Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter's Evening Tea Moment

With Christmas a week away, it's easy to get caught up in the panic of Gotta's: Gotta buy that last gift; gotta get that box of gifts to UPS; gotta get the cards in the mail; gotta, gotta, gotta!

But it has been so nice over the past few days to be a part of some very mellow, very leisurely get togethers. One neighbor invited just 3 or 4 couples over for a grown-up cocktail party. There was almost no talk of presents or Santa. Just conversation. Ahhhh! 

Sometimes the mellow and casual get together is best. And there's nothing that says that tea is reserved for the afternoon. An evening tea has its own charms.



A Winter's Evening Tea Menu
Roast beef and horseradish sandwiches
Goat cheese and kiwi canape
Veggie tray
Cheese platter
Sugar tree cookies
Tea Rum-Pah-Pum-Pum

Roast Beef and Horseradish Tea  Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 8 thin slices white sandwich bread
  • 1/4 lb. roast beef, sliced paper-thin
Directions
In small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and horseradish. Spread 4 of the bread slices with mayo/horseradish mixture. Layer the roast beef on the bread. Top each with one of the remaining bread slices.

Using a serrated knife, trim the crusts off the sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches diagonally into quarters. Serve immediately.
 

 
Goat Cheese and Kiwi Canapes

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbs. creamy goat cheese
  • 2 Tbs. cream cheese
  • 1 Tbs chopped walnuts
  • 1 kiwi, diced
  • Crackers, lightly salted
Directions
In small bowl thoroughly mix cheese and walnuts. Add dash of salt, if desired. Spread dallop of cheese mixture on cracker and top with a few kiwi pieces. Serve immediately.

Veggie Tray
Assortment of celery, carrots, red bell peppers

Cheese Tray
At least 3 cheeses of varying textures or flavor profiles. Example: Brie, sharp cheddar, smoked gouda

Sugar Tree Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Sugar/sprinkles
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 F. In medium bowl combine flour and dash of salt. In large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed. Add egg and vanilla dn beat until well mixed. Scrape sides of bowl and add flour mixture. Blend on low speed until combined.
Gather dough into ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough onto floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Use Christmas tree cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with sugar/sprinkles.
Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Tea Rum-Pah-Pum-Pum
Brew strong black tea (Example, Irish Breakfast blend from California Tea and Coffee Brewery). Add shot of rum and twist of lemon. Add sugar or simple syrup as desired.



Take a moment to step away from the Gotta's and just relax with the Wanna's. Enjoy a simple winter evening moment with some low maintenance friends. It may be just the thing to give you that second wind before Santa makes his appearance. 

Ho Ho Ho...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Green Tea Expedition Moment


Welcome to An International Tea Moment’s Green Tea Expedition
I just have to come out and say it: I’ve never been much of a green tea fan.  Part of it is because I was such a black tea fan, why bother with anything else?  It’s kind of like going to your favorite restaurant and always ordering the same dish because you love it so much and you don’t get to go very often, so why lose even one opportunity to enjoy it!

And then I began to explore other teas just for fun – Oolongs and Whites. And then I was hearing from more friends and acquaintances who said their doctors had recommended they start drinking more green tea.
All signs pointed to green tea.

So, I tried it, and I just didn’t like it. Some tasted like grass to me. Others tasted fishy. Either way, it was a no go. And then some things happened. I had some "moments of clarity." And for a variety of reasons, I decided to just immerse myself in this green tea world and see what happened. You can read all about the start of that journey here.
Recently, I was inspired by one of my tea friends, to start another Green Tea Expedition - this time as a guide. I asked for volunteers and have 4 willing souls ready to take a chance and go green. Their packages were finally dropped in the mail today, and I'm looking forward to their thoughts and experiences.
If you'd like to explore with us, here's where our journey will take us: 

In the next week or so, I'll share the instructions I gave to my fellow explorers so you, too, can understand the method to my madness.

In the meantime, join our expedition. Try one or more of the teas listed here. As an added incentive, American Tea Room is offering 20% off any orders placed by December 16 by using the code: GIFT20


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Tea's In the Mail Moment

It's a very happy feeling to go to the mail box and see this waiting for me.


And then opening it and seeing:


And then brewing and admiring:


And then tasting...   Who knew Hawaii had such a lovely Oolong.

Thank you Canton Tea Club!