Monday, November 14, 2011

November Daring Cooks' Challenge - Cooking With Tea

This last month has been a pretty busy one. Between school and sickies, little man starting to practice walking, computer issues and some pretty crazy weather, there's been a lot going on. Then the Daring Cooks' challenge for the month was announced, and it was a really interesting one.

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks'hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

What an intriguing idea! While Sarah did provide us with some really interesting and cool recipe ideas for guidance, the only true requirement that she gave us was that we must prepare a savory dish using tea.

I immediately started trying to come up with something different. Then, in the course of an outing one day, I saw a variety box of fruit flavored teas (decaf! bonus!), and it came to me. Cranberry sauce.

My family has a tried and true cranberry sauce recipe that we generally tend to pull out around this time of year. Why not kick it up a notch and make it using tea?

To begin, little miss helped me to brew a cup of raspberry zinger tea.

Each bag is actually intended to make two cups, but I wanted my tea to be a bit strong, so that the flavor would (hopefully!) come through in the finished sauce, so I allowed the bag to steep in just one cup of hot water.

After a few minutes, the tea was good to go.

Little miss loves to help me sort through the berries, pulling out any that are too white, too brown or too squishy.

To the cranberries, we added both white and brown sugar, then little miss added our star ingredient.

The resulting mixture was mixed well, then brought to a boil, then allowed to simmer until most of the berries popped. As the resulting mixture cools, it thickens up beautifully, and the resulting sauce made a perfect side to our dinner. Not that I can remember what we had for dinner that night. I just know that we all enjoyed the cranberry sauce!

Now, please know that I had intended to try at least one more tea-dish this challenge cycle. Sarah provided us with a really cool idea of making Chinese tea eggs - hard boiled eggs that are partially cracked (but not peeled), then soaked in tea, creating a super cool pattern on the eggs once they are peeled. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to try it. Yet. I promise I will. She also gave ideas for soups and stews that sound super tasty. And that I promise to try as soon as possible.

Sarah, I am sorry that I didn't have a chance to try out more of the amazing tea ideas that you inspired this month, but I thank you for getting the tea-wheels in my head turning, and I truly look forward to trying lots of tea recipes in the future!

To see some of the creative tea dishes brewed in the Daring Kitchen this month, check them out here.

Raspberry Zinger Cranberry Sauce

1 bag cranberries
1 cup raspberry zinger tea, brewed strong
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar

After washing and carefully sorting through the berries to remove any under or over ripe ones, combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until at least two thirds of the berries have burst, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to cool in the pot until ready to serve or store.


  1. Amazing idea, Shelley! I can imagine how delicious that sauce was, no matter what you had with it :)
    Unfortunately I had to sit this one out, too much going on around here. Hope to be active on the next challenge.

  2. What a good idea! I bet it was delicious. :) You've inspired to play around with tea and cranberry sauce. What a great way of adding a subtle extra dimension. I'll try it out at Christmas. Thanks!

  3. Yum! I love homemade cranberry sauce, and what a good idea to use tea in it!

  4. I loved your idea ever since I saw it on the forum, you made me think about all tea infused jams and sauce possiblities
    Thank you Shelly

  5. Gorgeous looking cranberry sauce! Delicious job on this month's challenge!

  6. I think I'll make another batch of cranberry sauce for T-Day; this sounds really good. Thanks.:)

  7. Cranberry sauce is the perfect vessel for tea - and even though I don't drink tea (unless I'm sick..with lots of sugar and milk) I do love raspberry zinger and make iced tea with it in the summer. I'm bookmarking your recipe for Thanksgiving! Everyone will love it!

  8. Oh, this sounds amazing - and just in time for American Thanksgiving. I would love to taste your sauce. (I love cranberry sauce so much that I spread it on my toast!) Thank you (and your daughter) so much for participating this month!


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