Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gone Fishing!

A brief posting from Buffalo, NY. The Tea Drinker and I are visiting family to celebrate his parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations, Mops & Pops! A weekend filled with family, laughter, great food, wine and, of course, tea. Stay tuned for next weekend's posting, all things tea.

P.S. To answer the inquires of whether or not I ran into Chef Bobby Flay last weekend in Aspen...let's just say, he was called out of town for an important engagement. Oh, well next time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Free the Tea"

That’s it- I am on a new mission- “Free the Tea”.

As some of you are aware, I am in the wine industry, and something that we follow very closely is the “who and where” we can ship wine to in the United States. The coalition, Free the Grapes, is a national mix of consumers, wineries, and retailers all on a mission to remove restrictions on winery direct shipping. Basically, people want their wine, and we want to get it to them. Simple. Not really, but one would think so. On the flip side, Drink the Leaf can ship anywhere, anytime. We believe in freedom, too. We want to free tea in a different fashion. Loosen the constraints; offer a healthier, fresher, better tasting beverage to everyone. Yes, I am talking about that dreaded “tea ball”, and dare, I whisper, bagged tea. Come on people; let your tea breathe…

Join me in this cause- “Free the Tea”. Kick up your heels, let your hair down, and get wild. Spread the word, and drink loose leaf teas. Hands down, tea brewed from a loose leaf tea is a better tasting cup. Bagged teas or commercially available teas tend to be fragments of tea, and of a lesser quality. You wonder to yourself how long has that tea been sitting on the shelf. Trust me, once you go loose leaf, you will be squishing up your nose, when someone offers you bagged tea. With loose leaf, the aromas and flavors just pop. Plus, there is a basic enjoyment of the ritual of steeping tea. Watching the leaves unfurl to release a cup that is clean and fresh, there is nothing better. Use an infuser and dispel the myth that brewing loose leaf tea takes longer to prepare. I love showing people the Timolino Infuser, it’s my favorite party trick. Email me and I will help you choose a strainer/infuser that will work best for your lifestyle.

Free the Tea, Free the Tea, Free the Tea. Now, I Just need a cool logo like Free the Grapes. Tea in shackles is a bit too much…

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Five More Days 'til Bobby Flay!

Sorry, Tea Drinker. But, at the end of this week, my eyes will be peeled for a sighting of the Grill Master, Bobby Flay. He is expected at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. Truth be told, all wine aside, I will be in pursuit of another Bobby "How to Grill" cookbook. To my friends, I promise NOT to utter the following words to Chef Bobby: “ I am your biggest fan”. This was a rookie move I made a few years ago after spotting Chef Mario Batali dining with his wife at a local Aspen restaurant. Mario stared at me blankly, as my friends ran away mortified. I admit, I can be a bit star struck. This is what happens to mere mortals after Food Network sinks its teeth into you. Heck, ten years ago, I shared “fiddle faddle” and an alochol-doused banana smoothie with Mario and fellow Chefs at an after hour's party in Aspen. Who knew how famous these Chefs would become? I still crack up over that one.

So, today, in honor of my Bobby Week, we broke down and bought a One Touch Weber Charcoal grill. Our Weber Gas Grill will still remain a part of the family, but it’s now time to move back to the basics, and the art of grilling. The Tea Drinker is eagerly awaiting for me to hit the road to Aspen, so that he can experiment with baby back ribs. Until then, Grilled Turkey Burgers will have to suffice. Check out Bobby's featured recipes in the July issue of Food & Wine Magazine.

Grilled Turkey Burgers- simple, and delicious.
  • 1 ½ pds. Ground turkey
  • 1 Red onion, sliced
  • Smoked Gouda cheese
  • Hamburger Buns
  • 3 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP whole grain mustard
  • 1 TBSP prepared horseradish
  • 1 TBSP honey

1. Light a grill. Brush the onion with oil and grill until charred and softened, about 5 minutes. Brush the cut sides of the buns with oil and grill until toasted, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
2. Form the ground turkey into four 1-inch-thick patties and brush with oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill over high heat, turning once, until nearly cooked through, about 10 minutes.

3. Top with the Gouda, close the grill and cook until the cheese is melted and the burgers are cooked through, about 1 minute longer.

4. In a small bowl, combine the mustards, horseradish and honey and spread on the bottom half of the buns. Top with the burgers and onions.
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Grilled Passila & Anheim Peppers, stuffed with Monterey Jack Cheese

  • 2 Large Peppers( Jalapeno, Anheim, or Passila)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP of chopped cilantro
  • 2 slices of Bacon- you guessed it, I like to use Turkey bacon.

1. Take each pepper and create a slit along the top, scoop out seeds.
2. Mix together cheese, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste
3. Stuff peppers with cheese mixture. Wrap a slice of bacon around pepper, and secure w/ tooth pick, if needed.
4. Light the grill. Takes about 4 minutes per side, until cheese is melted. Enjoy!
( from my archives)

We drank Behrens and Hitchcock’s 2003 “The Contender” with our burgers. Quite tasty. After dinner we moved on to Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escapes. Highly recommended. Then Tea Drinker settled in, grabbed the Food & Wine Magazine, and exclaimed “Bobby is using a Gas Grill in this photo!” … Ah, well…the fantasy was good while it lasted.

By the way, if I do run into Bobby next week while sipping a margarita at Jimmy’s , I will challenge him to a throwdown. Tequila has that effect on me. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Came Loose Leaf Tea, now Fish?

Last weekend’s post about our twelve new fish resulted in an uproar with our cat, Little One. How dare we? She has lived in this house for almost eleven years- first came all the fuss about tea, now fish? This was the ultimate insult. Little One became a part of our family to keep the Tea Drinker company while I was away on business trips. They became inseparable- Little One watches his every move, always at his side, and peering over the keyboard as he processes orders for And for me, I would return from my business trips, and see that where I laid my head down at night just a week before was now a welcoming pile of kitty hair. Touching. All kidding aside, Little One loves me too. Who else would feed her scraps from our dinner?

But fish, come on! They aren’t supposed to be made a fuss over. They are supposed to be in a can that we open, and reward Little One with while she twirls and wraps herself around our legs. Pure purring bliss. Now, the tables have turned, and we are feeding fish, instead of opening a can of her favorite treat.

How do we make it up to her? She loves to be outside and eat grass. Problem number one, is that she is an inside cat- and is not allowed outside without supervision. Yes, I am a strict Mom. Problem number two, the only yard we have is in the front of the house near the street. The back of our house is all paved patio. Solution? Plant grass in a pot and put in a shady area under the potato vine. Check out Little One’s reaction to this idea (see above photo). Man, these fish are really starting to get on her nerves...

Hurry up, and use the “twelve fish” discount, while I still have fish. Try Red Peony this week. No fuss, no muss.

**Enter “Twelve Fish” in the coupon code, and receive 20% off any Drink the Leaf product.