Sunday, July 31, 2005

IMBB#17: tasteTEA!

it was P.G. Wodehouse.
my lolo (grandpa) had a library where i loved to hang out as a child. it was there that i discovered all his Jeeves books. my lola (grandma) bought me Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott books. i read of the rituals and the pinky up and the white gloves and tea cakes and scones...i'd only ever encountered tea as a ginger brew to cure throat ailments before then.
that is why when i got my hands on my mother's teabags--they must have been Lipton--i started having them in big mugs with milk. powdered milk, more often than not. i remember experimenting with calamansi/native lemon squirts, then with milk, then together. ugh.
i met an Englishman who introduced me to Earl Grey. he used to send them up to me from Manila to the boondocks where i used to work, with instructions on adding "just a splash of milk," and thus was sealed my lingering love affair with tea.
then i married into a Chinese family. they drank it with their fancy lauriat-banquets! after every meal! i was told that it helped digestion immensely. with dimsum it is a must. husband canNOT have the dumplings and morsels without the tiny cups of tea. i learned how to summon more pots just by turning the lid just so....

clement of alacuisine is kindly hosting what promises to be days and days of posts on tea related dishes for this month's edition of Is My Blog Burning? #17.
tea-smoked duck legs and chicken eggs...this i first encountered in an ancient issue of Gourmet magazine found in our second apartment. i served it to my in-laws who pronounced it a winner and since then i've contributed it to many a family gathering.

for the same price as a whole duck, 6 duck legs proffer more meat and palatable skin, we now conclude.
roast 2 tbsps. coarse sea salt and 2 tbsps. peppercorns in a heavy saucepan or wok until fragrant. let cool and rub into 6 duck legs. cover tightly with foil, store in refrigerator overnight.

if you want the smoked eggs:
set 3 large eggs in a pot with cold water to cover by a half inch. turn up burner to medium and bring up to a boil. turn off the water and set the timer to 3 minutes.
immediately remove from heat and let run under a cold water tap. carefully peel the eggs and set aside to cool completely. soak in 2 tbsps. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. sesame oil and 1/2 tsp. salt. turn eggs to coat evenly.

wipe off salt and peppercorns from duck legs.
steam duck legs over a rack, with water coming up to 3/4 inch in the pan, in a platter, for about 45 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160F. let cool completely to room temperature before smoking.

set duck legs and hard boiled eggs over rack in a roasting pan (or wok) with a tight fitting lid which has been fitted with aluminum foil. sprinkle 1/4 cup black tea leaves (i used oolong) and 1/4 cup raw long-grain rice, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, 2 large pieces of dehydrated citrus peel. cover with a large piece of aluminum foil tightly then cover with the lid.

i used a cheap little single burner, OUTDOORS, because we do not have a ventilator/extractor hood. our 110 year old house cannot take it.

heat the burner up to high and smoke for about 4 minutes. the duck legs and hardboiled eggs should brown by then.

...and green tea ice cream! my all time favorite, one of many green coloured ice creams i adore...pandan and pistachio among them.
i tried this first in a Japanese sushi restaurant in lower Manhattan, and i have tried it deep-fried. once. the flavor is deep and smokey and leafy. an acquired taste yes, but quite addictive.

(from Gourmet, July 2002)

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. salt
6 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsps. matcha (powdered Japanese green tea)

bring cream, milk, and salt to a boil in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan and remove from heat.
whisk together eggs, sugar, and matcha in a bowl (tea will not be completely dissolved), then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking vigorously. whisk custard into remaining cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spooon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 F on an instand-read thermometer (do not let boil).
immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. chill covered, until cold, at least 1 hour.
freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
daughter's garnish is green tea pocky; we spirited away two madeleine cookies from big brother...perfect foil for the mildly bitter and smokey aftertaste of matcha.

thank you to celiaK for pointing out my error of omission of a very important step!!! steaming the duck legs....i've added it in italics above...mea culpa, so sorry, patawad po...*contrite*