Categories
Recipes

Spicy Sweet Tea Glazed Chicken with Corn Relish

You get used to 60 degree summers. Somehow, the body in all of its intelligence deduces how to survive in any environs. I visited India twice during the monsoon season of sticky long sleeves with sweat and cotton as air conditioner. I grew up in a place that might sound fictitious with its now “normal” climes of 110 degree weather. And at one time, I lived in a slice of the sparkly city by the bay that became blanketed by a dense fog, muting colors and making a hoodie summertime uniform. There was a time when if we got really desperate, we would leave our hovel, climb into our car and just drive in an attempt to chase the sunlight on the rare occasions when the dull gunmetal gray sky sucked all hope that sun would ever visit our neighborhood again. We ate soup in the summer. Threw the extra down blanket over the duvet. I would walk the few blocks from our apartment to my favorite coffeeshop chilled to the marrow and loving every moment of grey-skied summer humor.

We live in Oakland now. I’m getting used to sunshine 24/7 again with the help of cold-brewed coffee and iced tea. Call me a wuss and I will gladly accept the title. Growing up in Texas, heat means pools and ice cream. It means bringing a sweater to slap over the tank top upon going inside any building because that building is a microclimate of cold proportions, aided by air conditioning. You get used to it. My first car, a Peugeot passed down from my Tia to my Tio and then to me didn’t have air conditioning and in the summertime I would venture out, windows down, an extra blouse in my bag just in case the current one became slick with sweat. One summer during college, I lived in South Carolina and learned how to drink sweet tea to dull the ache of throbbing heat from the sun. That summer changed my life in meaningful ways: I found my love of teaching and made friendships and memories that have lasted. Foodie Day at Leigh's Favorite Books

This past weekend landed me in Sunnyvale for a Steeped book event and I learned that the city is aptly named. Two cookbook author-friends and I handed out samples and talked about our books with passersby of the open-air farmer’s market that brought Sunnyvalites downtown and strolling past Leigh’s Favorite Books. I caught up with Sheri, the brain behind the event. Emma passed out a Chipotle Porter with just enough of a kick in the finish to surprise the dark beer lover, of which I am one. Cheryl poured shots of a vanilla-ginger lassi that made me want to slurp down a whole glass. And I filled a small bowl with strips of fresh levain bread on which to smear either the strawberry jam or sweet tea jelly from Steeped. The sun shone on my table like a spotlight. And during the day, I met so many lovely people. A friend from my Texas youth group even stopped by. After the book signing finished, we chatted in that brief way of catching up without taking a breath in five minutes that can happen when trying to squeeze 10 years into a 30 minute window. You sometimes find how similar your stories are and that as she completes one thought, you’re nodding from a known solidarity.

Sometimes you don’t have to know the person personally to find solidarity. In the wave of people who tried jam and jelly, one woman visiting from Los Angeles who sampled the sweet tea jelly stood out. An immense joy exists when meeting other people obsessed with food. Conversation starts easily and makes unexpected detours and discoveries. Sweet tea jelly talk led to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach which then led me to grilled chicken and the idea of creating a sweet tea glaze. Hmm, I thought. I might need to get on that. We had known each other for no longer than 3 minutes and yet experienced camaraderie through ingredient collaboration. The next day, as I sat down and began planning our menu for the week, I flipped to a page in one of my cookbooks that begged to be adapted to a version with tea. And, it’s just the right time to make this recipe what with the sunny but breezy days sweeping across Oakland. The glaze has a hint of Texas in smoky chipotles. It includes kernels of sunshine that we would eat for visual cues of summertime when the San Francisco weather looked its most bleak. But, mostly, that slick of sweetness in the guise of sweet tea jelly gives homage to South Carolina where the kudzu grows wild and friendship of youth can be evergreen.
Spicy Sweet Tea Chicken

Spicy Sweet Tea Glazed Chicken & Corn Relish

The recipe in the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook calls for oranges: orange marmalade, orange zest, and orange juice. I swapped them out for sweet tea jelly from my book Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea, grapefruit juice and grapefruit zest to counteract the sweetness with a bit of bitterness that I thought would match up well with the spiciness of chipotle. I also added a touch of chicken stock to give it a savory hint that cooks down in the reduced glaze.  With the corn relish, I wanted to add more vegetables, and found that small diced zucchini paired well with the corn, cilantro and scallions. I hadn’t planned on sharing it here but liked the leftovers today so much, that I knew it was too good not to share. 

