watery, flavored simple syrup.

Fill half of each glass with the tea, then the rest with the lemongrass-ginger syrup, leaving room for ice. Mix and serve with a stalk of lemongrass (the green parts you didn’t use).

Makes four servings.

Recipe from: Appetite for China

Alfresco Refreshed is our spin on four traditional picnic staples: fruit salad, potato salad, iced tea and hamburgers. You can find all the recipes here.

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by Sarah Steimer

You can make these tea bag-shaped cookies with a regular shortbread recipe, or try Caitlin’s orange shortbread recipe (it’s delicious with chocolate).

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha (Japanese green tea powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Whisk together the flour, matcha and sea salt in a small or medium bowl.

I made these specifically for Mother’s Day. Sure, not all moms love tea – but you’ve got one weird-o mom if she doesn’t love chocolate. Or gifts from her offspring.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer in a larger bowl, then add the sugar and whip until fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture a little at a time until the dough forms into a ball.

Place the dough, flattened, between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to about an 1/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove a teabag from its wrapper and trace its outline on a thick piece of paper. Cut out to use as a stencil.

Trace the teabag stencil on the dough using a sharp knife. Remove the excess dough to re-roll and refrigerate again for the next batch. Use a straw to poke a hole at the top of your tea bag cookies.

Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Allow the cookies to cool a little on the sheet before placing on a cooling rack.

Once all the cookies have fully cooled, melt the chocolate over a double-boiler (this is a metal or glass bowl placed over a pot of simmering water). Dip just the bottom one-third or one-half of the cookie in the chocolate (I only did the front). Place on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Once the sheet is filled, pop in the freezer to let the

I was trying to find a stamp of a teapot or teacup for my tags, or even the letter “M” for mom. Had to settle with a rose instead. You could also print out an image for your tags of, say, your face.

chocolate set.

When ready, loop the string with your personalized tag onto the cookies. Serve in a teacup – so no one mistakes them for large sales tags.

Recipe adapted from: Ice Cream Before Dinner

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by Sarah Steimer

One batch of biscotti will take care of breakfast for about two or three weeks - provided you only eat about two each day.

  •  2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or whatever chocolate you have lying around – chop it up)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

    I tried to make these at least a bit healthy with the flax and cranberries, but you can gussy them up just about any way you would like. Just follow the basic recipe up to the last three ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flaxseed, chocolate and cranberries, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Divide the dough in half. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet – I was able to fit both on one, you may need to use two sheets. Form the two pieces of dough into logs that are about 3 to 4 inches wide and about 3/4-inch thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (rotating halfway through), or until the dough is firm but gives slightly when pressed. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can touch the dough comfortably.

Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch slices. Lay these pieces flat (cut-side down) back on the lined cookie sheet(s). Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the biscotti is crisp and golden. The dough may still be a little soft to the touch, but they firm up completely when cooled.

Store in an airtight container – they should stay for up to 3 months if frozen.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Food

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by Sarah Steimer

Treat yo'self*

  •  2 cups apple cider
  • 2 tea bags – choose something mild, such as rooibos
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 shots of bourbon or whiskey
  • water

Fill two glasses with 1 cup of cider each. Bring your water to a boil on the stove, then let it sit for about a minute (don’t want to burn the tea). Add the water and a tea bag to the cider. Distribute the 1 tablespoon of honey and two shots between the glasses.

Garnish with a thin slice of apple, cut width-wise so you can see the seed star. You could also try rimming the glass with sugar and cinnamon for an extra kick.

Makes two glasses, served hot.


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by Sarah Steimer

If I have a choice, I choose loose tea. Allowing your tea to be free releases more of its benefits.

For the bread:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup prepared chai tea*
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour

Cream together sugar and butter.  Beat in eggs, tea, milk and vanilla on low speed until well combined.  Slowly add the baking powder, salt and flour.  Stir until just moistened.  Pour into one prepared loaf pan or three prepared mini loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack before glazing.

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • – 5 teaspoons prepared chai tea

Combine sugar and vanilla. Stir in the tea until you reach a desired consistency (I went with thick but runny). Pour over loaf.

Makes one regular loaf or three mini loaves.

Recipe adapted from: The Jey of Cooking

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*I used chai tea from Tupelo Honey Teas, based in Pittsburgh. Danielle hand-blends wonderful teas, many of which are organic. I highly recommend stopping to see her at the Pittsburgh Public Market. Otherwise, you can order her tea online — I have now that I’ve moved! Gotta stay loyal.

Chai tea facts

-Good for: Digestion and nausea. Black pepper in chai stimulates the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid required for breaking down food, fennel inhibits bacteria that cause gas and cloves refresh the mouth and throat. Black tea (the base for chai) and cinnamon contain antioxidants and ginger is a nausea remedy that soothes the stomach, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.

