Cooking with Tea
We don’t often think of tea as an ingredient in food preparation, but it might be time to imagine differently. Tea adds a secret flavoring with a depth and subtlety that can make a dish shine. With such a vast number of teas to choose from--everything from black, to green to chai, and herbal infusions--you will never run out of inspiration.
And tea shows up as an ingredient in unexpected places here at Piedmont Grocery. Here are some of our staff’s favorite products that are flavored with tea.
Let’s start with dessert
Loard’s Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream is a San Leandro based company that makes some pretty amazing ice cream, and their Matcha Green Tea flavor is no exception. Rich in flavor, it is an excellent rendition of a classic.
Humphry Slocombe’s MatchaDoodle Ice Cream direct from San Francisco. Generous chunks of cinnamon-y snickerdoodle cookies are mixed throughout creamy matcha green tea ice cream for a one-of-a-kind pairing.
We reach for these drinks again and again
Teas’ Tea Organic Unsweetened Elegant Jasmime Green Tea is our go-to drink. And, their Lattes come in Black Tea, Matcha Green Tea, and Chai are delicious and fresh-tasting. It’s so delicious!
Also, you have heard of cold brew coffee, but
Fog Dog makes an excellent cold brew tea in Scarlet Red and Golden Oolong.
Revive Kombucha makes theirs from a variety of teas. Their Campfire Toasty Green Tea made from Genmaicha is one of our favorite brews.
We carry an impressive selection of teas both in bags and loose. Come on by and peruse the aisle. There is so much to choose from for both sipping and cooking, you will not be disappointed.
Tea Leaf Salad
And if you haven’t tried our fresh
Ginger Tea Leaf Salad, you have gotta get one. This Burmese recipe is made by Cafe Karla right here in Berkeley. You can find them in our Grab n Go fridge.
Now, back to dessert
Jade Chocolates is a San Francisco based confectioner with deliciously nuanced chocolates. Their Ganmai contains 35% milk chocolate, roasted brown rice green tea, and jasmine tea. And the Dragon’s Breath is made from 65% bittersweet chocolate, roasted sesame seeds, lapsang souchang Tea, and chili pepper.
And for cocktails
Owl’s Brew Tea is a craft cocktail mixer. We are carrying their Little Black Cocktail Kit that contains three varieties: he Classic, Pink & Black, and Coco-Lada. Their mixers are easy to use and super versatile; simply choose your liquor and mix two parts booze to one part Owl's Brew.
7 Tips for Cooking with Tea
- Flavor a stir fry with genmaicha by adding loose leaves to the oil.
- Add tea leaves to a rub for meats. Lapsang souchong will add a smokey flavor to meats prepared indoors.
- Make matcha butter by working the powdered green tea into softened butter. Shape into a log wrapped in plastic and chill. The bright-green color is amazing!
- Cooking grains by using a lightly-brewed (3 minutes) tea instead of water or stock.
- For soups heat the broth or stock and infuse with tea for flavor. Remove the tea bag and follow the recipe as usual.
- For a recipe that calls for dairy, add a teabag to your milk or cream and heat just below boiling. Then allow it to steep as you would a cuppa before adding it to your recipe.
- Pulverize high-quality, loose-leaf tea into a fine powder with a coffee grinder or spice mill. This can be added directly to recipes for depth of flavor.
Check out our cookbook recommendation below for some creative and inspiring recipes.
From our blog, The Cocktail Post
Here’s to looking forward to springtime. This beam of sunshine features the Owl’s Brew craft cocktail mixer called The Classic— it’s made from English Breakfast tea, lemon peel, and lime juice. And, it adds a delicious light flavor to this Pink Sunshine Cocktail.
Pink Sunshine Cocktail
Yields one drink
News & Events
Women everywhere are changing the world. Some of these world changers can be found right here in the Oakland First Fridays Street Festival. As we come together this month to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re giving recognition to the women who create, do, make and participate in First Fridays.
