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White Tea: Geography v. Process Techniques March 27 2015

Aloha and happy spring!

It is beautiful here in SW Colorado. I have flowers beginning to bloom, birds have returned and I am beginning to uncover my gardens and finding small treasures!

So as promised, here is the March blog about the differences between white tea and all other teas. This last Sunday I tuned into the Splendid Table on the local NPR station - KSUT and Lynn Rossetto Kasper was in a discussion with Bill Waddington of the Tea Source about this very topic (Splendid Table).

White tea was discovered in only three small isolated villages in china - the Fijian province. These villages produced this type of tea which is the lightest brew of tea that is soft and delicate and has a subtle flavor that imparts a sweet flavor to the the finished brew. When the Americans and Europeans discovered this wonderful tea, its demand and popularity grew to the point that the villages could not keep up. Because of this, white tea cultivars were taken to other areas of China and eventually the world to produce.

Enough with the back history, but keep this in mind because it has caused a controversy in the production world. The dispute lies with geography verses process methods. Process methods differ greatly between white tea and all other tea types because white tea is the least handled/processed tea available. From an earlier blog I discussed the different process methods of tea, so if this is a rehash, please forgive me.

White tea is the least processed of all teas. Tea leaves are allowed to whither in the sun for up to 5 days. Heat is then applied whether by firing or electric heating to pull the remaining water content out to reduce the chances of bacterial and mold growth before packaging. All other teas on the other hand are withered for a few hours, then the leaves are crushed or hand rolled. This allows for the oxidation of chemicals in the leave to interact with the atmosphere prior to applying heat.

The release of chemicals and oxidation process produces black teas such as Oolong, pekoe and Lapsong teas. Oxidation is the only difference between the black and white teas. And the process procedures are different to obtain green teas, but I have already touched on that topic earlier.

I hope that this information helps to define white tea, but regardless of the controversy I have found them to be very light and flavorful for afternoons and evenings. Lelani's carries white teas in blends and if requested we can provide un-blended white teas for your enjoyment.

Until next month which I will find another topic to blog on, Happy Spring!

Mahalo!

Splendid Table, National Public Radio, 03/22/2015


Pork Loins with Chanterelle Cream Sauce February 27 2015

Aloha from my perch on a brilliantly sunny February day.

So, o.k. I missed an opportunity to discuss any Valentines ideas or recipes. My bad and I'm sorry, but February in SW Colorado should be chilly and not pushing 60 degree temps! In fact at the moment I am basking in the sun getting my early suntan for the upcoming summer.

As I had stated in an earlier blog, I am not a baker, but rather a hack chef and with that I will let you in on a new recipe that I thought up trying to bring a new dish to the table. I found that the local organic butcher had pork loin steaks that were too good to pass up. The loins had to be 1.5 inches thick and had good marbling throughout the entire slab. So I got two for the express purpose of making a delicious new dish for Valentines dinner. Unfortunately I got chocolates for my special guy and all I got was a lousy cold! But I digress as usual on a different track.

Anyway, I applied a mixture of Lelani’s Citrus Lavender rub and Citrus Habanero Olive Oil prior to placing into a large zip-loc bag with a tropical fruit juice to marinade for a couple of days. Juice or wine marinades work well with pork, chicken and fish as it tenderizes and enhances the flavors of the rub and meat.

Prior to pan frying, I applied another sprinkling of the rub and set aside while heating up a large cast iron pan. As the pan is heating up, add fresh chopped shallots and crushed garlic to sauté till the shallots were tender and transparent. Remove and set aside the shallot mix for later use. Increase the heat and when ready add loins and sear both sides. Searing the outer layer of meat will seal in moisture and flavor. Once seared, reduce heat to low and cover pan and cook to medium well.

One piece of advice is not to over cook pork. This will cause the meat to become very dry and chewy (like shoe leather). It is best to under cook meat by removing and setting aside to allow the loins to finish cooking and to rest. This will keep the juices inside for great moisture and better flavor.

