Tea Recipes

How to Host Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British event and meal that has made its way across the pond through novels and cinema. It remains a favorite pastime for mothers and young daughters thanks to more novels and movies - and thanks to boutique experiences at various tea shops and hotels around the country where you can celebrate birthdays, bridal showers, and other special events with an afternoon of tea, dainty sandwiches, and small cakes.

Afternoon tea service with cakes and tea and scones

What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea as we know it today is actually of relatively recent origin (relative to the entire history of tea, that is). Anna, Duchess of Bedford is often credited with the "invention" of afternoon tea in the 1840's. As industry advanced and gas lights were installed in more homes, the dinner times of the wealthy crept later and later. Since it was the tradition of the aristocracy at the time to eat a large breakfast, very light luncheon, and large dinner, the Duchess understandably found herself having a "sinking feeling" around 4 o'clock in the afternoon (who hasn't?). So one day she ordered a tray of tea, buttered bread, and cake to her room and the rest is history! (Of course this, like many of our tea histories, is a romantic founding myth that is probably less attributable to one single person than a whole culture who found themselves a little rumbly in the tumbly mid-afternoon, but it does make a great story!)

Over time, afternoon teas became more elaborate with the thin cucumber sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, and petit fours we associate with them today. Afternoon teas became so popular, that they were offered at large Victorian restaurants and hotels like Fortnum and Mason or the Savoy - and still are today! 

Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea

Sometimes in the US we use afternoon tea and high tea interchangeably, but this is incorrect! High tea is actually a heavier meal that was served mostly in working-class households around 4 or 5 in the afternoon with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and bread. 

Afternoon tea, on the other hand, was much lighter fare meant only to be a sustaining snack before the more extravagant dinner at 8 or even 9 in the evening. 

Afternoon Tea vs. Cream Tea

Today in the US, we also often conflate afternoon tea and cream tea. Perhaps the most famous cream tea tradition hails from Devonshire (of the famous Devonshire cream), where they traditionally serve tea in the afternoon with a sweet scone, sweet clotted cream, and jam for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. (Note: Much like the milk-first or tea-first debate, there is also a great debate over cream or jam first. If you are in Devon, it is cream first. For visits to Cornwall, we advise spreading your jam first and adding a dollop of cream.)

Which Teas to Serve for Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea in Victorian England likely would have featured one of three or four teas:

By the mid-1800s, when afternoon teas were popularized, the British Empire had worked very hard to lessen its dependence on Chinese teas. For this reason, the most authentic teas to serve for your afternoon tea would be those hailing from India and Sri Lanka (where, by the 1840s, the British had established tea plantations). 

Of course, there is no such thing as an authentic afternoon tea (since what we think of as afternoon tea today is really an amalgamation of many traditions), so if black tea from India isn't your favorite cup, serve what you like!

What Food to Serve for Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea as we think of it now is usually served on a three tier platter. Many restaurants and hotels will fill the tiers with tarts, finger sandwiches, and small iced cakes. They may even serve soup and salad on the side, along with a scone and cream. 

The beauty of afternoon tea, of course, is not in the variety or lavishness of your mini sandwiches and petit fours - nor even in the teas you serve - but in the quality time you spend with friends and family lingering over cups of cooling tea and your best attempt at Mary Berry's Victoria Sponge

Read on for a suggested menu and a few collected recipes from the archives to create your ideal afternoon tea!

Finger Sandwiches

Made with crustless white bread and sliced into individual fingers consumable in a bite or two. Choose one or two combinations from the list:

  • Thin-sliced cucumber sandwiches (traditionally with butter, but we also enjoy our cucumber sandwiches with a homemade chive or spring onion cream cheese)
  • Egg salad 
  • Ham and butter 
  • Roasted red pepper and cream cheese

Scones and Devonshire Cream

If you have 12 hours to spare, you can make your own clotted cream (we recommend Chef John's recipe), or you can buy it at Whole Foods

Scones can take many shapes and forms, be sweet or savory, and be made with or without added ingredients like dried fruits (or tea!). We have linked to our favorite scone recipe below, but we encourage you to experiment with your own! (P.S. Don't forget the jam when you set the table!)

