Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tea. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Song of the Jade Lily" by Kirsty Manning, Served with a Recipe for Tea-Soaked Hard-Boiled Eggs

I am excited to be the final stop on the TLC Book Tour for the World War II novel, The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning. Accompanying my review are some  pretty Tea-Soaked Eggs, inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb: 

A gripping historical novel that tells the little-known story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII.

1939: Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.

2016: Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother’s history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother’s own past in Shanghai.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself.

The Song of the Jade Lily is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 14, 2019)

My Review:

Someday I will count up the number of World War II novels I have reviewed on this blog, or even books I have just read, without doing a book tour review. It is a time in history that interests me, particularly when author's explore the war from a different perspective or teach me something new. The Song of the Jade Lily does both as it looks at the war mostly from the point of view of Romy Bernfeld, a young Jewish girl from Vienna who flees Vienna to Shanghai with her parents in 1938. I didn't know that much about Shanghai during the war and just how many European Jewish refugees (over 20,000) they took in during the war. Romy's family does not escape unscathed, one of her older brothers is killed while trying to defend a neighbor from the Germans and her other brother is shipped off to the Dachau concentration camp. On the journey to Shanghai, Romy befriends Nina, a girl her age with her own tragic losses, and later in Shanghai, Romy and her family become friends with their neighbors, the Ho family. Romy and Li Ho become fast friends, along with Li's brother Jian. The book alternates the war timeline with 2016, when Romy's granddaughter, Alexandra takes a job in Shanghai and uses the time to inquire about her past, as her late mother was adopted by Romy and her husband Wilhelm, right after the war ended.

I was a little worried about being able to finish the book with the busy couple of weeks I was having and my limited reading time, but The Song of the Jade Lily was difficult for me to put down--I was completely caught up in the story and in the sights, sounds, and smells of Shanghai in wartime and in present day and wanted to dig in every chance I got. Kirsty Manning brings the pages to vivid life--the horrors or war and the power of love and friendship. Like most WWII novels, there is much sadness in the pages, but strength and resilience too. The afterward with the author's notes on the inspiration for the book as well as the list of resources she used to research her subject was interesting too. I hope to read more from her. If you like historical fiction, WWII stories, interwoven stories and time periods, strong female characters and different perspectives, add this one to your TBR list.


Author Notes: Kirsty Manning grew up in northern New South Wales, Australia. She has degrees in literature and communications and worked as an editor and publishing manager in book publishing for over a decade. A country girl with wanderlust, her travels and studies have taken her through most of Europe, the east, and west coasts of the United States as well as pockets of Asia. Kirsty’s journalism and photography specializing in lifestyle and travel regularly appear in magazines, newspapers, and online. She lives in Australia.
Find out more about Kirsty at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Food Inspiration:

There was so much food in The Song of the Jade Lily that I think it almost classifies as a foodie book and it was a variety of mostly Jewish, German and Austrian and Chinese dishes. I will attempt to cover just some of the mentions here as I took a few pages of notes. Mentions included the scents of frying fish, cardamom, cinnamon and star anise, noodles, congee, champagne, whiskey, afternoon tea, coffee, hot chocolate piles high with cream, fried garlic and smoked paprika, a soup of black bean paste with crushed garlic, ginger, and chives, a garden with green beans, bay, thyme, Meyer lemon and lime trees, flowering garlic and chives, peas, tomato and purple and green basil, a pesto made from coriander, glugs of olive oil, almonds, garlic and lemons, bok choy, pumpkin and water chestnut risotto, sauteed lamb kidneys with orchid stems and shiitake mushrooms, coffee and plum jam liwanzen (fried yeast pancakes), chocolate cake, Semmelknodel (German bread) dumplings with roast chicken,homemade lemonade and ginger beer, Austrian rye bread and baked treats including a brotgewurz (a German bread spice mixture that included ground caraway, fennel, anise and coriander seed, plus Chinese allspice, celery seed and cardamom), mushroom dumplings, carrot cake, Black forest cake, apricot and apple strudels, scones with raspberry jam and double cream, persimmons, crepes with egg,leek, herbs and deep-fried pastry strips for crunch, Griessnockerlsuppe (chicken and semolina dumpling soup), macarons, basi pingguo (apple, deep-fried and coated in caramel and sesame seeds), tofu and eggplant salad, cones of toasted melon, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pickled mango, cream cakes with raspberry jam on top, baba ghanoush and hummus, baled fish, couscous and beef brisket, hot pot, pink dragon fruit, lychee and guava, pea torte, spicy prawns with lily bulbs and almond, jasmine tea-soaked chicken, cinnamon buns, orange and poppyseed cake, mapo doufu, and lychee and ginger martinis.

