CJSW

Spooning and Forking

Archive for January, 2012

Tea Part One

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Tea is the biggest topic I’ve yet to tackle on Spooning and Forking.  Learning about tea is akin to learning about bread, or milk, such is its vast and enormous scope and influence and range.  You sit down to a nice cuppa in the afternoon, maybe you have a cookie with it, and you have no idea that inside that one china cup is contained the history of modern man.  Who would have thought the delicate drink was so important!

Really, the only way I could calm myself was to put the kettle on and call up Jonathan Kane, owner of The Naked Leaf tea shop in Kensington.  Jonathon is everything you want out of a tea yogi – he’s friendly, approachable and has the best laugh I’ve ever heard.  If he were to write “LOL” in a text, you would know he meant it.  He also helped break down the world of tea into small sips so I could stop being so overwhelmed and just enjoy it.

If you missed this week’s episode, download the podcast to learn many wonderful things about this wonderful drink.

As with most people this month, I’ve been bed ridden with colds that catch other colds, so I decided that maybe I should exchange coffee for tea.  Mostly because my energy levels better facilitated dropping tea leaves into a mug than measuring and grinding and pressing coffee beans.  Although I will never fully give up coffee, it was really nice sitting in bed sipping on tea.  Whether because of its unique release of caffeine (something Jonathon talks about during the episode) or just the delicate flavours, tea is definitely something to make you slow down and enjoy. I don’t know if it healed my sickness, but it certainly helped me to endure it.

For this week’s recipe, I wanted to try baking with tea leaves!  The bergamot in Earl Grey is the defining flavour in the classic tea and I thought it would taste amazing in cookies.  Martha Stewart seemed to agree.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies – adapted from Martha Stewart

(This recipe makes about 8 dozen, so I would recommend halving it unless you want Earl Grey Tea Cookies to see you through the winter, which you may)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
Directions
  1. Whisk flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Put butter, sugar, and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow the log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper towel tubes; freeze until firm, 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.
  5. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

 

Sake

Friday, January 20th, 2012

A dintiguishing characteristic of being a post graduate is the ability to see alcohol as more than a means to an end.  Don’t get me wrong, many occasions and drinks still live in that category, but I think sake definitely is not one of them.  Which is interesting, because anytime I mentioned that I was working on this episode people would ineveibtaly bring up sake bombs, or reminisce about a chinese restaurant where someone would drink as a teenager thanks to liberal notions of IDing.

I’m here to set the record straight, and I think this is the perfect time to do so!  There is almost nothing quite so comforting on a very cold winters day as entering a warm house to be greeted by a hot flask of sake.  The flavour, the scent, well the warmth, all conspire to chase away the cold and get you tipsy enough to keep it at bay.  There is something so comforting about the drink you just want to savour it slowly, and the more you do so, the more you realize it’s really delicious.

On a trip to Hong Kong last summer I learned the amazing powers of refreshment the drinks offers on a hot muggy day when served over ice, but I don’t think anyone wants to hear about that right now.

So instead of a recipe this week, I’ll leave you with the suggestion to bundle up and run to your nearest liquor store, and I mean nearest I hear it’s very cold out, grab a bottle and if you don’t have anything else to use, warm it up in a little tea kettle.  Invite over anyone brave enough to leave their houses, because part of sake’s warmth is the tradition of sharing it with others.  Be warmed and happy and hopefully a convert to this lovely beverage.

If you’re interested in learning more about sake, visit Elise Gee’s website, who was our wonderful and informative guest this week.

We also spoke to Helen Wong on this week’s episode.  If you’re not inclined to prepare your own sake flask, nip into her restaurant Blowfish Sushi Lounge and you can enjoy a flask along with some miso soup!

If you missed the episode, check it out here on iTunes.