Cakes & Other Sweets

You can go all out with iced petit fours or try your hand at a Victoria Sponge, but some of our favorite tea sweets are actually cookies and coffee cakes! Cookies are a great option, especially if you're planning to make afternoon tea a regular ritual in your schedule or you're hosting a crowd. Check out some of our favorite tea and honey cake and cookie recipes below!

 

Collected Tea & Honey Recipes for Afternoon Tea

Lavender Earl Grey Scones 

A delightful twist on the classic scones and cream of a Cream Tea, these lavender and Earl Grey scones are sweet and savory and sure to be a hit with all the tea lovers at your party.

Paris in Love Shortbread Cookies

Another British classic, shortbread is a delectable addition to any afternoon tea - loud and lavish or quiet and solitary.

Lemon Bars à la Provençale

Sweet and tart with refreshing notes of mint and lavender, these lemon bars are just unexpected enough to be the talk of your tea.

Acacia Honey Almond & Walnut Cake

Perfect for a winter tea, this cake also pairs well with coffee for guests who prefer beans to leaves.

Wildflower Honey Strawberry Shortcake

Easier than attempting a Victoria Sponge, this Strawberry Shortcake recipe is a favorite go-to among staff at the shop. 

Afternoon Tea at Saratoga Tea & Honey

We serve a very light version of the afternoon tea at our tea bar with service of a hot pot of tea and a selection of cookies and other goodies available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Sources:

https://blog.britishmuseum.org/the-tea-rific-history-of-victorian-afternoon-tea/

The Perfect London Fog

Earl Grey Tea Lattes - The Origins of the London Fog

two frothy london fog earl grey lattes on a wooden table casting shadows

Similar to the history of boba, it is often hard to pinpoint when and where a beverage was first developed. According to Vancouver is Awesome, despite the name, this beverage was perhaps invented on the Western Coast of Canada. The story goes that a woman, pregnant with her first child in the 1990s, craved something to replace her morning coffee. Coffee was no longer as appealing to her due to her morning sickness, and she sought something just as comforting but with less caffeine and acidity. Instead, she requested her local cafe make an earl grey tea with frothed milk, instead of the usual splash, and added vanilla sweetener. The beverage began to appear on cafe menus around Vancouver and eventually took on the name “London Fog”. It is definitely a believable tale, because this is the perfect beverage to satisfy a craving for something comforting and cozy on a cold, rainy, foggy, or snowy day.

Recipe for the Perfect London Fog:

Yields around 16oz

Spa City Earl Grey Creme Loose Leaf Teafrothed milk two earl grey tea lattes on a wooden table
  1. Steep 8 grams of Spa City Earl or Paris in Love (for added lavender and rose), in 10 ounces of 205-degree water for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add your favorite monofloral honey, we recommend Alfalfa.
  3. Froth 6 ounces of your choice of milk. (If you don't have a milk frother, you can simmer milk on the stovetop and whisk by hand! Just don't let it boil!)
  4. To sweeten the milk foam, add an additional honey drizzle on top.
  5. Stir and enjoy!

 Green button reading "Shop Spa City Earl"

Green button reading "Shop Paris in Love"

Immune-Boosting Cocktail Shrub (Made With Tea & Honey!)

We've been casually recommending in-store customers try creating shrubs or tinctures out of our herbal tisanes for years now, but we thought it was time to share our Immune-Boosting Cranberry & Pine Tea Shrub recipe with all of you in a more official way! 

If you just want to skip to the good part, click here to jump to the shrub recipe & recommended cocktails / mocktails. If you're interested to learn why this shrub is immune-boosting in addition to delicious, read on!

two cranberry and pine shrub cocktails in front of kas honey liquor and whiskey bottles

The Health Benefits of Our Wild Taiga (Pine Tea) Herbal Tisane

The wild-foraged ingredients in this wintery herbal tisane come to us from the northern regions of Canada. A pine tea with the added benefits of chaga mushroom and wild blueberry, our Wild Taiga blend is thought to be a flu-breaker and anti-inflammatory tisane that boosts general immune and respiratory health. 

