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Jasmine, Darjeeling, lapsang souchong ... use them in cooking and discover the floral, smoky, aromatic, magical tastes of tea.

JASMINE CHICKEN SOUP WITH GREEN TEA SOBA

This delicate soup (recipe on page 69) starts with a blend of chicken broth and fragrant brewed tea.

TYPES OF TEA

All true teas come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Where it's grown and how it's processed give each type its unique flavor, color, and aroma.

JASMINE (CHINA)

Most often made with green tea; scented with jasmine flowers. Aromatic and elegant.

DARJEELING (INDIA )

Black tea from the northern part of the country. Delicate, complex.

MATCHA (JAPAN)

Green tea ground to a jade green powder. Keep chilled, airtight, because It's extremely perishable. Sweet, floral, and velvety smooth.

GENMAICHA ( JAPAN)

A green tea mixed with toasted brown rice (aka brown rice tea). Sometimes the rice kernel inverts during toasting, creating popcornlike bits. Nutty and earthy.

ROOIBOS (SOUTH AFRICA)

The dried leaves of a native South African shrub, it's technically an herbal tea. Fruity and mild; sometimes called red tea.

LAPSANG SOUCHONG (CHINA AND TAIWAN)

Black tea that's been smoked to varying degrees, most often over green pine wood or needles. Powerfully smoky and fragrant.

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Smoked tea duck

SERVES 4 TO 6 | 40 MINUTES

There's nothing like authentic tea-smoked duck, but the smoking process can overwhelm many home kitchens. Enter "smoked tea duck"--using lapsang souchong tea and uncooked rice to make a smoky, crispy crust for duck breast, which is then pan-fried in its own fat.
2 duck breasts, skin on (about 2 lbs. total)
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lapsang souchong tea
1 tbsp. white rice About 1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp. sel gris or other coarse sea salt


1. Dry duck breasts thoroughly with paper towels. Using a very sharp knife, score fat side of duck in adiamond pattern, making slashes about 3/4in. apart, to allow fat to render easily.

2.Put 1 tbsp. tea, rice, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and peppercorns in a spice grinder and pulverize into powder. Sprinkle powder on fat side of duck and pat in powder so that it sticks. Dredge underside of duck with any spilled powder.

3. Preheat oven to 450[degrees]. Heat a castiron pan (or other heavy, ovenproof pan) over high heat, 1 to 2 minutes, until it's nice and hot but not smoking. Gently place duck, skin side down, in pan. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until most of fat has rendered and has formed a crisp, deeply browned crust (it will look brown rather quickly due to the spices, but keep going until it's crisp).

4.Season meat side of duck with a little kosher salt and, using tongs, gently turn over. Slide pan into oven and roast 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare, or a few minutes more for medium or well done (cut to check). Avoid overcooking; meat will be tough.

5.Remove duck from oven and transfer to a cutting board to let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pulverize remaining 1 tsp. tea in a spice grinder, then add sel gris and give it a few pulses to combine.

6. Slice duck thinly, transfer to warmed plates, and sprinkle with tea salt to taste.

PER SERVING 124 CAL., 45% (56 CAL.) FROM FAT; 14 G PROTEIN; 6.3 G FAT (l.7 G SAT.); 1.8 G CARBO (0.1 G FIBER); 1,062 MG SODIUM; 78 MG CHOL.

Rooibos butternut "pizzettas"

MAKES ABOUT 15 |ABOUT 1 HOUR

Think of these roasted squash rounds as tiny pizzas: You bake them and add any topping you like. They tend to go fast at parties.
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. plus I 1/2 tsp. rooibos tea leaves
2 medium-large butternut squashes Drizzle of olive oil for
baking sheets
1 tsp. fine sea salt Pepper
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives


l. Preheat oven to 425[degrees]. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add butter and 1 tbsp. tea. When butter foams, remove from heat, cover, and let infuse 10 minutes. Strain butter through a fine sieve; discard tea.

2. Meanwhile, using a large, sturdy, sharp I knife, cut off stems and seedless "necks" of: squashes (save seeded parts for another I use). Stand each neck on a flat side and slice peel off with 7 or 8 cuts, leaving a kind of I octagonal shape. Cut necks into 1/2-in. slices. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets and place squash, slightly separated, on sheets.

3. Pulverize remaining I1/2 tsp. tea leaves (if already fine, skip this step). Mix with salt.

4. Brush infused butter onto tops of squash slices, then season with pepper and rooibos I salt. Bake until very soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with chives.

