Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Alice's Lapsang Souchong Tea Infused Chicken Sandwich & Cucumber Sandwiches

Another great recipe from Alice's Tea Cup from the new Alice's Tea Cup Cookbook - for lapsang souching tea sandwiches. These sandwiches were always my favorite for lunch or brunch in the restaurant, and the ones I made using their recipe came out just perfectly. You actually steam the chicken breasts in Chinese lapsang souchong tea, which you can buy from the Alice's website, or elsewhere.  It is a tea from the lapsang souching province in China. You have to plan ahead with this recipe, because the breasts need to marinate for two days, so just keep that in mind when you are planning your meals for the week. This is a pretty cool way to incorporate tea into a recipe that you normally wouldn't think of making with tea.

And for those of you who are longing for more of my cupcake posts, never fear, I am making Jets-Patriots football themed cupcakes for the big game tomorrow and will be posting those very soon!

Alice's Chicken Marinade
2 T lapsang souchong tea leaves
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 small cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine the tea in 1/2 cup of boiling or hot water and allow to soak for three minutes before discarding the tea leaves by straining. Combine all the remaining marinade ingredients above, plus the tea-water and two cups of cold water. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, and marinate for two days. The book says you can even let it go for three.

To prepare the chicken, season with 2 T of Chinese five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Using your steamer, add 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of the tea leaves, and steam the chicken to cook it over the tea leaves. This will infuse the chicken with the flavor of the tea as it cooks, and it is also quite healthy. Flip the chicken breasts over about halfway through. It should take about ten minutes to cook, and you can use a meat thermometer to check the chicken, which should reach but not exceed 160. When the chicken is fully cooked, allow it to cool for about 20 minutes, before slicing thinly using a sharp knife

Alice's Herbed Goat Cheese Spread
1 small clove garlic
8 oz goat cheese
2 T cream cheese
3/4 tsp dried tarragon
3/4 tsp dried chevril (I left this out)
3/4 tsp minced fresh chives
3/4 tsp fresh thyme
pinch of salt
pink of black pepper

Roast the garlic and puree all of the ingredients for the goat cheese spread in a food processor.

Alice's Chicken Sandwich
Sliced chicken
sliced green apple
toasted bread
goat cheese spread
1 cup mesculin greens

Spread the goat cheese spread on the toasted bread and combine the other ingredients into a sandwich. the steamed tea flavored chicken is the perfect combo with the herbed goat cheese and tart green apple. My husband loved these sandwiches too!

You can also make these delicious cucumber sandwiches which are quite heathy and easy too! I dreived the simple recipe from the Alice's book.

Cucumber Sandwiches
Sliced cucmber
toasted bread
1/2 stick of butter pureed with 2 T of chives to make the chive butter spread (you will have some leftover)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Chicken Pineapple Stir Fry

Here's another quick and easy recipe for a chicken dinner with a bit of tropical pineapple goodness. This is a recipe that I pretty much made up at the time, and worked out quite well. It is also easy to make, so it is perfect for a weeknight dinner. There's nothing especially breathtaking or spectacular about this dish, but it does the trick to feed your family and tastes delicious when you are juggling other responsibilities on a busy night.

Sasha's Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry
Package of chicken breasts (I used Empire)
1/3 of a cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 of worcestershire sauce
1 T lime juice
2 T dried lemongrass
1 can of diced pineapple
several handfuls of sugar snap peas
salt and pepper to season

To prepare the dish, cut of the chicken breasts in small pieces. Add to a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick stir fry pan. In addition, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper, lime juice, lemongrass and worcestershire sauce to the pan and stir fry the chicken over medium heat until it is cooked through. About two thirds of the way through this process, add the pineapple and the sugar snap peas, and continue cooking until they are both cooked, but not overdone to the point where they lose their color.  Serve with coconut rice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sasha's Kitchen: Alice's Banana Butterscotch Scones

Alice's Tea Cup is my favorite place in NYC for tea & scones. I used to go there all the time when I loved near the one in the Upper East Side. They have different scones all the time, and a huge selection of fabulous teas, as well as great salads, sandwiches and desserts. Its one of my all-time favorite brunch places, if not for the crowds and long wait at brunch time on the weekends. Their roobois coconut vanilla, chocolate mint and entire range of teas are always a delight, and I've bought many of them for use at home. Plus, the place is absolutely adorable - all decked out in the cutest Alice In Wonderland stuff.  The place is like a little girl's dreamland. I really miss living close by to Alice's (although I miss little else about living in the Upper East Side), so I was thrilled when my husband brought home a copy of the new Alice's Tea Cup cookbook. All of my favorite recipes are in there, and I couldn't wait to get started.

For dinner tonight, I made a simple cucumber tea sandwich with lemon chive butter, one of my favorite sandwiches, and banana butterscotch scones. Tomorrow night, I plan on making the Lapsang Souchong tea infused chicken sandwiches. I will share the sandwich recipe in a future post, but for this post, I will share the great recipe for scones, which is one of the things that Alice's is famous for. There are so many amazing sounding scones recipes in the book, but I decided to start with this banana butterscotch recipe. My husband wanted me to make it with chocolate chips, which I am sure would also be good - but the butterscotch chips are just perfect, and much more subtle with the banana. The recipe made a total of 16, so we will be sharing some with friends. They are perfect when served traditionally with raspberry preserves and clotted cream.

Alice's Banana Butterscotch Scones
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I used the huge bottle of Vanilla that I bought in Mexico)
1/4 cup heavy  cream (for brushing)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Work the butter into the flour mixture with clean hands until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the banana slices and butterscotch chips and combine well. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add the buttermilk and vanilla into the center of the well. Combine until the mixture is wet but do not knead.

Gather the dough together and pat and cut into discs about 1 1/2 inch thick. Cut apart the scones and lay them on a non-stick baking sheet. Before you bake, brush the top of each scone with heavy cream, and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake each sheet separately for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.

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