The Oakland First Fridays street festival is a monthly community program taking place between West Grand Avenue to 27th Street on Telegraph Avenue. Up to 30,000 people visit the event each month, celebrating art, music, and creativity together on the streets of Oakland.
Friday, March 2nd from 5 to 9 PM.
From our recipe blog,
The Kitchen Table
Fried Chicken, or
chicin, became popular in Korea because of American cultural influence around the Korean War. In South Korea, fried chicken is consumed as a meal, an appetizer, or as an after-meal snack.
A Cookbook Recommendation
By Cynthia Gold and Lisë Stern
In Culinary Tea, tea authority Cynthia Gold and food writer Lisë Stern offer generous information about all matters of tea, including tea history and varieties, advice on tea and food pairings, and a treasure trove of intriguing and mouth-watering tea-infused recipes. Gold and Stern offer new ways of looking at tea: the leaves with a history stretching thousands of years is now a secret weapon in the culinary arsenal.
Read all about the picking and drying techniques virtually unchanged for centuries, popular growing regions in the world, and the storied past of trading.
Culinary Tea has more than 100 recipes using everything from garden-variety black teas to exclusive fresh tea leaves and an in-depth treatment of tea cocktails.
The book includes classics, such as the centuries-old Chinese Tea-Smoked Duck and Thousand-Year Old Eggs, as well as recipes the authors have developed and collected, like Smoked Tea-Brined Capon and Assam Shortbread.
From our blog,
The Cocktail Post
The Olympic Cocktail originated in London and is straightforward, citrusy, and refreshing.
It’s a variation of the well-known Sidecar, switching orange for the Sidecar’s lemony flavor. A couple dashes of orange bitters lend an interesting depth of flavor.
The Olympic Cocktail
Yields one cocktail
A Staff Favorite
Enjoy the delicious guilt-free fizz.
We keep reaching for Spindrift Sparkling Water again and again. It is surprising how tasty a drink can be with no added sugar or flavorings. Spindrift makes America’s first and only line of sparkling water made with real squeezed fruit and just the right amount of carbonation.
Spindrift’s refreshing drinks are made with real ingredients and healthful for our bodies. That means no chemicals. No preservatives. Nothing artificial. As few ingredients as possible. All real fruit. Yup, that’s it. And they are delicious! Their carbonation levels are kept in balanced so as not to overshadow the taste of the real squeezed fruit that goes into all of their products.
Spindrift can be enjoyed straight from a chilled can, poured over ice, or makes a delicious mixer for your favorite cocktail.
Here are the flavors we have in the store right now: Strawberry, Grapefruit, Blackberry, Cucumber, Lemon, Orange Mango, and Raspberry Lime.
And, a fun fact—the word spindrift also means the spray that comes off of an ocean wave or snowy mountain when the wind blows.
From our blog, The Butcher's Block
The World Is Your Oyster
Oysters — most people have very strong feelings one way or the other. You either love them or you hate them. Haters aside, the oyster has long been considered an aphrodisiac and because of that, they tend to show up on
menus everywhere.Oysters are fairly easy to prepare, once you figure out how to shuck them and keep your fingers. Here is a
good guide for shucking
. It’s everything that happens before the shucking that can be eye-opening.
For example, did you know that oysters have their own terroir? In the same way that a specific wine growing region will affect the flavor of wine, the regions where they grow will affect the flavor. This is why, when you see oysters on the menu, they will almost always have the harvest area included in the description.
There are five different types grown in the United States.
The Eastern Oyster is the native oyster along the Eastern and Gulf coasts. They can found on menus under names like Chincoteague, Malpeque, Apalachicola, or Wellfleet. They tend to have a milder more salty flavor.
Pacific Oyster are, not surprisingly, the most prolific oyster species on the West Coast. They can be found under such possible names as Totten Inlet, Pickering Passage and Netarts Bay. They tend to have a more complex flavor profile that includes a more savory mineral flavor.
