the taste space

Pumpkin Masala Chai (Indian-Spiced Pumpkin Tea)

Posted in Drinks, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on September 23, 2012

I resisted.

I know it is fall.

I unearthed my long pants to cycle to work last week. I now don full-fingered gloves as well as my cycling hat.

But, it isn’t fall until the winter squashes come out. And the apples.

I have been relishing in the end-of-summer produce for the past few weeks. Tomatoes. Green beans. Beets. I bought some squashes but have yet to cook with them. I also got some canned pumpkin and resisted the onslaught of all things pumpkin. Until now.

Maybe I can blame it on the equinox?

Now that I’ve started, I don’t think it will stop. Not only because I have to plow through the monster of a pumpkin can but because I have found a glorious way to enjoy pumpkin.

In my morning brew.

I love my tea and usually enjoy a nice cup in the morning. Technically, I enjoy tisanes because I prefer herbal-based blends. I like rooibos but have started to shun all things with black teas. My favourite tea remains a chai-based concoction and surprisingly, I have yet to create my own home-grown spice medley. No better time than to start today with this cup.

Savoury spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom mellow nicely with the pumpkin with the peppercorns and ginger offering a nice kick of spice. I used pumpkin butter (from Trader Joe’s) as my sweetener but I look forward to fiddling with this for a less sweetened version. In any case, this was so good I had to share the recipe immediately. :)

I am also excited to make this pumpkin chili with the leftover pumpkin puree! It was so good last year! :)

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Wellness and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

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Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies, Revisited and Improved

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on April 15, 2010

I am new to food blogging, if you haven’t already noticed.  This blog is just over 6 months old (woohoo!) but sometimes I have questions. Like what should I do if I have a better version of something I already posted?  I’ll write a new post, for sure, but I would hate to mislead people into trying a different sub-par recipe when I have a better one! What to do with the older post? Write a disclaimer with a redirect to the new revised recipe? I think that sounds best, but let me know if you have better ideas.

The recipe I recreated was for the quite popular Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies from Martha Stewart. Sorry, Martha, I have a better recipe. A hundred times better! They are subtly addictive, not overtly obvious with its prowess until you’ve munched on a few cookies.. or maybe that’s from the caffeine? ;)

This recipe came from the George Brown College Chef School, through Tastes of Tomorrow, their student cooking club. This is why you pay the big bucks for culinary school! Or the small bucks to go to their student club – a wonderful bargain if you ask me and blogTO (sadly I missed the frozen pastry demo and the one with Chef David Lee of Nota Bene restaurant).

Anyways, I didn’t tackle this recipe originally because I didn’t have a scale but bakers will tell you that weighing your ingredients is the best way to consistent results. Plus, the recipe is just plain better than Martha’s. Definitely pick up a scale just for this cookie. They can be found fairly cheap ($20) at kitchen supply stores, amazon, etc. Just make sure it measures to the gram (not rounded to the closest 5 g) and can weigh at least 5 kg.

A few other tips for optimal earl grey cookies I picked up from my last batch: the quality of your Earl Grey tea matters.  Instead of tea bags, I opted for Earl Grey Cream loose leaf tea from Tealish. Delicious as a tea with a hint of vanilla, and fabulous in the cookies. Plus, I loved the coarse sugar dancing on the outsides of the cookie. It added a burst of sweetness from an otherwise mild cookie.

This is my submission to this month’s Sugar High Fridays, hosted by Vampituity, featuring Personal Feats of Dessert (Recreated Failures).

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Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on December 13, 2009

I debated whether I should put these cookies on the blog. I had high hopes for them, despite mixed reviews, but tackled them regardless.  I was initially disappointed with the results. However, friends loved them and I agreed that they tasted better the next day.. so much so, that I couldn’t stop munching on them and there are none left… so they must be good as my tummy will attest. :P

This is a slice-and-bake shortbread-like cookie with a hint of Earl Grey tea and lemon.  It is a pretty simple cookie with only a few ingredients.  I found a sharp chef’s knife helped to cut the cookies without too much crumble (some cookies still needed to be sacrificed, though). I used the tea leaves from 5 bags of Earl grey tea but the next time I try it, I will buy some loose leaf tea.  Since Earl Grey is the main flavour, it would be best not to use subprime tea.  I also plan to coat the outside with sugar, as I am still on a quest for a better Earl Grey shortbread. I have a recipe I want to try, as we were served them at the tea event run by the George Brown cooking club (Tastes of Tomorrow). However, I need to find a scale first. UPDATE: That much better recipe has been posted here.

The recipe is slightly altered from the Martha Stewart original, found in Martha Stewart’s Cookies, and also reprinted online here.

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