Sunday, March 16, 2014

Make Real Cream Cheese the Norm

I blame my early years spent in the south of England for my gluttonous addiction to all things butter and cream. My visits in recent years have been stark reminders of how far ahead the British are when it comes to food labeling laws and ingredient allowances. Many ingredients we use here in Canada are banned in BritainCanada needs to catch up, especially when it comes to products high in fat. The thing with fat is, it stays in your body far longer than carbohydrates or protein. If you eat fat with a bunch of chemicals and  artificial ingredients, those too will cling to your organs. I like my fat sources to be pure, so even if I can’t afford a cornucopia of organic groceries, I still choose to pay extra and get organic eggs and milk. It’s in the cream cheese department that I find myself constantly struggling to find an alternative to Philadelphia’s many products, none of which are organic. Cream cheese is an essential in my fridge and so I had to do some research to figure out how I can keep up my mass consumption of the stuff while remaining free of toxins.

I’ve looked at the packaging and noticed that most grocery store brands call their product ‘cream cheese spread’ or ‘cream cheese product’. Imagine a small fraction of cream cheese molecules suspended in an artificial matrix of synthetic ingredients, and voila: cream cheese spread. I’m thankful for the politicians who fight for transparency and who have no tolerance for false or leading labels. Here, we are nearly par with British laws, or at least trailing closely behind. As soon as a company pumps in more than what is necessary to make cream cheese, we start getting into the impostor zone of ‘spreads’ with ten ingredients. These impostors, by law, have to, even in a discreet way, differentiate their product from the real thing. As the consumer, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about which codes companies use to sell food riddled with so many artificial ingredients they aren’t allowed to use the actual food name (even though we shouldn’t have to carry any background knowledge in order to shop for healthy food!). Among the juice “drinks”, “cocktails” and “buttery spreads” we find “ cream cheese product”. 

It doesn’t take much to make cream cheese; just dairy and a certain few bacteria, heated to the right temperature for the right amount of time. The process starts with  milk and cream and by law needs to contain at least 33% fat. To turn the liquid into a solid, we need to add lactic acid bacteria. It is one of a few bacterium that can withstand the acidic conditions of cheese-making.  When the solution has been heated, the proteins begin to coagulate (read: almost nearly cheese now!) and water (well, whey) is squeezed out of the cheese (officially considered curd at this point). Here, we can stop the process, scoop out the soft curd and package it as cream cheese but for the most part, it’s here in the game that manufacturers make the decision to continue the process, essentially switching from cream cheese to cream cheese spread. 

You know how natural yogurt gets that yellowish liquid on top? That’s  whey, which is totally edible!. The same thing happens to natural cream cheese, but we rarely see it (because we rarely have the opportunity to even choose a natural cream cheese in grocery stores). Because the yellowy liquid grosses some people out, manufacturers add emulsifiers to stop the product from separating, even just a little. It’s step one down the slippery slope to create the ‘perfect’ product. It’s obsessive compulsive the way companies insist upon modifying  a natural product to keep it consistent, but sadly, it’s what they have learned they have to do. It makes a profit. It maintains their status as one of the big boys. The manufacturers are responding to the former reaction of disgust from ignorance. We can’t blame them - they just want us to open their product and be enticed, not afraid of pee-coloured substances. They need their food to be appetizing to their customers. North Americans have learned to ignore the multitude of extra ingredients which create a smooth, thick, glossy, white cream cheese because they know the product. It is consistent and therefore they don’t need to read the ingredients. There is trust in consistency. They see the product as a whole and not the sum of its parts. There is nothing inherently evil by acting on market analysis, it’s the way they do it: by pumping a product with artificial ingredients and selling to the uneducated rather than teaching their buyers that they should expect a layer of whey. It’s cheaper to extend the process and increase the volume by adding extras rather than keeping the product in its simplest form. At the end of the production line, a machine smacks on a graphically appeasing label, a familiar brand name or a frivolous health claim (contains calcium! gluten free!) and the tubs get shipped by the thousands into supermarkets, where they fly off the shelf. 

