Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Celebrate Tea

Most of us take tea for granted. Sure, we’ll drink it when coffee isn’t an option, or to soothe a sore throat, but the many methods of enjoying tea can take us far beyond the comfort of our own kettle. China, Morocco, France, England, Kenya, and Russia are all tea-drinking countries with their own unique serving traditions and tea preparations. Lisa Boalt Richardson’s latest book, THE WORLD IN YOUR TEACUP (Harvest House; January 2010; Hardcover/$24.99; ISBN: 978-0736925808), illuminates the rich culture of tea around the world. Let the long, lush history of tea brewing fill your cup.

THE WORLD IN YOUR TEACUP will help you discover unique and delicious international tea traditions. For each of eight different countries, you’ll learn about the culture and history of tea, how tea is served there, how to prepare tea in the style of the country, and which foods (recipes included!) can accompany the tea. Experience real tea hospitality in:

- China
- England
- Kenya
- Russia
- Iran
- France
- Morocco
- United States of America

Stunning photographs by Lauren Rubinstein, one of Atlanta’s premier food photographers, illustrate the wide variety of teas and accompanying menus eaten all over the world. No one can resist recipes like Heirloom Tomato, Corn, and Basil Salad; Spinach and Mushroom Quiche; Baklava; Crumb Ginger Cake; Savory Honey Scones; Noodle Babka; Semolina Cookies.

And when you’re back from your tea-filled world travels, what better way to share your love of tea than by gathering your loved ones for a tea party? Banish the doilies and bring on the creativity—tea parties don’t have to mean dainty, china teacups! Lisa Boalt Richardson, Certified Tea Specialist, re-invents the tea party with fresh themes and recipes. Fun and unique, the entertaining ideas in TEA WITH A TWIST (Harvest House; June 2009; Hardcover/$24.99; ISBN: 978-0736925792) draw on a variety of cultural teatime traditions to liven things up. Teatime isn’t just for grandma anymore!

TEA WITH A TWIST features eight different tea party themes, all delightful, inventive, and approachable. Each theme is based on a type of tea (Chai, for example) and offers luscious recipes, time-saving shortcuts, serving suggestions, and finishing touches. Chapters are prefaced by a heartwarming personal story that will help you create the atmosphere. The magnificent ideas are bound to get your mind and kettle brewing:

- Flower Power Tea Party
- Bubble Tea Party
- Tropical Tea by the Sea Party
- Mexican Fiesta Tea Party
- Southern Tailgate Tea Party
- All About Chocolate Tea Party
- Indian Chai High Tea
- Under-the-Table Tea Party (for kids)

With photographs that make you want to eat the food right off the page, TEA WITH A TWIST will entice you with a whole slew of new and creative recipes. Treat your friends, family, and self to recipes like Masala Chai Scones; Salmon Tea Sandwiches; Touchdown Tea Infused Pecan Brittle; Scones with Crystallized Ginger and Green Tea; and Artichoke and Asiago Cheese Sandwiches.

TEA WITH A TWIST and THE WORLD IN YOUR TEACUP enliven the world of tea. With sparkling photographs, mouth-watering recipes, captivating stories, and delicious tidbits of tea’s culture and history, these books will charm you. Best of all, the recipes and ideas in these books will help you warm the hearts of those you love with a soothing cup of tea.


As Lisa Boalt Richardson likes to say, “Tea time is anytime.” She is a Certified Tea Specialist, and was one of the first fifteen people in the world to be honored with that title. She currently travels the country to speak at conferences and special events, focusing on her skills in the culinary arts and her tea expertise. Lisa uses her expertise in tea and marketing to consult with tearoom owners on strategies to increase visibility and business. Lisa has trained many hoteliers, tearoom management, waitstaff, and culinary students in the art of proper tea service.

Savory Honey Scones
Makes 16 Scones

2-1/4 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped and divided
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 ounces soft goat cheese
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix 2 teaspoons rosemary with all the other dry ingredients. Add goat cheese to the dry ingredients and set aside

Whisk together honey, half the cream, and egg. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms.

Form the dough into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and separate the dough into 2 equal portions and pat each portion into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges. Separate and arrange wedges on a baking sheet.

Brush tops with remaining cream and sprinkle with remaining rosemary. Place in oven and bake 1o to 12 minutes or until golden brown. It is yummy to serve these with butter, honey, and/or softened goat cheese!

(Semolina Cookies)
Makes about 50 cookies

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups semolina flour
2 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup blanched or slivered almonds

To make clarified butter, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Skim off the froth and then pour into a mixing bowl, leaving the white milk solids in the pan. Set aside until cool.

Sift the flour and confectioner’s sugar into a bowl, add the semolina and a pinch of salt, and mix thoroughly.

When the butter is cool but still liquid, stir in the eggs and vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients, mixing to a firm dough. Knead well, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 1 hour.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Knead the dough again until smooth and pliable. Take 3 teaspoons of dough and shape into a smooth ball, then shape remaining dough into balls of the same size. Place on cookie sheets 1 inch apart (they do not spread). Brush the tops with egg white and press an almond on top of each cookie, which will also help flatten the cookie. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden in color. Cool on cookies sheets.

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