Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Drug of Choice

I’d like to thank my coworker for becoming my pusher. I was bumming a ride home with her and she asked if I wouldn’t mind making a stop with her. No worries. We walked into Teavana and I felt the cosmos shift.

I stood there amazed by all of the neatly organized tins. I fingered the expensive electric kettles. I was in olfactory heaven when the salesperson let me smell the teas. Of course I got hooked on that first free hit. (My pusher treated me to some Earl Grey.)

I am no stranger to tea. I started with Celestial Seasonings when I was a kid. Now that I think about it, I would get excited when Daddy would bring home sassafras. It made a great tea. 

The grownup me had fallen in love with Republic of Tea and Revolution -- all teabags. Although I had a nice teapot and matching teacups, I never graduated to full-leaf teas. (I had the best of intentions.)  Enter Teavana and its seduction.

I was back the next payday, eagerly handing over my cash. I decided that I’d eat soup or beans for a couple of meals so that I could get some tea! (It is a recession, you know.)  I walked out with Earl Grey, Earl Grey White, Moroccan Mint and Tiramisu Treviso Rooibos. I couldn’t have made better purchases. I’ve already picked out what I’m buying on my next trip! My pusher has hooked others as well. Teavana ain't no joke.

I knew saving my Republic of Tea canisters would come in handy!

Earl Grey is my favorite tea. Bergamot is just amazing. I also have it as an essential oil. I tried many a brand to determine that Republic of Tea was the brand of choice for me. Then, I had a properly brewed cup of Teavana Earl Grey. My Lord … Earl Grey White? The beautiful flavor of Earl Grey in a super healthy white tea? I’m all over it. Everyone should try this.

Here are the Earl Grey teas.

White tea is the least processed and black is the most processed.  Look at the difference once they are steeped.

For my green tea, I picked Moroccan Mint. I’m not a big fan of green tea. I’ve tried it flavored and the only one that does it for me is a mint blend.

Red tea – Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. Red tea is made from Rooibos. Republic of Tea’s Safari Sunset, Red Chai and Good Hope Vanilla are my staples.  Let me speak for a moment about this Tiramisu tea.  It is the most fulfilling dessert you'll ever have for zero calories!  It reminds you of tiramisu (one of my favorite desserts) with a hint of almond.  It's so good, you can drink it unsweetened.  (Add honey for the full dessert effect.)

Speaking of sweetener, what I use depends on the tea.  For my dessert teas, I go with the traditional honey.  Honey is also good in black Earl Grey too.   My preference for most teas is agave nectar.  It adds a very light sweetness that doesn't mask the other flavors. It works extremely well in white tea.

Sipping tea also feeds into my love of kitchen gadgets.  You need a teakettle, teapot, strainer and/or infuser. My next kitchen toy will be a Taylor Connoissuer Tea Thermometer and Timer. The different types of tea require different brewing temperatures and brew times.  You can burn white and green tea if the water is too hot.

That's all for now.  I'll add new posts as I try new flavors and replenish my stash (I'm out of my favorite Revolution tea, Honeybush Caramel. and Republic of Tea's Ginger Peach

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Unofficial" Pasta Cabonara

One would think that since I haven't made anything blog-worthy in a while, the "come back" dish would be a sophisticated, technically-difficult something.  Well sorry, Charlie.  I'm at the point where I hang out in my sewing space until I'm so hungry that when I go to the kitchen, I eat the first thing I see. I've gotten away from meal planning.

Two handfuls of Craisins later, I decided on pasta cabonara – my way.  If I'd bothered to look up a recipe, I would have realized that I wasn't too far from the real thing. However you make it, it is simple and delicious.

Let's do it. You'll need some al dente spaghetti. I mix regular with whole wheat. Boil the whole wheat for two minutes by itself and then add the regular spaghetti.

While the pasta boils, fry up some bacon. I'm rolling with turkey bacon.  Doesn't that look great?

Try not to eat too much as you chop it up.  I was proud of myself – I only had a small pinch. Excuse the blur.

Beat an egg.

The following is not an exciting picture, but it's what I have to show for the next steps.  Take a ladle of your hot pasta water and warm a mixing bowl.  Pour the water out and get ready to move quickly. This may not be necessary, but this is the way I do it. (I don't want to lose any heat.)

Add the egg to the warm bowl and get the hot pasta in there.

Toss the pasta & egg and watch the magic.  First it gets frothy.


If I were following a recipe, I'd add chopped garlic sautéed in bacon drippings. Since I didn't do that, my next step is to add plenty of black pepper, Italian seasoning and Parmesan. (This was an on-the-fly meal; I didn’t have any fresh parsley.)

Let us pause to thank Italy for its contribution to food.

I mean earnestly thank the Italians.

I leave you now to ponder the goodness of bacon, eggs and pasta.

Tools of the Trade

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In Transition

I'm in the process of moving this blog back to Blogger from Vox.  Until the process is complete, you'll see some incomplete older posts. Vox does not have an export function; I have to cut and paste each individual post, add the pictures and then recreate any links. 

In the meantime, feel free to take a look at my sewing blog; I've finished moving it to Blogger