Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting part 1

I had an incredible eye opening experience. And I have to admit I never thought I would say this following a Chinese Tea Tasting, but I was left in awe after trying 5 very high grade tea samples from Teavivre. A high quality tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. I will never be able to look at the boxed stuff or tea chain stores the same way again.

Since this tea tasting was a rather unique opportunity, I decided to host my bastardized version of a Gongfu tea ceremony with the tools I had and a few friends. You can read more about the real traditional Gong Fu ceremony here but I will give you a quick resume here as well.

teavivre tea leaves

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Café Santo Domingo

Are you an avid coffee drinker? Do you carry a warning sign in the morning to not approached till you have had a cup-a-joe? Thanks fully I am not but I do enjoy a good cup of coffee. I have two in the morning at work but the coffee is so-so. At home on the weekend it depends. I can do without but if I do have brew coffee you can bet it will be better than the stuff we get at work.

I am always on the lookout for a new coffee to try. And I was thrilled to be offered a sample package of coffee from the Dominican Republic. Café Santo Domingo is the favorite coffee brand in that country and the company has recently made their coffee available in Canada, with coffee shops included.

IMG_0840

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Peachy Matcha Smoothie

So are you a Matcha convert or have you yet to discover this wonderful tea? If you have not tried it yet then run out and get some. I have a great one to show you today that you may want to try out. I am not new to green tea powder by far. I have several recipes on the blog with Matcha, from sweet to savory.  Sure I like the health benefits but, you know me, I love trying the unusual and less common ingredients.

But for today I will start you off with something more basic if you are new to Matcha Powder. It has been way to hot to turn on the oven lately and smoothies are still king in my kitchen. Using up some fruit in the fridge I made a Peachy Matcha Smoothie with the new green tea.

matcha review

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Ultimate Coffee Smoothie and a guide

I have joined the smoothie craze this summer. I got a personal blender on my birthday in May and I have been drinking these down like there is no tomorrow. In fact on very hot summer evenings a well balanced smoothie is my dinner. There are many blogs out there with smoothie tutorials this summer. Well here is mine with a few twists that I have learned.

I have included 8 smoothie recipes below that cover a wide variety of tastes, exotic included. Try them and then go wild and change them up to suit your tastes. It’s all about experimenting. My favorite is the one I drink now every Saturday and Sunday morning, my Ultimate Coffee Smoothie. But first let’s look at my tried and true smoothie advice list.

Smoothie Turorial

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Like Water for Cold Mexican Hot Chocolate

It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a host picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by The Law Student’s Cookbook. She picked Like Water for Chocolate, a book I read eons ago but had not seen the movie.

For this challenge I decided to make a Cold Mexican Hot Chocolate. Cold because it is freaking hot this summer! And calling it hot chocolate is a bit of a stretch. I took the basic ingredients used to make Mexican Chocolate but I brewed it like coffee and is dairy-free. Interesting twist no?

Cold Mexican Hot Chocolate

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Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter

I do enjoy a nice occasional taco. But I have to say it is not something I grew up with so I often do not think of making or ordering tacos. In Montreal there are not tons of Mexican restaurants and the ones we do have tend to be fancier than faster(er) food fare. So why would I order a taco if I can try something elaborate. This was the thought process that went on in my head after reading July’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge: Tacos, make it your own … take it someplace it’s never been!

I wanted to make something that was not a taco in a traditional meal setting and I was fine if it did not contain all the usual standard ingredients. But I did want to play with a taco concept and highlight a few typical Mexican ingredients. After a lot of brainstorming I settled on this Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter creation.

Savory Truffle Mini Taco Shooter CEE

tomato mezcal cocoa shot glass

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Ginger Julep Cocktail

Summer is a great time of the year to experiment with fun cocktails.You can use fresh fruits and herbs, play with various juices and all kinds of ingredients.

I really like taking an common drink and turn it into a more exotic one. Here we have a basically a Mint Julep with a more ginger twist. I know everyone is into Mojitos like  mad but I like Bourbon so Mint Juleps are favored in my home. How about you? Or have this Ginger Julep Cocktail and then let me know your favorite hi hi.

Ginger Julep Cocktail 2

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