For my book-inspired dish, I decided to make Tea-Soaked Eggs because I have been wanting to make them for a while now and I liked that they were Romy's favorites, and the description when Alexandra and Zhang go to breakfast:

"'What is that?' asked Alexandra as they passed a narrow alleyway crowded with people lining up behind bamboo steamers stacked like circular towers. 
'That'--he pointed to a tiny hole-in-the-wall--'is breakfast.' 
Alexandra eyed the dozens of boiled eggs floating in a dark broth and recognized one of Romy's favorite dishes. At home, Romy would boil a dozen eggs, then crack them gently on the counter before dropping them into a crockpot filled with black tea. She'd add orange rind, cinnamon, star anise, five spice, cardamom, and soy sauce, and leave the eggs to soak overnight. Alexandra had loved the aromas of all the spices floating through the house, especially in winter. The next morning, Romy would scoop the eggs out with a slotted spoon and peel them to reveal a beautiful marbled pattern, each one in a slightly different hue."


I basically followed the recipe above from the book, along with a glance at this Food52 article for slow cooker timing. I decided to use some of my Lapsang Souchong tea to see what the smoky flavor did with the eggs. Since I didn't have orange rind on hand, I put a couple of pieces of lemon peel into the mix.

Notes/Results: I was expecting a more dramatic mosaic pattern on my eggs. Although I do find the shells quite vibrant and gorgeous, the eggs were lighter in color than I thought they would be. Also, although I took my eggs out of the fridge about 20 minutes before boiling and they were fairly fresh, most of the bottoms were flat. Oh well, the taste was better than they looked. I liked how the smoky flavor of the Lapsang Souchong I used combined with the aromatic spices and soy sauce. They are a little bit rubbery in texture, but the flavor made up for that. I would make them again.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Song of the Jade Lily" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Blueberry Lavender Tea Infused Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits {#SipBySip Tea Party}

I am very excited to be taking part in the #SipBySip Tea Party today, hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla and sponsored by The Republic of Tea to celebrate the release of their Beautifying Botanicals line.

(FTC Disclosure: I received free tea from the sponsor company for the purpose of reviewing and creating recipes. All opinions are my own.)

I admit to already being a fan of The Republic of Tea and several of their tins (Ginger Peach, Hibiscus Pineapple Lychee, get some ZZZ's, Immunity Super Green...) regularly grace my panty tea shelf, so I was looking forward to sampling the new botanical line featuring: 
  • Daily Beauty Blueberry Lavender Tea (Organic green rooibos, organic hibiscus, organic lemongrass, organic rosehips, blue butterfly pea flower, apple, organic lavender, organic hibiscus extract, sweet blackberry leaves, organic lemon balm, bamboo, blueberry, schizandra extract and natural blueberry flavor) and  
  • Beauty Sleep Chamomile Rose (Organic hibiscus, biodynamic chamomile, organic rosehips, organic lemongrass, blue butterfly pea flower, sweet blackberry leaves, licorice, organic hibiscus extract, bamboo, schizandra extract, natural honey flavor and natural rose flavor).
I had a little trepidation too since anything with strong florals like lavender and rose as ingredients needs a deft hand so it isn't like drinking a bowl of rehydrated potpourri, but I needn't have worried since The Republic of Tea has done their usual excellent blending of flavors so the teas are well-balanced and the floral notes are pleasant rather than overpowering. Both teabags brew a lovely color of herbal tea or tisane (sorry I didn't take a pic when sampling) and are a treat to sip. The packaging is beautiful and perfectly matches the tea--in colors and mood. (I think a tin of these teas paired with an antique tea cup in similar colors would be a lovely Mother's Day, bridal shower, or birthday gift.

