Wednesday, February 06, 2013

2013 Tea Sealing: Year of the Snake

Art by Dave Snider

We are excited to be able to offer this fantastic event once again. This year, we will do things a bit differently. Do you have some old tea sitting around or a clay lidded jar that you wish to use for sealing? Feel free to bring it to J-TEA for this tea sealing event. We can also recommend specific teas from the shop for sealing. We are curating a collection of storage vessels from local potters along with an assortment of tins and other tea storage vessels. A common practice for this type of event is to ask others in attendance to sign the seal. In this way, we collectively witness the creation of the tea time capsules.

This year tea sealing will be an ongoing activity. We have created a notebook in which we can record the creation of tea time capsules throughout the year. Want to mark a special occasion by sealing some tea? We can help you out. Tea sealing can signify the birth of child, the beginning of marriage, a birthday, or any other meaningful occasion. Eventually, when you open the tea and enjoy its flavor, you will be able to appreciate and taste all of the changes.

As tea ages, it changes. Different teas will change in different ways. Some tea is harsh and as it ages, it mellows. Some teas have a subtle underlying characteristics that will rise to the surface as it ages. Flavors that might have been extremely subtle are made clear and present in aged version. Some teas change to earthy medicinal flavors sometimes fungal rich and soothing. We have examples of aged tea for sale in the shop and people are welcome to try a cup. Typically, aged tea tends to be more expensive, and by aging your own tea, you are planning ahead. That is a great thing to do, especially this year. Year of the Snake is a planning year.

Dave Snider

This Sunday (February 10) we will offer tea pairings of the un-aged version accompanied with its aged counterpart to celebrate Chinese New Year. Taste for yourself the changes that occur as tea ages. Join us from 12-2 pm for the tea sealing event. We will seal tea and hope that many people will attend so that we can invite them back to try the tea 20 years in the future.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Tea Smoked Wings a la Party!

Photo from Stuart Phillips of Red Wagon Creamery

When Katie asked Party Cart to create a tea-infused recipe for the article in Take Root Magazine, Tiffany immediately thought of wings. "Wings, wings, wings," she kept repeating. I was under the impression that the recipe would include chicken wings in some form, and it did. But through the process described below, Mark and Tiffany unleashed the chicken wing cannon. They transformed the evolutionarily impressive wing of a chicken into a dish that produced a symphony of mouthfeel and flavor. At once, it was crispy, caramelized, brittle, and juicy. This multi-day recipe delivers layer upon layer of gastronomic rewards. In fact, I had the thought that the wings tasted too good to be street legal. Yet, they were served on Friendly Street, in the great tradition of street food across the world.
Party Cart is preparing to open a restaurant in downtown Eugene. Currently, they are offering meals for delivery or pick up Tuesday-Friday as well as catering services. Visit their Facebook page to learn more (viewable even without a Facebook account):
Chicken Wing Confit with Lapsang Souchong Tea Sauce
Recipe by Tiffany Norton and Mark Kosmicki of Party Cart

For the Confit:
3 pounds chicken wings, cut into 3 pieces, tips reserved for sauce
24 grams sea salt
4 cloves
8 each: peppercorns, fennel seeds, szechuan peppercorns, all smashed
1 star anise, smashed
½ inch cinnamon stick, smashed
2 teaspoons lapsang souchong
3 pounds lard, or enough to cover wings

For the Tea Sauce:
4 cups strong tea (3 tablespoons lapsang souchong, 4 cups water, steeped 10 minutes)
Wing tips
¾ cup honey
½ cup tamari
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Pinch each: fennel seeds, szechuan peppercorns
1 star anise
½ dried thai chili
1 tablespoon minced pickled ginger
2 tablespoon sliced garlic

To Finish:
Pinch lapsang souchong
2 teaspoons chopped celery leaf
½ cup tea sauce

To make the confit:
Combine wings (minus tips) salt and all spices for the confit in a 1 gallon ziploc bag and seal. Squish around to equally distribute salt and spices. Refridgerate for 1 day minimum and 2 days if possible.

Rinse salt and spices off of wings and pat dry. Place in an oven-safe pot. Melt the lard in a separate pot. Pour lard over the chicken wings making sure to cover them completely. Bring to a simmer and drop them down into a 190 degree oven. Cook for 6 hours. Cool completely in the fat. The wings can be finished up to about a week later at this point.

To make the sauce:
Combine all ingredients for the sauce and simmer for 1 hour. Using a spider, scoop out all chunks, including the wing tips, and discard. Turn the heat up to high and reduce the sauce to a near syrup consistency.

To finish:
Melt fat and wings in a 200 degree oven or on low heat on the stovetop. Remove wings. Heat a cast iron pan to high with a small amount of confit fat. Brown wings on all sides making sure the skin is crisp. Toss them in a bowl with a pinch of tea, celery leaf, and ½ cup of tea sauce, or to taste...PARTY.

Note: Lapsang souchong is available at J-Tea or in the bulk sections of Sundance and The Kiva.