Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Pu-erh Tea

While I am quite the bad vegan, another habit of good health has been quite the pleasure: The consumption of Pu-erh Tea. My lovely friend got me started with this tea by purchasing a tin for me, and recently sent me the rich, 8 year aged tea in the photo. She has it for sale on her online tea shop.
While I am lucky enough to have an authentic Chinese tea pot (thanks, sis!) dedicated to the brewing of only Pu-erh tea, I thought some instructions may be useful. Following please find the instructions listed in the tea shop:
Brewing Palace Pu-erh Tea
For brewing Palace Pu-erh, take 5 grams (approximately two teaspoons) of the loose tea and place in a teapot or gaiwan. Wake up the tea by pouring 4-6 ounces of boiling water over it and letting it sit for 15-30 seconds. Pour off the rinse water. Smell the Pu-erh tea and enjoy it before adding more water. Add 8 ounces of boiling or just boiled (do not let the water simmer or over-boil) to the teapot and infuse for 10 seconds. Pour off into a serving vessel or directly into your teacups. This can be repeated for 3-7 additional rounds with the same tea.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I recently dug out this recipe from one of my earliest spiral-bound recipe cards. I had forgotten how fun, fast, easy, and cute these little morsals are! I made a batch of lemon-blueberry ones for a friends birthday, and a batch of cherry ones for a Bon Voyage party. (And I saved a few for myself, and topped them with Amarena Cherries!)
This recipe came to me from an ex-boyfriend, who used to take them as potluck favorites. Note that 'Nilla Wafers have gotten smaller in recent years. What up with that?
Update: They lasted a mere 20 minutes or so. One lovely coworker hoarded a bunch to take home! I love it when people like what i make them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scorpion Belly Eggplant Dishes of Yore

In my present search for eggplant dishes, I came across this great article about a 10th Century cookbook. Charles Perry writes for Saudi Aramco, "Cooking With the Caliphs":
It comes as a surprise that eggplant shows up so rarely in these recipes. In today’s Arab world, it is sayyid al-khudaar, the lord of vegetables, but at the time it was a recent import from India and not yet quite popular. It was considered impossibly bitter; in a widely repeated anecdote, a Bedouin declared that eggplant had “the color of a scorpion’s belly and the taste of a scorpion’s sting.” It was actually considered bad for the health. Doctors blamed it for everything from freckles and a hoarse throat to cancer and madness.

Yeah...that's it...that's where my freckles come from...but who you callin' Mad?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Excessive Produce! Japanese Eggplant Version

A farmer brought this massive box of Japanese Eggplants into my work today. Now, since they are free and on the elder side of fresh, I must use them up quickly. (However, even non-farmer-market-fresh is still pretty darn fresh!)
In my humble opinion, eggplant needs olive oil, salt, and high heat to be delicious, and very little else. The best eggplant I have ever had was sliced, salted, and fried in a huge iron kettle at stall #54 in the Djamaa el Fna in Marrakesh. I could have eaten every piece that came out of that kettle!