For the task of creating a tea-infused recipe, I chose Daily Beauty and wanted to make a healthier pudding that nodded to all of the healthy botanicals in the tea. I love eating chia seed puddings and they make great breakfasts or snacks as the chia seeds are filling without being heavy and provide many good nutrients like fiber, protein and Omega 3 fatty acids and are hydrating too. 

I made a simple blueberry compote to serve with the chia pudding and ended up layering the pudding and compote with fresh blueberries and topping it with dollops of coconut yogurt. Putting them in jars is fun and gives me a grab-and-go breakfast to take to work. 

Since the tea is not overpowering, I used 3 bags in my coconut milk and added 1/2 tsp of culinary lavender. Since these teas are really botanicals or tisanes and not actual tea, I steeped them for about 15 minutes, to maximize the flavor without fear of the tannins that occur in 'real' tea (grown from camellia sinensis bush) making it bitter. 

Note: What is a lovely purpley-blue in the cup takes on a bit of a grayish cast in coconut milk, so I added a touch of purple food coloring to my chia pudding which gave it a light lavender hue that doesn't come through well in the photos.

Blueberry Lavender Tea Infused Chia Seed Pudding
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 4 Servings)

1 can coconut milk + extra if needed
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp culinary lavender
3 bags of Republic of Tea's Daily Beauty Blueberry Lavender Tea
1/3 cup chia seeds
purple food coloring (optional) 

In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk the coconut milk, honey, vanilla and culinary lavender together. Add the tea bags and bring slowly to a simmer over medium-low heat--stirring and not letting the milk boil or scorch.  Once at a simmer, remove from heat, cover and allow tea bags to steep about 10 minutes. 

Pour the mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the tea bags against the strainer with a wooden spoon in order to press out all of the liquid, then discard tea bags . Allow strained mixture to cool to room temperature. Once mixture is cool, add the chis seeds, whisking them in and then set the mixture aside for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to avoid the seeds clumping together. Add a couple of drops of purple food coloring if desired. Cover tightly and place pudding in the fridge several hours, preferably overnight.

Once pudding has set, remove it from the fridge and stir it, adding additional coconut milk if mixture is too thick or firm.


Blueberry Compote for Parfaits
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups Compote)

3 heaping cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Place the blueberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup of water into a small saucepan and heat over medium. Bring to a simmer and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring ocassionally, until mixture has thickened. Set aside and allow to cool before making parfaits.

To Assemble: Blueberry Lavender Tea Infused Chia Seed Pudding Parfaits:

Alternate layers of the blueberry compote, the chia seed pudding, fresh blueberries and yogurt of choice (optional) in small juice glasses or jars. Garnish parfait tops with fresh blueberries and a few buds of culinary lavender. Enjoy!

Notes/Results: I really like the pudding--especially when layered with the blueberry compote and am happy how these turned out. Blueberry is the prominent flavor with the lavender as more of an after note. The fresh blueberries and yogurt are optional but add different textural elements to the parfaits. I ate one last night for a dessert/snack and took another for breakfast today and I would happily make them again.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Check out the #SipBySip bloggers and their recipe creations and reviews:
A big thank you to our sponsor! And mahalo to Camilla for hosting and for the packs of lavender and honey she included with our tea.