I reserved the marinade to use with mushrooms and shallot mix to make a cream sauce to top each loin. While the meat is cooking I put the marinade in a shallow bowl and added fresh sliced Chanterelle Mushrooms to absorb the liquid. Although I used Chanterelles, you can use most any mushrooms other than Shitaki as they tend to have their own distinct flavor which may not blend well with fruit juices. Let mushrooms soak for at least 10 minutes.

When the pork was finished and set aside, add mushrooms and marinade to the shallot mixture and sauté on low until tender, about 5 minutes. Add plain yogurt and Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub to mix and blend well. Cook for 2 minutes and serve over pork loins as a cream sauce. To make a complete and healthy meal, I added Forbidden rice and fresh snow peas.

Below is my recipe for Citrus Lavender Pork Steaks - Enjoy!

Mahalo!

Pork Loins with Chanterelle Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

2 large pork loins (1-1/2 lbs)

1-1/2 c. tropical fruit juice

1 large shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1 c. sliced mushrooms

1/4 c. flavored olive oil (Citrus works best)

2 tbsp. Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub

Directions:

Marinade pork loins in a large zip-loc bag with tropical juice for at least 2 hours. When ready to cook, remove steaks from bag and massage a bit of flavored oil and Lelani's Citrus Lavender Rub to steaks (1 tsp per side). Set aside.

Place sliced mushrooms into juice marinade and set aside.

After marinating steaks, heat skillet with some olive oil and sauté shallots, garlic until tender. When mixture is tender and transparent, remove and set aside for later use. Increase heat to high. Sear both sides of loins and then reduce heat to low and finish cooking to medium well (about 30 min). When finished, remove and set aside under foil to finish cooking.

Reduce heat to low and add sautéed mix to pan. Add mushrooms, juice and 1/2 tbsp Citrus Lavender Rub. Blend well over low heat for 2 minutes. Add plain yogurt to mixture and stir well. Cook an additional 2 minutes or until warm. Spoon cream sauce over pork steaks and serve.

 

 

 

  


Snow Down Supper Idea January 28 2015

Aloha!

In Durango, CO winter can become a long and tedious season, but the end of January only means that Snow Down is right around the corner! What is Snow Down? The best way I can explain this is that Snow Down is the Cabin Fever Reliever! Some enterprising people found that mid winter is a great time for a week long party that includes stupid human tricks and contests!

It is a great time and I look forward to this party every year because it brings happiness and joy to an otherwise cold and dreary time of year. I also like this because it gives me a chance to try out new ideas from the kitchen on friends and family, who I thank a lot for their opinions. So this year is no different other than I decided to try out ‘chicken parmesan’ with marinara sauce.

I had worked in restaurants in the past and from each one of them I learned a lot about cooking and making sauces. Sadly though, I sux at baking! Anyway, taking what I learned and adding my individual touch I found I could create meals that family and friends enjoyed. Besides learning how to cook I also found lots of shortcuts to the entrees that I now use at home and in the recipe below.

Marinara is a very easy sauce to make and depending on your time, can be made in as little as 45 minutes. When I began working in these establishments, I was very much afraid of making mistakes especially with sauces as the sauce is the very first taste you get in your first bite. Italian and French sauces are very intimidating but I learned how to succeed with creating sauces for any meal. The key to Marinara is the first step of sautéing the onions and garlic before adding anything else. Also remember to smash the garlic cloves to get the best flavor. I also use a flavored olive oil like citrus habanera or ginger garlic for added complexity of flavors!

Below is my version of this signature Italian meal and I hope that you give it a try! Marinara is typically a very thin and flavorful sauce, my Marinara version, it is a bit thin by still chunky. So my sauce will end up chunky from the quartered tomatoes and diced onions and sweet peppers even if minced. I prefer a thicker type of sauce and this shows it.

Until the next blog post - Aloha & Mahalo!

