18 August 2016

Rishi Tea Golden Assam Review and Organic Tea Giveaway

Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway - and Tea Making Tips / www.delightfulrepast.com

As I mentioned in my Earl Grey Shortbread post, though I still at times drink black teas that are not organic, if I had my druthers, they would all be. Since I drink tea at least eight times a day, I think it's pretty important that most of it be organic tea.

Trouble is, I prefer loose leaf tea and very few places, none near me, carry organic loose leaf black teas. An online search led me to Rishi Tea, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rishi Tea can be found at Whole Foods as well as online. If you prefer tea bags, you'll be glad to know they added tea bags to their line in 2013.

The tea I'm drinking today is Rishi Tea's full-bodied, full-flavored Golden Assam organic black tea. I steeped 3 grams of leaves per 8 ounces of water for 5 minutes and found it the perfect strength for drinking without milk. I then made it a bit stronger (4 grams/1 level tablespoon) to stand up to the addition of a little milk, which goes so well with this robust tea with its characteristic assertive malty finish. 

Tea Making Tips


I don't always put milk in my black tea, as my English grandmother did. For instance, I don't put milk in my Darjeeling. But when drinking tea from my other favorite tea region, Assam, I do. Rather than just splashing in the milk, though, I always taste the tea first to make sure it is strong enough to stand up to the addition of milk. The only thing worse than weak tea is weak tea with milk!

The mistake many people make with tea is following the old "rule" of one teaspoon per cup plus one for the pot. All black teas are not alike. Higher grades of tea generally have larger leaves, so a teaspoon of them will weigh a lot less than a teaspoon of small leaves. Of course, not everyone weighs their tea. What to do?


Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway - and Tea Making Tips / www.delightfulrepast.com

When making a new tea, I will weigh out 3 grams of tea leaves (and see what that measures) or you can just measure 2 level teaspoons or a gently rounded 1/2 tablespoon per 8 ounces of boiling water (unless a lower temperature is recommended) and steep for 5 minutes. 

Then I taste it and decide whether I should adjust the amount of tea either up or down or adjust the steeping time up or down by a minute. After a time or two, you will have it fine-tuned for that particular tea and can make it just the way you like it every time (without getting the scales out -- I'm not that obsessive!).


Rishi Tea Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Rishi Tea Giveaway


Rishi Tea will send winner: a selection of 12 generous "teasers" to sample Rishi's range of teas, their porcelain Aroma Cup, a bandana and a teapot coaster.

This giveaway is open to continental US residents (Sorry, Alaskan, Hawaiian and international friends!) 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person, plus see next paragraph for way to get a bonus entry). First comment should be about what kind of teas you like. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday August 24.

Bonus entry: If you are on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you may have a bonus entry by following @RishiTea on any of those and leaving an additional comment below with your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook name. 

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday August 25. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday August 28, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline). 

Disclosure: Rishi Tea provided product for review purposes and for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!

11 August 2016

Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust

Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com

Savory Summer Tart is the perfect dish for a summer picnic. It tastes great at any temperature. And the heavy lifting can be done a day ahead, so you can just relax on the day of your picnic.

Slice and roast the vegetables on a half-sheet pan, cool to room temperature, cover with lid or foil and refrigerate till the next day, if you like. Whip up the easy pastry, press it (yes, I said "press it") into the pan and pop it into the freezer until you're ready to assemble the tart and bake it.

If you've been not making tarts because you don't like to roll out pastry (as described here for the sweet version in Lemon Tart), you'll love this pastry. It's exactly the same dough I roll out, but you can just press it in the pan and it will come out exactly the same as if you'd rolled it.

(You might also want to try my no-roll pie crust used in my Blackberry Cobbler.)

What's a picnic without wine, right? I've been trying to find the perfect summer picnic wine, and I think I have. Besides having the right flavor and weight, this refreshing rosé called Gioia, has a screw cap; and if that's not handy on a picnic, I don't know what is!

Call me old-fashioned, but I love a nice wicker picnic hamper, a tablecloth and real dishes and glasses for a picnic. My wicker hamper holds all the accoutrements, while the food stays at a safe temperature in an insulated cooler. Put a larger picnic blanket on the ground before putting down the tablecloth. And a few cushions might not go amiss either!


Savory Summer Tart with Easy No-Roll Tart Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com


Savory Summer Tart 


(Makes one 9-inch/23cm tart, 8 servings) 

The Vegetables

2 smallish to medium (2- to 2.5-inch diameter) tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium bell pepper, cut vertically into 1/4-inch strips
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

The Pastry - Pâte Brisée (a savory shortcrust pastry) 

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the filling)
1 tablespoon water, milk or cream 

The Filling 

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheese* or crumbled fresh goat cheese
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 

* I like to use a mixture, including a couple tablespoons of Parmesan. 

1 Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas8. Line a half-sheet pan or other large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread prepared vegetables on parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, marjoram and red pepper flakes. Turn vegetables to coat with oil, placing tomatoes skin side down. Roast for 20 minutes. Let stand at room temperature to cool completely. 

