Vegan Tea is the most popular beverage in the world. My mother is a tea freak, and drinks about 20 cups a day! But, have you ever cooked with it? I've made smoothies, desserts, and baked goods with a variety of teas. But, not much beyond that. There is a whole world of flavors to discover when infusing tea at every meal, and with Steeped: Recipes Infused With Tea - Annelies Zijderveld takes the home cook and reader on a culinary journey of discovery that is innovative, creative, and refreshing.
Annelies is a dear friend of mine, and after hearing about the book for over a year and tasting a few recipes during the development I was utterly delighted when I received the finished book. It is just a triumph. The book is brilliantly branded and designed (with the cover and titles looking like old-fashioned tea labels, and beautifully written. After heading up the marketing team at Mighty Leaf Tea and working for numerous other food companies, and starting the literary food blog, The Foot Poet, this talented lady has brought all of her skills together as an accomplished and compelling cookbook author.
This is going to be my tea bible from here on out. There's great information about the personality of each of the key teas: black, earl grey, lapsang souchong, masali chai, dragon well. jasmine, moroccan mint, matcha, chamomile, and rooibos. Then, there's tips for the preparation of the tea for use in the recipes: ground tea, tea spice blends, brewed tea, hot tea infusions, cold tea infusions, and poaching in tea. There's step-by-step instructions for brewing black, green, oolong, herbal tisane, iced tea, and others. I learnt so much from reading this book! I will be referring to it again and again to create my own recipes using tea.
I'm so inspired to use tea more after cooking the recipes in this book! All of the recipes are vegetarian, and many are gluten-free and vegan. I loved the green tea granola, masala chai applesauce, cranberry coconut rooibos oat porridge, earl grey yogurt parfaits, matcha chia pudding, and chamomile lassi. I 'm also eyeing off the buddha's hand rooibos marmalade, spinach salad with pears and masala chai maple pecans, California tea leaf salad, teabbouleh, earl grey soba noodle salad, green tea guacamole with grapefruit tea toast, hurricane popcorn with tea furikake, mint pea soup (using Moroccan mint green tea instead of broth!), creamy broccoli soup (using green tea instead of broth), and this incredible corn chowder using chamomile tea! The orange jasmine brussels sprouts look pretty incredible, as do the portobello steak frites with lapsang souchang tea, cauliflower steaks with tea umami sauce, and chamomile risotto with currants. I haven't tried the desserts yet, but I've marked the rooibos red fruit kanten for the weekend!
If you've got a favorite tea that you want to play with you can search for recipes by tea at the back of the book. I'm particularly obsessed with lapsang souchong tea and the incredible smoky flavor it brings to dishes after using this book. Wow! What a revelation.
It was really challenging to pick just one recipe to feature. There were so many that looked good. But, I love soups and was so intrigued by the combination of chamomile and corn. Annelies says in her head note: "The floral honeyed tones of chamomile beautifully complement the sweetness of corn. This chowder owes its body to being half puréed, rather than to cream or butter, making it naturally vegan. I use frozen corn here, but if you’re lucky enough to find fresh organic corn, by all means use it." Yes, the flavors were delightful.
Get your copy of Steeped, and learn more about Annelies at The Food Poet