Kumamoto Oyster are another species found on the West Coast. They are smaller than the Pacific oyster and are unique in that they go by the species name rather than where they were harvested, though sometimes you may see the bay where they were harvested listed. The have a mild not too briny flavor which makes them a great “starter” oyster.
The European Flat Oyster is a species that was brought to the Atlantic from Northern France. Sometimes sold under the name Belon, they can be found on both the East and West coast and tend to have a slimmer shape than other oysters as well as a bold mineral flavor. It is a favorite among aficionados.
The Olympia Oyster is the only native oyster in the West. Similar to the European Flat Oyster, the Olympia is a tiny oyster that delivers big flavor.
Oysters are sold either in the shell or pre-shucked. If you are planning to eat the oysters raw you will want to get oysters that are still in the shell. If you are cooking the oysters, it can be worth it to get them shucked ahead of time. Keep oysters refrigerated, covered with a damp cloth. Because they need good air circulation, oysters should not be stored in a covered bowl, plastic bag, or airtight container. Even a bucket of sea water is a bad idea.
As with all seafood, oysters deteriorate every day they are out of the water and should be consumed as fresh as possible, ideally, on the same day of purchase. If you are planning to eat the oysters raw, having the freshest oysters you can is very important.
There is very little that you can’t do with oysters. They can be steamed or fried. They can also be baked (
). Smoked oysters are fantastic—and some of the best come in cans from Europe. Oysters are great in stews or soups. They can even be pickled. The easiest way and maybe one of the most popular ways to have oysters is to throw them on the grill which also helps with getting them open.
There is plenty of debate, though, on how you should eat a fresh oyster. For some the oyster liquid inside is all you need. For others a nice
is the way to go or even some melted butter. For grilled oysters a little BBQ sauce can be a great accompaniment.
From our recipe blog, The Kitchen Table
Tea with ‘barb
About two weeks ago, I was walking through our produce department and noticed that the first bright red stalks of rhubarb were piled on the shelf. Naturally, I had to buy some—though I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I got it home. This type of thing happens a lot, usually when I am driving through the valley and see a farm stand. I am a visual shopper.
Like most people, when I think rhubarb I think pie. But, I don’t always have the time, or energy, to make a pie crust. Then I go the easy route and make it into a crisp ‘cause I always have oatmeal. And, let’s face it, you could put that topping on anything and make it taste good. It should come as no surprise that I ended up doing just that…and it was fantastic.
At least the few bites I got were fantastic. My family of vultures ate it all before I had a chance to get my fill.
Because of this, I have been on the lookout for something different to do with the rhubarb we have downstairs in the shop. When I came across this recipe for Baked Rhubarb, I was fascinated. Earl Grey is my tea of choice. I drink it all day, every day. So, I am very familiar with its citrusy flavor. And, I get why this recipe would work, rhubarb and citrus complement each other nicely.
So this experiment will be happening this week and I will be hiding my own stash in the fridge. I am looking forward to finding out what it will taste like when it is mixed in with some yogurt…when no one is looking!
Vendor of the Month
The art of tea is universal.
Tao of Tea offers a wide variety of some of the finest specialty teas we have tasted. They source the best tea leaves possible. And, also offer some amazing herbal tea selections. We have everything from classic Japanese green teas, to oolong, to full-bodied Darjeeling, to Moroccan Mint mixed with green, to Tulsi and Vata medicinal herbal teas of India. And, one of our favorites is their powdered Macha Green Tea.
Tao of Tea works directly with growers to secure exceptional-tasting leaves. Using old-style method of production, and the approach varies with the region of the origin of the tea. This means their teas are made with artistry and skill, and they are beautiful to behold!
This is tea we can drink all day long, and we are certain you will enjoy it, too!
Seven Days a Week
9 AM to 8 PM
9 AM to 7 PM
4038 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.
This recipe is a combination of one from King Arthur Flour's website and others pulled from favorite Jewish cooking books. Feel free to play with it a bit—or use your own butter cookie dough recipe. You can also use apricot preserves instead of the filling below for faster oven to mouth time…