Tip: Can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. 

2 Add flour and salt to work bowl of food processor; turn on for about 3 or 4 seconds to combine. Add chunks of butter; pulse to a crumb texture. Add egg yolk and cream; pulse until the dough starts clumping together. This is to be a crisp, more cookie-like crust, rather than a flaky pastry; so there's not quite the concern about over-processing. 

3 Lightly butter a 9-inch/23cm tart tin (1-inch deep) and set it on a baking sheet. Take 2/3 of the dough and press it evenly around the sides of the tin. Put the remaining 1/3 of the dough in the bottom and press it with your hand into an even layer. Using a straight-sided, round stainless steel measuring cup coated with a little flour, press it against bottom and sides to compact and smooth out the dough. Pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.

4 Cover chilled pastry with a piece of foil, pressing it to fit well. Spread 2 cups of ceramic pie weights (that's two packages of Mrs. Anderson's ceramic pie weights), also called ceramic baking beans in the UK, over the foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights; continue baking for 10 minutes, until lightly browned to a pale golden. Cool completely on wire rack.

5 While pastry is cooling, make the filling. In small bowl (I use a 2-cup glass measure), whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined. Let stand until pastry is ready. 

6 Turn oven temperature down to 350F/180C/Gas4. Arrange roasted and cooled vegetables in prebaked and cooled pastry shell. Cover with shredded cheese. Pour in filling. Bake (with tart tin on baking sheet) for about 30 to 35 minutes, until filling is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before removing from tin and cutting. Allow to cool for about an hour to serve at room temperature.

Disclosure: Some posts contain links to my affiliate account at Amazon. If you purchase something from Amazon through one of my links, I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, which I use toward the expenses of running this blog. Thanks for supporting Delightful Repast when you shop at Amazon!



04 August 2016

Homemade Cake Mix - Chocolate Butter Cake

Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix / www.delightfulrepast.com

Here's my Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix for my one-bowl chocolate butter cake. Especially during hot summer weather, it's wonderful to have the time-consuming measuring or weighing part of cake-making done ahead so that first thing in the morning you can quickly mix the cake and get it baked before it gets too hot. If you're not a chocolate fan, here's my Homemade Vanilla Cake Mix.

I have a lifelong thing (genetic, I think) for canning jars, and the quart jars are just the perfect size for this (and look so cute lined up in the cupboard!). I'm no expert on shelf life, but I pulled a number out of the air and plan to use my homemade cake mixes within three months, though I doubt they'd go "off" in six months or longer. 

This makes a nice host(ess) gift when you've been invited to dinner and want to take something that the host(ess) can use later. You can do something fancier with the recipe card than I did here: just card stock cut into a 3-by-5 index card and kitchen string to tie it round the neck of the canning jar. 

Do you bake in the hot summer weather? My mother baked cakes in the middle of the night! But I'm not a night person, so I've been doing my baking at 5:30 in the morning. (I wonder who first said, "Nothing good happens after midnight.") 


Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix / www.delightfulrepast.com

The cake makes 2 layers, but sometimes I like to freeze one layer for another occasion.


Homemade Cake Mix - Chocolate Butter Cake 


(Makes two 8-inch layers or 24 cupcakes) 

The Cake Mix 

1 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (7.5 ounces/213 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces/298 grams) sugar
1/2 packed cup (1.5 ounces/42 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder*
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt 


The Cake Batter 

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (8 fluid ounces/237 ml) heated water or brewed coffee*, slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 


* I buy organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee, cocoa and chocolate products.

1 Into a quart canning jar for each cake mix, measure flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk it with a fork; put on a lid. Store in cupboard for up to 3 months. 

2 On baking day, bring the butter and eggs to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Grease well and lightly flour two 8-inch layer pans

3 In large mixing bowl (I use a Cuisinart stand mixer), beat the softened butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add cake mix to butter; mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add eggs, liquid and vanilla extract; mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. With mixer on medium-high speed, beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and beat on medium-high for another 30 seconds. 

4 Pour into prepared pans. Bake for about 30 minutes. 

5 Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks for at least an hour, until completely cool, before frosting.

28 July 2016

Pea Salad - Marinated Green Pea Salad

Pea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pea salad is something I've been eating and making all my life without any musical accompaniment in my head. Then about 12 years ago I included it in a magazine article I wrote about peas, and my editor titled it "Give Peas a Chance."

If that doesn't get a tune going in your head, then you were probably born after 1969 and not among the huge numbers of Beatles (the group or individuals) fans who arose from later generations. My editor thought she was dating herself with that particular bit of cleverness, but I remember thinking she was pretty cool.

Growing up, I thought pea salad must be an English thing since the only people I ever knew to make it were my mother and her side of the family, but I really have no idea of its origins. There are all sorts of variations I like, but I always make it the way I've done here with a vinaigrette dressing. One of my cousins uses mayonnaise and adds cubes of cheese.