The reasons we encourage our customers to try shrubs or tinctures with our healthful herbal tisanes are twofold: 1) The longer you steep them, the more health benefit you will extract and 2) we recommend drinking herbal tisanes every day to see true benefit, and sometimes you just don't want a hot cup of tea! (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone we said that!)

Ingredients for Cranberry & Pine Tea Shrub: Italian Chestnut Honey, Wild Taiga Herbal Pine Tea, Fresh Cranberries, Apple Cider Vinegar

The Health Benefits of Pine Tea - Spruce, Fir, Balsam, Labrador Tea & Juniper Berries 

Pine Tea acts as a very good flu and cough breaker. Wonderful for your respiratory system, these ingredients are full of antioxidants and Juniper Berries especially are packed with Vitamin C. 

The Health Benefits of Chaga Mushroom

Chaga has been shown to boost immune systems and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chaga may also help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. 

The Health Benefits of Wild Blueberries

Known as the king of antioxidants, blueberries help to fight free radicals in the body and contain large amounts of vitamins K and C. 

The Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are a superfood chockfull of vitamins and antioxidants. In addition, they may help to lower blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health. Cranberries also help to improve your gut bacteria - extra important at this time of year when many of us tend to overindulge! 

The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has antimicrobial properties and antioxidant effects. It is also believed to aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar. So in addition to fighting bad bacteria and free radicals, it helps balance your gut microbiome!

Fresh Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub Recipe & Cocktails

For the Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

Cranberry & Wild Taiga Immune Boosting Shrub Cooking in Stainless Steel Pot

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 to 1 cup Honey (to taste - we recommend Italian Chestnut Honey!)

2 c fresh, washed cranberries

16 grams Wild Taiga Herbal Tisane

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.

2. Stir until honey is combined in water and vinegar and all the Wild Taiga is immersed in the shrub mixture.

3. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until cranberries have all popped, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

5. Strain mixture into a container for storage. We recommend using a very fine mesh sieve or two layers of cheesecloth to catch all the pulp and small pieces of Wild Taiga. 

6. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!

And now, the Cranberry & Pine Cocktail Recipes!

Kas Honey Liquor Cranberry & Pine Soda

A traditional spiced honey liquor, Kas is a delightful addition to many holiday drinks or as an after dinner digestif. We love the sweet spice it adds to the shrub in this drink!

1 ounce Kas Honey Liquor (You can find this delicious spiced honey liquor at our friend and neighbor By the Bottle!)

2 ounce Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces club soda

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries. 

Cranberry & Pine Whiskey Soda (feat. Yankee Distillers Honey Whiskey)

As delicious as it is simple, this whiskey soda plus shrub is a festive crowd-pleaser.

1.5 ounces Yankee Distillers' Honey Whiskey (Located in Clifton Park, NY, Yankee Distillers make their honey whiskey in the same barrels we use to age our Whiskey Barrel Wildflower honey!)

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces club soda

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Cranberry & Pine Gin and Tonic

A holiday twist on everyone's favorite classic, this Gin & Tonic is made with a specialty botanical gin distilled with Saffron, Cardamom, and Orange. It adds a delightful citrus piquancy to the shrub!

1.5 ounces ESP NOHO Gin (this Saffron, Cardamom, and Orange distilled gin may also be found at By the Bottle!)

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4 ounces tonic or club soda

Wild Taiga 75

A twist on the French 75, this sparkling wine cocktail is perfect for NYE!

1 ounce Cranberry & Pine Shrub

1 ounce Honey Liquor, Honey Whiskey, Spiced Rum, or Gin (depends on your preference! For a mocktail version, try cranberry juice instead!)

3 ounces Sparkling Wine (or Sparkling Apple Cider for mocktails)

Garnish with fresh cranberries.

Cranberry & Pine Mocktail

And for those who don't drink this shrub is a festive and healthful way to join in on the holiday cheer. Just add club soda, ginger ale, or sparkling apple cider!

