{Tazo Cookoff} Tazo Giveaway Details and Starbucks Winners!

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You guys sure do like coffee — there were 67 entries for my Starbucks giveaway! The lucky winners are:

  • Comment #42, Yail from Yael’s Yummies, who can’t pick a favorite
  • Comment #55, Natasha from 5 Star Foodie, who’s excited about the caramel
  • Comment #26, Katie, who wants to try the cinnamon

I’ll send you an email to get your shipping details. Enjoy!!

While I was doing this post, I also realized that I never posted the details about the Tazo Giveaway that I’m also hosting! This is a great one! One commenter will receive:

  • A 1-year supply (12 boxed of Tazo teas)
  • A tea pot and two tea cups
  • An electric tea kettle
  • A gorgeous, glass iced tea pitcher (seen here)

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I’ll be picking a winner from all the comments left on my Tazo Cookoff posts. Three recipes to comment on means you have three opportunities to enter! Recipes I’ve created featuring various Tazo teas include:

You have until 3:00 PM EST on September 1 to enter. Every time you comment, you’ll also be helping me enter to win a $1,000 gift certificate to my favorite cooking store.

I’ll be back tonight with a new (non-tea) recipe post!

{Tazo Cookoff} Iced Ginger Tea with Honey-Macerated Fruit

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For the third and final week of the Tazo Cookoff, I faced a bit of a dilemma: the pears that I had been presented to use in my recipe weren’t as ripe as I would have liked them to be. They would have been fine in a few days, but I was headed out of town and only had one night to get my recipe done. To make matters worse, the only thing I felt like eating was a sandwich — which put a quick end to my idea of poaching the pears in tea and making them into a chutney to eat with lamb chops and polenta (I mean, I like to cook, but I’m not about to make something like that when I’d be happier with a simple panini!)

As I tried to think of ways to incorporate the tea and pears into my sandwich or a side dish, I remembered the sangria-like iced tea that I had at Radiance Tea and Bookstore this spring. It seemed like the perfect accompaniment to my sandwich as well as a great way to use up some other fruit before I headed out of town.

The resulting tea was a nice change of pace from my standard unsweetened black tea, and I plan to make it again often. I especially loved the way that the ginger flavor infused the fruit — it was unexpected and extremely refreshing. Eating the fruit at the bottom of the glass was just as much of a treat as drinking the tea!

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This is your final chance to win a great Tazo gift pack including a one year supply of tea and a selection of tea-brewing essentials! You’ll be entered one time for every comment you leave on one of my Tazo recipes. This is recipe # 3 of 3. Previous recipes included

Vanilla Rooibos Quinoa Pudding with Cherry & Pistachio and

Tea-smoked Salmon with Lavender and Honey Glaze. On September 1, I’ll randomly pick a winner from all of the comments left on those three recipes. (Only commenters with valid US addresses are eligible to win) Every comment you leave will also help me win a $1,000 gift card to Williams Sonoma.

Click to continue reading Iced Ginger Tea with Honey-Macerated Fruit –>

{Tazo Cookoff} Vanilla Rooibos Quinoa Pudding with Cherry & Pistachio

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Fate smiled down on me last week when I opened the box containing the mystery ingredient for week two of the Tazo Cookoff. I had been dreaming of a tea enriched breakfast appropriate rice pudding for months. When I was first asked to participate in this challenge I knew I finally had an excuse to actually make it. But I wanted to step things up for this challenge so I decided that instead of using rice I would use quinoa. I crossed my fingers and hoped that one of the mystery ingredients would work in this dish.
Imagine my delight when I opened he week two box only to find a jar of organic red quinoa waiting to take pat in some culinary magic. My quinoa pudding was meant to be.

I used boxed vanilla rooibos latte concentrate for this recipe because cooking with a product clearly meant for drinking (even more than tea in general) seemed fun. Plus it meant that I didn’t need to add any additional sugar or spices (the concentrate is slightly sweetened and contains vanilla and cinnamon). Complete with toppings, this recipe contains a grand total of six ingredients. You can’t get much simpler than that!


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The quinoa gives this pudding a nutty flavor and a coarse texture — it lacks the creamy starchiness or rice pudding and reminds me more of steel cut oats. The flavor of the tea is very prominent and combined with the sweetness of the cherries and the crunch of the pistachios, it makes a great breakfast or a filling snack.

Also, vanilla rooibos lattes? Totally my new favorite drink. Warm and creamy, with a slightly floral this drink reminds me of the perfect rainy day. The kind where you have nothing better to do than sit in your yoga pants, drink tea, and curl up with a book while the rain softly pitter patters outside the window.

A few tips for making this pudding:
   
  1. Make sure to rinse the quinoa well. Until the water runs clear. This will prevent it from being bitter.
  2. Ignore the directions on the back of the box of concentrate. If you look at the box, you’ll be tempted to use more concentrate than this recipe calls for. That would be a huge mistake. Even though you start with a cup and a half of milk, it reduces down to form the pudding and you’ll only end up with about a quarter cup of milk in the final dish. If you use too much concentrate the ratios will be way off and your pudding will be far too sweet.

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Click to continue reading Vanilla Rooibos Quinoa Pudding with Cherry & Pistachio and for a change to win a great Tazo gift pack –>

{Tazo Cookoff} Tea-Smoked Salmon with Honey & Lavender Glaze

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I’ve been in something of a cooking rut lately, struggling to find inspiration and ideas for new dishes. Apparently all l needed in order to get back in the groove of things was a good challenge! When I received an invitation to take part in the Tazo Cook-Off, I almost declined. Somehow, in the bat of an eye, my schedule for August has filled up and I couldn’t imagine how I would find time to participate in a challenge that would require me to come up with three new recipes over the course of three weeks, each involving both tea and a mystery ingredient that would be disclosed to me the cook-off progressed.

But, if you know me you know I love a good culinary challenge — of course I ended up saying yes! And boy am I glad I did, because I never would have thought to create this amazing tea-smoked salmon with honey & lavender glaze otherwise. And that would be sad, because this recipe is so good that you should just go ahead and cancel whatever dinner plans you have for tomorrow and make this instead. (And if that’s not enough to get you to keep reading this post, what if I told you there’s a fantastic giveaway opportunity if you keep reading?)

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So I spent the past week thinking about all of the great things that I could make with tea, when a package arrived for me on Monday with my first mystery ingredient. Lavender. Right. There go those ideas! I have to admit, I was a little stumped. I was stuck on the idea of shortbread cookies for a while, but that just seemed so obvious. No, I was determined to go savory with this dish. And I began to think about salmon.

The most recent issue of Fine Cooking had an article on tea-smoking that had intrigued me, and this seemed like the perfect time to try it out. I played around with flavors and technique until I came up with the recipe you see here. Which is incredible. The flavors of the teas — orange, cloves, star anise, cinnamon — permeate the salmon and give it an amazing flavor. The honey and lavender give it a floral sweetness that just works. And smoking it gives it the most amazing texture — silky and smooth, yet still flakey and fully cooked. I’ve really never had anything like it before, but this is definitely a technique that I’ll be using again and again.

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Click to continue reading Tea-Smoked Salmon with Honey & Lavender Glaze –>