Cheap food sells, which is a bonus for cream cheese companies who already add a multitude of cheap fillers in order to have a consistently smooth and super white product. The further we get from the real thing, the cheaper the product becomes. The product is diluted as much as possible before it teeters from the government regulated ‘cream cheese spread’ into something that isn’t even allowed to be sold legally as food! And still, cheap food sells. This sends the message that a low price is superior to quality and gives the industry the go-ahead to replace cream with modified milk ingredients, skim milk powder and other byproducts of cows milk, because once you’re this far from the original cream cheese, why bother spending money on anything natural at all?

By selling such large quantities, they push out the small guys who somehow stay motivated to produce the real thing. The healthy, natural alternative becomes the ugly duckling, squeezed to the edge of dairy shelves by the towering, familiar labels. The bigger they display on the shelf, they more trust-worthy they appear, the more they sell, the more they produce. Companies like Philadephia have the resources to stock the dairy section for weeks without their product spoiling and with frequent sales that still earn a profit. Cream cheese spread  has become the norm. Let’s tip the scales and even things out a bit. You don’t have to buy organic, or even local, but try to support the little guys who are doing things right, lest we lose cream cheese altogether! 

Some of the grocers in Toronto who sell natural cream cheese: 

The ingredients that are used to stretch the product all affect the cream cheese. They also affect your body. The easiest way to eat well, in my opinion, is to eat food that is modified as little as possible. Here’s a quick list about what Food and Drug Administration of Canada allows in cream cheese products

Acetic acid (can be labeled as Ethanoic Acid):  used to alter or control the acidity or alkalinity of a food or to prevent a food from drying out. It also adds ‘flavour’ by making things a little tart.  It is a good selling point! Good for up to 3 weeks! It means when there is a sale, you can stock up and enjoy the product in bulk before it goes bad.

Calcium Carbonate: As a food additive it is designated E170;[22] INS number 170. It is used to alter or control the acidity or alkalinity of a food or to prevent a food from drying out. *excessive consumption can be hazardous* (something to worry about if you take a lot of antacids or calcium supplements). But it does help reduce diarrhea!

Calcium Phosphate (can be labeled as Acid Calcium Phosphate, Calcium Biphosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate,Tricalcium Phosphate )

Carageenan ( can be labeled as A171F , carageen, eucheuman, Irish Moss Gelose)

Carob Bean Gum ( can be labeled as locust bean gum)

Cirtic acid

Lactic Acid (can be labeled D-, L-, DL-2-hydroxypropionic Acids D-, L-, DL- lactic Acid, Racemic Lactic acid (Racemic 2-hydroxypropanoic Acid [for DL-form]): 

Locust Bean Gum

Malic acid ( can be labeled as Hydroxysuccinic Acid)

Phosphoric acid

Potassium bicorbonate ( can also be labeled Potassium Acid Carbonate)

Potassium carbonate

Potassium Sorbate ( can also be labeled as 2,4-hexadienoic Acid Potassium Salt, Sorbic Acid Potassium Salt)

Sodium Aluminium Phosphate (can also be labeled as Aluminum Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminophosphate) : up to 3.5% of the solution can contain it.  Works as an emulsifying agent

sodium bicarbonate (can also be labeled as Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate)

sodium bisulphate (can also be labeled as Nitre Cake, Sodium Acid Sulphate, 
Sodium Hydrogen Sulphate)

sodium carbonate (can also be labeled as Sal Soda, Soda Ash, Washing Soda):
Sorbic Acid (can also be labeled as 2,4-hexadienoic Acid) 

Tataric acid(can also be labeled as L(+)-tartaric acid)

Xanthum gum

Permitted colour agents: Annatto;Carotene;Chlorophyll;Paprika;Riboflavin;Turmeric, ß-apo- 8′-carotenal;
Ethyl ß-apo- 8′-carotenoate(35 ppm), caramel (1.5%)

Permitted Enzymes: Bovine Rennet (Aqueous extracts from the fourth stomach of adult bovine animals, sheep and goats), Chymosin
(i) Chymosin A ( Escherichia coli K-12, GE81 (pPFZ87A)), Chymosin B (Aspergillus niger var.awamori, GCC0349 (pGAMpR);Kluyveromyces marxianus var. lactis, DS1182 (pKS105)) , Chymosin ( Aspergillus niger var.awamori (pCCEx3)) , Pepsin (Glandular layer of porcine stomach), Renet ( Aqueous extracts from the fourth stomach of calves, kids or lambs), Transglutaminase (Streptoverticillium mobaraense strain S-8112

“only aluminum sulphate (including its potassium and sodium salts) is permitted to be used in Canada as a food additive.” 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Nutrient Packed Nutty Muffins

These aren't your typical cakey and sweet muffins. They are moist but not dense and the energy they give you won't spike your sugar levels, thanks to the oatmeal. Make theses little guys for a semi-sweet treat you can feel good about.

