I have recently begun learning more about Tea Cuisine over the last few months and absolutely love it. The benefit of using tea lying around your house to cook with is extremely exciting.

So I started doing some research and found out some interesting things.

As I said before, I started looking into this a few months ago when I heard about this book called "Culinary Tea". It was written by two women who have done nothing but lived tea for the writing of this book.

Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern wrote the book together and I love a quote from Gold, "Tea can add depth of flavor to a dish, complexity or brightness."

So what is this all about?

About 14 years ago Gold began a new restaurant. She wanted to have the best Tea Program
around so she spent a great deal of time searching for the best teas around.

After she had all these teas, she got the idea to try something different with the food she was serving.

She took the tea she had lying around and began to experiment. Everything from white teas, oolong tea, and of course, black teas. Each tea giving such a unique flavor, the food took on a new life.

I run a coffee shop myself and I have spiced black tea (Chai) as well as Macha (Green Tea). We use these primarily for our drinks. After reading about this, I started trying to use it in different foods.

Macha is finely ground green tea and is sweet. It has a summer taste to it if that makes sense; Almost like drinking a vanilla shake but hot. Of course you can serve it cold, but hot is the best in my opinion.

We bake friendship bread and I have started using the Macha for the flavoring ingredient. It has a great consistency and the flavor is great.

Something I have noticed. When using some of these teas, it is best to concentrate them with boiling water first. Just use a small amount but it really brings out the flavor.

Needless to say, I have been so impressed with the results and so have my customers. Plus, I am using an ingredient I have lying around which is helping me safe money.

However, I have not yet tried to use tea in any of my main meal recipes. My café is primarily a sandwich shop with the occasional comfort food.

But I did manage to use a recipe from "Culinary Tea
". It is really tasty, I have tried it and love it.

Green tea-lacquered salmon with sweet potatoes and spinach

Prep: 30 minutes
Marinate: 2 hours
Cook: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

The recipe was created by Christoph Leu found in the "Culinary Tea"

4 teaspoons of honey
4 teaspoons of loose-leaf green tea leaves
(Does not matter what kind)
1/2 cup steaming water (180 degrees)
4 fillets of salmon. 6 ounces each, skin on
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
8 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 shallot, minced
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Step 1:
Poor the steaming water over the tea leaves in a small bowl; add honey. Steep, covered, for 2 1/2 , minutes, strain, discard the leaves. Place salmon in a nonreactive pan. Brush with honey tea; pour any remaining tea around the fish. Marinate in the refrigerator, covered, 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Step 2:
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes; cook, stirring, until golden, 6-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Add the spinach and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is just wilted, less than 1 minute. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl; cover to keep warm.

Step 3:
Meanwhile, heat broiler. line a broiler pan with foil; spray with vegetable oil cooking spray, Place the salmon in the pan skin side-down; season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Broil just until golden, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to 250 degrees; bake salmon until just cooked through, 5-10 minutes.

Step 4:
Pour remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil into the skillet. Heat over medium heat, add shallots and shiitake. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms have begun to release some of their juices, 3-4 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Heat over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.. Add Thyme, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Pour mushroom and shallot mixture over spinach; top with salmon. Serve with sweet potatoes.

Nutritional Value

Per serving: 562 calories, 42% of calories from fat, 26g fat, 4g saturated fat, 107mg cholesterol, 38g carbohydrates, 44g protein, 563mg sodium, 6g fiber

This recipe is really tasty and fun to make. Try it out and remember this is from "Culinary Tea". Check it out.