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All posts for the month May, 2011

artichoke ginseng flipTea-sty Tuesday: Ginseng Artichoke Teas

There are some teas that make you run–not walk– to the kitchen to get more hot water.  There are some teas that make you happy to be awake.  And there are some teas that make you say “What the [insert favorite expletive here]…”

Ginseng Artichoke Tea – Making You Say What The…?

So I ran across this particular gem that a coworker brought (or perhaps an ex-coworker left, I’m not really sure…)  It was nestled amongst some taro candy and something gelantinous that I’m not entirely sure what was (coconut I think.)  To be honest, I don’t really know anything about that the tea, except that no one else was drinking it.  So I, of course, had to.

And really, that’s how I get myself into trouble.  I’m the Mikey of my generation… I’ll try anything.  Sometimes, like my first experience with pig’s salad, everything goes okay.  Other times, I end up drinking ginseng artichoke tea.

All I can say is that it was an experience I shan’t soon forget.  From the weird way drops of water fell off the teabag into my mug, diffusing in a way that looked a little too much like blood to the taste of fried foot odor, ginseng artichoke tea is not a memory I’ll be able to destroy any time soon.

And with that, we go to the breakdown.

Ginseng Artichoke Tea’s Ingredients

I have no idea.  I am assuming ginseng or artificial ginseng flavoring and artichoke or artificial artichoke flavoring.  And tea.

Ginseng Artichoke Tea’s Aroma

Not awful, actually.  The smell was very savory, but a little sweet, kind of like fried artichokes with a side of mayo.  The smell of the ginseng, an odor I associate with awful, was completely masked under the pleasant smell of artichoke.

In fact, the aroma gave me high hopes.  They were soon to be dashed.

Ginseng Artichoke Tea’s Taste

Above I described the taste as being akin to fried foot odor.  I stand by that.

Ginseng Artichoke Teas’s Effects

Well…let’s see…people laughed at me.  Does that count?

All in all, for a tea that is supposed to have ginseng, the overall effect was pretty weak.  I got a little bit of a boost, but that could have been from the rush of folk laughing at me.

Ginseng Artichoke Tea Overall

Surprise surprise..1 cup out of 5.  I was just not a fan, but nonetheless…enjoy!

applespiceTea-sty Tuesday: Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice

So we’re back. Not sure what happened last week. I looked up one day and it was Wednesday and I hadn’t done a Tea-sty Tuesday post, which is really too bad. The following post is one I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. So, here goes.

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice Tea

Why have I been wanting to write about Himalayan Apple Spice tea for so long? Well, there are a number of reasons: it’s great taste, it’s wonderful aroma and the fact it’s a gateway tea.

A gateway tea?  You ask.

A gateway tea.

See, there are a few unfortunate souls out there who don’t love tea. You may know one. These people believe that tea isn’t good and don’t try to drink at least a cup a day. These are sad, sad individuals who are to be pitied for the teabag-shaped hole in their lives..

But, not all hope is lost. People can learn to love tea, but they’re not going to do it with generic store-brand tea bags you can buy in boxes of 1,000.  No, they need something like the slightly apple-y, cardamom-y goodness of Himalayan Apple Spice tea.  Once they learn to love its flavor, they will begin to experiment with other forms of tea and soon, they will be hooked.

And with that, we go to the breakdown.

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice Ingredients

It’s Yogi tea, so the name pretty much says it all. In addition to apple and organic black tea leaf, this tea contains spice in the form of organic cinnamon bark, caradamom, and clove.  There’s even some pear thrown in for extra tea goodness.  Also, because it’s Yogi, you can be sure that everything is organic and safe and is probably some ancient blend that has additional medicinal benefits.

In other words, feel good drinking Yogi tea.  It’s good for you.

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice Tea’s Aroma

If Heaven smelled of apple pie, this tea would smell like Heaven.  Which is an awfully reflexive way of saying that the tea smells really good.  In fact, that’s one of the draws that makes it a great gateway tea.  Even before the tea touches the lips, the aroma wafts into the nose and promises a sweet and savory experience.

Okay, I’ll stop.  But seriously, Yogi has this warm apple smell, like mulled cider.  It promises so much that the tea (almost) delivers.  I say almost because the tea smells of cider and pie and since I take my tea unsweeted, I am always a little surprised at how un-sweet the tea is.  Not that it’s a problem, just something I noticed.

Still, I give the aroma two nostrils up.