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Best Simple Recipes cookbook

Makes 4 servings

Sweet Tea Glaze
1/2 cup Sweet Tea Jelly (page 19, Steeped)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated grapefruit zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 tablespoon chicken stock

4 (12-ounce) bone-in split chicken breasts, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon safflower oil

Corn Relish
1 ( ounce) bag frozen organic corn, thawed
1 small zucchini, small diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped

Make the Glaze: whisk together the jelly, chipotle, zest, juice and stock in a bowl. Set aside.

Fold a piece of foil over a plate to create a tent and place near the stovetop. Drizzle the oil into a 12-inch fry pan placed over medium high heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken and add to the pan to cook for five minutes until golden brown. Turn the chicken with tongs. Cover and lower the heat to medium. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes or until it reaches 160F. Move the chicken to the plate and pull down the foil to keep the chicken warm.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the corn and zucchini to the pan and cook for five minutes, browning it. Scoop out the corn and zucchini into a bowl. Stir in the cilantro and scallions along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Finish off the glaze: pour the whisked jelly into the pan, still set over medium heat. Scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan and cook down the sauce by half, about 4 minutes. It will thicken upon cooling. Serve the chicken over the corn relish. Drizzle the glaze over the chicken and serve.

 

Categories
Steeped Book

Steeped Book is Here!

steeped book - stephanie shih

On the eve before school started, my eyelids would flap open not to be easily closed. Try as I might to shut them, excitement coursed through my body and anticipation kept the thoughts bumping along like trams hooked into an electrical current. Have you ever experienced that kind of sensation before?

Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea is officially available! It’s been a week since my first book, Steeped: Recipes Infused with Tea has been out in stores. For days leading up to its launch, I was in a suspended state of anticipation that is now the fuel of excitement keeping me moving from one city to the next.

While attending a conference and selling books in Minneapolis, I shared a cab with three women from Washington, DC. The next day they surprised me and bought three books. In New York City, I befriended a cab driver who asked his friend to buy my book so I could sign and dedicate it. On a Sunday afternoon, women from all over New York gathered to learn how to cook with tea before we settled in for a supper they had all a hand in making, as we all contributed to a conversation that cut past icebreakers to talk about what it looks like to live a life of meaning and purpose.

People are getting steeped. It’s an exhilarating feeling to know people are inviting the recipes I worked on fervently onto their table. It’s exciting to hear people mention they are emboldened by the idea that tea can provide a path of looking for everyday opportunities to celebrate and the discovery of how tea can imbue its flavors into familiar foods.

On Instagram, photos are popping up of that bright and shiny pink and orange cover that a friend described as her favorite colors, as a sunset and that I liken to a beautiful sari. I am humbled and thrilled to see the glee and enthusiasm on Facebook. If you are getting steeped, I would love to join you for the ride by tagging your photos or tweets with #steepedbook.

The book tour has begun and I consider my life enriched by the people who have opened up their lives for a book about cooking with tea and crafting a life you want to live. While Minneapolis, St. Paul, and New York were the starting points, the journey is far from being over. I’m posting new events in my weekly newsletters and also on the book website, so head there if you want to see where I’m headed and join the cooking with tea adventure.

Thank you for welcoming this labor of love into your kitchen. Thank you to the booksellers and their cheerful staff for welcoming Steeped onto their bookshelves. Thank you for coming to a book signing and sharing your story with me even as you are about to embark on mine and make it your own. Teatime can be anytime we make room to invite it into our lives, right? Thanks for getting steeped.

 

photo by Stephanie Shih

Categories
Steeped Book

Steeped Book – Cooking with Tea Giveaway

Cooking with Tea Giveaway

What’s cooking, good looking? If you said tea, you are so right! Namely, a Cooking with Tea kit giveaway valued at $200. Read on below… or click on the orange link above to go directly to the cooking with tea giveaway page and enter for a chance to win.                     

Here’s the skinny: Preorder Steeped during March 16 – April 5 for a chance to win 1 of 3 Cooking with Tea giveaway kits. And let me tell you, the goods are good.  I’m talking 19 items from brands you know and love, including, and in no particular order: Circulon, ForLife, OXO, Mighty Leaf Tea, Choice Organic Teas, Steven Smith Teamaker, Silk Road Teas, Numi Tea, ITO EN, Lotus Foods, Bob’s Red Mill, California Olive Ranch, and Straus Family Creamery.