You can find The Republic of Tea on the web, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest,& Instagram

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Quiet Child" by John Burley, Served with a Recipe for a Tea Affogatto

I am excited to be a stop on the TLC Book Tour today for the psychological mystery/thriller, The Quiet Child by John Burley. Accompanying my review is a recipe for a Tea Affogatto made with coconut black tea and vanilla ice cream, inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

From the award-winning author of The Absence of Mercy, comes a gripping and darkly psychological novel about family, suspicion, and the price we are willing to pay to protect those we love the most.
It’s the summer of 1954, and the residents of Cottonwood, California, are dying. At the center of it all is six-year-old Danny McCray, a strange and silent child the townspeople regard with fear and superstition, and who appears to bring illness and ruin to those around him. Even his own mother is plagued by a disease that is slowly consuming her.
Sheriff Jim Kent, increasingly aware of the whispers and rumors surrounding the boy, has watched the people of his town suffer—and he worries someone might take drastic action to protect their loved ones. Then a stranger arrives, and Danny and his ten-year-old brother, Sean, go missing. In the search that follows, everyone is a suspect, and the consequences of finding the two brothers may be worse than not finding them at all.

Paperback: 304 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 8, 2017)

My Review:

I am going to try to review The Quiet Child as vaguely as possible, because it is a book that could easily be spoiled with too many details and if you like dark and twisty thrillers, you will want to go into it not knowing too much about it. It's set in 1954 Cottonwood, California--interesting to me because Cottonwood is a real town and I lived in nearby Redding as a child--so the town and landscape felt familiar--even if I lived there in the 1970s. Cottonwood is a small town where everyone knows each other, or about each other, which has not been easy on the McCray family as most of the town believes that their six-year-old son, Danny, is the cause of illness and other maladies in the town and he is regarded with suspicion. This isn't easy on his parents--his mother is suffering and weakening from her own illness and his father, Michael, a local high school teacher is trying to cope. While Michael is getting ice cream from the store with Danny and Sean (Danny's 10-year-old brother), a stranger drives off with Michael's car and the boys. Local plumber and part-time Cottonwood Sheriff Jim Kent, along with two Shasta County Sheriff's detectives vow to bring them home--despite the rumors and negative feelings of the town about Danny.

I like the historical aspects of police work in the 1950s--it definitely doesn't make crime solving easy, not having the technology we have today. The author keeps the perspective bouncing around several different characters and keeps the chapters short, building the tension steadily and making the pages fly by. There were several twists and although I had parts figured out, there were some things I did not see coming--which I always enjoy. The book is unsettling--after all it is missing children and it seems that besides their mother and the sheriff, not a lot of people seem to really want Danny back in town--which is something that made me stop and think a bit. The story and its ending have some ambiguity--but it works in this case. This is my first book from John Burley (it's his third), but with storytelling like this, I am sure it won't be my last.


Author Notes: John Burley attended medical school in Chicago and completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He currently serves as an emergency medicine physician in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and daughter, and their Great Dane and English bulldog.

Find out more about John at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


Food Inspiration:

OK, The Quiet Child was a difficult book to pair with food--but it's what I do and you know I like a challenge. Taking place mostly over about a period of eight or nine days with missing children there was understandably, not much time for food. The few mentions I noted were: ice cream and strawberry ice cream in particular, cotton candy from a fair in a flashback, coffee, sugar, a vanilla shake and a burger with fries, a steamed artichoke appetizer and a glass of wine, lots of tea, milk, scotch, and an unspecified soup.  

In the end, I went more with what I was craving than anything truly tied to the book, using the mentions of ice cream and the frequent cups of tea together--making them into a tea affogato. Affogattos--which translates to "drowned" are usually espresso shots poured over a scoop or two of ice cream where it melts into a lovely and delicious mess. Sometimes I make them with espresso or coffee, sometimes I'll sneak a shot of liqueur in there if I'm feeling fancy, I have even tried it with hot chocolate, but I had not yet made them with tea.

