Culinary Tea - Cookbook Review
More Than 100 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World
by Cynthia Gold and Lisë Stern
"Culinary Tea" is a delight for the tea lover. With this elegant new book, Cynthia Gold, tea sommelier at The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, and her disciple Lisë Stern step outside the cup and into a world of succulent recipes featuring one of the most popular beverages in the world. From traditional options like Chinese tea-marbled eggs and Burmese laphet thote salad to innovative new takes on familiar foods such as tea-rubbed short ribs, oolong-brined turkey and Darjeeling-roasted sweet potatoes, the authors draw from traditions around the world to present more than 150 recipes that can easily be reproduced in the family kitchen.
In addition to lovely recipes featuring matcha, keemun, green tea, Early Grey, chai and other popular and lesser-known tea varieties, the authors also provide an in-depth introduction to types of tea, food pairing, and methods for steeping. They present brewing tea as an art, explaining the differences in type, texture and flavor. But the recipes are the stars in this book, calling for steeping, brining, braising and smoking to create lychee-smoked duck breasts, Lapsang Souchong-braised short ribs and tea toffee with tea-smoked salt. The authors address cooks of varying skills, so you can try your expertise with the more complex recipes while also simply adding a touch of tea to a simple steak au poivre, which becomes: steak au poivre et thé.
Although the book lacks in photos (the handful included are enticing, however), it makes up for it in clear directions. Some recipes use staple ingredients that can be found in any pantry, while others may require a trip to the store for more exotic flavors. All in all, tea is introduced as a traditional spice that adds another dimension of flavor; in this cookbook, it is much more than the cup of steaming liquid we know.
Try the recipe for Oolong Brined Turkey