Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Queen Victoria

Having a love of all things tea includes a fondness of Queen Victoria. It was during her reign that afternoon tea became popular.  She was said to be a great tea drinker.  The queen gave many tea parties at Windsor Castle and also at Buckingham Palace. 

She became queen at 18 and was the longest reigning British monarch.  Not only was she a queen, but her name is synonymous with an era as well!  The love story between her and Albert is uniquely shown in the movie, The Young Victoria.  They were married for 20 years and had nine children.  Pictures of Queen Victoria in her later life are those of her dressed in black.  It is said that she really never got over the death of Albert and mourned him until she died. 

One of my fans on facebook pointed out this website that sells a teapot in honor of Queen Victoria, as well as, the print pictured above by The Maureen Berry Collection.  (As a disclaimer, I do not own the print or the teapot nor is this an endorsement.) 

I would highly encourage those that haven't seen the movie The Young Victoria to go rent it.  It shows a side of the young queen that is not depicted that much.  Her spirit is inspiring.  Be sure to make a pot of tea to go with the movie!

Happy Sipping on Queen Victoria's Birthday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Talking Tea at Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show

I love to not only write about tea, but to talk tea too! It is one of my greatest pleasures to share with people how wonderful tea is to drink. I love it when people come up afterwards all excited to try tea or to try different types of tea. This past weekend, I was invited to speak at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Atlanta that featured Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, and Mario Batali.

I was a part of the Entertaining and Tasting Workshops.  I have done this show ever since it came to Atlanta three years ago and I have to say this was the best show ever.  The turnout was wonderful.  I presented, "What Tea Should You Really Drink?" 

After each presentation, I signed both my books, Tea with a Twist and The World in Your Teacup at the Cook's Warehouse booth. 

To me, it is such a thrill to see people that are truly interested in tea and who desire to know more.  Some people get overwhelmed with what tea is best to drink and how to steep loose leaf tea.  I love to demystify tea and tell them that brewing a great pot of loose leaf tea is easy, delicious, and good for you!  Volunteers that helped with the show are culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu and also high school students interested in going to culinary school.  It is fun to be in the back kitchen watching everyone prep for the cooking demos. A big thank you to those volunteers that helped with my presentation! 

It was really fun to see Paula Deen and Bobby Flay at the show too.  I had seen Paula Deen in a past show but this was the first time to see Bobby Flay live.  He was informative and entertaining. 

Here is the ribeye steak he was making.  It had a spicy rub on it and then he seared it on each side in a frying pan.  It was topped with a mango salsa!  I was in the presenters lounge earlier in the day as the show director's husband was eating the steak from the earlier show that day with delight.  I wanted to ask him for a bite, but couldn't get the nerve!  It looked delicious.  Bobby Flay didn't ask me, but if he did, I would tell him to pair his steak with a smokey Lapsang Souchong and then maybe finish with some Puerh.

One of the teas that was sampled during my presentation was Orange Blossom Oolong.  This tea is not only wonderful and refreshing to drink, but fun to cook with as well.  In my "Tropical Tea by the Sea Tea Party" in Tea with a Twist, I poached the chicken in it for my Citrus Chicken Salad.  You really can taste the tea in the salad as an interesting and subtle flavor note!  This is a quick, easy, and good recipe to make-great to serve on its own or in sandwiches!

Citrus Chicken Salad

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 cups prepared citrus tea* steeped double strength

1 t salt

2/3 cup light sour cream

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

6 T fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)

1 T orange zest

2/3 cup chopped celery

½ cup toasted chopped macadamia nuts

Salt and pepper to taste

8 orange rind halves and/or lettuce

Orange peel to garnish

Place chicken in large sauté pan and cover with tea or chicken broth. Let liquid come to a boil and then poach chicken by covering and turning off heat. Allow to poach for about 20 minutes. Chicken should be cooked all the way through. Allow chicken to rest until cool enough to handle. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, orange juice, orange zest, celery, and macadamia nuts in a large bowl and mix well. Chop chicken and add to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and place in refrigerator until completely chilled. To serve, slice rounded end off of a halved orange rind used to make the beach iced tea. Place a scoop of chicken salad in orange rind or serve on a bed or lettuce. Garnish with a strip of orange peel curled on the top or orange zest.

If you are wondering where to purchase the tea, Vintage Tea carries the whole line of teas that I used in Tea with a Twist!   

Do you have a favorite recipe that uses tea as an ingredient?  Would love to hear about it!

Happy Sipping, Lisa