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Posts Tagged ‘Tea’

Love, simply

Tea and cookies are a simply elegant way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Now, I’ve had sumptuous formal teas, like the splendid bounty offered at the Dushanbe Tea House, and truly enjoyed every morsel. But you can create a little oasis of peace in your own home by sitting down to a pot of properly brewed tea and some buttery homemade cookies. Invite your neighbor or your sweetie, or your girlfriend, or your daughter, or your mom to join you for a mid-afternoon tea.  Set out your nicest tea cups and a couple of pretty plates.  What are you saving the fine china for, anyway?  Bring a kettle of water to a full boil and brew some good quality tea (I’m fond of the many wonderful black teas available online from the Upton Tea Imports). Set out a plate of these lovely cookies. And enjoy the company of this person you love. Now, isn’t this what Valentine’s Day is all about?

Rich Roll Cookies

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg until well combined.  Add flour, salt and vanilla.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours.  Roll out on lightly floured surface to about 3/8″ thickness.  Cut into desired shape with cookie cutters.  Transfer to lightly greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until edges begin to color.  Cool on rack before frosting.

Decorator Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 lb. powdered sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla or 1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/3 cup soft butter, unsalted

Directions:

Cream butter until soft. Add milk, vanilla and salt and mix until combined.  Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

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Chai (spiced tea)

It’s a cold snowy morning, and I’m feeling a little under the weather.  Nothing warms up  my insides like a cup of spicy, soothing chai. I’ve always loved the combination of sweet hot and spicy. This chai hits all those notes, with a little caffeine boost to top it all off.

I was first introduced to Masala Chai in little Indian restaurants tucked away in Central Square in Cambridge.  I would go to these places with my friend, Rubina, who enjoyed turning her blonde Germanic friend onto all the great foods and flavors of her childhood.  She would order so much food that the waiters had to stack plates on top of one another to fit everything on our table.  In those days, chai wasn’t on the menu, but she knew to ask for it, and it was a perfect ending to our feast.

Today, of course, you can find chai in many coffeeshops, including the ubiquitous Starbucks.  To me, these versions are often overly sweet and Americanized (i.e. ruined) with shots of vanilla and caramel.   I will search out an Indian grocery or some locally-made Bhakti chai, if I need a fix when I’m out and about.  But nothing beats brewing a cup in your own warm kitchen on a snowy morning.

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup water

1” stick of cinnamon

8 cardamom pods

8 whole cloves

4 whole peppercorns

2 slices fresh ginger root

1 cup milk (I use 2 %)

2 Tbsp. sugar

3 tsp. unperfumed, loose black tea (I use Assam or Ceylon)

Directions:

Put water in a saucepan.  Add the cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, and cloves and bring to a boil.  Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again.  Throw in the tealeaves, cover, and turn off the heat.  After 3-5 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.

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