Chicken Parmesan with Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce        

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, coarsely diced

1 sweet pepper, coarsely diced

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

4-6 Roma tomatoes, firm and dark red in color

1 16 oz can tomato paste

½ c. red wine, (Cabernet or Claret)

1tsp. smoked salt

2 tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub

Directions:

Sauté garlic and onions in oil over medium heat until onions are translucent in appearance. Quarter up tomatoes and add to onions and garlic mix. Add diced peppers and stir in tomato paste and wine. Add salt and seasoning rub and mix well. Mash down tomatoes when thoroughly cooked. Reduce heat to a simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Chicken Parmesan

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 tsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. Papule Chixen rub

¼ container bread crumbs

4 -6 slices Provolone Cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a mallet, tenderize both side of each breast. Apply olive oil and Papule Chixen Rub over both sides of breasts and set aside in a bowl. Pour breadcrumbs over each breast and gently press breadcrumbs onto both sides of the chicken.

Place chicken breasts into large oiled shallow pan and cover with aluminum or lid. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. To finish off, melt provolone cheese over each breast.

Serve chicken over fettuccini or linguini and top with a ladle of Marinara over entire dish. Add a salad and good crusty Italian bread will complete the meal!

 

 

           


 

 

                                                                                                                         


True Cajun Chicken & Sausage Gumbo January 13 2015

Aloha all!

 Well here it is my first blog of 2015 and I am trying my damnedest to keep my resolution to our readers! I had to think hard about to blog about, but today (1/13/15) I awoke to about 3 inches of wet heavy snow and the yard was beautiful and I began plotting and planning for that Calvin & Hobbs Snowman for the front yard. That was before I saw some of the damage from this storm and the snow was too wet to really make a good snowman.

So after shoveling the wet stuff from the steps 3 times, I changed gears and decided that this day needed a large pot of Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. The recipe below is courtesy of Tim Richard (a true Cajun), so if you every meet him, say thanx! Although this may seem like a difficult winter dish to make, but it is very simple. The key to making gumbo is to begin with a very thick and golden brown roux as the base.

Making a good roux is not hard to make as long as you don’t let it become scorched or burnt. To start pour 1 cup of oil into a cast iron Dutch oven. Mix in 1 cup flour into the oil and stir the mixture and remove all lumps. Keep the heat at medium and keep stirring! The mixture will become more golden brown as it cooks and this is what you want. The entire process will take approximately 20-30 minutes to get the deep golden brown color for the gumbo. If you find black specks, you need to start over again as the roux has been burned and will impart that flavor to the remainder of the ingredients.

As the roux is chugging along, chop onion, celery and peppers into bite size pieces. When the roux is completed mix the chopped veggies into the roux and stir (again), keeping the heat on medium. Add chicken broth and stir to keep mix from burning. When everything is well mixed, add chicken and sausage to pot and stir mixture well.

Now add wine and seasoning to mix and if needed more chicken broth to pot till the mixture resembles a thick – I mean thick- soup. Put heat on low and cover with a tight fitting lid and let cook, stirring occasionally. I used the Moo Moo rub for the seasoning which was added to the pot to simmer and meld with the veggies and meat!

After simmering several hours I serve the gumbo over a mix of Jasmine and Forbidden Rice and this is a great hot meal for the family to enjoy on a cold winter evening!

 

True Cajun Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Roux:

1 c. oil (sunflower or olive)

1 c. flour

Directions:

Heat oil and add flour in a cast iron Dutch oven. Stir mixture to remove lumps and prevent burning until mixture is a deep golden brown.

Gumbo mix:

1 lg. onion

4 stalks celery

1 ½ bell peppers

1 jalapeno

1-2 c. chicken broth

1 c. dry white wine

½ lb okra (optional)

2 tbsp. Moo Moo Rub

Directions:

Chop all veggies into bite size pieces and stir into roux mix to coat well. Add chicken broth to mix and stir. Add more broth if needed along with wine. Add seasonings and stir. Cover and simmer pot on low for at least 2 hrs.

Serve gumbo over rice mixture and enjoy with a salad and fresh bread!

My mahalos and love to Tim Richard who taught me the art of Cajun Cooking!


Makana Flank Steak with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce October 28 2014

Aloha all,

SW Colorado has had a great mushroom season this year. I was able to find plenty of chanterelles, puff balls, boletus and hawk wings, and thanks to Eric K., I learned more about Russula xerampelina, or  shrimp mushrooms, pictured below. 

