Jasmine Sangria

FruTEA. 

Summer time means lots of fun drinks and although I'm not the biggest fan of wine, I knew it would be good to make a sangria with this jasmine tea from Just Tea. That came in my sipsby box.  

I love that this tea combines the purple tea and jasmine with cornflower blossoms. The cornflower blossoms make the tea so beautiful! 

In my recipe I talk about choosing 3 fruits. I chose peach and blueberry and then cherries for the garnish. I also later threw in a bunch of cherries as well. Soaking the fruit in the ginger liqueur gives the sangria more depth in it's taste. I chose the ginger liqueur because I thought that ginger and fruit are a delicious pair and ginger is also a versatile flavor when it comes to making cocktails. 

I took a trip down memory lane when I chose vinho verde for the wine. As I've discussed I'm not much of a wine drinker but I do enjoy bubbly drinks. Vinho Verde is definitely bubbly. In college, my roommate and bestie introduced it to me and I fell in love. Sometimes we would make excuses to stay in instead of going out and share a bottle while watching movies. I have such wonderful memories of vinho verde and that's why it had to be what went in the sangria!

In my directions I talk about putting in the fruit first but in this photo that's not what you see. This was just a lesson learned after making the sangria. The order of the fruit doesn't matter too much but it's better to put the majority of the fruit into the pitcher when it's empty so that you avoid lots of splashing!

LRM_EXPORT_20170720_174545.jpg

After the entire bottle of wine is poured into the pitcher, you can top it off with a little extra ginger liqueur for taste if you'd like or perhaps add a drop or two to each glass you pour. 

If you want some guidance on choosing fruit, I would say that of the 3 that I used the peaches were the best. They soaked up the flavor so well and it was easier to fish out the pieces to enjoy. The blueberries were also good and cherries as well but If I created this again I would probably substitute the cherries with raspberries!

What fruits would you choose?!

Golden Milk Tea Pops

Gold pops.

Golden milk is all the rage thanks to turmeric! Turmeric is known to have many health benefits, including decreasing inflammation within the body which is important for so many reasons. Growing up in a Persian family, I never drank turmeric as a drink but it's a central ingredients in most dishes and has always been apart of my diet. My favorite ways to cook with turmeric are including it with rice and on meat. 

Turmeric on it's own is a very strong flavor so it makes total sense to make tea blends or to make it with milk! When I got this Turmeric Tonic from the Tea Spot in my sipsby box it was a no brainer to create fun pops with it! 

This is a super basic recipe where you infuse the tea into coconut milk, freeze and tada! While the tea is infusing into the coconut milk that is your chance to put any sweetener you'd like into the mixture if you'd like any. 

To spice these popsicles up I melted a little chocolate as a topping and it was a delicious addition to the popsicles! Make sure to let the melted chocolate cool a tiny bit and that you are only putting them on popsicles right out of the freezer. The chocolate will harden on the popsicle and they are perfect to serve immediately! 

Bourbon Puerh Cocktail

Boozy Tea.

Ok, so I know I just made a similar drink with some bubbly but if you love bourbon you HAVE to try this! I enjoyed the green tea champagne drink so much I decided to tweak it for a different use. Enter, orange drop tea from White 2 Tea thanks to my Sipsby box!

P.s.You can use the code teathoughts for 50% off your first box!

Orange drop is a very special treat that I've been dying to try for some time! This is a  Xinhui Mandarin stuffed with ripe puerh tea. That's right, tea stuffed into a mandarin! This is meant to be brewed, skin and all. The mandarin sparked an idea. Old fashioned drinks often have the peel of an orange and it gives such a great flavor so I decided to try this tea with bourbon! 

You can steep this tea with the skin and in a tradition 4-6 oz pot or a larger pot. I actually decided to used my gaiwan that I love so much! This tea can be re-steeped 10 times so I suggest tasting the tea after the first steep to make sure you like the flavor. You could even keep different steeps separate and use the one where the taste is best. For my drink, I combined the 1st and 2nd steep. 

Why sour cherries? Before I go crazy and buy everything from the store, I often try to create a recipe with whatever I have in my fridge because that is more conveniant and I want these recipes to be easy and low effort! I had some sour cherries from the farmer's market and I remember that sometimes bartenders put cherries in an old fashioned. The less ingredients in my drink the better, BUT this means I know that the flavors more or less work! 

I'm not sure if you've ever had a sour cherry, or if you like sour things but they are absolutely delicious. I thought the flavors of the orange drop and cherries would go well and the cherries would also soak up the alcohol well. I used shot glass measurements for this drink. I used 1/2 of a shot of bourbon, 1.5 shots of tea and the rest was the sparkling wine. Let me tell you, ONE of these packs a punch! 

The sparkling wine brings some sweetness to this drink and you are always welcome to replace it with a dry champagne!

