Ahhh, tea, true tea, Camellia Sinensis, my favorite hot drink. Mildly stimulating from the caffeine, but soothing from the ritual of making it. Boil the water, prep the tea or bag, pour, brew, season to taste, a calming little ritual.
When you have a friend or friends over, do you offer them tea? If you do, do you have a small snack with your cuppas? Or do you like a BIG snack or full meal with your tea, as with the British-style high tea? A little something, at minimum, with with your cuppa is nice. A small cookie or two, maybe a piece of chocolate, maybe some crackers. It is great if the snack is dip-able; some foods are enhanced by a tea-soak, and some teas go especially well with something dipped in them. And of course if you are making tea for two, the company is most excellent as well.
Brewing in a pot is the way to go for me. A small pot, one that holds just 16 ounces or so is best. The small pot means that I can have more than one type of tea if I wish. Many wonderful teas are found on the net and my taste runs to those that are strong and dark, with some aroma; many are very delicious. Teas that stand up to milk and sugar are what I really enjoy, and there are teas out there that do this just as well as coffee. Brew that tea strong!
For something special for some tea for two, try making a bit of home-made butter for a fresh biscuit or scone; absolutely heavenly! If you want to get extra fancy, make some scones or crumpets (crumpets are very easy, and so are scones). You can freeze these and just bring out as many as you would like and briefly reheat or toast them. Eat them with your home-made butter and you may well think you are in heaven. And don't forget that home-made jam of yours!
Hear Ye, Hear Ye! The Teatime class is coming up! So popular last year that it is being presented again. Come and enjoy learning about go-withs when having a cup of tea.
As an added bonus for planning your future attendance is a list of 2019's classes with the San Bernardino Master food Preservers. Do any look interesting? Put your favorites on your calendar right now!
Remember that the Grow and Preserve and Gifts from the kitchen are especially highly attended, so make reminder to yourself to reserve your classes few weeks before each, ok?
Hmmm, I got busy and forgot to post this for last week's Teatime Class, so here you go!
A while back I wrote a post about making delicious cultured butter. This recipe is very good but maybe a little too much a time investment for some.
I was a crusin' the net and found a very FAST, easy recipe for butter with a cultured tang that I would like to share with you. This would go great with your scones for tea, for sure! It is quicker to make and would be great for a last minute addition to any holiday or special meal.
The hardest thing about this recipe is that you need to find good heavy cream, NOT ULTRA-PASTEURIZED and WITHOUT additives or thickeners. But, I have looked around and will tell you below what I have found to make this recipe in my area. Non-ultra Pasteurized heavy sweet whipping cream can be hard to find in my experience; sour cream without additives is a little easier to find. I had heard that Manufacturing cream would be great for butter, the only stuff I could find (sold by the half-gallon) had additives AND was ultra-pasteurized.
Maybe I will need to go and make a batch this week. I have been baking and it would taste mighty fine on hot, fresh, home-made bread or biscuits (or scones--with my tea in the morning!).
How to Make Homemade Butter--By Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/homemade-butter-recipe-2104911
Total time: 15 min. Prep: 15 min. Yield: 3/4 pound butter. (= 12 oz, or three sticks--L. Watts)
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare a medium-size bowl of ice water. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, gradually whip the cream and sour cream together. Increase the speed of the mixer and continue whipping until the cream separates and the mixture thickens.
Use a rubber spatula to gather up the butter and remove it from the bowl. There will be some liquid that is a natural result of this process. That liquid is actually buttermilk. Gather the ball of butter together into a double layer of cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel and plunge it into the ice bath to wash any buttermilk off the surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Pack the butter into a bowl or roll it into a ball or log shape using plastic wrap. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Note from Alex Guarneschelli:
When I make breakfast on my day off, I always use the opportunity to get back to the basics. I love making my own butter and jams for toast. I have found its very important to use a natural sour cream that doesn't have any thickeners (like Guar gum) when making this recipe.
My notes: This butter will not keep very long in the refrigerator as it is not really washed of all buttermilk—so keep it refrigerated and use it fast--feed it to family or a party of guests! It will not keep like commercially made butter. You could divide it into smaller portions, package separately and freeze them to keep fresh all that you are not using (defrost in refrigerator)--if you have any left!
As an alternative to freezing, or perhaps in addition to: Scoop the butter out, pressing out as much buttermilk as possible and place in a clean bowl. Then, wash the butter with as much ice-cold water as needed until the water runs clear; more than a few rinses may be needed. Butter washed this way will keep longer in the fridge and may, of course, be frozen for longer storage. In any case, do not expect your butter to keep at room temperature -- keep refrigerated or frozen at all times for good food safety.
After washing, you may salt your butter (or not) to taste as desired; try 1/4 tsp, taste and work up from there if you wish.