So I had collected and cleaned approximately 12 lbs. of chanterelles and had begun to dry them for storage and later use this winter. But I set aside a bag because I was thinking of monkeying around with a recipe I found in “Cooking Light”. This recipe I have tried several times without real great success or wow from the family. We found it missing that ‘something special’. In truth, the recipe uses shitakes and I normally like their flavor, but I found their flavor as lacking and slightly bland.

Plus the steak also need more seasoning than just salt and pepper. So to liven up the flavor, I began mixing herbs and spices which lead the new “Makana Mauka” steak rub. This new blend uses a minimal amount of herbs and spices because wild shrooms are flavorful on their own. Also I did not want a rub that would compete with the shrooms or mask their flavor.

So below is my version of the recipe that I found in Cooking Light, which has given me great inspirations from the various recipes that it contains. The recipes calls for flank steak, but really any tender cut of beef would do nicely and I have done this recipe using both the flank and the skirt steaks with great success. Additionally, I will be adding the Makana Mauka rub to the products very shortly so keep an eye out. Also, if you do not have wild shrooms you can substitute cremini or oyster for this. As with everything, please let me know what you think of the recipes or tips on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lelanis-Tea-Spice-Exchange-LLC.

Mahalo and happy cooking!

Makana steak with Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce

Steak

2 lb. flank or skirt steak

3 tbsp. Lelani’s Makana Mauka rub

2 tbsp. ginger garlic olive oil

Mushroom Sauce

½ onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

2 c. fresh wild mushrooms (oysters or cremini), thinly sliced (about ½ lb.)

1 c. beef bouillon

½ c. dry white wine

1 tbsp. Pear infused balsamic vinegar

½ shallot, finely minced

Preheat broiler. Pour 1 tbsp. oil on one side of steak and sprinkle Makana Mauka rub on to meat. Work spice rub mixture into meat. Repeat on other side of steak. Set aside.

In large nonstick pan pour small amount of ginger garlic olive oil and heat to coat pan evenly. Put onions and garlic into pan and sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and pliable. Add broth, wind and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cook uncovered until sauce is reduced to 1-½ cup sauce.

Broil steak 5 minutes on each side. Remove steak, loosely cover with foil and allow meat to rest 5-10 minutes. After rest period, slice steak diagonally across the grain into ¼ inch slices.

Serve steak with mushroom sauce on a bead of rice.

Yields about 5 servings.

 

 


Coffee - that other beauty tool September 17 2014

Aloha All!

As promised in the last blog, here are some great beauty and health tips using coffee! BTW, I am now using a green tea rinse almost daily and I can say that I am seeing a slight improvement. Will keep everyone posted!

As you sit and sip away at your morning coffee, think about this - Did you know that you can use coffee for more than just that jolt in the morning to kick start the ol’ motor? It is true! In response to my last blog, I found quite a bit of information about using coffee in your daily regime of beauty and health.

Skin looking tired and dull? Try using a handful of coffee grounds as a scrub. The rough texture of the grounds will help to slough off dead skin from the surface, leaving a fresh glow in its place. Additionally the caffeine will help to tighten skin and fine lines, reduce puffy eyes and dark circles but wait! Antioxidants a coffee scrub will help to protect your skin from daily environmental damages i.e. pollution and UV radiation! You can also add cane sugar and palm, grapeseed or olive oils for additional moisturizers!   

Besides being a great facial scrub, did you know that you can also use this scrub to get rid of cellulite? Coffee is a main ingredient of many products targeted for cellulite and can reduce water retention in problem areas. Additionally antioxidants will tighten skin over time and try adding tea tree oil your mix to improve scent. Mix up some fresh grounds with brown or white sugar and oil and spread onto problem area, rubbing in a circular motion. From what I have learned in researching this is that over time you will see noticeable improvements in the reduction of cellulite. If anyone tries this let me know how it works!