2 ounces Cranberry Wild Taiga Shrub

4-6 ounces Club Soda or Ginger Ale

Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh cranberries!

Green CTA Button Reading Shop Wild Taiga with Honeybeee

Love Potion (Paris in Love) Shortbread Cookies

Whether you are spending this Valentine’s Day alone, together, apart, or not interested, a few things are certain. When it is cold, snowy, and windy, three things are there to comfort you on a winter night: cookies, chocolate, and wine. This is why we have partnered with By the Bottle, a wine & spirits destination that provides a diverse, unique, and local selection with great values. Located just around the corner at 11 Spring Street, it is a staff favorite downtown stop when in need of a last minute bottle sure to impress. Our Love Potion, a black tea base with organically produced lavender, rose, and bergamot, pairs wonderfully with the simplicity of shortbread cookies. By the Bottle Shop owner Annmarie has kindly selected three lovely wines to pair with our Love Potion Shortbread Cookies, combinations that will be sure to conjure romance in the air!

 


Saratoga Sparkling Rosé - Cayuga White, Merlot, Malbec
Hints of strawberry, roses and a touch of citrus that is refreshing and vibrant.

Eli Perrone Sourgal Moscato D’Asti -Piedmont, Italy
A yellow color that changes toward green, vivid and brilliant. Intense nose, it recalls orange flowers, yellow peach, sage, and freshly-picked Muscat grapes. A sweet and harmonic palate, well balanced, with a typical Muscat's acidity.

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat- Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia
Bright amber gold with copper hints. The nose reveals fresh raisin fruit backed by a hint of fortifying spirit and aged oak characters while the palate is luscious and mouth-filling with raisin fruit followed by a long finish.

Love Potion Shortbread 

Ingredients:

1 c salted butter

½ c powdered sugar

2 c flour

¼ c Love Potion tea (Paris in Love)


Procedure:

Set oven to 350°F.

Blitz Love Potion tea in a food processor until tea and floral ingredients are in fine texture.

Combine softened butter and sugar in mixer.

Slowly add flour and tea until combined.

Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper.

Let cool in the fridge for 30min- 1 hour.

If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out heart shaped.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on bottom. 

 



Matcha Panna Cotta

Matcha Panna Cotta

Special thanks to local chef and friend, Sookyung Lee for creating beautiful recipes featuring our Matcha Wakatake.  We are so grateful for her sharing this recipe with us!

Ingredients:

2/3 c whole milk
2/3 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar
1 T Matcha Wakatake powder
1 T hot water
1/2 T gelatin powder
2 T water

Procedure:

1. Sprinkle the gelatin powder on top of room temperature water.  Stir and allow to bloom.

2. Sift matcha into a small bowl, add in hot water, and whisk so there are no clumps.

3. In a saucepan, add in the milk, heavy cream, sugar and stir to combine over medium heat. Bring the temperature to a simmer on low heat, do not let it come to a boil.

4. Remove the pan from the heat, once it reaches a simmer, and add in the whisked matcha and gelatin.

5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, into a bowl set on an ice bath. Stir the mixture gently.  When it starts to thicken, pour into serving cups and refrigerate until firm.

6.  Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Variations for a summer treat!  Use Mango Infused Honey instead of raw sugar.  Garnish with mango purée and fresh mango hot days!

Matcha Panna Cotta With Mango

Kabusecha Ochazuke with Salmon

Chazuke, or ochazuke, is a meal that gets its name from cha, meaning tea, and tsuke, meaning submerge. This Japanese dish includes pouring green tea over rice. Traditional variations include toppings of pickled vegetables like eggplant or daikon radish, proteins like salmon, tuna, sashimi, or roe, and vegetables like green onion, spinach, and mushrooms. 

This version of ochazuke includes salmon cooked two ways, a salty, umami version and a garlic, butter and herb version. It features one of our Teas of the Month, Kabusecha Takamado. This tea from Uji, Japan is covered two weeks before harvest, resulting in an infusion with less bitter and more umami characteristics. You may find this tea brings to the nose and tongue springy notes of spinach, pea shoots, and creamy nuts. This makes for a perfect pairing over rice and salmon, as it provides an umami depth of flavor in unison with the fish and fresh herbs. 