My mother sometimes made it with canned peas, to which my sister and I both always had an aversion, and yet we could eat the pea salad made with canned peas. But I like it best with frozen peas or fresh (if they are truly fresh and lightly cooked). 

So tell me, is your family a pea salad family?


Pea Salad / www.delightfulrepast.com


Pea Salad - Marinated Green Pea Salad


(Makes 6 servings)

The Dressing

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Country Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt, to start
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

The Salad

1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, uncooked, or 3 cups steamed fresh green peas
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup thinly-sliced celery or diced carrots
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 leaves butter lettuce
3 small ripe red tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges each

1 Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until thoroughly combined (or hit it with an immersion blender for a few seconds if you like it really emulsified).

Note: I usually double or triple the dressing recipe and keep the extra in the refrigerator for other salads. If the olive oil solidifies, just leave it at room temperature for a while.

2 In 2-quart bowl, combine peas, onions, celery or carrots, bell pepper and vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours, stirring gently a few times. The uncooked frozen peas will thaw perfectly as they marinate. 

3 To serve individual salads, place a lettuce leaf on each of six chilled salad plates. Top with marinated pea salad, using a slotted spoon. Garnish each salad with three tomato wedges. If really good tomatoes are not to be found, garnish with strips of red bell pepper.

4 Or serve family style. Here I've made it sort of salad bar style, with ingredients that some people I know are allergic to separated out.

21 July 2016

Pita Bread - Pitta Bread

Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Homemade Pita Bread (in British English, pitta bread) is so much better than store-bought and really doesn't take much active time once you get your moves down. I especially like it with just a little whole wheat flour (as in my recipe below), but I was out so just used all unbleached all-purpose flour this time. Still delicious!

Having made it both in the oven and on the stovetop, I get the best results with the oven. But if you've never made pita bread, try it both ways; you might get your best results with the stovetop. One way I've not tried, and plan to next time, is to bake them six at a time on a preheated heavy-duty sheet pan.

Mr. Delightful likes pita bread sandwiches, but not the sandwiches I made today! He refuses to eat "mushy" foods like baba ghanoush or hummus. I put a schmear of hummus on both sides of the pockets and filled them with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and shredded carrot. Love it!

And I made a wonderful discovery today! Besides being out of whole wheat flour, I was out of tahini; so I decided to try my hummus with peanut butter (organic natural - the kind you have to stir - peanut butter), and it worked! Do you like to try substitutions or would you drag your lazy carcass out to the shops to get the proper ingredients?!

Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pita Bread - Pitta Bread


(Makes 12)

2 3/4 cups (13.75 ounces/390 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) whole wheat flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
2 teaspoons (0.25 ounce/7 grams) instant yeast 
1 to 1 1/4 cups (8 to 10 fluid ounces/237 to 296 ml) water, room temperature 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

1 In large bowl, stir together the two* flours, removing 1/4 cup of the unbleached flour to use for kneading. Stir in sugar, salt and instant yeast. With dough whisk or spoon, stir in the oil and 1 cup of the water until thoroughly combined, gradually adding more water only if needed. Stir for a minute. The dough should be "shaggy," soft but not too wet. 

* The batch photographed was made with all unbleached flour because I was out of whole wheat. 

2 Turn dough out onto lightly floured (from the reserved 1/4 cup) surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep dough from being "too" sticky. It should be sticky, but not sticky enough to come off on your hands or the counter. 

3 Put into a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure so that I can measure the rise), cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Note: The long, slow rise not only makes the bread more flavorful, this timing allows you to make the dough on a busy weeknight. Example: Make the dough Friday evening, refrigerate it overnight, bake the pitas the next day or evening (taking the dough out of the refrigerator about 3 hours before you plan to bake the pitas). 

4 Bring dough to room temperature (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours), knead lightly just a few strokes, divide into 12 equal pieces. I actually weigh the dough and divide the weight by 12 (which came to about 70 grams, or about 2.5 ounces). If you're not as obsessive as I am, you might just eyeball it.

5 Roll each piece into a smooth ball, place fairly close together on your countertop and cover with a damp tea towel or an overturned bowl; allow to rest for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, move oven rack to lowest position. Place a pizza stone, cast iron pizza pan or griddle or a heavy-duty baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 475F/245C/Gas9 for 30 minutes. 

Roll dough balls out on a lightly floured surface to rounds about 3/16 inch (or 1/2 cm) thick (about 6 to 7 inches/15 to 18 cm in diameter), making sure they are evenly thick all over. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 20 minutes. 

Quickly place as many pitas as will fit on the hot stone, keeping the oven open as short a time as possible. Cook until they puff up, about a minute; flip with tongs or spatula and cook about another minute. Loosely wrap in a tea towel while you continue to cook pitas. 

Note: The pitas should be soft, not crisp, and pale, with only a few brown speckles. Keeping them covered will keep them soft as well as warm. 

9 Serve, covered, in napkin-lined basket. Or let cool completely, wrapped in tea towel, before wrapping and freezing. 


Homemade Pita (Pitta) Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com


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