You can use any favorite tea and ice cream pairing here--although a fully flavored, stronger tea works best. I wanted to use the traditional vanilla ice cream, and wanting a flavorful tea, I chose a black coconut tea. I received a gift certificate from from Adaigio Teas to try their products a couple of months ago and I have been bad about reviewing and cooking with it (Those posts are coming soon!) so this was a great opportunity to do more than just drink it. Not that there is anything wrong with just drinking it, I have loved all of the flavors I've tried. I love coconut teas and Adaigio's is blended into Ceylon black tea for a wonderful balance and smooth finish.

Tea Affogato
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 1

1 serving tea of choice--about 1 1/2 tsp loose leaf or 1 tea bag
4 oz water
2 small scoops ice cream of choice
garnishes and/or cookies to serve (I used vanilla coconut chips & vanilla sugar wafers)

Scoop ice cream of choice into balls and freeze for an hour or two to harden. 

When ready to serve: Brew your tea strong, steeping the tea bag or leaves in about 4 oz of hot water until it cools down to warm--about 10 minutes. You want the temperature to be nicely warm (not just off the boil, but not tepid) so the ice cream melts quickly but not immediately. If your tea gets too cool, rewarm it slightly before serving.

Place your ice cream scoops into your serving glass/dish and bring to the table with the warm tea and garnishes or cookies if desired. Pour tea over the ice cream and serve immediately. Enjoy. 

Notes/Results: Just a simple bowl of creamy tea goodness. The coconut tea (which is also wonderful on its own) was perfect with the vanilla ice cream--rich and delicious and it was a good balance of sweetness. Although I liked the coconut chips, I preferred my affogato without them and with the sugar wafers for dipping. I will definitely make this again, playing around with different teas--matcha and chai come to mind immediately. 

I'm linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Quiet Child" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Color of Our Sky" by Amita Trasi, Served with Masala Chai & Samosas

Today's TLC Book Tour takes us to Mumbai, India for a review of an often heartbreaking but ultimately satisfying story; The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi. Accompanying my review is Madhur Jaffrey's recipe for Masala Chai--shown with the book and also a few tastysamosas from my favorite Indian market.

Publisher's Blurb:

In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.

But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta’s abduction.

Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to 
Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.

Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.

Paperback: 416 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 18, 2017)

My Review: 

I am always slightly leery of book blurbs that claim a new book is similar to favorite books or authors. The Color of Our Sky is said to be "in the spirit of" works by Khaled Hosseini and Shilpi Somaya Gowda and I was worried that it wouldn't live up to The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, or Secret Daughter and The Golden Son--all books I loved. It turns out that I didn't need to worry, The Color of Our Sky holds it own with these other books and is a beautifully crafted and moving story. It isn't always easy to read, delving into harsh subjects like the caste system, human trafficking and the sexual slavery of women and children, prostitution, violence, poverty, and illness. I think it walks a good balance of being heart-wrenching but hopeful and it showcases the courage and strength of two women, friends of unequal backgrounds who are torn apart but who never forget each other. 

The story is told in the alternating points of view of Tara and Mukta, from the 1980s up through 2008, and illustrating the very different paths their lives take on a fateful night in 1993, shortly after the Bombay bombings. Mukta's chapters are the hardest to read, she's born into a family of temple prostitutes in a small village and it seems she is going to be able to break away from that fate until she is kidnapped from Tara's home and sold into slavery. Tara and her father move away from India and its memories and she has an easier life in California--although neither she or her father are ever the same due to their losses. Tara holds a lot of guilt from her role in what happened that night and comes back to Mumbai as an adult to find Mukta, in part to assuage that guilt. It took me longer to warm up to her than it did Mukta and stop judging her for her childhood mistakes. There are bright moments throughout the book--mostly Tara and Mukta's memories of the times they shared and although the book is close to 400 pages, the back and forth and the tension about whether or not Mukta would be found made it move quickly. I found myself completely caught up in the story and vested in the well-drawn characters, full of hope that redemption would happen. As tough as the parts of Mukta's life in the brothels are hard to read, it is important to be aware of the enormous and shameful problem of human trafficking that is rampant all over the world and this book gives what feels like a very realistic view. Ultimately it is a beautiful book about friendship and love and although not one for the "light and breezy" pile, it is absorbing and well worth reading.