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke

Yields about 4-6 servings 

Prepare Jasmine Rice following package instructions.

Miso Salmon:

1 medium-large salmon filet
3 t miso
3 t tamari
5 t rice wine vinegar

2 T water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine miso, tamari, rice wine vinegar, and water in a bowl. Add mixture to a sealable bag and marinate for up to 6 hours. 

Bake on baking sheet for 12-15 minutes.

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke


Garlic, Butter, and Dill Salmon:

1 medium-large salmon filet
2 T butter
2 large garlic cloves
4 T lemon juice
1 T fresh dill, or dill to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Melt butter and mix together with garlic, lemon, and dill in a bowl. Pour mixture over salmon filet and cover in foil, place on baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. 


For the Kabusecha concentrate:

Brew 3 tsp of Kabusecha Takamado in 1 cup of 175°F water for two minutes, right before serving so the tea is warm. 


For the plating:

Dill, garlic scapes, scallions, cilantro, and/or parsley
Sesame seeds
Wasabi
Soy sauce

Sesame Oil

Use a small bowl and pack down rice inside of it to form a rice ball. Flip it over onto a plate. Place salmon over the rice, and finish with your choice of fresh herbs. Pour over the Kabusecha Takamado infusion and top off with sesame seeds and other garnishes to tastes. Enjoy

Salmon Kabusecha Ochazuke

Simple Summer White Tea 'Sangrias'

I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do on a 90 degree day is turn on my stove and boil some hot water for my caffeine fix, and second to that is drinking a hot cup of tea. So what does one do when they need their tea but it's sweltering hot outside? Pull a pitcher (or jar!) of cold brew tea out of your fridge! Cold brewing tea is super easy and pretty much foolproof which is why it's our favorite way to prepare iced tea. Perhaps like me, you have a tendency to forget about your tea steeping on your counter, and by time you remember, the tea is bitter and unpalatable. With cold brew however, it's practically impossible to over-steep, so long as you don't forget it for days! I'll give you an abbreviated scientific explanation for why this is, so you can walk away from reading this blog with not only a few refreshing iced tea recipes but a little more knowledge too.

Why Cold Brew? Tea leaves contain a number of chemical compounds within them that when steeping break down, form complexes with one another and form new compounds. During the steeping process, thousands of volatile (aroma) compounds rise from the tea liquor and thousands of non-volatile (taste) compounds float within the tea liquor. Some of these compounds extract at a quicker rate than others. When you're brewing with hot water the time between extracting those first compounds and the last ones is very short so timing (and temperature) is everything. You have to stop the brewing process at just the right time to achieve the right flavor profile or else your tea will end up bitter. Cold brewing is the slow motion version of that process, the window of time between those first compounds being released and later ones being released is much larger so you have much smaller risk of ending up with a bitter cup of tea. The later compounds to release tend to be the more bitter and tannic catechins in green and white tea. Therefore, cold brewing tea tends to result in a less bitter, less astringent brew. You can also brew it stronger and have more of the theanine, more umami, more of the vegetal notes, and more of the high notes!

At Saratoga Tea & Honey we usually have 3-4 cold brew teas to choose from daily! And while we tend to be purists and love our cold brew unsweetened, sometimes you just want something a little more fun! Our Queen Bee put me up to the challenge to create some fruity tea mocktails to quench your thirst by the pool, at your picnic or at your bbq! For the three drinks below, I used three of our white teas as the cold brew base; Nan Mei Wild Buds, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Bai Mu Dan Wang.

At home, I have the Takeya Iced Tea Maker and I LOVE it, but since I was making three different teas I thought I would show you all how you can make cold brew with things you probably already have in your kitchen; a jar and a mesh strainer. Easy peasy!

First Step: Cold Brew. Place your tea in a 16oz jar. I just eyeball it with my cold brew because it's pretty foolproof, but if you want to be more economical than I am (I really should work on that!) you can measure out two loose tablespoons of white tea. It may seem like a lot but white tea is very voluminous and light. Fill your jar with filtered or spring water, cover and put in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours! Once your tea has done it's magic, strain it over ice into another glass! Now, for the fun add-ins!

