Saturday, February 6, 2010

Celebrating February

This is a very red month. Yesterday was Women's Heart Health Day and we were all supposed to wear red. Missed it, but we can all drink tea today to make up for it. Valentine's Day is also this month and I have some really pretty heart shaped plates I bought a while ago at a discount store. And some old, beautiful red glasses, so all I have to do is cook and make tea and I'm all set! Valentine's Day will be doing double duty this year as the 14th is also Chinese New Year. If you and your sweetie like Chinese food, you'll be ready to celebrate both, with Chinese tea as an accompaniment. Or you could be truly international and serve a Japanese green tea, like today's offering.

I know I have often complained about flavorings in tea, because I can frequently detect a chemical whiff that puts me off completely, but I may have found one that works. I have gotten involved in a tea swap and one of the teas I received was Necessiteas Lemon Raspberry. I actually liked it and couldn't detect any chemical. It was a Sencha [Japanese Green] with lemongrass, a nice big raspberry, and flavorings. I loved the feel of the Sencha leaves, slippery and silky on my fingers. I brewed it at about 175 for about 2 minutes. I was amazed at how large the leaves got, and how green they remained.
I was really pleased there was no fishy or seaweedy taste. That, unfortunately has been my experience so far with Japanese greens, so I have been reluctant to pursue them. Good thing I didn't know it was Sencha to start off. I was also a bit concerned about the abundance of lemon peel, because too much can be nasty and bitter. But I was well pleased by this tea. A very pleasant combination of mainly raspberry, but the lemon held its own and really complimented the other flavors. I may even buy this. I think I would serve this with some nice sugar cookies or meringues. I didn't have enough to try it, but I think this would be a really refreshing iced tea. It would make a nice ending to a Valentine's day meal.

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