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Culinary Tea Challenge - Week One


THE PLAN

167 Recipes + Tea + 52 weeks = #CulinaryTeaChallenge

 

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WEEK ONE RECIPES

STARTER: Mexican Black Bean Soup, pg.60

ENTREE: Darjeeling "Dry" Mung Beans, pg. 108

DESSERTS: Earl Grey Truffles, pg. 174

TEA BEVERAGES: Masala Chai Concentrate, pg. 234

Masala-Style Chai, pg. 235

 

Mexican Black Bean Soup

Mexican Black Bean Soup

Although I really enjoy black beans and I could eat soup everyday I have never actually prepared a black bean soup. So, the first starter recipe in Culinary Tea was a first in a lot of ways for me.

Even though this is considered a vegetarian dish, the smokey effect of the Lapsang Souchong by Harney & Sons almost gives you the impression that the black beans had a secret rendez-vous with seasoned meat on a grill...somewhere romantic...in the south of France, maybe?

I could have saved myself 1 whole hour of prep time if I had soaked the beans the night before; by the way, I used a quick-soak method where you bring the beans to a boil and then turn off the heat and cover the beans for 1 hour. It's supposed to preserve the flavor as well. I also feel like the color of the soup wasn't as vibrant because I discarded the water containing the juice of the beans. Next time, I will soak the bean over night so that the juices will be part of the cooking process. The hue of the soup should turn out to be deeper and more lively.

Mexican Black Bean Soup

To add a little more flavor and depth to the soup, I added a seasoning called cube magie. It has an effect of balancing all flavors of any dish. The jalapenos and crumbled goat cheese added a fresh and spicy touch to the over-all finish of the soup but Lapsang Souchong stole the show ending the taste with a pouf of smokey flavor floating off the palate into the nostrils. My husband stopped, and looked up, and said, "Yeah, this is good." If food is so delicious that it makes him stop eating, then perhaps I'm on to something.

 

Darjeeling "Dry" Mung Beans

Darjeeling "Dry" Mung Beans

Because I am obsessed with Indian food, I've had mung beans before not realizing what they were. Indian cuisine isn't Indian cuisine without them and I see why as they are super easy to make and hold flavor very well.

Again, I could have saved a lot of time if only I had thought about prep the day before. Mung beans need to soak for at least 3 hours so I bit the bullet and allowed exactly 3 hours for soaking. Once the mung beans soaked the recipe called for the mung beans to be steeped in tea until somewhat softened by still firm in the center. It didn't take long for the beans to cook, perhaps 10-15 minutes.

Darjeeling "Dry" Mung Beans

Darjeeling Tea by Palais des Thés created a perfumed effect and paired really well with the turmeric required in this dish. The Darjeeling tea taste stayed on my palate long after enjoying the beans which was the best part of all.

I don't mind a veggie meal but I wasn't too sure about just eating beans for dinner, especially after having the Mexican Black Bean Soup for a starter, so I paired these beans with an Indian yogurt and spice chicken recipe that is always a hit. I used the spices from the chicken to make a sauce. One word: delicious.

Darjeeling "Dry" Mung Beans with Indian Yogurt & Spice Chicken in sauce
 

Earl Grey Truffles

Earl Grey Truffles

I'm loving this entire #CulinaryTeaChallenge for the simple fact that I am preparing foods that I normally would not even think to prepare. Honestly, I love truffles, but I would never think to take the time to make them. I'm so happy that I did though because they are easy to make and when paired with tea, they are simply too good to never not make them again. Like, seriously, these Earl Grey Truffles were the most fun and the easiest of all of Week One's recipes.

Earl Grey Truffles

Whipped egg infused with Earl Grey by Harney & Sons and chocolate laced with orange zest make for a decadent truffle. I can't believe how delicious and simple these truffles are! I can see myself making a batch and preparing them quickly as a snack after a meal shared with friends. I'm sure they will leave my guests guessing on the various notes, not realizing that tea is one of them.

Earl Grey Truffles
 

Masala Chai Concentrate &

Masala-style Chai

Masala Chai Concentrate