Cold Brewed Iced Tea

For years, my preferred method to make iced tea has been to brew it in the Instant Pot, let cool, then pour it over ice. This method produces a very smooth, never bitter iced tea. The down side is waiting for the tea to cool enough to pour over ice without melting it instantly. Well, I have found a new method of brewing iced tea that produces the same smooth, not bitter, tea without having to heat it up and cool it it down.

The method is called cold brewing and it is so easy. Fill your chosen pitcher with water, add the desired amount of tea bags or loose leaf tea, stick it in the fridge, let sit 4 – 24 hours, and drink. The tricky part is knowing how much tea to add. The general wisdom is 1 teabag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea per cup of water, so for a 2 quart pitcher you would need 8 tea bags or 8 teaspoons of loose leaf tea. However, I find how much tea you use depends a lot on two things, the quality of your tea and personal preference. I mostly use loose leaf tea from a company called Plum Deluxe but any tea bag or loose leaf tea will do.

When I started cold brewing tea, I just threw the tea leaves into the pitcher and strained them out when I poured it to drink. If yo o9u prefer not to do that you could use a tea ball or fill your own tea bag. I drink so much iced tea, I bought a pitcher with a tea infuser in it.

Cold Brewed Iced Tea

8 cups water

8 tea bags or 8 tsp loose leaf tea

Place water in a pitcher. Add tea bags or loose leaf tea. Place in the fridge and let steep for at least 4 – 6 hours up to overnight in the refrigerator. Remove tea bags or strain out the leaves and drink over ice.

Odd Flavor Sauce

Before you ask, I don’t know what makes this sauce odd flavored or why it’s called odd flavored. All I know for sure is the sauce tastes good on the lamb burgers I made last night, which is what I was going for. You can use it on any protien. I have also used it on pasta and rice. Just add a little at a time, it is very strong flavored and too much can overwhelm whatever you are using it on.

Odd Flavor Sauce

From Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes

3 TBS soy sauce

2 TBS tahini or almond or peanut butter

1 TBS Chinkiang vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil

2 tsp sugar

1/4 kosher

3 TBS oil

1 scallion, chopped

1TBS minced fresh ginger

1large clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

Combine  the soy sauce, tahini, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and salt in a small, heat proof bowl, mix together until well combined. 

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add oil and heat until the oil shimmers.  Toss in the scallion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and peppercorns.  Immediately remove from the heat and stir for 10 seconds, until the scallion and everything smells toasted,  Pour the oil and scallion, ginger, garlic mixture into the tahini mixture and stir until combined. Once cool store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Lamb Burgers

The last few months I haven’t been a very good food blogger. Part of it was most of my free time has been spent working on my podcast but most of it has been its been hard to write posts because my life is really boring right now. I don’t go out and do much because of Covid. Even when I am not writing directly about what I am doing, going out for dinner or to the thrift shop or the library often inspires what I write about. I am going to try and loosen up a little and get out a little more even if it is only to take my camera for a walk to take pictures.

This recipe is another one from The Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes. I got to admit I am more than a little obsessed with this cookbook and I am not sure why, Usually, when I get a cookbook I try a few recipes then move on to something new. This cookbook, every time I open it I find another recipe I want to try. It’s just crazy. I am not complaining the recipes are really good so I certainly don’t mind spending my time trying them.

This recipe is really good whether use use ground lamb or ground beef. The key is finding Sichuan peppercorns. Do not!!! substitute regular black peppercorns. They aren’t the same as Sichuan peppercorns. I am all for making substitutions but only if they don’t effect the overall flavor of the dish. I believe using black peppercorns instead of Sichuan peppercorns changes the dish too much. I found my Sichuan peppercorns at a local natural food store but you could find them at an Asian market or online as well. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you bite into one and your tongue goes a little numb, the peppercorns do that. It’s normal but can be a little surprising.