-Origins: Chai is actually the Hindi word for tea and is more accurately called “masala chai” or spiced tea. There are numerous types of chai tea and no set recipe, although it is most commonly steeped in boiling water with steamed milk added. Chai is a very commonly found beverage in India and is traditionally served after meals.

-Taste: It varies, but chai usually has a black tea base with spices that include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn and cloves. Because of the spices, the smell and taste of the tea has an autumn or winter comparison-flavor comparison.

Sources: Livestrong and Tea Genius

**Throughout May, “Strange Brew” will feature tea-based recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Caitlin Saniga

You can smell the chamomile in this dish more than you can taste it, and I like this recipe because chamomile truly is the star. The flavors are so simple. I'd definitely recommend this dish for kids. Aaaand, Eddie said he thinks salmon would make a good substitute for the chicken. He would know. I wouldn't.

  • 3 chamomile tea bags
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 pound shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup diced red peppers (from 1 small pepper)
  • 1/2 cup diced green peppers (from 1 small pepper)
  • parsley for garnish

Steep the tea bags in the vinegar for 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid before discarding the bags. Mix in the mayonnaise and tarragon, and chill.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the chicken until it is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Shred the chicken. Combine the chicken, pasta, peppers and dressing in a large bowl. Toss and chill.

Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from: Celestial Seasonings Cookbook

Photos: Caitlin Saniga

Chamomile facts

-Good for: Boosting the immune system and relieving muscle spasms and menstrual cramps. Chamomile’s active ingredient bisabolol has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

-Origins: Chamomile is an herb that comes from a flowering plant in the daisy family and is most commonly grown in Europe and parts of Asia. Even in ancient Egypt, chamomile tea was used as a remedy for colds. Romans enjoyed it as the herb in beverage form and as an incense.

-Taste: Chamomile has a floral and fruity aroma (some say it smells like apples), and when served as a beverage, is good with honey.

Sources: TeaBenefits.com and Adagio.com 

*Throughout May, “Strange Brew” will feature tea-based recipes — all of which can be found here.

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by Sarah Steimer

Rooibos couscous on a coffee-themed teatowel.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3-4 teaspoons of Rooibos
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • about 10 fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Make tea with the water and Rooibos.  Put the tea in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in couscous and onions.

In the meantime, steam the carrots and beans until tender. Cut the chicken into pieces (whatever size you like) and saute in a pan with oil, seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir together all ingredients and serve. You don’t get a very strong Rooibos taste in the couscous, but you still get the benefits. And it turns the white-ish couscous a really cool rust color.

Makes about two servings (as a main dish).

Recipe adapted from: Tea Chef

Photo: Sarah Steimer

Rooibos (aka Red Bush) facts

-Good for: Allergies and skin. Rooibos contains the bioflavonoids Rutin and Quercetin that help block allergy-causing histamines inside your body. It also has alpha hydroxy acid and zinc, which can help your skin if you have acne, eczema and sunburn (you can even apply it directly to the skin).

-Origins: Rooibos comes from a plant grown in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The leaves are green but turn red when oxidized. South Africans prefer to drink their Rooibos with milk and sugar.

-Taste: Rooibos has a very earthy taste, but is not very strong. It is usually sold by itself or mixed with flavors, most commonly with vanilla.

Sources: Teavana and Natural Health Remedies

*Throughout May, “Strange Brew” will feature tea-based recipes — all of which can be found here.

This recipe appeared in Seasonal Sundays (RealSustenance.com).

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by Caitlin Saniga

Darjeeling tea is an Indian black tea with a fruity, floral, slightly musky scent. The Darjeeling tea in this recipe adds more of an aroma than a flavor. I suggest squeezing fresh lime juice over the potatoes for extra zinggggg.

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons loose-leaf Darjeeling tea leaves
  • lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and stir to coat. Add the lime zest and salt. Crumble the tea with your fingers, crushing it as you sprinkle it over the potatoes. Stir well to distribute the tea and spices.

Spread the potatoes in prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, the stir. Bake for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are just slightly firm in the center. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pass lime wedges alongside.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

Darjeeling (aka ‘the champagne of teas’) facts

-Good for: Relaxation. Darjeeling tea leaves contain the amino acid L-theanine, which reduces physical and mental stress. The tea also contains high levels of antioxidants that fight disease and free radical damage.

-Origins: Darjeeling tea is produced exclusively in Darjeeling, India, and was first grown by an Indian Medical Services surgeon.

-Taste: Darjeeling has a fruity, floral taste with honey undertones, reminiscent of oolong tea rather than black tea.

Sources: Teavana and LiveStrong.com

*Throughout May, “Strange Brew” will feature tea-based recipes — all of which can be found here.

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