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice’s Taste

I think that if I poured a few packets of Stevia into my tea, Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice tea would taste exactly like mulled cider.  But, I am trying to lay off sweetener, so I can taste the tea for itself, which I still like.  Himalayan Apple Spice is an interesting mixture of sweet from the apple and pear and savory/bitter from the tea itself.  It starts of sweet and slightly spicy (mainly cardamom and cinnamon), but then the tea starts to taste very strongly of the Assam black tea.

In some teas, I would find that transition to be jarring, but there’s just enough of the sweetness from the fruit (and the Stevia in the bag) left over so that the tea’s well…tea taste… is softened.  The result is a tea that is just a little fruity and very nice to drink. 

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice Tea’s Effects

People start drinking tea.  What more effect do you need to know?  (Seriously, I made someone into a tea drinker with this tea.)

Also, the combination of cardamom, cinnamon and clove is, apparently, an Ayurvedic mixture that promotes cleansing of the body.  I don’t know about that.  I drink Himalayan Apple spice for the flavor.

Yogi Himalayan Apple Spice Tea Overall

So, Himalayan Apple Spice gets… 4.5 cups out of 5.  Of all the non-crack teas, it comes as close to perfect as any I’ve had.  Plus, it’s way cheaper and I don’t have to order it online.

Really, I can’t recommend it enough.  Get some and try it ASAP.

Thanks to psd for the picture.

Enjoy!

calzoneCreamed Spinach and Beef Calzones

Before I get started, I want to give you a preview of what’s coming up.  In about a month I’ll be driving around Southeastern Kansas with terrific chefs from Missouri and Kansas.  It’s all part of a Chef’s Tour to increase knowledge of beef production in the Heartland.  (And, of course, to make things nice and strange, I’m being sponosored as a visiting chef by the Missouri Beef Council even though I’m in Kansas.  Fun, huh?)

Anyway, the two day event includes a Pasture to Plate Culinary Challenge, where I’ll work with beef producers to prepare an unforgettable beef meal.  I plan to own said competition and so I’ve been thinking a lot of beef cooking and will be writing about it a ton.  The good news is that in most culinary challenges, there’s only about an hour or so to cook.  That really narrows down the range of meats to the steaks, which cook quick.

I can do steak cookery.  But what I want to do is blow the judges and competitors away with my sides and how I turn simple steak into something delicious.  That’s where this dish came from.

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chaiStash Chai Spice Black Tea: Sweet, Spicy, and Very Dark

Chai is one of those things I always thought I would drink like there’s no tomorrow.  I really like Indian food.  I really like cinnamon and cardamom.  I am even learning to get along with ginger.

Chai on the other hand…yeah, not so much.  For some reason, I just couldn’t get behind it unti recently and I think I know why.  Dairy…thou art the enemy.

Seriously.  I have never taken cream in my coffee.  I drink Thai iced teas without the evaporated milk.  Still, every chai I have ever drank has tasted (and sometimes had a mouth feel) of pure heavy cream.  Not good.

Still, this discovery (and a few bags of Masala tea) have sparked an interest in different chai blends I can make myself and skip the cream entirely.  Blends like this Stash Chai Spice Black Tea

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea’s Ingredients

According to the website, Stash Chai Spice Black Tea blends “rich, flavorful Indian black teas and cinnamon, clove, ginger and cardamom.”  While those ingredients blend into a fine tasting tea, it’s also nice to know Stash is committed to healthy, 100% natural teas and that they position themselves as a healthy tea line.  As I review more Stash teas (as there are several I am interested in), we’ll see how they deliver on the healthy promise.

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea’s Aroma

About like how you would expect a blend of black tea, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and cardamom to smell… a little like a rich, spicy dessert!  However, given the strength of those ingredients, the smell isn’t as strong as you might expect.  Therefore, it’s pleasant, but not overpowering.

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea’s Taste

It pains me to say it, but Stash did not convert me into a chai tea fan.  It was good and I’ll finish the box, but at the same time, it didn’t bring on the fandom 

Certainly anyone who likes chai should adore Stash Chai Spice Black Tea mix.  It has all the hallmarks of chai flavor including the sharp ginger and clove finish that is heralded by the sweetness of cinnamon and the pungent taste of cardamom.  I’ve had chai in Indian restaruants that tasted very similar to Stash Chai Spice Black Tea, it just wasn’t for me.

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea’s Effects

I got a little caffeine buzz going.  Other than that…sadly… nothing.

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea Overall

Stash Chai Spice Black Tea is not a repeat purchaser for me, but that certainly doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be for you.  I just am not sure I can become a chai fan. 

Still, Stash treated its tea with respect and used ingredients I think I can be proud of, so I will definitely be drinking more of it.

However, this tea still rated 2 cups out of five.

Thanks to doegox.

Enjoy!