Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Two Teas On The Menu

It was very, very cold (about 8degrees) last week and today it is 62.  Yesterday the weather man said we had drizzles and it was raining so hard, I couldn't see our road.  Crazy weather!  Perfect for tea. It is lovely to sit in my nice warm living room, with my Critters, Inc. to keep my toes comfy, drinking a nice pot of tea and watching the wind scour the woods.

I've had some wonderful combinations lately.  I made Julia Child's cream of mushroom soup with a mix of ordinary and woodland mushrooms - so very, very good - and had it with some of Mark T. Wendell's Hu Kwa Lapsang Souchong tea.  This, as far as I am concerned is the best of the best.  There is exactly the right balance of smoke, sweet, and woodsy and it went perfectly with my soup.

The other was an orange tart I made, with a pastry cream base and candied oranges on top, with a drizzle of the much reduced candying liquid.  It is the best dessert I've made in a while.  I know I am bragging, but I still get excited when my food turns out really well.  I had it with Culinary Teas Lady Londonderry, which is one of two fruit teas I like.  This has maybe a bit of strawberry, maybe a smidge of pineapple, a lot of flowery and it went beautifully with the tart.  If you're an Anglophile, it supposedly was Princess Diana's favorite.  It is a very feminine tea.

We went out to lunch to a new to us restaurant.  They buy as much of their ingredients as possible from local farms, breweries and wineries.  That I really like.  The food was excellent.  I ordered iced tea in honor of "hot" weather.  It was okay.  Standard ice tea.  Oh well.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back To My Tea, Hooray!

It is so utterly beautiful.  Three days ago, after an extensive January thaw, so that we were all swilling around in mud again, the temperature dropped and it snowed!  Nice sticky snow that coated every branch and twig, every pine and fir needle; all covered in silvery white.  The amazing thing is that it is still on them.  We haven't had enough wind to send the snow swirling away into drifts and everyday it has snowed a little.  Today the sun is shining so it's just breath-taking.

 Since then it's melted and blown and now we are cold to the bone and out the other side.  Critters, Inc. stick their noses out, run around for 5 minutes and run in giving me "The Look" of "how could you be so mean as to put me out." Humph!

I am sorry to be such a poor blogger, but that flu really left me with a very sorry case of the blahs, temperamentally and worse, food and drink-wise,  However, I think I am once again human and back on the trail of teas.  Today we are drinking a sample from Teavivre.  It comes from Fengqing, Yunnan, China and is called Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea.  It is composed of small balls, about 3/8ths of an inch across, tightly rolled of black and tan leaves - quite attractive and reminiscent of balls of material ready to make braided rugs that are sometimes found in antique shops.

The packet gives off something of a sharp winey aroma and after I brew it for 2 minutes, it is rather pale, but very, very fresh smelling, with some wine underneath and the very barest hint of smoke.  You really have to work to get the latter, so don't let it put you off.  The first sip is a bit woodsy, earthy tasting, with a hint of perhaps walnut.  That continues, but segues into a more roasted nut flavor, still with the wood and earth backing it up.  It is a really, really good tea and I will definitely be getting more of this.

Saw some cardinals today - they really make winter bearable, as do my little downy woodpeckers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Leafing It Up With Tea

Hello again, everyone, I am finally back.  Himself and I both had the flu, fortunately at slightly different times, so one of us could get meals and hot drinks.  One of the prescriptions is to get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.  Such an oxymoron.  Think about it - the natural result of drinking a lot is many bathroom trips - that's not really restful.  Ah well.

I haven't been trying new teas - my palate has just barely recovered and I don't want to give an off-base report.  However, there are many tea festivals coming up and I can let you know about them.

As many of you know, the fall Tea and Coffee Festival was cancelled due to Sandy, but it is rescheduled for March 23-24 in NYC at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave.  If you go to their website before Jan 31, the tickets are half-price.  A good deal.

The second annual San Francisco International Tea Festival is March 10.

The World Tea Expo  is in June, in Las Vegas.  World Tea East will be in Atlanta in the fall.

There's one for the Northwest in Seattle in the fall.

Then there are the ones in Toronto,(February 2nd), Victoria, British Columbia, (February 9th) Ottowa in December and the First Flush Festival at the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, which is on May 19th.

Wouldn't it be fun to go to all of them?  If only there were "world enough and time."  Probably money, too.

I got out my old Fannie Farmer Cookbook to make something over the holidays. My grandmother gave it to me when I was about 13 - many years ago. It reminded me of our marriage. Stained, battered, underlined, given to falling open at certain passages, but still capable of producing wonderful things, a base for memorable times, sweetness in times of sorrow and difficulty, a steady diet of day-to-day goodness. Here’s to battered cookbooks and long marriages everywhere. In some countries, brides are given old spoons as a testament to the solidity of long marriages. I have two that have survived from our wedding, nearly 40 years ago. Maybe it is time to pass one on. 

There should be a tradition for passing on teapots.  What say, we start one.  Wouldn't that make a nice 13th birthday or graduation or wedding gift?  Although our children may be at ages to poo-poo tradition, passing it on is still a good thing.  Family traditions give us anchors in a crazy world.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Flu Fell

Dea Folks, I had hoped to be back long before this, but we have been felled by the flu.  Hopefully, return will be sooner rather than later.