Coffee is also a great addition to your shampoo routine as it will remove residual buildup of hair products, stimulate hair follicle grow and leave your hair lustrous and more manageable. To make a good coffee hair masque, brew a strong pot of coffee and allow to chill to room temperature. Pour the coffee onto your hair and massage into the scalp for the benefits from antioxidants. Cover your hair with a towel or bag and sit for 20 minutes before washing as normal. One caveat to this tip – if your hair is chemically treated, colored or have naturally light hair, this may discolor your hair.

Finally, to help you all out I have added coffee recipes from my searches below for your experiments! Let me know what works and doesn’t work and I will pass it on with future blogs. Thanks to the following sites which made my job a bit easier:

www.naturallycurly.com

www.organicauthority.com

www.huffingtonpost.com

www.beauty.about.com

www.yahoo.com

Facial Scrub:

Ingredients
3 tablespoons coffee grounds (new, if possible)
1 tablespoon natural oil of your choice: Olive, grape seed, or coconut
1 tablespoon cane sugar

Directions
Mix all dry ingredients, then add oil. Based on the kind of scrub consistency you want, add more or less brown sugar. Massage onto your face in gentle, circular motions and rinse with warm water.

Cellulite

Ingredients
1 cup coffee grounds
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
1 cup coconut oil

Directions
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. After you’ve washed your body, massage the scrub into wet skin for about 60 seconds per area, rinse with warm water. Tip: use a drain screen as this scrub could clog your tub.

Hair treatment

Ingredients

1 pot coffee (room temperature)

2 tbsp. tea tree oil

Directions
Prepare strong coffee and let it cool until the mixture is lukewarm or room temperature. Add tea tree oil and mix prior to application. Pour the coffee onto your hair and scalp, wrap hair with a plastic cap or towel and allow sit for 20 minutes. Wash out with warm water. Style as usual.

Mahalo!


Beauty tips using tea September 03 2014

Aloha!

As I was tooling around the internet looking for inspiration on the next blog I noticed an article that discussed how coffee could be used for more than just that morning jolt, and kick in the pants that most of the world needs to get going in the mornings. This article was intriguing enough to make me stop and say HUMMMMM….. which then lead my investigation on beauty and health tips with teas.

Below are traditional and modern uses for tea in your daily beauty routines:

Eyes sore, tired and burning? Soak two tea bags in warm water and place the bags over your eyes for at least 20 minutes. Your eyes will feel great and the puffiness will be reduced because of the tannins that act to reduce the puffiness and your eyes will feel great!

Summer mean fun and sun, but what do you do when you forget your sun block and end up burning? Try applying a few wet tea bags to the affected areas to reduce the stinging feeling from burns. This will also work well for other types of burns such as irons, stoves, razor burns and my personal favorite – curling irons! For larger burns that do not need medical oversight, try running a warm bath with several tea bags to gain the same results.

Getting grey? Don’t want to pay the price for the expensive hairdresser or dye kits? Use a black tea to help cover the grey. Steep 3 tea bags in 1 cup of boiling water and add 1 tablespoon of rosemary or sage to the mix. Let stand overnight to cool and darken. Strain and put into spray bottle and shampoo as usual. Spray mix onto your hair and make sure to saturate all your hair. Blot dry and style as usual. Make sure to protect any clothing you may have on as tea will stain them.

Hair dry and lifeless? Or are you shedding too much hair? A Green or Black tea rinse may be the answer you are looking for! Both black and green teas can help to restore your hair’s health by preventing and reducing hair loss through shedding and can stimulate thick strong hair growth. The caffeine and chemical components in black and green teas help to block the hormone DHT which cause hair loss thru shedding.

Green tea is a great natural preventative to dandruff as it is believed to aid in exfoliation of the dry flakes that are associated with the condition. Green tea is also a great final rinse conditioner that helps to stop split ends as it contains vitamin C, E and panthenols. Vitamin C protects against UV radiation and Vitamin E helps to restore dry damaged hair. Panthenol is a provitamin which helps to strengthen and soften hair and helps to stop split ends! Try making a mixture of teas for your next

Need a facial steam? Green tea contains antioxidants that help to prevent signs of aging. Boil a moderate amount of water, about 3 cups, and add two green tea bags to the mix, Place towel over your head and over the steam bowl for 5 – 10 minutes. The steam will open up your pores and the antioxidants will help to tone, soften and moisturize your skin.

