Tea-Rrific
Recipes

Think that loose leaf tea in your cupboard can only be steeped? Think again. Ani Bailey, founder of www.CaliforniaTeaHouse.com, an online tea store, shares three creative recipes using tea and tips for cooking with this super leaf.

Variety of Tea Leaves

Creative ways to use tea

Sipping a tasty cup of tea may be the highlight of your daily beverage experience, but tea leaf and steeped tea can be used in a delicious variety of culinary ways. "We have come across many great tea recipes over the years and I'm always collecting new ones," says Bailey, an entrepreneurial tea lover who turned her childhood love of tea parties into a thriving online tea business.

"What's great about tea is that it can be used in a whole lot of different cooking methods, such as in drinks, marinades, glazes and water-based substitutes."

The biggest advantage of including tea in your everyday cooking -- besides giving your dishes a novel culinary flair -- is that whether it is steeped in a cup or eaten with your meal, tea offers a myriad of health benefits, including a decreased risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and gum disease. Tea can also boost your metabolism, burn fat, and aid in weight loss.

Learn more: Why you should be drinking tea

Cooking with tea

Some of Bailey's favorite recipes using tea include marinades, glazes, and using brewed tea in place of water.

Tea marinade

As a marinade, tea is great for tenderizing meats and poultry due to its high level of tannins, according to Bailey.

Poultry: "For poultry, add two tablespoons of finely ground and dry black or oolong tea leaves with an herbed-lemony-pepper based marinade," suggests the tea expert. "Refrigerate overnight before baking."

Beef: "For beef, marinate the beef with freshly brewed black tea along with your favorite herbal seasoning and veggies, and refrigerate overnight before cooking beef," Bailey instructs.

Tea glaze

As a glaze, dried loose leaf black tea can be combined with fruit preserves such as marmalade, apricot or fig. Bailey's recipe: "Use one cup of preserves with one heaping tablespoon of loose leaf black tea, a half cup of wine vinegar, and a half teaspoon each black pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the sauce until thick enough to grasp with a brush."

Tea "broth"

You've likely replaced water with chicken or vegetable broth in rice dishes, so why not try steeped tea? "A simple way to enhance the flavor of pastas, rice, beans and potatoes is to add an equal amount of lightly brewed tea rather than simmering them in water," explains Bailey.

And appetizers or entrees aren't the only recipes in which you can use tea. This super leaf can also be used in mixed drinks and other beverages.

Tea-rrific recipes

Hot Tea Mojito

Serves 1

Sip this tea cocktail when a cup of tea isn't comfort enough.

Ingredients:
2 ounces white rum
1 tablespoon honey
5 sprigs fresh mint
2 tablespoons sugar syrup
6 ounces hot green tea

Directions:
Combine ingredients in a mug and serve.

Tea Nog

Serves 8

Tea nog can be a year round treat. This recipe is great with or without alcohol. Serve it as an after-dinner dessert or a luscious cocktail.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons of black tea
2 pasteurized eggs, lightly beaten
14 ounces condensed milk, sweetened
1 quart milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream
Ground nutmeg

Directions:
1. In one cup of boiling water, steep tea for 4 minutes. Strain out tea leaves and let tea cool.

2. Add beaten eggs, both milks, vanilla and salt. Mix well and serve topped with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg.

Steak Rub

Makes enough to cover 2 (16-ounce) steaks

A special recipe created by Bailey's husband Will, this steak rub can be kept in an airtight container in your spice drawer.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons Lapsang Souchong dry black tea
2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. To use, rub it into both sides of your steak, lamb or other hearty meats prior to grilling.

More tea recipes and tips for cooking with tea

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