Foodie Five # 13- Alan Arnold
1) You've been doing wonderful things with tea. Please enlighten us as to your line of teas. I can speak for a couple that you've given me samples of...wonderful!
Glad you enjoyed the samples, Greg! My wife, Marlys, and I love tea and have tried numerous brands and flavors in all kinds of forms -- bags of dust, pouches of fannings, and infusers of loose leaf. After all of this experimenting, we decided to launch our own line of gourmet teas. We've
chosen a menu of flavors that are fun and certainly not like what Grandma served. These flavors (which range from carrot cake to key lime to a coffee/tea combination) are intended to spark an exploration of tea, both as a beverage and a recipe ingredient, which is why we named the line
"Adventures with Tea".
2) You've also been cooking with tea. Tell me about some of your experiences with that....maybe a recipe, too?
Using tea in recipes can be as easy as substituting tea for water. For example, use tea to make oatmeal, hot cocoa, or even in a cake mix. I also use it to poach meats or boil pasta. We made a shrimp pasta this summer with our Miami Sunrise (contains lime bits & juice) that was incredible! Another technique is to cold-steep loose tea in milk or juice overnight in the fridge (strain before using, of course). I've used this method to make peach tea-infused whipping cream.
3) As a Kansas Citian, if you were entertaining folks unfamiliar with the area, where would you take them for some great local eats?
Definitely BBQ! My top picks are Smokehouse and Fiorella's Jack Stack. Both leave out-of-towners wishing they had one of these restaurants nearby. We've also been known to mail a jar of sauce to a new KC BBQ fan after they go home.
4) Do you have or have you created any family food traditions, i.e. favorite dishes or recipes?
One of my first tea-infused creations has now become a standard at my wife's family Thanksgiving. It's mashed sweet potatoes with tea-infused coconut milk. Over the years, I've used various tea flavors, from cinnamon to maple. Her cousin's boys (now ages 8-13) request and look forward to their sweet potatoes every year.
5) What is your ultimate comfort food?
Marlys and I love Velveeta Shells & Cheese stirred together with a packet of tuna, a can of drained diced tomatoes, and some fresh green peas. Nothing gourmet about it, but sure makes an easy and quick one-dish when you've had a rough day!
Thank you, Alan! Please check out their wonderful website and become a member of the Tea Explorer's Club and try out some of those delicious-sounding recipes...they also have a YouTube channel where you can watch them prepare them! Here's the recipe for Alan's famous Sweet Potatoes...
Cook potatoes thoroughly. Pour coconut milk into a saucepan, insert a tea filter or infuser containing the loose tea, and set on medium heat. Steep for 5 minutes, then remove the tea and set milk aside. Mash the potatoes, using a little bit of milk at a time until you have the consistency you want and sweeten to taste. You can also make this ahead of time and re-warm in the oven. (If you have extra milk left over, try using it to make a tea latte or adding it to a cake recipe.)