Sunday, March 29, 2009

Momoko Melon Oolong!

It's back ... but only for a LIMITED TIME! That's right... unfortunately, I've made my last batch (at least for a while) of Momoko Melon Tea! So it's only available while it's in stock... and when it's gone, it's gone for good!

This one is a summer-time FAVE... because it is just amazing served as an iced beverage! So refreshing -- thirst-quenching -- GOOD!

How to brew Oolong Tea:

Here's the way I brew Oolong tea...

Measure 1 teaspoon of loose leaf Momoko Melon Oolong tea for each cup (6 - 8 ounces) of tea desired. Place loose tea directly into warmed teapot. Oolong teas expand a LOT when they brew, so really, the best way to brew the tea is loose, directly in the teapot. Using an infuser or a T-Sac would really be an injustice to an Oolong!

Bring cool, freshly drawn & filtered water to about 165 degrees F and pour gently over tea leaves. Allow the tea to steep for 3 - 6 minutes, depending upon your personal preference. I usually let Oolong steep for about 3 1/2 minutes for the first infusion, and add 1 minute for each subsequent infusion.

Strain your tea, and enjoy. Momoko Melon Oolong is delicious without the addition of sweeteners, however, a drizzle of Agave Nectar will bring out some of the more subtle melon flavors, as well as the natural peach-like flavors of the tea.

This is one of my TOP 3 iced tea choices in the summer.

Here's how I make my Momoko Melon Iced Tea:

I have a 1 gallon iced tea pitcher, and I use a 4 cup teapot to brew my tea, using 6 teaspoons of tea in my teapot, and filling it full with 165 degree F water for each infusion.

Brew the first infusion at 3 1/2 minutes. Strain this tea into your iced tea pitcher, and if you like your tea sweetened, go ahead and add the sweetener now, and stir, this will ensure that your sweetener will dissolve completely in the hot tea. (note: each subsequent infusion uses the same tea leaves!)

Brew the second infusion at 4 1/2 minutes, and strain into the iced tea pitcher.

Brew the third infusion at 5 1/2 minutes, and strain into the iced tea pitcher.

Then I fill the iced tea pitcher the rest of the way full with room temperature, freshly drawn, filtered water, and stir. Perfect iced tea!


My Momoko Melon tea is available only at my Artfire Tea Shop... and only available while supplies last!!! Get some today!


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earl Grey Creme!

Yay! It's finally back in my tea cupboard!

I've really missed my Earl Grey Creme. Such a lovely flavor. I have always really liked the flavor of most Earl Grey teas that are available out there, however, sometimes the bergamot is just a bit too edgy... sort of like sipping a man's cologne! The vanilla and creme flavor of my blend softens that edge just enough without sacrificing that classic bergamot flavor that I love! It's perfect!

I have listed it in all of my shops: My Etsy Store, My Artfire Tea Shop, and my Made It Myself Store, and have included refill options in the etsy and artfire stores.

How to Brew Earl Grey Creme tea:

Filter freshly drawn, cool water, and bring to a gentle boil (212 degrees F). Place 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea for each cup you would like to brew directly into your teapot (or you can use a T-Sac or an infuser if you wish, just make sure there is enough room in either one for proper expansion of your tea leaves), and gently pour 6 - 8 ounces (for each up you wish to brew) of boiling water over the tea leaves. Allow to steep for 2 - 4 minutes. I allow it to steep for 2 1/2 minutes for this particular blend.

Remove the tea leaves by filtering through a strainer, or removing the T-Sac or Infuser.

Enjoy! As with all flavored teas, a little sweetener will bring out the more subtle flavors of this tea.

Note: as with all of my brewing tips, please keep in mind that these are suggestions only, based upon my extensive sampling and testing of each blend, but also limited to my own palate and preferences. You might prefer a stronger tea (in which case, you should add a little more tea, but don't brew longer, as this will result in a more bitter tasting tea, but not necessarily a stronger tea), or you might prefer a weaker tea (use less tea), or you might want your tea to have just a little more edge (in which case, you might want to extend the brewing time just a little, but be careful).


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meyer Lemon Bars


I've become quite enchanted by Meyer Lemons lately, they're less sour than a regular lemon, and have a unique flavor that I have fallen in love with! They are wonderful when sliced thin and added to tea, and even more delightful when used in recipes such as this one... and then served with tea!

This recipe is a recipe that came from originally, and was posted to my tea group as a recipe to try... and am I glad I did. Of course, I substituted Meyer Lemons in the recipe so I altered the recipe slightly for the change up in lemons, as well as some improvements that I felt the recipe needed. Before trying this recipe, the only lemon bars I had made were from a mix, and let me tell you, if you liked the bars from the mix, you're going to LOVE making them from scratch! So much better! No contest! Even if you don't like the bars from the mix... try them from scratch, you won't be disappointed! Yummy!!!

Meyer Lemon Bars

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x8 square (or similar) pan with non-stick spray. In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter until fluffy, and then add the sugar, creaming the two together until very light and fluffy. Add flour and salt, and mix until the dough comes together.

Press dough into square pan, working up the edges a little.

Bake about 20 minutes, until edges start to become golden brown. Remove crust from oven, and allow to cool slightly while you work on the filling.

