Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Cup of Tea

I do not recall ever waking up without the aroma of fresh tea brewing on the stove. Tea-time is a great way to socialize with friends and family, though beware my fellow tea-drinkers, this social indulgence doesn’t follow the average lemonade informality. The Skillet can help you achieve proper etiquette one sip-tip at a time.
Top Ten Commandments from The Skillet’s Tea Bible:
· First and foremost, NO pinkies out during tea! Sorry pinkies, but the act is now considered outdated and ill mannered. People only did this when teacups did not have handles. The pinky goes underneath the cup or straddles the side of the cup.
· The spout of the teapot/kettle faces the host, letting us know who’s in charge.
· Teaspoons aren’t just used for stirring sugar. Place the spoon across the cup, or beside the cup on the saucer if the cup is too big, to let the pourer know you’ve had enough.
· Do not, I repeat do not, sip from or lick the teaspoon. Yuck.
· Add sugar cubes with a tong, but don’t let the cubes slosh tea. Be careful not to dip the tong in the tea either.
· Place little tea snacks on a tea plate, with the cup on the side.
· Hold the cup in your right hand, saucer in your left. If seated, don’t lift the saucer while taking sips. If standing, lift saucer up to the chest. Be careful not to spill! (Tea stains are a pain.)
· Now as for the drinking, don’t chug, slurp (I frown, wrinkle my nose, and stick my tongue out while typing this word), or throw back tea as if it were a shot. Gently sip—this keeps the tongue from burning.
· Men can try drinking from a moustache cup (pictured above). Invented by Harvey Adams in the nineteenth century, this cup has a ledge in the shape of a moustache on the side of the cup, letting the gentleman’s moustache remain dry while he sips his tea.
· Respect your guests, indulge in intelligent conversation, and enjoy.

If tea had a best friend, “Scones” would be her name. Here is a simple, classic recipe I found on http://www.greatpartyrecipes.com/sconerecipes.html.
Basic Scone Recipe: 2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder2 tablespoons sugar1/2 teaspoon salt3 tablespoons butter1 egg, beaten3/4 cup milk (approx.)
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until the mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in the egg (this is a good point to add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cheese, etc. if desired).
2. Gradually add the milk until a thick dough is formed. (It may take more or less than 3/4 cup.)
3. Turn out the mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to 3/4" thickness and cut into rounds with a 2" cookie cutter. Gather the trimmings and lightly knead, roll, and cut them as well.
4. Place the rounds about 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg or milk. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 12 to 16 scones.

Well-made scones are flaky, sort of like slightly hard biscuits, and are eaten with butter and/or jam. I usually add slices of strawberries to my scones.
Like treating yourself to tea often? Try different flavors from Teavana at the Avenues Mall. Earl Grey and Darjeeling are my personal favorites. Brittany Stevenson, senior, sent us a recipe for a snack she enjoys with her tea. I made this many times, and it’s one of favorites.
Boisjolie Brie Cheese
1 wheel of Brie cheese
Chopped almonds
Raspberry preserves
Jam of choice
French bread

1. Preheat oven to 400˚
2. Peel rind off from the wheel of cheese
3. Slice wheel of cheese in half
4. Spread jam lavishly
5. Put wheel back together
6. Bake for 4 to7 minutes
7. Sprinkles almonds over the melted cheese.
8. Enjoy with a fresh loaf of buttered French bread and your favorite tea.

This recipe quick and easy recipe will please anybody who likes cheese. I replace the almonds in this recipe with apricots; they flavor the brie well. Never tasted brie before? Try refrigerated brie, cut into little pieces, and enjoy with fresh fruit.
Don’t forget to email your original recipes to theskilletda@yahoo.com. In our next issue, look for a review on Alex Stafford’s S’mores cake recipe. The Skillet will also be hosting a holiday food competition on Dec. 12 during lunch! Bring your favorite holiday food for tasting by selected teacher judges. Listen up for updates on the announcements.
Now readers can follow The Skillet on http://www.theskilletda.blogspot.com/, where you can try taking the Tea Etiquette quiz to see if you have the sip tips down.

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