I’m thrilled to have partnered with these companies to put together a cooking with tea kit full of the essential tools and ingredients to stock your pantry and make cooking with tea easy and approachable once your copy of Steeped arrives. I’m grateful for the participation of each brand listed above and during the giveaway will share ideas on Instagram.com/ anneliesz of how they make my tea-riddled kitchen cook! Share the love–Pin the picture above. Share the giveaway with your tea-drinking friends. If you’ve already ordered a copy of Steeped for yourself, preorder a copy for a friend or family member (have I mentioned it would make a superb Mother’s Day gift?).

In my book, everybody should win, so everyone in the U.S. who enters the giveaway during the dates above wins free tea pouch samples, courtesy of Mighty Leaf Tea. I wouldn’t be where I am without you and have packed together these Cooking with Tea Kits to make cooking with tea a cinch in your kitchen. Click the link below for rules and details. The 3 winners will be announced at the #SteepedBook Cooking with Tea twitter party on April 6 at 5p PST. Good luck!

 

Click me. Get Steeped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Recipes

Green Tea Coconut Rice

green-tea-coconut-rice

I’m a bit obsessed with Matcha green tea.

Maybe it has something to do with the bright grassy flavor that almost makes the mouth pucker. Perhaps it’s because with Matcha, you drink the entire tea leaf, not leaves infused in hot water and then removed. It could be the disarmingly green color and hear me clearly, it should be bright and bold.

The color actually reflects the quality of the tea. While there are cheap versions of Matcha out there, you’ll find them to be dull in color and flat in flavor. Spend the money and invest in good Matcha. You might find yourself newly obsessed. This Japanese green tea typically is served infused with hot water and a special whisk to froth it. Often times, and in the United States it’s become popular to whisk Matcha with hot milk for a creamy beverage.

Maybe you’ve tried Matcha and you didn’t know it. If you’ve guzzled a Green Tea Smoothie or licked and slurped Green Tea ice cream, then chances are pretty high that you too have lapped on the luxurious green tea that is Matcha.

So it’s not such a far leap to consider how that bright, grassy flavor might deepen the creamy decadence that is Coconut Rice. I give you two suggestions below: for a more subtle Green Tea Coconut Rice, use only 2 teaspoons of Matcha and you’ll find the tea will paint the rice kernels a pale green with a flavor profile that is creamy, almost sweet with a slight green tea finish. For something a bit more bold and pictured below, use 2 tablespoons of Matcha green tea and you’ll find a much more pronounced tea flavor, a bright green hue with a slight creaminess of coconut. This bolder Green Tea Coconut Rice really works well and stands up to Asian cuisine like the Thai take-out we ordered for dinner earlier in the month.

SIDE DISH RECIPES- green-tea-coconut-rice

 

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GREEN TEA COCONUT RICE

YIELD: 6-8 side servings

This is one grassy and stark green rice. If you want something a bit more subtle where you get the green tea flavor in the finish with the coconut milk playing front fiddle, use only 2 teaspoons of Matcha. I tried it this way and it is a subtle cerulean green with a creamy slightly sweet flavor that ends on a grassy bright note. I prefer mine with more tea and even found it stood up to the flavors of Thai food when we paired it with take-out earlier in the month. It’s your call. I wouldn’t suggest swapping out light coconut milk for the real deal. It’s really quite pronounced of a difference and your rice is left wanting that supple quality that the full fat milk brings to it and the mingling with tea. Also, I tried this recipe with basmati rice but found the texture to be superb with a long grain white rice which served as a great canvas for the flavors. Special thanks goes out to friend Caryl at Lotus Foods for giving me samples of their specialty Mekong Flower rice to test in the recipe. It cooked up beautifully and gave a great texture.

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons Matcha green tea

2 cups long grain white rice

1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk

  1. Rinse rice twice and discard rinsing liquid. Set aside.
  2. Bring water to a gentle boil. Measure out your Matcha and place in a measuring receptacle (like my Pyrex 2 cup measuring glass), slowly whisk in the boiling water. Now this is key: while you are eventually going to add enough water to the Pyrex glass to equal that 1 ½ cups, initially during the whisking stage, you want to only pour in a little bit of water- say ½ cup as it will make whisking easier. As you notice that any large clumps or notice that your tea is without clumps, add the rest of the hot water and whisk.
  3. Add your coconut milk and whisked Matcha tea to a heavy pot and place over high heat, stirring together. Once you find that the coconut milk and Matcha have integrated well and you are beginning to have larger bubbles on the surface of the liquid, add the rinsed rice and stir.
  4. Cover your pot and turn down the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

 

SERVING SUGGESTIONS
This is a very versatile and unexpected side dish. The key is to pair it with foods that will not overpower the Matcha and coconut flavors.  I’ve provided a few ideas to get you started. Let me know if you come up with your own pairing suggestions.

