Exactly one month after the actual event, we’re down to our final round up. Needless to say, we’ve been around the world dozens of times, and have seen tea used in so many different ways.
We begin the farewell leg of our tasteTea tour in Seattle where Jason Truesdell experiments with different uses for matcha. He concocts an elegant three course meal, beginning with green bean, lotus root, and carrot tempura garnished with matcha salt. Next, Jason incorporates matcha into the sauce for a Matcha Cream Pasta that combines potato gnocchi, edamame beans, and matcha cream sauce. For dessert, we’re treated to a decadent Matcha Cheesecake, garnished with a creative sour cream-matcha topping. A truly wonderful meal showcasing the versatility of matcha.
Next we travel south to California’s Bay Area to visit Elise of the highly acclaimed blog, Simply Recipes. Inspired by a recipe that her mom found in Bon Appetit, Elise cooks a delicious dish of Ginger Beef Peanut Noodle Salad. The dish combines grilled sirloin, a linguine salad, and a peanut dressing that uses Chinese black tea. Truly, a simply delicious recipe.
We return to Seattle to call on Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant. Certainly a lady of impeccable taste and style, Viv has prepared two envious tasteTea entries, the first being about Tea, Shoes and Sympathy at Mariage Frères. In wonderful detail she describes her recent visit to Paris’ world-renowned Mariage Frères tea salon and swoons at their beautiful and fragrant Thé Blanc & Rose. Viv’s second entry is about a tea tasting at Seattle’s Tea Cup where she sampled teas from China and Taiwan served in the Gaiwan method of tea preparation. In her own words, it was “an eye opening, wonderful experience but a real education for both mind and palate.”
Downunder in Perth, Australia, Anthony of the always entertaining and sometimes eccentric Spiceblog has created a gorgeous Chai Panna Cotta with Rosewater and Cardamom Syrup. Before we eat, he talks about the intricacies of Chai. “A lifetime of fine tuning,” he says, “could be done with possible variations for time, quantity, and grinding of spices to reach the right balance.” With attention to detail, Anthony steeps Harrods Empire Blend No. 34 in milk and simmers ginger and cinnamon to taste before adding the other components of the panna cotta. To add some geoculinary to his dish, he sauces it with an Indian syrup that contains both rosewater cardamom. The dessert is both beautiful and delicious, with many subtle background notes.
Back once again in Seattle, we visit Meg of I Heart Bacon who’s passion for pork knows no bounds. In her brand new Le Creuset Doufeu, she combines a fresh bone-in pork shoulder with a smoky Samovar Blend Tsarina tea to make splendid Caffeinated Pork. Meg’s pork roast is fall off the bone tender and beautifully flavoured with bay leaves and smoky tea undertones. It makes me want to buy a Doufeu myself just so I can make this dish.
We’re off to Columbus, Ohio where Rosie of Bitchin' in the Kitchen with Rosie is cooling off with Rosie’s Sweet Tea for Northerners. While she prefers sweet tea consisting of black tea and lots of sugar, she’s been kind enough to prepare an unsweetened tea with simple syrups on the side to appease Northern aggressors who stop by her house (I guess that would be me). In fact, she’s actually made three simple syrups, plain, mint, and lemon. Certainly, these syrups are just too good for any Northerner to resist!
With only a few more entries to go, we’re taking an early vacation in Hawaii. The real reason we’re going is to visit Alan of Mā'ona who’s serving bowls of smooth and luscious Green Tea Ice Cream. The tannins in the green tea temper the sweetness of the ice cream to produce its unique bittersweet flavour. Alan has graciously provided detailed directions to produce this most delicious dessert.
Back home in Toronto, S. Worthen of Owlfish is experimenting with Tea Jelly. She chooses to use Twinings Lemon Ginger, Pear & Guava, and Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin, & Lime herbal teas and steeps each of them in water before adding gelatin and setting them into molds. Her jellies, while difficult to unmold, are beautiful and intensely flavoured. Perfect as a garnish or as part of an amuse bouche.
Back on the plane, we jet to London to visit Jeanne of Cook Sister! While she doesn’t like tea made from tea leaves, she’s passionate about Rooibos, a true South African tea. In fascinating detail, Jeanne tells us about the history or Rooibos, the way it’s harvested, its molecular structure, and of course, its taste. Rooibos lacks the bitter tannic aftertaste common in many teas, and is both mild and slightly spicy, making it perfect for cooking. To prove her point, Jeanne has made a most delectable Rooibos Fruit & Muesli “Pie” in which she soaks dried fruit in Rooibos tea before combining it with honey, butter, and whipped cream.
Now it’s off to Japan where we find Chika of She Who Eats sipping on a tall colourful glass of Jellied Plantation Tea. A beautiful concoction of gelatinized pineapple juice, guava juice, and Passion Island tea, the drink was inspired by a similar (non-jellied) drink that Chika had at Hawaii’s Neiman Marcus a couple years ago. Her drink is delicious, refreshing and memorable; perfect for a warm summer day. It’s definitely something that I must try making myself before our short Canadian summer is over.
Still in Japan, we travel to Kyoto to visit Theresa of Crumbs Everywhere. After a lengthy absence, she’s making her comeback to IMBB this month, and we’re certainly glad to see her. Today she’s made a most elegant Lemon Verbena and Lavender Jelly that combines her favourite bedtime tea of lemon verbena with dried lavender. I can imagine how floral this dessert must be. Simply delicious and deliciously simple.
Across the Pacific, we travel to Friday Harbor, Washington where Mrs. D and Chopper Dave of Belly-Timber await us with two creative and delicious dishes. Their first dish is a Southwestern Corn Tortilla Soup that combines High Desert Herbal Tea with chicken and corn tortillas. Tea Smoked Oysters with Garlic Green Tea Emulsified Vinaigrette is their second dish. The oysters have been smoked with aromatic and floral Jasmine tea, are served on a bed of greens, and are sauced with a Garlic Green Tea Vinaigrette.
Driving south to Los Angeles, it’s finally time to visit Sarah of The Delicious Life. I’ve always been in awe of Sarah’s expeditious postings.. they’re not just frequent, but they're also well written and interesting. Could it be that when she’s not eating, she’s cooking, and when she’s not cooking, she’s writing about eating and cooking? For this month’s IMBB, Sarah makes a steamy Asian Green Tea Risotto. Instead of using Arborio rice, she simmers steamed glutinous Asian short grain rice in green tea, and accompanies her risotto with enoki and shitake mushrooms, and a sizzling block of seared tofu. Truly an Asian take on an Italian classic.
Our last transcontinental trip takes us to all the way to Sicily where Ronald of Via Ritiro N.7 and ismyblogburning.com welcomes us with a refreshing glass of Ice Tea with Lemon Granita. The combination of cold tea and lemon granita is irresistible, and best of all it’s very simple to make. Add a few leaves of Moroccan mint, and you’ll have a perfect summertime drink!
At last, I have the pleasure of inviting you all to my home in Toronto. I’ve made each of you a plump and juicy Oolong Smoked Quail that I hope you’ll enjoy. The Asian slaw that accompanies the quail is actually quite nice and refreshing. On second thought, you might not even want to eat the quail since it’s been in my fridge for the past four weeks. So let’s just all have slaw.
Thank you to everyone - all 91 of you - who took part in IMBB #17. I had a great time reading and writing about every entry, and I’m very grateful for your patience and for the kind comments many of you have left (which I’ll be getting to shortly). A special thank you to Alberto for letting me host this event. If I left anyone out, please don’t hesitate to let me know!