Keep scrolling to see the thirst-quenching combinations I came up with!

Nan Mei with Peaches, Fresh Mint and Tupelo Honey 

Deliciously refreshing and summery, the idea of fresh mint and sweet peaches proved irresistible and what better honey to pair with peaches than famous southern Tupelo Honey! These add-ins compliment the tropical fruit and honeyed notes of the Nan Mei Wild Buds.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen with Cucumbers, Melon and Basswood Honey

The combination of cooling honeydew melon and refreshing English cucumber are a perfect pairing, and complimented by a touch of Basswood Honey, our light mid-western mono-floral that has a delicious hint of fresh spearmint. These add-ins accentuate the florality and vegetal notes of Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needles) one of China’s most revered teas!

Bai Mu Dan Wang with Strawberries, Lemon and Italian Lemon Tree Honey

Nothing says summer like the fresh flavor of ripe strawberries and an icy glass of lemonade. While there is no lemonade in this drink (you could certainly add some), the combination of fresh lemons and citrusy Italian Lemon Tree Honey adds that same thirst quenching quality. Also known as White Peony, Bai Mu Dan Wang is a more full-bodied white tea, and the perfect base for this combination of strawberries, sliced lemon and delectable honey from Sicily! 

There are so many fruits, herbs and florals that would pair nicely with these white teas, so get creative! I just went with what is in season and usually happens to be in my fridge. What are you going to infuse your cold brew iced tea with? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram and Facebook!

Crimson Berry Vodka Cocktails

Our Herbal of the Month, Crimson Berry, is one of the shop favorites!  It is tart, fruity and beautifully red; so when we heard our great customer Denny Severin was making cocktails out of it, we had to find out more!  These two refreshing summer drinks are so easy to prepare, and only require a little bit of time for the vodka to infuse. Enjoy, and thank you, Denny!

Crimson Berry Cocktail

Procedure 2-3 Days Ahead: Infuse 3 T of Crimson Berry to ½ liter of vodka for 2-3 days in refrigerator. Once infused, strain off the vodka from the herbal leaves and berries. Place in sealed jar in refrigerator. The infusion will last a very long time!

Crimson Berry Lemonade
1 ½ oz Crimson Berry Vodka
5-6 oz lemonade
Splash of club soda (optional)

Shake or stir in ice filled glass. Enjoy!

Saratoga Mule
1 ½ oz Crimson Berry Vodka
½ cup Ginger Beer
½ oz lime juice
Garnish with line wedge (optional)

Pour into ice filled glass. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars À La Provençale

An herbal twist on a classic recipe, these La Provençale lemon bars will make your whole house smell like a lavender and lemon dream. They are a sure way to brighten up any rainy, chilly, or dreary Spring day. This blend includes aromatic lemon balm, lavender, rosemary, and mint.

Ingredients for the Shortbread:

2 t La Provençale Herbal Tisane
¼ t salt
1 ¼ c AP flour
1/2 c good butter

¼ c sugar 

Short Bread Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, salt, and La Provençale.
  • Transfer to a bowl, add in softened and cubed butter, then bring together the dough by hand kneading. 
  • Press dough into a 9x9 panned, lined with parchment paper. 
  • Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then bake for 25 minutes, or until the edge of the shortbread crust is golden brown.

    Shortbread

For the Lemon Filling:

⅔ c fresh lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
1 ⅓ c sugar
3 T AP flour
4 eggs
⅓ c milk
Powdered sugar

La Provençale Herbal Blend

Preparation:

  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Combine sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until the oils from the zest have been absorbed by the sugar. Then add flour.
  • Whisk eggs in a separate bowl.
  • Combine sugar, flour, and lemon zest mixture with the eggs, lemon juice, and milk.
  • Stir well, then pour over the shortbread crust.
  • Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and garnish: sift powdered sugar and sprinkle La Provençale herbal leaves over the bars.

 

Enjoy La Provençale Lemon Bars with your favorite tea!