Just like the other cocktail I made, this is bubbly and fun and great for a party or a maybe an intimate celebration! 

BTW: I don't work for Bulleit, I just love their bourbon so much. Ever since we discovered it, its always on our shelf. It's great neat but it also is perfect for a mixed drink! 

Happy Sipping! 

Green Tea Passion Fruit Champagne Cocktail

Tea Crystals.

What the heck are tea crystals?! I didn't know either! Pique Tea reached out to me to try their tea and I was intrigued! I've probably mentioned that I'm somewhat of a loose leaf snob but am always willing to try new things! Before I received the tea I checked out the process and guess what? To get these crystals, the tea is in fact brewed from loose leaves! Read more about their process. 

I think it's really cool that these crystals are made from actual brewed tea and are able to keep in the benefits and flavors of the tea. Although, I like to enjoy my tea slowly and in places where I don't have to rush, these packets are perfect for people who want tea but can't make the time or for traveling! I also think that these packets make tea more accessible to people and I'm all about spreading the love for tea!  

You're welcome to brew this tea with hot or cold water, I used cold water because I didn't want to wait for the hot tea to cool down. If you're making these for a party I would also suggest cold water so you can make these drinks right away! Once the water hit the crystals, they start dissovling.

I'm not sure if I've ever discussed my process but I do a lot of flavor brainstorming before I create a recipe. I think about the flavor and what I've had it with and what I've liked it best with. I also think about dishes I like and wish there was tea in! I've had many passion fruit flavored things but I'm not sure I've ever eaten a passion fruit by itself so I had to do a little research about what flavors pair well with it. 

In my research, I concluded that raspberries and champagne were a great combo for this tea! I did not sweeten this drink but if you like sweet drinks, simply add honey or sugar to the tea or the finished drink! 

You can kind of play around with the amount of tea vs champagne in this drink. I made mine slightly boozier by adding more champagne than tea. I was thinking that if you had frozen raspberries you could even use those to make this drink even cooler!

This is a super simple cocktail and I think it's great for a party! Pique Tea is affordable and has green and black teas, you can check out their flavors here!

Garlic Jasmine Oolong Rice

Tea Rice.

I've probably mentioned on my blog or instagram before that I LOVE rice. It's pretty difficult not to when you grow up in a Persian household. Like tea, rice is very central to our culture. Rice is an essential ingredient in most dishes and I've always thought it was something that held together our stews. 

That being said, my favorite rice is definitely basmati. Basmati rice is what I grew up eating and it's my favorite to cook as well. A while ago, I got a Blue Apron meal where there was a garlic jasmine rice recipe. I don't often use jasmine rice but it was a simple and delicious recipe that I have recreated almost every time I marinate meat with Japanese inspired spices. Most times when I cook I think to myself, how can I incorporate tea into this dish? ENTER Alishan Oolong from Terroir Tea Merchant! 

**Blue Apron is a meal service that my boyfriend and I enjoy sometimes! I have 5 free meals I can send so leave your email address in the comments if you would like to try it!**

I hear so many people talk about how cooking is so difficult and that's why they don't do it. I totally disagree, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Unlike baking, cooking gives you a lot more room for experimentation and that is the best part. I like to share simple recipes so that anyone can try them at home. This recipe doesn't get much easier!  

Essentially, you are replacing the water used in the recipe to cook the rice with brewed tea. The tea cooks the rice and also infuses it with the oolong flavor.

Again thanks to Sipsby I got to create a unique dish! The Alishan Oolong is described as buttery, floral and nutty. These flavors cut the garlic the perfect amount and give the rice a little more depth than when it's cooked with plain water. 

Pair this rice with your fvaorite dish! I suggest someting either slightly sweet or slightly spicy :) 

Fruity Black Tea Pops

Berry Delicious!

When it comes to tea pops, you can get really versatile! I've tried a bunch of different flavors and decided to try one of my favorites, black tea!

I was thrilled to try the liquid leaf house breakfast tea and use it in these tea pops! This tea is in tea bags so it's much easier to brew the tea and include it in the tea pops. 

When I make a smoothies I usually add in some sort of liquid or yogurt and for these pops I just replace that with brewed tea. I used two tea bags where I would normally use one because I don't want the black tea flavor to get lost in the strong fruit flavors. 

I used a blender because frozen fruit is so much easier to work with once it's blended. I love to use mixed berries and a banana for sweetener. 

This mixture comes out pretty thick and is very fruity tasting but with a hint of the black tea flavor. 

Chai Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dairy Free!

I'll be honest, I don't usually post dairy free or gluten free recipes because it's not something that is part of my diet and my family and I are the ones who eat the end products of these blog posts. BUT, I found an easy dairy free ice cream recipe and decided to give it a try :) 

The Chai Box sent me this blend called sweet monsoon and I was so intrigued because there are mango and coconut pieces in it! A fun twist on traditional chai. 