  1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar
  2. Beat in 1 egg then whisk in 1/2 cup 2% milk 
  3. Scatter on top ( in lieu of sifting): 1/2 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup a.p. flour, a pinch of b.s. and b.p., 1/4 cup craisins ('cause fuck raisins, right?), 1/2 cup crushed walnuts and 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  4. Gently mix the ingredients together and portion into 6 parchement-paper-lined muffin tins
  5. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes then smear it with butter (obviously!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Beef Shank Casserole

This is a super scrumptious hot comforting AND inexpensive dinner that can be made in 15 minutes! 

  • 2 cups left-over beef stew (I did this the night before: 1 shank, braised in enough tomato sauce to cover the meat. Seasoned with thyme, garlic and chilli flakes (or any hot sauce you want). Simmered with a lid on for 3 hours before I removed the meat, reduced the sauce, pulled the meat then reunited the sauce. Tip: All stew is better the next day.) 
  • 1 cup orecchiette or spirali 32 (shown)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup aged cheddar, grated
  • a little butter

  1. While you are waiting for your (salted) pasta water to boil, gather your other ingredients - not that there are many. 
  2. Sip some whiskey. If you’re making such a from-the-pantry dish, you may be tired, broke or just in need for some comfort, fast. You can also grate your cheese now. (Man I hope you don’t buy that pre-grated crap.) 
  3. Butter your personal-sized casserole dish. I got mine at Winners. It may be a 2 person serving, but YOLO and I like to eat....a lot. The butter will help the pasta get a little crunchy on the edges, if you’re into that kind of thing. 
  4. Test out your pasta. You want it under done but not crunchy. Drain and save a little water (always, with every pasta dish) in the pot and return it to the stove. 

  5. Add the saucy braised shank and once it’s hot, throw in the peas, hot sauce and pasta. Give it a quick stir, taste and season then pour it into the casserole dish and top with cheese. 
  6. Broil while watching through the oven window, face almost pressed agains it until your bubbly cheese starts getting crusty. Pull it out when you like how it looks. 
  7. Good job, you deserve more whisky. Once you’re done eating, you should probably have some well-earned gelato too. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rosewater Yoghurt with Fresh Figs and Granola

This fabulous, low sugar dessert is floral, fresh and satisfying.

For a single serving, combine:

  • 1/2 cup Balkan yoghurt (or another full fat, proper yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp rosewater  
  • 1/4 cup nuts or granola
  • 1 fig, chopped
And that's it! If you wanna play around, try using orange blossom water with almonds and orange segments. 

Speedy Healthy Mac and Cheesy

So I knew I wanted mac and cheese, but I also hadn't had a vegetable in a while.  I compromised and boosted the nutritional value of my boxed dinner and it was fabulous, so here you are:

1. Boil: 1 box macaroni with 4 garlic cloves
2. Meanwhile, finely chop:

  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 stalk fennel with fronds
  • 2 big tbsp of fresh dill
3. When the macaroni is cooked al dente, drain all but about 1/4 of the liquid and return to the pot to stir in the super-artificial-you-shouldnt-really-eat-it cheese powder, along with

  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chili oil 
  • veg medley (above)

That's it! The veggies stretch out the starch and sauce so you end up eating less crap, and more of the good stuff.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Comparing Chicken, Silkie, Turkey, Guinea Hen, Duck and Goose Eggs

At Sanagan’s Meat Locker, we sell all sorts of eggs, but most people opt for the regular ol’ chicken eggs. Here are selling points and information about the others we have: 

Chicken Egg
  • per egg (50g) 71 calories, 5g fat, 6g protein
  •  a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium.