Wood Dragon Udon

What do you do when a craving hits but you don’t have the ingredients? Work with what you have and get creative! I have been craving a good bowl of udon, but I lacked many of the traditional ingredients and wanted to avoid going out to the store. A traditional udon soup includes a dashi broth made with kombu (dried kelp) as well as katsuobushi (dried fermented fish flakes). Both of these ingredients contribute to the savory umami flavor that makes you want to drink every last drop of a good udon broth. Since I don’t have these traditional ingredients, I decided to give a tea broth a try, and used an intensely roasty oolong tea from Taiwan,  Wood Dragon. I was pleasantly surprised by the end result and it succeeded to give the broth an earthy, maple, woody, savory depth of flavor. 

If you are interested in trying out this recipe, here is what I came up with, however, feel free to substitute for any other ingredients you may have at home! If you have Mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine, or Sake, use those instead of a white cooking wine for a more traditional flavor profile. 

Wood Dragon Udon

Prepare the night before:

Wood Dragon Concentrate:

Steep two heaping tbsp of Wood Dragon tea in 1 cup of water at 195 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes.

Marinated Soft Boiled Eggs:

1 T sugar
2-3 T white cooking wine 
2 T soy sauce 
3 T Wood Dragon concentrate 
1 T water
2 eggs

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, soy sauce, wine, tea concentrate and water. Adjust flavors as desired, you can always dilute with more water. Simmer the eggs for 6-7 minutes, place in an ice bath, and peel.  Submerge the eggs overnight in the tea marinade, until the outside of the egg is stained a rich brown color.

Day of:

Vegetable Broth:

3 large carrots
1 large onion with skin
½ c mushrooms
Wood Dragon Tea

Wash vegetables. Chop carrots into thirds and onion into quarters. Add in some of the largest stems from the Wood Dragon tea. Cover vegetables with water, about 5 cups. Let simmer in a large pot for an hour. Then strain and save vegetable broth.

Vegetable Broth Sauce:

1 T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
2 T finely diced onion or shallot
2 t sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
3 T white cooking wine, Mirin, or Sake
I T sugar (omit if using sweeter wine)
2 t ginger powder (or fresh ginger if you have it! I didn't.) 
Wood Dragon concentrate

Add olive oil to a small saucepan on low heat. Add onion or shallot, then garlic and ginger. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Once golden, deglaze the pan with wine. Let simmer on medium high heat until reduced. Then add sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the rest of your Wood Dragon concentrate. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes until flavors are well combined. You may add some salt or more soy sauce to taste, however the noodles will be quite salty so I skipped any extra salt. 

Vegetables: 

2 large carrots, julienned
1 small head of broccoli, cut into large florets
1 c of mushrooms 

Feel free to use whatever produce you have on hand. A variety of mushrooms, ramps, leeks, scallions, bok choy, or baby corn would all work great. Blanch the carrots and broccoli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. I blanched mine separately so I could leave the carrots out of my broth at the end, making them easier to plate and preserving the right amount of texture I desired. Set aside.

Udon Noodles

Noodles:

This was my first attempt at making noodles from scratch, and by no means did they turn out perfect, so I will link you to the resources I used to make mine. It was a fun process that involved stepping on my dough! 

I made two of the two serving dough balls, following measurements suggested in the Just One Cookbook recipe, and put each dough ball in a separate plastic bag so the dough had enough space to spread out while being stepped on.

2 servings = 200 grams of all-purpose flour + 100 grams of salted water (10 grams of salt + 90 grams of water)

For the most accuracy, use a kitchen scale rather than measure in cups or tablespoons.

Video tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuXHbaP1X98&t=29s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0gNH9vxiYY

Written Instructions:

https://www.justonecookbook.com/udon-noodles/


Assembly:

Boil udon noodles for 7-10 minutes, until desired chewiness. Rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside. 

Combine vegetable broth and sauce, simmer on medium heat until flavors are well combined.

Add blanched broccoli and raw mushrooms, simmer on low for 3 minutes, or until vegetables are desired texture. I like mine lightly cooked.  Serve and Enjoy!

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