It's a beautiful and fragrant blend!  Opening the package I was engulfed in the sweet aroma of the blend and it was teasing me throughout the whole ice cream making process!

You may have noticed I used the entire sample of the blend in my recipe because I wanted the flavor to stick out among the coconut milk and cashews which can be overpowering! 

I don't have a fancy or high powered blender but it worked fine! I suggest crushing up the cashews a bit first then adding in the other ingredients. The cashews should be soaked overnight so they are soft and shouldn't be a problem to blend. 

Do you see the frost on the container? I like to freeze the container beforehand to speed up the process of the ice cream making. I don't have an ice cream maker to use and my process is noted in the recipe below but if you have an ice cream maker this recipe is even easier!

I HAD to roll the sides of the sandwich in chocolate chips because it reminded me of the chipwiches you get from the icecream truck! I made these chocolate chip cookies but you could easily just buy chocolate chip cookies for this purpose. 

It's best if you let these sit out for a few minutes to let them soften. After assembling each sandwich I wrapped it in plastic wrap and kept it in the freezer so when you first take it out it will be hard. Once the ice cream softens a bit it has a similar texture to regular ice cream. 

The chai adds a wonderful flavor to the cashews. If you're not a fan of cashews this may not be the recipe for you because there is definitely a strong flavor of cashews that comes through.

 Coconut and cashews is such a delicious combination, I will definitely be making this again! Have you ever tried dairy free ice cream? 

Turmeric Rooibos Chai Ginger Ale

Spicy Ginger!

I had the chance to try the Turmeric Rooibos Chai from Liquid + Leaf. This blend contains Organic rooibos, organic turmeric root, organic cinnamon, organic licorice root, organic black pepper, organic bourbon vanilla pieces, organic clove buds, organic cardamom seed, and organic marigold flowers. 

These liquid leaf loose leaf tea bags are easy to infuse into anything you want to make and would be great if you're on the go. I like to bake and cook sometimes with tea bags because they make less mess and removes a few steps from the process. 

I've recently been itching to make my own ginger ale and I found an easy method making syrup that is mixed with seltzer water. I thought that turmeric ginger chai would be an interesting flavor to add to the ginger ale. 

This is a very simple recipe and if you're a ginger lover this is for you! The ginger simmers so long in the water that this syrup turns up being very potent and delicious! 

I use a suggested amount of syrup but it's really your own preference. I think it will turn out best by using a tall glass or pitcher and adding in the syrup first and then filling it with the seltzer water. 

A note about this ginger ale. If you don't like the taste of turmeric, you may not like the taste of this drink. Turmeric is a heavy flavor in this drink along with the ginger. 

Have you ever made your own ginger ale?! 

Oolong Granita

Shaved tea!

Granita is a classically Italian ice dessert that is similar to sorbet but made by hand and therefore flakier. The granita I made kinda reminded of the "shaved ice" we use to get as kids but instead of being flavored with artificial sugar color, it's flavored with delicious Shangri-La oolong from Nepal Tea! 

It's summer so the majority of my Sips by teas are going to be turned into some sort of cool treat! 

The Shangri- La oolong is described as "spicy" and full bodied so I decided to add some cardamom pods to intensify the flavor but in a sweeter way. Green cardamom pods are so easy to incorporate into teas. For a stronger flavor, crack open the pods and throw them in the brewing tea. It will get strained anyway so no harm done if seeds sneak out of the pods!

It's important to use a container that is able to go in the freezer without cracking. I bought this glass bread pan from the grocery store and it can handle both hot and cold! I let the tea cool down in this dish. 

I wasn't able to get good photos of the progress but basically if you check on the granita every 20-30 minutes you will see it starting to harden. Make sure to push the edges of the granita into the center every time you check on it. 

What this will do is start creating the flaky type texture you see here. After there is no water left and all of the granita is frozen, scoop it out and enjoy! I missed a few chunks that were larger and they froze but I was able to run a fork along the chunks to shave them down. 

Do you have a favorite summer recipe that you want me to incorporate tea into? Share with me in the comments or contact me!

Bliss Tub Tea

Blissful Relaxation.

In my latest Sips by box I received some Bliss Tea from Higher Tea. This blend includes St. John's wort and Zhen Mei Green Tea. 

St. John's Wort is known to have benefits such as treating depression, reducing inflammation and anxiety! Those sound like the perfect ingredients for a bath - I was sold!

I decided to add in some epsom salts and lavender to help your skin feel smooth and the aroma from the lavender is so wonderful! 

One of the perks of the Sips by box is that it comes with these bags to have your tea on the go but they are also perfect to make the tub tea!

It's important to use a bag with a drawstring or some sort of closure to reduce the mess in the bathtub!

I filled my bags about 3/4 of the way full. Leave enough space so that the tea can infuse the bath water. 

These make a great gift for any bath loving friends or family! 

Would you try these in your tub?!