Tag Archives: alice’s tea cup

Not-So-Tea-Infused Veggie Burgers

Don’t forget to enter the Mohegan Sun giveaway for an autographed copy of Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice’s newest cookbook! If you live near the casino, you can even meet her to get your autograph. You have until tomorrow (Friday) night at 11:59PM EST.

I have a ridiculously packed, planned-in-advance calendar. I’ve actually been making a conscious effort to make LESS plans. But for now, the next couple months’ worth of weekends are chock-full of summer class, trips, and local events and outings that I’ve already scheduled, some as far back as February or March. This past Saturday evening’s girls night with Kim, for example, has been on my calendar for almost two months. Not a joke – that’s how long it took to find a Saturday night that worked for both of us! But we planned, we waited, and we (finally) cooked. It was time for another tea-infused cooking adventure with the Alice’s Tea Cup cookbook.

Oh…and vino.

This time, Kim and I decided to make the tea-infused Alice’s Veggie Burgers. The book has a recipe for both beef and veggie burgers, but the veggie variety sounded way more interesting! The tea to be used was supposed to be a variety called pu-erh, but we both had no idea what that was and Wikipedia didn’t offer any ideas for a comparative type, so we just used an earthy loose-leaf tea from Daybreak. Kim handled boiling the water in her cute tea pot and steeping the tea.

Kim probably has one of my favorite kitchens ever. I adore cooking there. And you guys know I don’t really cook.

Kitchen cuteness.

Kim finely diced some of the above garlic, along with five or six small mushrooms, and sauteed them in EVOO. I handled cracking two eggs to separate the whites (used in the burgers) from the yolks, microwaving and mashing the frozen cauliflower (awkwardly packaged in a bag that asked me to “massage” before heating and to not “penetrate” the bag in any way), and rinsing and draining the black eyed peas. I combined all of that in a bowl with sea salt and ground black pepper, instant oatmeal, the tea, and the sauteed mushrooms and garlic.

The recipe called for us to mix the above with our bare hands, but it seemed to us that this method would not produce a sticky-enough product. So, I took to the bowl’s contents with the “masher”. After a few minutes, I had a nice mushy combo that was ready for patty-forming.

Making the patties with our hands was way-fun, just like when we mixed our tea-infused berry scones with our hands!

We struggled at first to fit four patties onto the pan, but man we were getting hungry, so we managed to do it!

We had a bit of a fail when we realized the reason the patties weren’t searing on each side after six minutes, like the recipe said they would, was because we had the burner set on the lowest heat setting. We were finally cookin’ (ha) once we fixed that.

Each side got nice and crispy (burnt in some cases, but I dibsed those, I love carcinogens). We also melted some smoked cheddar on top, and Kim fixed some Alexia frozen sweet potato fries in the oven. I decided last-minute to chop up some veggies after spying some olive hummus in her fridge! I also threw arbitrary amounts of garlic powder and ground black pepper on the rest of the cauliflower so that I could mash it all together and add extra bulk to my burger.

When the burgers and fries were almost ready, we poured some Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon that Kim’s dad picked out for us. It was a really good Cab Sauv! I often don’t prefer them because they are sometimes too light for my tastes and are more similar to Pinot Noirs. But this Cab had a Chianti-like dryness to it. Plus, a lighter red like a Cab definitely was OK for a meal with no meat involved. As soon as the wine was poured, we had to take domestic housewife pictures.

Do housewives often cook in workout gear?

Finallyyyyy everything was ready. Kim and I were chomping at the bit (didn’t even let the cheese melt on the burgers) but somehow managed to be patient enough to take a “proud table display” photo before diving in.

After taking this, we decided it was awkward to sit across from each other, and she moved next to me.

So how’d the burgers turn out? I’m not going to bother telling you the sweet potato fries were awesome – well OK, I guess I just did. Love Alexia’s frozen fries, especially with both Grey Poupon and French’s yellow mustard! Our veggie burgers didn’t taste tea-infused at ALL. We may as well have just saved the tea for drinking. I feel like the Alice’s cookbook recipe creators just threw tea in there to say the burgers were tea-infused. I’m not sure why it was included because I’m sure they tasted the burgers before selecting them for the cookbook. Maybe if we’d used the actual Pu-erh tea?

Multiply this plate by two. And the wine by three. 😉

However, the veggie burgers were amazing. They tasted so hearty and were extremely satisfying. This was my first time having black-eyed peas and I loved them! I’d definitely like to cook more with them in the future. The smoked cheddar was of a really high quality and was fun to pair with the wine (along with everything else).

Despite the presence of the aforementioned food and wine, the best part of the evening was hanging out with Kim. We shared the girliest of girl talk and watched “I Love the 90’s”. We learned new things about each other and deepened our friendship, cheesy (smoked cheddar cheesy) as it sounds. And it all happened over preparing and enjoying a meal together. It was truly an evening of enjoyment.

Have you ever cooked with black eyed peas? Any recipes to share?

What was the last girl’s night you had? Or boy’s night for my male readers 😉

Have you ever heard of and/or had pu-erh tea?