Lamb Burgers

From Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes

1 lb ground lamb

1 TBS ground cumin

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and crushed

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 TBS oil

1 small red onion, halved, peeled and thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

Combine the lamb, cumin, pepper orbs, chili flakes, and salt in a bowl and mix with your hands until well combined. Form into 4 equal balls.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch frying pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeño slices and sear the vegetables are lightly browned around the edges but still a little crunchy, about three minutes.

Separate the vegetables into 4 equal piles, leaving room between each pile, Top each pile with a ball of meat. Using the back of a large spatula, mash the meat into the vegetables, forming a 1/4 inch thick patty. Cook until the meat is opaque on bottom 1/4 inch, about 3 for lamb, 4-5 minutes for ground beef. Flip and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes for lamb and 4-5 minutes for ground beef.

Kimchi Fried Rice

A lot of interesting stuff happened at work today First, I was offered a chance to change my schedule. They need some people to move to earlier shifts so starting soon, I start working 8 am to 4:30 pm instead of 10:30 am to 7 pm.  I was a little reluctant to change schedules.  I don’t drive so once we get back to the office, I would have to be on the bus at 6:30am to get to work on time.  Doable but is it something I want to do everyday?

My team manager then told me something that really made me make up my mind about changing my schedule. It looks like we are going to be working from home through 2021 and into 2022. How far into 2022 they don’t know yet.  Ughh. I am very grateful I am able to work from home but I don’t like it at all.  I have always worked very hard to keep work crap out of my home life and my home crap out of my work life. That’s very hard to do when your work is smack dab in the middle of your home.  I would be the first one at the office door if they said we could come back to the office tomorrow. Well, I am done complaining now. I’ll move on to something more fun. 

The best thing about Kimchi fried rice is you can use fresh made rice instead of leftover rice to make it  and it comes together in about 10 minutes once the rice is cooked so its a great get in and get out of the kitchen quick kind of meal. If you like, fry an egg for over the top for a boost of protien.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Adapted From The Spontaneous Tomato

1 1/2 -2 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup chopped kimchi

2-3 green onion or a small piece of white onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp – 1 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallion whites or the onion, and cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Next add kimchi and cook while stirring for 3-5 minutes until the kimchi starts to get soft.

Add the rice, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Then mix well until the rice is coated with the kimchi. If your rice looks dry, add a teaspoon or two of the Kimchi brine from the jar. Cook until the rice  is heated through.

Black Tea And Vanilla Muffins

I have a confession to make.  I hope it won’t change your opinion of me and that we can still be friends.  I don’t like coffee, not the smell of it, not the taste of it, no matter how much sugar, cream or fancy flavored syrup I put in it. I just don’t like it.  There I said it. I know, I know, there is something wrong with me. Lol.

Although, I don’t like coffee, I have recently come to love drinking tea. For me, it wasn’t a big step of incorporating my new passion for tea into my old passion of cooking and baking. It is amazing how may recipes are out there that use brewed tea or tea leaves as an ingredient.

The original recipe used a tea bag of black tea, I only had loose leaf tea so I just threw it in the butter and left it there. If you have fillable tea sachets you could put the tea in one, tie it shut with butcher’s twine and throw it in with the butter and take the sachet out.

Black Tea And Vanilla Muffins

Adapted From Self Proclaimed Foodie

4 TBS butter

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 tea bag or 1 tsp loose leaf black tea

1cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup white sugar

2 TBS brown sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and grease muffin tins with non- stick cooking spray.

In a medium sized pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the tea bag tea or tea leaves and vanilla over medium heat. Swirl occasionally to ensure butter is cooking evenly and the flavors of the tea are mixed into the butter . As the butter melts, it will begin to foam and the color will get darker. Continually scrape bottom of pan to release any brown specs. Once you start smelling the nutty aroma, remove browned butter from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugars, baking power, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and cooled browned butter together. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Fold together and do not over mix.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake in for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and continue cooking until golden brown, about 15-25 minutes. When done cooking, immediately remove from muffin tins and allow to cool on cooling rack.