FISH- Consider pairing with a filet of salmon or perhaps this Confetti Tilapia.

VEGETARIAN- Serve with a side of the white beans from this stew.

CHICKEN-  Try this with roasted chicken seasoned with garlic, ginger and shallots.

green-tea-coconut-rice-toasted

DOUBLE THE COCONUT
You could dice fresh coconut and throw it into the pot for an extra punch of coconut or textural difference. You could even toast some unsweetened coconut and then sprinkle some on top of your finished fluffed rice as pictured above. I find that the rice is lovely without either of these additions, though I tried it with both. Your choice.

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Categories
Notes from the Kitchen

Cooking with Tea

green-tea-granola

Green Tea Granola- it’s not exactly what you might think of when cooking with tea.

Cooking with tea might conjure up thoughts and notions of Tea Smoked Duck. While I’m a fan of this delicacy, there are so many other variations of how to cook with tea. Robert Wemischner wrote a cookbook on it that made its way into my cookbook collection years ago. I met Eric Gower over a mutual love of Japanese green tea at the Expo West tradeshow a while back and his recent recipes in Sunset Magazine show me he is still very much enthralled with tea. Local chef Daniel Patterson recently featured several of his tea recipes in an issue of Bon Appetit including a recipe for Matcha & Pistachio Crusted Halibut that had us practically licking the parchment paper.

When meeting someone who’s an avid tea drinker, I find we share a certain passion for the act and art of tea. Gale Gand and I found ourselves chatting happily about the joys of single estate teas at a Common Threads event a while back. I seriously lament never taking James Norwood Pratt up on his offer of a tea tour in San Francisco though we did share a conversation about tea at a Specialty Coffee show reception years ago that kept me riveted. Local mixologist and one of the guys behind Encanto Pisco and Cantina, Duggan McDonnell and I quickly found ourselves chummy when talking about tea and the art of infusing it into cocktails. He is not alone, Chicago mixologist Adam Seger has been known to play with tea in his signature cocktails. He mixed one mean tea cocktail at Nacional 27, when I visited his restaurant a few years ago.

After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world. Tea is not something you quickly guzzle- it requires much of you. Years of working with tea only deepened my appreciation for all of the people involved- all of the hands cultivating, picking, and blending it. A cup of tea truly is a communal experience.

India, China, Sri Lanka, Africa and Japan are all known for their tea cultivation. As of 2008, only two farms in the United States cultivate tea leaves. Our climate and environment is not one in which tea grows well or easily. The World Tea Expo meets yearly to bring together tea purveyors and tea lovers to cup and discuss, to connect and discover single estate teas or unique blends. Similar to the way wine drinkers consider terroir, the soil, air, climate and environs, each contributes to the specific flavors you find when drinking Camellia Sinensis leaves. I would sometimes marvel at seeing premium tea leaves rolled tightly and wondering about the person who hand-rolled them. The amount of people-work involved behind the scenes can sometimes be staggering and definitely makes part of my tea drinking experience one of gratitude.

So let’s you and I think outside of the tea cup and consider all of the other ways that tea can be used to enhance your food and dining experience. During upcoming weeks I will be playing with tea and encouraging you to as well.

For a snack idea that’s good to the grain, try this recipe for Green Tea Granola.

It may seem anathema to a tea purist to consider cooking with Gyokuro tea. I’m not going to lie, this is one fine, expensive tea. The color of the leaves resembles a greenish blue hue and the leaves are typically hand-picked. It is considered an exquisite tea in Japan and deserves to be paid its homage as a treat. If you’re looking for more of an everyday drinking tea, I’m going to suggest emailing me offline for recommendations because this is not it unless you have a deep pocketbook. That said, I was known to keep a small collection of it at my desk and in the afternoons, I would pull out my stash, pinch a few leaves and place them directly into my mouth, foregoing the tea cup. From there I would chew the crunchy leaves and let the tannins hit my palate as I picked up that slight walnut flavor that made me a fast fan of Gyokuro. Since the flavor profile bears a slight walnut flavor, it wasn’t a far leap to bake broken leaves into shortbread with walnuts and then infuse the sweetened oil to stir into oats.

Gyokuro Walnut Tea Shortbread

If you would prefer to brew up a cuppa, this green tea typically only should brew for 2 minutes at a less hot heat in the 140-160 degree range as you do not want the water to burn the leaves or let them steep too long where the tannins would be more pronounced equating on the palate to a bitter taste. Whatever you decide, you will not want to miss next week’s morsel as we explore a different type of green tea.

gyokuro green tea