Author Notes: Amita Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in human resource management, and currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two cats.
Find out more about Amita at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


It's hard for me to read any book set in India and not immediately crave Indian food and although it's not a focus of the book, there was definitely food to be found--along with many cups of hot and cold chai. Food mentioned included: saffron in pulao (rice), turmeric in dal, sweet rasgulla (a dessert), golas (crushed ice pops), ice cream, and sherbet, tea and sandwiches. energy bars, rice, pickles, chutneys, curries, pakoras (fried vegetable snack) Limca (lemon lime soda), jalebi (sweet fried dessert), chapati, paratha, and roti (flat breads), dahi wadas (lentil dumplings), American finger foods at a party like cheese and crackers, chicken tenders, salami, chips and dips, and veggies like carrots, tomatoes. onions, potatoes, and brinjal (eggplant).

I ended up deciding to make chai or tea, since there was so much tea in the book and chai masala which is spiced tea, often with milk. I make masala chai frequently at home, drinking it both hot and iced but I wanted to see how my favorite Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey makes hers. I have several of her cookbooks and recipes abound but I found this great article on Food 52. that talks about how she changed her recipe to use whole spices and less milk and I wanted to try it. 

I have included Jaffrey's ingredients and outlined the basic recipe below but I encourage you to read the Food 52 article as it has all of her tips and tricks in it. 

Madhur Jaffrey's Masala Chai
Slightly Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey via

3 cups water
4 cloves or so
4 cardamom pods
4 peppercorns
1-inch piece of cinnamon bark or cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground ginger (Jaffrey says fresh ginger can curdle the milk)
3 black tea bags
1 cup whole milk or milk of choice (I used coconut)
sugar or honey to taste (Jaffrey uses 4 teaspoons of sugar)

Place the 3 cups of water into a medium saucepan. Add the masala--cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger and the three black tea bags and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the milk and sweeten to taste, bring to a gentle simmer again, then remove pan from heat and pour contents through a fine mesh strainer into your teapot or serving vessel. Discard tea bags and spices. Taste and add additional sweetener or milk if needed. Serve and enjoy.

Notes/Results: Making your own chai at home will make you wonder why you bother ordering it at Starbucks or other coffee shop. It infuses the kitchen and house with the heavenly aroma of spices and it is quick, easy and you can store any leftovers in the fridge for iced chai or heat it up (just be sure not to boil it so the milk doesn't curdle). I like Jaffrey's blend, which is fairly close to my own although I tend to work in some star anise and coriander seeds into my blend. But the beauty of it is that you can put in your favorite spices and change the amounts to your preferences. You can also use whatever kind if milk--dairy or non-dairy you prefer and adjust the sweetness. I used about 3 tablespoons of honey in my blend because I don't like mine that sweet and it was perfect. I also used Bigelow Tea's "Constant Comment" black tea which is flavored with orange rind and sweet spice as I like the touch of citrus flavor it adds. You could also add orange rind to your masala mix. I was low on cardamom pods and it gave me an excuse to stop by the Indian market on the way home from a meeting where I gabbed some of their homemade samosas. Their spicy pea and potato filling went perfectly with the tea for an afternoon snack.

This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs for Potluck week--our week to make any dish from our current or any past IHCC featured chef. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links.

I'm also linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of the "The Color of Our Sky" was provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins, and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

(Pickled Turmeric Eggs) Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan and Chai Tea Whiskey Toddies for Blog Party #44: Tea Party!

I just had my ninth year Blogaversary and I forgot! Whoops! 

But yes, nine years ago last week I made my first blog post and it's been a fun nine years and 1,626 posts ever since that first one. Since I didn't have a party, ;-) I am joining in with my friend Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness as she has resurrected one of my favorite blogging events from those early years: Blog Party!