PER SQUASH SLICE 59 CAL, 44% (26 CAL.) FROM FAT; 0.8 G PROTEIN; 3 G FAT (l.6 G SAT.); 8.6 G CARBO (2.1 G FIBER); 105 MG SODIUM; 6.1 MG CHOL.

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Crisp genmaicha tofu with shiitakes and savoy cabbage

SE RVES 4 AS A MAIN COURSE | 1 HOUR

The cabbage and the mushrooms simmer in brewed genmaicha until tender, absorbing the delicate, toasty tea. The tea leafcrusted tofu deepens those flavors.
1 tbsp. plus2 tsp. genmaicha (toasted-nee greentea)
About 4 tbsp. grapeseed or othervegetable oil, divided
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 tsp. selgris or other coarse sea salt, divided
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced savoy or napa cabbage
1 block (aboutl lb.)medium-firmor firm tofu
2 tbsp. polenta
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tbsp. finely sliced green onions


1. Combine 2 tsp. genmaicha leaves and l1/2Cups boiling water; let steep 5 minutes, then strain into a bowl.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and ginger; sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until mushrooms begin to shrink. Add brewed tea; cook 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage and cook until slightly wilted but still green and most of liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside, covered.

3. Slice tofu in half horizontally and set on paper towels. Cut an X through each half, forming 4 triangles per half, or 8 total. Blot tops with paper towels.

4. Pulverize polenta and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Add remaining 1 tbsp. tea and ltsp. salt and pulse just to combine.

5. Brush tofu on both sides with some oil. Liberally sprinkle oiled sides with polenta mixture and press on with your fingers.

6. Heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook tofu until deeply golden brown on one side, about 8 minutes. Flip and brown other side lightly, about 3 minutes more.

7. Arrange 2 tofu triangles on each of 4 warmed dinner plates. Reheat mushrooms and cabbage in pan, stir in green onions, and spoon mixture around tofu.

PER SERVING 289 CAL., 60% (l74 CAL.) FROM FAT; 14 G PROTEIN; 20 G FAT (2 G SAT.); 17 G CARBO (5.5 G FIBER); 644 MG SODIUM; 0.4 MG CHOL

Jasmine chicken soup with green tea soba

SERVES 6| 1(1/4)HOURS

Feel free to use other vegetables. And if you have extra broth, simmer more vegetables in it the next day for a nearly instant soup.
3 tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil, divided
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and sliced into
2-by1/2-in.sticks
2 medium red onions, sliced into half-moons
1 large fennel bulb, stalks trimmed and bulb cored and
sliced into thin strips
1(1/2) oz. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
(a generous 1/4 cup)
About 1 tsp. each kosher salt and pepper, divided
2 tbsp. loose-leaf jasmine tea
2 qts. reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (2 lbs. total)
1 tbsp. freshly ground coriander seeds
1/2 lb. green tea soba noodles or spaghettini (about 8 oz.)
1/4 cup mixed chopped parsley, chives, and cilantro


1.Preheat oven to 375[degrees]. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, fennel, ginger, and V2tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a bow and wipe pan clean.

2.Boil 3 cu ps water. Remove from heat, add tea leaves, cover, and let steep 5 minutes. Heat chicken broth to a slow simmer in a pot. Strain tea into broth. Season broth with some salt and set aside, covered.

3. Dry chicken with paper towels. Rub with ltsp. oil. Season all over with V2tsp. each salt and pepper and the coriander.

4. Heat same pan used for vegetables over high heat. Drizzle in remaining2tsp. oil, then add chicken, skin side down. Cook until skin turns very dark brown, almost black; then flip over with tongs and transfer pan to oven. Bake chicken until just opaque, in center, about 15 minutes (cut to check). Let stand until cool enough to handle.

5. Cook soba according to package direc-tions. Drain and rinse. Remove chicken skin and slice meat from bones. Put 6 large, wide bowls into turned-off oven to warm. Bring broth to a simmer, covered.

6. Pile noodles into bowls. Top with chicken and vegetables, then ladle in broth. Sprinkle with herbs.

PER SERVING 412 CAL, 26% (108 CAL.) FROM FAT; 36 G PROTEIN; 12 G FAT (2.1 G SAT.); 42 G CARBO (4.6 G FIBER); 842 MG SODIUM; 93 MG CHOL.