Silkie - good for hors d'oeuvres and small servings

  • breed of chicken named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk.
  • in cooking, 2 silkie eggs = 1 jumbo chicken egg
  • similar in taste to chicken eggs

Guinea Hen - good for baking
  • more yolk than white
  • similar size to silkie 
  • hard shell ( this also means longer shelf life and less chance of egg taking on fridge taste)
  • whites cook faster than chicken eggs, so gentle heat is best to avoid rubbery whites
  • custardy, rich and creamy taste
  • fun tidbit: guinea hens are quite loud when intruders are near so they help farmers by warning of foxes and hawks

Turkey - high in protein

  •  similar taste to a free run chicken egg
  • 1 egg is approximately  80g ( about 2 regular chicken eggs)
  • high in protein : 11g/egg 
  • high in iron (18% rdi)
  • yellow yolks
  • great for fluffy omlettes and angel food cake

Duck - great for savoury dishes (omelettes, steak with béarnaise, carbonara)
  • rich taste, double the fat compared to chicken eggs (9.6g/70g egg) which makes for great  carbonara
  • stay fresh longer than chicken because of thick shell 
  • 6x the Vitamin D, 2x the Vitamin A
  • water content is lower than chicken eggs so best not to overcook them ( also means they are great for pickled eggs)
  • the whites have higher albumin (protein) so they are more difficult to whip than chicken eggs for merignues and angel food cake, but the higher protein also gives baked goods more lift/height

Goose - high in iron
  • 1 egg = 144g, 19g fat, 20g protein
  • very high in iron ( almost 30% rdi)
  • big, firm, pale yolk
  • great for scrambled eggs, eggy breads ( like challah), hollondaise/bearnaise, sous-vide, souflee, quiche, homemade pasta, as the centre piece on a platter of devilled eggs as well as christmas tree ornaments!

White Paper Coffee Cup Culture

There was a time when virtually every coffee cup in hand was from Starbucks. The gap between Starbucks locations is shrinking, but so is their patronage. Starbucks is something for the suburbs, where people have big families and drive big cars. For them, there is no urge to try a new coffee place because there is not enough time, too many options, and really, why bother? 

Totting a white coffee cup is much more indie and appeals to the downtown crowd who is younger, poorer and happy to find a community coffee stop en route to work. We are at the ground level, experiencing the city by its neighbourhoods, exhibits, parks and free movies in the park. We don’t look into the city from a traffic jam on the Gardnier while sipping our brew, we talk to strangers and smile at dogs and experience the city as a part of it. This sense of inclusion is what keeps the coffee shops thriving and the reward for helping your community to develop in your picture is what keeps you coming back. 

Fair trade may not be our daily mantra, but we appreciate it and choose it when the option is given. Sometimes the beans are fair trade, roasted locally and sometimes in the evening the coffee shop turns into a screening room for emerging artists. The main attraction is that the white cup implies sustainability and community. 
There is likely only a handful of employees and you know all of them by name and together you scoff at triple mocha swirl type drinks that barely resemble coffee at all and are marketed to teens who are lured in by sugar. Most indie coffee places have raw cane sugar or setiva - a subtle hint that the place is about the coffee and culture and not about addiction to caffeine and sugar. 

The white cup isn’t just full of coffee, it’s full of hope. The independent coffee shop owners of this city didn’t meet and collectively decide to use non-branded white cups (sometimes with a stamp of the logo), but the unified preference goes with the territory. These are people who oppose mass marketing, who don’t want to expand and who care about the customer more than the profit. 

The white paper coffee cup has become a subtle clue that the carrier may be a hipster. With many definitions ranging from snob to stylish, the main gist of ‘hipster’, I believe, is an awareness (perhaps over awareness) of and connection to the independent music, art, film, fashion, and/or coffee culture scene.

These shops choose to remain independent and small scale and that is what makes them attractive. Owners provide their customers with an environment of enlightenment, not bogged down by 6 word coffee cocktails or seasonal marketing. An independent coffee shop has become a social hub where you can also buy coffee. The popularity of Mac products stems from their marketing strategy; the company represents an idea, and if you agree with that idea, you will buy their products. You drink coffee from independent stores because you see them as like-minded. This is why hipsters on Mac products flood indie coffee shops. Alternatively, Starbucks marketing focuses on who you become, or how you feel because of drinking their coffee. And nobody tells hipsters how to feel or what to drink. 

Ironically, by collectively choosing to remain unbranded, the white coffee cup has become a symbol of independence. The coffee shops fill the streets with their idea, but not their brand. 

