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Cooking with Tea - Review

Techniques and Recipes for Appetizers, Entrées, Desserts and More

by Robert Wemischner, Diana Rosen
(Periplus Editions, 2000)



Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen

Where we grew up, there was nothing "a nice cup of tea" couldn't cure. During the late afternoon slump it'd be Earl Grey with sugar and cream and maybe some petit fours (if someone had run to the bakery). When we had a stomach flu, Grandma would put us on a diet of shredded and browned apples and the blackest of black over-steeped tea, so bitter it took serious grimacing to get it down. Then there was fennel for tummy aches, chamomile for anxiety, blood orange tea with Oolong during the cold winter months. There was tea for dieting, tea for strengthening the immune system, tea for sore throats, and most importantly, tea for chatting: "tea klatsch." Tea was always more than just a poor substitute for coffee. Tea was for comfort, health and family bonding.

These days, we're taking teatime a step further and bonding with tea in the kitchen. You can braise meats or veggies, whip up creamy sauces with infusions, rub fish with tea and bake it: The variations are endless. Cooking with Tea is such a nice effort, appealing both to the gourmet cook, tea lover and aesthete in all of us.

The book is simple and elegant with many very doable recipes such as Jade Shrimp in Lunh Ching Tea, Spring Rolls with Thai Tea sauce, Smoked Salmon Fillets with Lapsang Souchong Cream Sauce, Green Tea-Poached Pears with Pistachio Cream Sauce and Chai Ice Cream. If you're a little more skilled and adventurous in your home kitchen, you might go for complex creations like Foie Gras with Tea-Infused Apricots or Earl Grey Truffles.

Cooking with Tea also covers the history and different types of tea, how to brew tea for cooking, tips for buying and storing tea, techniques used for cooking with tea, how to pair teas with food and resources for teas and unusual ingredients.

Co-authors Robert Wemischner, who has worked in the test kitchens of Bon Appétit and at the James Beard House in New York, and Diana Rosen, writer, author and tea educator, prove that all cooking with tea takes is clean, simple ingredients, an intuitive sense of what flavors work with tea and a pleasure in making food that looks and tastes great, with a certain subtle delicacy.

Reviewed by Sylvie Greil


(Updated: 12/22/10 CT)

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