Our next blog will explore beauty tips with coffee. Stay tuned and keep your coffee ground!

Mahalo!

 

http://www.rd.com/home/22-ways-to-use-tea-for-beauty-home-and-garden/

www.justgrowalready.com/2013/01/tea-rinses-how-to-benefits.html

 


Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee August 01 2014

When brewing a cup of coffee most everyone knows how to do this but how to perfectly brew a great coffee is something that may elude most of us, me included.

A great cup of cup begins with the type of bean that is used; Arabica and Robusta. Robusta are cultivated at lower altitudes (>3000 ft) and have higher caffeine content. These beans are most often used in commercial grade brands found in stores around the country. Arabica beans are grown in higher altitudes (<3000 ft) and are consider being a better tasting coffee because of the wide range of flavor. Some of the best coffees are Arabica beans i.e. Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain (my personal favorite), Columbian, Santos and Sumatra to mention a few.

Why would you want to pick a mountain grown coffee you may ask? The reason for selecting a high altitude coffee is that the higher the elevation the better the flavor. This is because the coffee beans grow and develop slower, thus allowing the bean to absorb all the nutrients from the soil which provides a more complex flavor in the end. Also, as the bean slowly develops the bean becomes harder which leads to better grinds. Just remember, the higher the elevation, the harder the bean. The harder the bean the better the flavor!

So now you have picked your poison now you may wonder what the best grind is for that particular bean, but really it depends upon the type of brewer you plan on using. In fact this is the most crucial point in making that perfect cup of coffee. Another key step is to use whole beans if possible and to grind them immediately prior to brewing. This allows for the aroma of the beans to permeate the entire brewing process.

Next step. What brewing method are you using? Dependant on the type of brewer you are using will dictate how finely ground the beans are. Below is a description of the types of grinding available:

Coarse - Chunky, distinct particles, reminds me of potting soil.

Brewer Type:

French Press (press or plunger pot) Toddy Makers (cold brew method) Vacuum Coffee Maker

Medium - More the texture of coarse sand.

Brewer Type:

Auto Drip Makers (with flat bottom filters)

Drip Makers (with cone shaped filters)

Fine - Smoother yet. More like sugar or salt when you rub it between your fingers.

Brewer Type:

Stove Top Espresso Pots Some Drip Makers (with cone shaped filters)

Super Fine - Not as fine as flour or powdered sugar, but definitely in that ball park. You can still feel some grit.

Brewer Type:

Espresso Machines

So now that you have all this down the next step to your perfect cup of coffee is adding the water and brewing the coffee. This can be a simple as pouring the water into your brewing machine or press and waiting or as complicated as you want to make it. I prefer using a press and letting it sit for about 5-7 minutes or when it is dark enough that I can’t see through the carafe. To make it easier for you and for me, because after doing all this research and writing, I want my perfect cup of coffee, I have pasted a link to perfect brewing for specific brewers, plus it is a great source of information on coffee! Please check it out and now my coffee is calling to me!

http://www.specialty-coffee-advisor.com/coffee-brewing.html


Herbal Garden Medicine Chest July 24 2014

Aloha and e komo mai!

After spending the better half of the morning stripping spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm and tarragon from their stem for drying, I began to think about the benefits of using fresh herbs – other than adding zest to meals!

My interest in herbs grew from a curiosity of edible wild plants and from a friend who would point out specific plants and inform me of their medicinal uses. For instance, yarrow and mullein help to relieve the symptoms of colds. Black cohosh is used in teas and tinctures and can help to tone down menopause. I have tried this and can positively state it has done wonders for me. Another herb that is widely used is mint.

Mint, whether it is spearmint, peppermint, chocolate or winter it is all good for a person. It is an herb that is very versatile as it can be used in roasting of meats and stews. It is also used in teas because it will aid in digestion and upset stomachs. Additionally spearmint and peppermints are ingredients in toothpastes and mouthwashes like Listerine.