So, maybe you’re a hipster for avoiding Starbucks and scoffing at ‘blended’ coffee drinks, but more likely you are just a young adult with not too many bucks looking to drink coffee out of a cup you can be proud to hold. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sausage Kale Bread Bake

When I cook I find myself imagining two realities ( neither the present). I start by making a supper. It is nutritious, fun and delicious and even as I cook on a whim I feel confident of my decisions and I explain what I am doing and why to my audience (I’m cutting the crust off of this fresh loaf of bread, and this is how I hold my hand so I can keep it still and guide the knife at the same time, and we are taking off the crust not because it isn’t good but because the crust will block the soft porous interior - soon to be in large dice -  from absorbing the seasoned egg mixture.)  But soon my vision slips into the second reality and I am teaching not on a television show but to my children, who I can’t imagine, but in my dream I know are there. 

So as I often express, apologies for the verbosity but I promise you will learn and be rewarded with a delicious, cheap and quick dinner that's a cinch to prepare, even when there isn't much in the fridge. The opportunities for substitutions are vast so use what you like, but keep it simple and use fresh, local whole foods.
To work efficiently you need to have everything ready, so turn on the oven to 350 ℉ and gather your ingredients:
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, washed, boiled in seasoned water then blanched 
  • 1 onion, any kind you want, cut in half then sliced thinly
  • 1 sausage.  I used the Deli Sausage at Sanagan’s Meat Locker but the flavour options are endless and you could even add some bacon because why not. Vegetarians: I would crumble seasoned tofu into the egg mixture rather than a veggie sausage as they often are not healthy at all.
  • 5 eggs, cracked into a bowl, whisked and then seasoned (if you season the egg first then whisking makes it rubbery).  I added some barbecue sauce to this wet mixture, as well as about a 1/4 cut of chicken stock but you could use anything with equal viscosity: tomato sauce, milk, beef stock, apple sauce thinned out with worcester, et cetera.
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread, crust removed and the interior diced
  • Sriracha, or any hot sauce you like
  1. Heat up a medium sized frying pan, add a splash of oil, then push the sausage out of the casing and into the pan. Add the onions and sauté together, with a little maple syrup if you have some. Add the bread and continue onto the next step as it warms up and marinates. 
  2. Line the bottom of a shallow baking dish with a thin layer of hot sauce. Using the back of a large spoon is best for spreading out the sauce. 
  3. Squeeze the kale of excess moisture so the eggs don’t curdle and chop it into one inch strips, then pack into a single layer above the hot sauce in the baking dish. 
  4. Taste the bread mixture and season accordingly. Pour it into the baking dish but do not pack it down (this is so that when we pour in the eggs, the mixture can dissipate into each layer, and down to the kale)
  5. Pour in the eggs, then push down the bread with the back of that large spoon of yours. As the spoon sinks into the bread, you will notice some of the egg mixture sinks onto the spoon; drag the soon backwards slowly and tilt it so that you can glaze the surface.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 ℉ and don’t burn your tongue when you try to scarf it down scalding hot.  :)  This recipe makes about 4 servings if it is served with a side salad 

It costs only about ( eggs: 5, 4/12 = 30cents/egg x 5 = ) $1.50 + (kale $2/bunch) $1 + (bread) $3 + (sausage) $2 + (onion, hot sauce, maple syrup, chicken stock) $1 = $7.50 / 4 =  Less than $2 per person! 

Why so healthy? 

  • it’s made from scratch, with love
  • it uses whole foods - only the hot sauce is packaged
  • the sausage is made locally, using locally sourced meat that is hormone and antibiotic free
  • the bread can be whole wheat or unbleached, which ups it’s nutrition
  • eggs are a great source of protein (6g/serving! ) 
  • kale is super high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spring Potato Salad

Super easy and healthy:

about 6 new potatoes, cut in half
about 2 cups of green beans, chopped in half
big handful of organic heirloom tomatoes (found at Lucky Moose in Chinatown)
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed

1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

1. Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, then add the green beans and cook 1 minute longer.
2. Drain and while still warm, add the tomatoes, dill, garlic and dressing.
3. Serve warm, or chilled. Beef it up with lettuce, or add some boiled eggs for added protein.