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Matcha whoopie pies

MAKES ABOUT 25 1 HOUR

I grew up inhaling whoopie pies, bless my mother's soul. Although I would like to offer her recipe, Pm afraid that just reading the quantity of trans fats (Crisco) called for might incite cardiac arrest! This healthier version tastes even better.
CAKES

2 cups flour
1/2% cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Droste 1/2tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
1 cup buttermilk

MATCHA FILLING

1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/22tbsp. matcha*
3 oz. each cream cheese and mascarpone
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature


1. Preheat oven to 350[degrees]. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until very fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; then gradually beat in buttermilk until smooth, scraping down inside of bowl as needed.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats* Put batter in a piping bag with a large tip (or cut a V2-in. corner off a resealable plastic bag and spoon in batter]. Form 1-tbsp. mounds of batter 2 in. apart on sheets. Bake about 12 minutes or until cakes spring back when poked. Transfer to rack to cool.

5. Meanwhile, make filling: Sift powdered sugar and matcha together into a medium-large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and mascarpone and beat with a mixer on low speed at first, then on medium until very smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, generously spread some filling on the flat side of a cake and top with another cake. Repeat for rest of cakes.

* Chill matcha after opening to slow oxidation. Silpats (silicone baking mats) prevent sticking. Make ahead: Cakes, up to 3 days, stored airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment; filling, up to 2 days} chilled [bring to room temperature before spreading).

PER WHOOPIE PIE 192 CAL, 46% (88 CAL.) HtOM FAT; 2.5 G PROTLIN; 9.9 G FAT (5.8 G SAT.); 24 G CAR0O (0.6 G FIBER); 149 MG SODUJM; 34 MG CHOL

Bay Area cookbook author Eric Gower writes "The Breakaway Cook" column for the San Francisco Chronicle and owns an online artisanal matchashop (breakawaymatcha.com).

TRACKING DOWN TEA

Where to find top teas

BERKELEY

Teance

Education-oriented, offering classes, a fantastic tasting bar, and an exceptional collection of teaware. No lapsang souchong or rooibos, but the jasmines are beyond compare, teance.com

BEVERLY HILLS

American Tea Room

Known for its Brioche Tea (which really does smell like a Parisian patisserie), Darjeelings, and other black blends; carries all the teas in these recipes. americantearoom.com

PORTLAND

The Tao of Tea

A good selection of green and black teas, but its herbal teas are the real find; lots of unusual and very creative housemade blends, including Ayurvedic blends. taoojtea.com

SAN FRANCISCO

Samovar Tea Lounge

Samovar is a pioneer in bringing artisanal teas to a wide audience. Its dozens of teas include jasmine, rooibos (infused with bergamot), lapsang souchong, matcha--and its signature. Green Ecstasy, a euphoric blend of matcha and nishi sencha.samovarlife.com

SEATTLE

Remedy Teas

All-organic purveyor of great teas, packaged with ultracontemporary flair. Carries all the teas in these recipes, plus many unusual blends and a special collection of rooibos. remedyteas.com

RELATED ARTICLE: Darjeeling dashi

MAKES 3 CUPS J 20 MIBUTES

Use this quick version of Japanese dashi(soup stock)to make rice(use half dashi). Put 2tbsp.sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, ltbsp soy sauce, 4 tsp, honey, and 1 qt; water in a saucepan; simmer 5 minute.Turn off heat and whisk in 11/2tsp aka (red) miso, 1 tbsp Dajjeelirigteaieaves, and 1/2 tsp.salt. Steep 5 minutes .Strain through a fine-mesh colander (save shiitakes for another use, like topping a cup of dashi along with thin-sliced aged pecorino rdmiho). Dashi keeps, chilled, 1week.

PER CUP 42 CAL., 4%(1.8 CAL) FROM FAT;.0.9 G PROTEIN;0.2 FAT (0 G SAT);10 G CARBO(0.4 G FIBER);807 MG CHOL.

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THE AS A SEASONING TRANSFORMS PLAIN DUCK BREAST INTO SOMETHING SMOKY AND MYSTERIOUS

SMOKED TEA DUCK

This fast, easy twist on tea-smoked duck has only six ingredients, but the flavors huge.

ROOIBOS BUTTERNUT "PIZZETTAS"

They're topped with an infusion of butter and rooibos tea leaves, then finished with more tea and salt, plus chives.

MORE WAYS TO COOK WITH TEA:

sunset.com/tearecipes

SMOOTH, RICH MATCHA TAKES CHOCOLATE TO ANOTHER LEVEL

MATCHA WHOOPIE PIES

Japan's most exalted tea (usuatly used for tea ceremonies) gives the filling its outrageous color and bright flavor.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY IAIN BAGWELL
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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Gower, Eric
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Feb 1, 2012
Words:2431
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