As I sit here in a rustic mountain cabin surrounded by pine trees (recalling the one that fell on the roof during a storm when I landed a tea book deal). I felt a connection to tea leaves – and flowers, roots, and bark when I wrote The Healing Powers of Tea. My cupboards were stuffed with tea and herbal types: in decorative tea tins, big and small, and a Lipton box, too, like we had when I was a kid.
My first encounter with tea was when I was preschooler in the suburbia of San Jose. One Easter weekend I asked my mother if I could have a tea party. She prepared a tray for “high tea” (the English name for the evening meal). It as a spin-off of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s “A Mad Tea Party” – I was the host clad in my pink Easter dress and pink bonnet.
I set up a table on our rectangle glass table (which I have now and cherish for my tea occasions), complete with teacups and saucers, teapot, and a stray. I invited my Dalmatian dog, Casey, stuffed animals, a plush Russian Blue cat, and a fluffy white rabbit, Harvey. “Welcome, my friends!” I exclaimed to my attentive four-legged guests. I poured chamomile tea into dainty blue-and gold flowered cups. Salad and animal crackers made my tea party an unforgettable event that paved the way for enjoying nature’s special brew.
Springtime salads, like this one, are easy to make. This recipe, complete with the tea-infused vinaigrette, is mine and one I use whenever I want to detox my body before or after indulging in Easter holiday foods.
Easter Salad with Citrus Tea Vinaigrette
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
½ cup tomatoes, diced
¼ cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups fresh greens (spring mix and baby spinach)
¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds, shelled
2 eggs, hard boiled, sliced
½ cu blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup chicken, cooked cubed (optional)
Black pepper taste
Fresh herb sprigs for garnish (parsley or thyme)
In a large bowl, toss mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Fold in lettuce. Top with seeds, eggs, and cheese. Sprinkle with pepper and herbs. Makes 3-4 servings or 2 servings if main dish. Serve with nice, thick slices of warm French bread. It is perfect with a pot of green tea or other springtime favorites, such as chamomile lavender, white, and rooibos blends.
Citrus Tea Vinaigrette
4 citrus tea bags
½ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon honey tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place tea bags into a cup, pour in boiling water let steep for 1 minute. Squeeze liquid out of tea bags and toss bags. Refrigerate for an hour. Combine cold tea and honey. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk oil into the ingredients. Drizzle on salad.
The years passed, and once an adult, I was introduced to the versatile, wide world of aromatic and flavorful tea, including black, white, red, green, and herbal varieties. It was the gateway for me into Tea Word, a place more magical and mystical than I ever imagined.
Adapted from The Healing Powers of Tea: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Special Remedy published by Kensington.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.