So, now you know it's easy to make, this is why it's good for you:

Garlic: promotes heart health, boosts the immune system, and helps circulation and is a natural antibiotic.
Dill: helps digestion by promotion of bile secretion, helps to calm menstrual cramps
Sour cream: yes, it is high in fat, but the body and brain needs fat from natural sources in order to function at full potential.
Heirloom tomatoes: I like to buy organic tomatoes because they are made up of so much water that toxicity can be high in tomato plants that are sprayed with pesticides. 'Heirloom' means these little guys have never been crossbred so the chance of them being GMO is also incredibly small.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Cook with Tea

How to Cook with Tea
The rich and illustrious history of tea conjures up thoughts of elegantly executed and flavourful dishes when we introduce it to modern cuisine. It inspires us to imagine luscious dishes like Earl Grey Clam Chowder. Tea has traversed the globe and thus lends itself to fascinating fusion such as Lap Schong Smoked Duck over Parmigiano Reggiano Risotto. 

It isn’t tricky to cook with tea, or even that uncommon, but it does sound intimidating at first. There are many things to consider when cooking with tea:  which type of tea to infuse into what ingredients, and how to accomplish this using common cooking methods. Simply follow the three steps below and you’ll be fearlessly cooking with tea in no time. 

1. Choose the Tea

Flavour profile
Chinese Green Tea
toast, sweet and savoury

Japanese Green Tea
grass, hay, seaweed
Oolong Tea
floral, dried fruit
Black Tea
rose, smoke, wood, chocolate

2. Choose your complimentary flavors and ingredients 
When pairing food with tea, we follow the same rule as we do when pairing food with wine: highlight flavours by matching flavour profiles, and balance the dish by contrasting them. Some examples are given below, but feel free to explore ideas outside the box.

Complimentary Flavours and Ingredients
Chinese Green Tea
game meats, couscous, miso, rice, barley
Japanese Green Tea
seafood, pork, chicken, lemon, kale, seaweed
Oolong Tea
seafood, duck, squab, elk, quail, blueberries, jus
Black Tea
beef, dairy, lavender, thyme, orange

  1. The Appropriate Infusing Method

Infusing Method
Chinese Green Tea
smoke, poach, marinate, braise
Japanese Green Tea
smoke, poach, marinate, braise
Oolong Tea
smoke, poach, marinate
Black Tea
smoke, poach, marinate

a. Aromatic Smoking -  As with any smoking, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. A quick and easy shortcut to infusing your meat with smoke is to first poach, marinate or braise the meat using tea according to the instructions below.  Once cooked, heat a cast iron pan on the stovetop until hot. Add approximately 3/4 cup (75 grams) of tea and heat until it begins to smoke. (Using a smoked tea such as Lapsang souchong adds extra smokiness to your dish, which is beneficial when the meat is smoked for only a short time.) Add your cooked meat, and cover. Smoke for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, brush off any tea leaves and serve. 

b. Marinating - Make a marinade using oil, tea leaves and some ingredients and seasonings of your choice. Marinate for 2-6 hours, then wipe off the marinade using a clean cloth, and pat dry before searing in a pan or popping in the oven.

c. Poaching - To prepare a poaching liquid, make a large batch of tea (1-2L) using the guidelines below. Once the tea leaves have been strained add some flavour boosters such as onions, celery, bay leaves or thyme. Simmer the meat or vegetables in this liquid until cooked, then use a slotted spoon to remove from the liquid. Poached foods are quite delicate in flavour, and so they pair nicely with fats and creams. You can also poach fruit in a tea for  both sweet and savoury applications. For example, you could poach some prunes in Oolong tea to add as a finishing touch to a Moroccan lamb casserole, or you could poach them in black tea and sugar to create a floral sauce to accompany a custard tart. 

d. Braising - Make enough tea to cover the bottom half of the piece of meat when it is in a roasting pan. Add flavor boosters of your choice such as onions, garlic, herbs. Choose the braising time and oven temperature according to a recipe for the size and type of meat. Black tea is not recommended for this application, as it has a high amount of tannins, which may result in bitter-tasting meat.

Tea Brewing Guidelines:
Use 1 tsp/ 2 grams of loose tea leaves for every six ounces of water. After steeping, do not squeeze the tea leaves to extract more liquid as it will impart a bitter taste. This goes for any type of tea. 

Water temperature
Steeping Time
Chinese Green Tea
 160/ 70
2-3 minutes
Japanese Green Tea
160/ 70
2-3 minutes
Oolong Tea
203 / 95
3-5 minutes
Black Tea
203 / 95
3-5 minutes