Filling: (note: wash lemons, and remove zest before juicing the lemons. Only remove the zest, not the white pith)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
Zest & Juice from 4 Meyer Lemons
2 tbsp unbleached, all purpose flour

In a clean bowl of your mixer, beat together the sugar and the eggs until light and the sugar has dissolved. Add the salt and the zest and juice from the lemons, and mix until blended. (Note: the zest from the lemons tends to cling to the beaters, so, be sure to clean them off well with a rubber spatula). Fold in the flour.

Pour filling over the slightly cooled crust, and put into the oven for 20 minutes, or until the center is set. I usually turn the oven off after the 20 minutes, and allow the pan to sit in the oven for another 5 minutes to ensure a set custard.

Remove the bars from the oven, and allow to cool.

Sprinkle cooled bars with a little confectioners sugar or with a little extra lemon zest, if desired.

Cut into bars, and serve. The crust is a bit crumbly, so be careful getting that first bar out!

Hope you'll try this recipe... let me know how yours turn out! I've made this recipe twice now, and my family devours them! Make them an extra special treat by serving them with some of your favorite tea!


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coming soon!

Hello Everyone!

Next week, one of my best sellers will be back... Earl Grey Creme! This is probably one of my most requested flavors -- and I've missed it too! So watch for the announcement. If you've not yet signed up for my newsletter... please do so, as I will announce there FIRST when the tea is available for sale.

This tea DOES move pretty quickly when I have it in stock, so get yours while the getting is good!

And speaking of my newsletter... there are other benefits to being a subscriber to my newsletter, not only are you kept up to date on my tea blends and when they're available, but I also offer specials not available anywhere else... And, in just a few days, I'll be announcing a special contest -- and to enter, you need only be a subscriber to my newsletter!

You can sign up over here >>>>> on the side of my blog! Just enter your email address and your name, and you're all set!


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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Agave Nectar

When it comes to sweetening your tea, there are many options available today, from sugar cubes to honey, brown sugar to maple syrup, artificial sweeteners to stevia. One sweetener that has only recently come into my personal radar is Agave Nectar, a sweetener that is derived from the Agave plants.

Photo from Wild Organics Website

This has become my favorite sweetener for my tea. It is a little sweeter than honey, so I don't need quite as much, and not quite as sticky (or slow to drizzle!) so I can use it quickly, and without all the mess that often accompanies honey. There are several different varieties of Agave Nectar available: light, amber, dark, and raw. I prefer the raw when I can find it, and when I can't I prefer the amber. The darker amber nectar has a very subtle caramel flavor to it, which I find quite a delightful addition to my tea. I have also used the light nectar, and the flavor is more neutral.

Also new to the market are flavored Agave Nectars, including Amaretto (yum!), vanilla, cappuccino, Irish cream and hazelnut flavors. I haven't yet tried these flavored Agave Nectars but, I may just have to check my local Whole Foods market the next time I stop in for my weekly supply of carrots...

Until recently, I could only find Agave Nectar at my specialty markets (such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes) but during last week's grocery excursion, I was happy to find Agave Nectar available at my local you-bag-it-yourself-and-save grocery store -- in both light and amber varieties! Now I won't have to make a special trip to the specialty markets just for Agave Nectar (and the aforementioned carrots). Of course, I'll still have to make a trip for the carrots, since the discount grocery store doesn't carry my favorite organic, with the greens still attached carrots.

You'll find the Agave Nectar in the same aisle you'd find honey... so check out your local market for Agave Nectar the next time you're shopping and try a drizzle of it in your tea! It's the perfect vegan alternative to honey, and has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, is allergen free, and it doesn't crystalize quickly the way honey does! It's the perfect alternative sweetener!


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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Amy's Soup

Hello Everyone!

I love soup. There are few things that are more comforting than a nice, piping hot bowl of soup on a chilly day... with the exception of a cup of tea, of course! As a fan of soup, however, I must admit that most of the canned soups available in the grocery store are sadly lacking in flavor. Limp, colorless vegetables swimming in a sea of bland broth.

So, to get my soup fix, I am either waiting in line at my local Sweet Tomatoes (a favorite restaurant) or I'm getting out my crock pot and making my own. However, there are a few ready-made soup exceptions that have a permanent placement in either my freezer (more on those at a later time) or my pantry shelf. One such exception comes from Amy's Kitchen.

Photo from Amy's Kitchen Website

Amy's Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque! Wow! What a refreshing change from the ordinary canned tomato soup! The flavor is fresh and alive! It tastes like I went out to my garden and picked the tomatoes myself, and made the soup immediately thereafter! Tomatoes are quite possibly my favorite fruit (yeah, I'm one of those people who consider tomatoes a fruit), and there's nothing quite like a homegrown tomato, picked at the peak of ripeness. And this soup captures the joy of a homegrown tomato! As Carla from this past season's Top Chef would say: "You can really taste the love" in this soup. It's so good.

The price is a bit more than what you'd pay for the standard tomato soup issue from your canned soup aisle, but, trust me, if you love tomatoes, it's well worth the cost.

For the best selection of Amy's foods, you are probably going to need to visit your local Whole Foods or similar market. However, I did notice a small selection of Amy's soups in my local bag-it-yourself-and-save grocery store, and that selection did include this variety. Surprisingly, though, the price at Whole Foods was better than my usually-lower-prices-on-everything grocery store!

I'd love to hear your own comments about this soup...

Thanks for reading along!

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Last Day for my "Month End" Sale!

Maybe I should have called it the Month End Plus 1 Sale?

Please Check here for details!

This great sale ends today! Check it out!

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