In my garden I cultivate lemon balm for use in meat rubs, soups, sauces and teas. Lemon balm has been studied as a beneficial herb in for supporting a calm and healthy sleep. It has also been approved in supporting the gastrointestinal tract. It has also been shown in clinical trials to support healthy memory and cognitive function, as well as to increase self-reported calmness.

Hibiscus is a flower that is found on Hawaii and throughout many homes worldwide. Did you know that it is used in teas because it is naturally high in vitamin C and has high levels of anti-oxidants. It is also used in dyes, cosmetics and has become the main flavoring agent in some sodas. Hibiscus is used in our teas and rubs because of the benefits that the plant provides.

Because of the medicinal benefits associated with herbs and plants I research the ingredients that are used in our products. Additionally, if requested we create special blends for healthful uses. Below is a partial listing of plants and herbs and their benefits. For more information please visit: http://www.anniesremedy.com, or https://www.mountainroseherbs.com.

Dandelion: use roots, flowers and leaves to relieve acne, bladder infections, bruises/sprains and colds.

Fennel: the whole plant is used for weight loss, congestion, coughs, digestion and menopause.

Lavender: flowers, stems and leaves are used in teas, meat rubs and cookies. Medicinal used for headaches/migraines, acne, anxiety, hypertension, IBS and fibromyalgia.

Parsley: roots, leaves and seeds are used to help in digestion, halitosis, gout and kiney function.

Rosemary: flowers, stems and leaves are used for cellulite, circulation and colds, IBS, memory/focus and pain relieve.

 

Until next time - Mahalo!


Cooking with tea July 17 2014

Aloha e komo mai!

It is now the middle of July and with summer in full swing I began to think about how to best fit tea into the season other than being brewed and served over ice. We all understand that tea is healthy and beneficial, but did you know you can use tea as an ingredient in cooking?!?

The Chinese have long used teas in their daily cooking by adding pouches of fragrant teas, herbs and spices to cooking pot. They would stuff tea and spices into fresh fish to steam and add tea leaves to cooking fires to add a deep smoky flavor to meats and vegetables. Hard boiled eggs were also included when using tea such as green or oolong. The Chinese would brew tea in the same boiling pots with the eggs. A few minutes before finishing the eggs, the shells would be cracked to create a delicate network of marbling to the whites.

Teas can be used as a crunchy flavor coating in rubs for meats, fish, chicken and pork. A small amount can be added to rice or pasta while cooking. I usually add a couple of teaspoons of brewed green or herbal tea to my rice mix along with spices to enhance white or black rice. When trying, remember to pre-steep the tea with water less than 185° and do not steep more than a few minutes. Another method of brewing is to put about 1-2 teaspoons in water (room temperature) and let stand for 20–30 minutes to prevent the acidic bitter flavor that can result from steeping too long.

Brewed teas have also been utilized in braises and marinades for meats, poultry, fish and pork. Add a teaspoon or two of a mixture of tea leaves and herbs to cream sauces to add a more complex flavor. Want an herbed butter? Mix fresh tea leaves and herbs to butter and melt. Mix well and allow to meld together for at least 20 minutes. Sieve out the leaves and refrigerate for later use.

So tea has more uses other than just brewing. Be adventurous! Try experimenting with different types of tea and cooking recipes. Below is a great cool dessert recipe from Sunset just for those hot summer days. More recipes using teas can be found at: http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/kitchen-assistant/tea-recipes/tea-recipes_7

Blackberry–Black Tea Sorbet

Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds rinsed blackberries (fresh or frozen)

2 cups brewed black Darjeeling or Assam tea

1-1/4 cups sugar

Directions

In a blender, whirl blackberries until puréed. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl, pressing pulp with a spatula to extract as much juice as possible; you should have 2 cups purée. Discard solids. Whisk tea and sugar into purée. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.

Freeze in an ice cream maker (at least 1 1/2-qt. capacity) according to manufacturer's instructions until machine stops or dasher is hard to turn. Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 3 hours.

Give these other sites a try when cooking with tea:

http://www.teatulia.com/cooking-with-tea.htm

http://www.mightyleaf.com/tea-tips-cooking-with-tea/

http://www.marthastewart.com

Mahalo and much Aloha to all!