Bakin’ and Drankin’ with Tea

Happy Monday! I’m not feeling too happy that it’s Monday but maybe if I repeat that greeting enough, it’ll actually rub off on me. Enjoy today’s baking (gasp!) post and also be sure to check out my Healthy Page interview!

Have you ever heard of Alice’s Tea Cup? It’s an NYC restaurant (it seems all the best are there!) with a few locations. This place serves up both food and drinks made with tea (the closest thing we have to that here in CT is Tisane in Hartford, which is certainly excellent). Of course, they also serve tea on its own, but if I can make loose leaf tea at home then I’d much rather have a unique infusion creation!

All-star ingredient lineup.

Luckily the founders, Haley and Lauren Scott, have made it possible to have more than just Alice’s Tea Cup teas in your own home. They published the Alice’s Tea Cup: Delectable Recipes for Scones, Cakes, Sandwiches, & More from New York’s Most Whimsical Tea Spot, a cookbook full of recipes drinks and food fit for all meals, some with tea and some without.

I used Splenda instead of sugar and fat-free buttermilk instead of regular to lighten the recipe up a bit! We also skipped the heavy cream and sugar topping.

I can thank my friend Kim for the small amount of tea knowledge I possess…of course, the above copy of the cookbook is hers! She told me about it and we immediately made plans to get coffee at Daybreak and select one dish and one drink to whip up at a later date. Our requirements? A) Delicious (oops, according to my Foodstock education I just made an error in using that word!) and b) tea-infused. Perhaps being in Daybreak, a place with wonderful scones, inspired us to pick out the above recipe for Berry Bunch Tisane-Infused Scones. Or perhaps we just picked them out because we love scones and tea. Whatever the reason, a date was set, groceries were purchased (see the first photo), and we met up at Kim’s house to do some cookin’! (Please, don’t be TOO surprised to see me in the kitchen.)

Hello, I want that mug.

Kim didn’t have any tisane on hand, but her mom recommended a Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Breeze Green Tea (sadly looks like it’s been discontinued, but the website offers suggested replacements). As soon as we put it into the hot water to let it steep, we knew she’d chosen a winner! A pleasant blueberry smell filled the room and was a nice “background” to our scone-making.

Dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) were combined in one bowl…

…and wet ingredients (buttermilk, vanilla extract, and the blueberry tea) were combined in another.

Oh lookin’ SOOO domestic!

Keeping the wet away from the dry for now, we had to work the butter and blueberries into the batter carefully with our hands (to avoid too much berry-squashing). Um, don’t have to ask me twice! This was so much fun.

NOW it was time to make a well in the dry ingredients, butter, and berries and add the wet ingredients.

Attacked it all with a rubber spatula…don’t worry, hands would get to come into play again. The rubber spatula was gentle enough to keep most berries un-squashed.

Fun dough playtime! We sprinkled a cutting board with flour and got to work cutting the dough into scone shapes.

Couldn’t resist.

There were no photos taken of the scone-cutting because it got VERY sloppy. The Scone Monster made an appearance though.

Even with her around, we still managed to get a few trays of only slightly haphazard-looking scones into the oven.

The scones baked and we got down to the drankin’ portion of our tea party. Tea and a little something else that is…

This couldn’t have been easier to make! Kim brewed the peach tea before we even started on the scones, and then we added the Splenda (instead of sugar) and stirred. It made a nice simple (literally) syrup that we were able to let cool and coagulate (fun word!) in the fridge while we worked on the food.

Once the syrup was done, all we had to do was add it to a pitcher of Prosecco with a splash of OJ, and we had Peach Tea Bellinis! We also had the idea to add our leftover berries to our drinks!

Despite a few incidents with the oven timer (AKA forgetting to set it, that’s what happens when your mind is stuck on bellinis…), our scones came out looking like REAL scones! So proud.

Pretty darn close, right?!

Side-by-side comparison.

We each took a bite and literally swooned. They turned out so well!!

Kim’s mom joined our little tea party, but her dad was too busy being a manly-man and attacking trees with a chainsaw to notice. Typical dad behavior!

We also asked Kim’s cat Cali to join us, but she not-so-politely declined.

“Too cool for tea parties. Don’t talk to me.”

Don’t worry, our meal wasn’t just carbs and alcohol and fruit. Kim’s mom donated some tasty rotisserie chicken she had on hand in the fridge. I had completely forgotten how much I love rotisserie chicken. A super random, but super lean and protein-filled, addition to our meal!

But maybe not as pretty as the rest of the meal….

Now you can continue to be impressed…it was a nice day, so we got a cute setup going outside. Complete with background music AKA Mr. Bronson’s chainsaw.

You like?

Baking buddies!

It was really rewarding to sit down with Kim and her mom, savor our drinks and scones, and enjoy and appreciate our work in the kitchen. OK, so I may be too lazy to cook, and I do still prefer to pay others to do it for me, but I understand the pride one gets from putting something special together!

I helped myself to a few scones, some chicken, and a few bellinis…when in Rome, right? Or, when in Kim’s backyard on a Sunday afternoon. And since I’m more likely to be there than Rome, I’m gonna roll with that.

Have you ever made a food item or alcoholic beverage that used tea as an ingredient? Or been to a restaurant that does the same?

What is your favorite kind of scone?

What’s the last baked good you made? The last cocktail?