Saturday, August 31, 2013


My computer is malfunctioning. When it is fixed, I'll be back

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bedraggled Summer

Have you noticed that summer is beginning to wear out? The trees are no longer bright green, but are coated with the presage of orange and yellow and crimson to come. The first acorn drop has happened, the golden rod and wild purple asters are blooming. It makes me a little sad. And a little mad - I haven't caught up to August yet - I haven't finished Spring planting! I haven't gotten my fall crop of beans in! Sheesh, this is too much, I'm not ready for it. But nature marches on. It's one of those truly lovely days - bright sun, reasonable temperature, even a nice breeze. Perfect Tea-On-The-Porch weather. However, someone is here with a really, really, really noisy machine who is dealing with the stumps left from the trees that fell 2 years ago. I am sure the mowers will appreciate it and maybe I will, when it's quiet. The cats are most annoyed. We've been doing lunches for a local Habitat for Humanity. What wonderful people they are to give hours and hours of work to help someone into a home of their own. The future home owners put in a lot of sweat equity as well. I haven't had opportunity for afternoon tea in a while, so I am so happy to be able to sit down and have it today. It's another balck one from Upton's - Yunnan FOP Select. The leaves are chopped up fairly small, but even so, the suggestion is for 4-5 minutes of brewing. Dry, they have a strong tobacco/wine aroma, very pleasant. The 4.5 minute brewed tea is a lovely, fairly light amber, more yellow than red. There is still a faint tobacco aroma and the taste is a quiet but assertive tobacco/wine, with just a hint of astringency at the end.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Have I Got A Recipe For You!

Let's see, there's chai, chocolate and Snickerdoodle Cookies.  Now, roll that all into 1 cookie and you have yourself a very tasty treat.  I came across the recipe in Taste of Home Magazine and I thought I would try it.  If you like those 3 things, this is for you.  They are sooo good and they would be wonderful for a fall tea.  In fact, since today feels like fall, it's a good time to have them.  Katie Wollgast from Missouri sent the recipe in.

Chocolate Chai Snickerdoodles  oven 350

Combine 2 1/2 cups sugar,1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp white pepper.  Mix well.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the mix in  a small bowl.
Add 1 cup of soft butter to the rest and beat until soft and fluffy.  Beat in 2 eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla.
Whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 2 tsp. Cream of Tartar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.  Slowly beat into the butter/sugar mix.
Make 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in reserved sugar mix, flatten slightly.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are firm.

I remember snickerdoodles from child hood.  I always loved them.

I am having them with a Nilgiri OP tea from the Craigmore Estate in India, via Upton Tea.  The suggestions are 1+ teaspoons per cup for 3 minutes.  This is quite a pleasant tea.  It has that nice fresh scent of good tea.  It is very plain, but sometimes, plain is good, especially with something like those Snickerdoodles.  It does have a tiny bite at the end to keep it interesting.

It's been a very cool August, which I love, but my tomatoes are pouting.  Our first ones were not very good.  They are cherry tomatoes, but they're kind of mealy and flavorless.  They are the stars of "Some Like it Hot"
We went to another Farmers market yesterday and came with such lovely stuff, not the least of which is almost local peaches, local tomatoes, potatoes, and plums.  Oh Happy Day.  On the way we saw some hawks soaring on updrafts and a bald eagle.

The sad thing was the occasion of saying goodbye to dear friends we are unlikely to see again.  I thought my heart would break in two to do it.  Our group gave them a good send off, but I will so miss them.  I am comforted by knowing they will be close to their children who are giving them such wonderful, loving care.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Tea and Goodies

Lemon seltzer and ice tea.  I was a little reluctant to try this - didn't want to waste my tea if it wasn't good.  However, it is really good.  I used about 3/4 tea and 1/4 seltzer.  Just a hint of lemon and just a hint of sparkle.  I'll have to keep it in mind for tea punches.

It's been a happy summer in my family.  On one side, a lovely wedding for Eric and Lindsey and on the other, the birth of twins, Henry and Maggie and two new homes for young couples. How easy it is to forget how very tiny newborns are, especially when they are twins.  Raise a cup of tea with me for these new beginnings, full of joy and hope for the future

I need to make some corrections to my summer pizza - the oven temperature should be 400 and the tomato slices are better thinner than thicker.  I decided I like some cheese sprinkled on top.  Tomatoes and cheese go very well together.

I have been following an Indian recipe blog - - and one of the latest recipes was for Mango Lemon Thyme pops.  I changed the recipe and just made mango, coconut sherbert.  Very easy and soooooooooooo good.  Four pureed ripe mangoes, a pinch of salt. 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a can of coconut cream. Whiz it up in your processor or blender and freeze and there you have it.  No cooking.  I was too lazy to go out and look for the lemon thyme.  I got rave reviews and so will you.

Let's continue along the mango line.  I had two mangoes leftover, so I decided to make mango pops.  This time I pureed the mangoes, added a cup of very strong mango flavored tea, about 1/4 cup of light corn syrup and froze them.  So yummy.  Actually, I have trying to make pops out of the"bottom of the pot" when I make a bit too much tea and so far, I really love Jasmine Tea Pops.  Try this with your teas and see how you like them.