I *met* Stephanie not long after I started blogging through her Blog Party event when it caught my eye. The object of Blog Party is to make an appetizer and cocktail to go with a monthly theme. I didn't join in until Blog Party #34--The Buffy Bash, where for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme, I made Spiked DoubleMeat Sliders & Garlic Fries with Hellmouth Dipping Sauce and Soylent Green Cocktails. (Note: It was from my meat & poultry-eating and bad blog photography days!) It was fun and I took part in the next nine Blog Parties--up until Stephanie stopped having them. 

Stephanie drops by Souper Sundays occasionally when she has a soup to share and so when she tweeted a message to some of the old Blog Party attendees that she was having a Blog Party #44, I really wanted to take part. The only trouble was that it was really short notice (gotta love those impulses!), less than a week in fact--so I knew if I did join in, it would be with something simple and from my pantry. 

Flash forward to this afternoon, when I turned some of Heidi Swanson's Pickled Turmeric Eggs that were in a jar in my fridge into some delightful and delicious Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan Bread and partnered them with quick Chai Whiskey Toddies. I gotta say, with just a little planning and using up leftovers, these were perfect for an impromptu tea party. 

I highly recommend that you try the Pickled Turmeric Eggs for the egg salad--they add such a great tangy bite to the curry mayo and are easy to make and loads of fun. 

(Pickled Turmeric Eggs) Curried Egg Salad Bites on Naan
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen with Heidi Swanson's Eggs
(Makes about 2 scant cups of egg salad)

4 turmeric pickled eggs (recipe here) or regular hard-boiled eggs
3 Tbsp vegan mayo or mayo of choice
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp celery salt
salt and black pepper to taste
2 pieces naan bread
1 tsp olive oil
Garnishes like: cilantro, celery leaves, Nigella seeds or black sesame seeds, pickled onions from the turmeric pickled eggs.

Grate pickled eggs on the large holes of a box grater into a small bowl. Add mayo, curry powder, cumin, turmeric and celery salt and mix together well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.  

Brush a pan lightly with olive oil and heat on medium-high. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to make small rounds out of the naan bread and lay those circles into the pan. Cook until lightly toasted on each side, about 3 to 4 minutes total. Remove naan circles from the heat and allow to cool.

To Assemble: lay the naan circles on a serving plate. Scoop a small amount of the egg salad onto each round, spreading it out to cover the edges. Top the egg salad mixture with garnish of your choice (I used celery leaves, black sesame seeds, and chopped pickled red onions from the Turmeric Pickled Eggs.)

Serve and enjoy!

Chai Whiskey Toddies
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 2 8-oz drinks)

1 cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate (or strongly brewed chai tea)
1 cup coconut milk
honey to taste
2 ounces whiskey or Bourbon

Heat chai concentrate and coconut milk together in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add honey to taste--depending on how sweet you want it. (I used about 1 Tbsp.) When hot, remove from heat and stir in whiskey. Pour into mugs or tea cups and serve immediately. Enjoy.

Notes/Results: I am not sure these two are perfectly paired but it kind of works and they are both delicious--and hey, in this case they are for an entire tea party with other food and drinks so you don't have to have them together. ;-)  I am going to make more Turmeric Pickled Eggs in order to have more curried egg salad--it was so good, especially on the toasted naan bread. I love the bright notes of the vinegar (it kind of takes the place of mustard) in the egg salad when it combined with the curry. A really fun way to change up a basic egg salad sandwich. The warm chai toddy was really tasty--creamy and with a little kick from the Maker's Mark Whiskey I used. For coming together with bits and bobs from the fridge and pantry, I was very pleased with how it all turned out.

Thanks to Stephanie for hosting! I hope Blog Party becomes a regular thing again. The deadline for Blog Party #44 is tomorrow, Friday, April 21th and Stephanie will be rounding up the BP entries on her blog soon after. You can get the details here

I'm linking up these tasty little sandwiches to Souper Sundays, hosted here at Kahakai Kitchen. Each Sunday we feature delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches from friends around the blogosphere--please join in if you have any to share. Here's this week's post and linkup