Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Smoke Your Tea! & Vintage Honey/Jelly Recipe Results

I think you know I do not mean roll it, and light up! If you read my 'Rustic French Meatloaf' entry in this week's Monday Mouthful Roundup you would have see this recipe below. I have wanted to smoke tomatoes for years, and just never made it a priority; until I received some tea samples from Karen @ Steep It Loose. I used her Limon Chai packet to see if I could add some flavor to my vintage jelly recipe.

Yes, it gave the jelly a wonderful citrus and smoke flavor, but my first attempt at capturing it was lacking... I am looking forward to using this with several dishes I am making this coming weekend- like Scallops... The onion slices are going on meatloaf sandwiches, and into a wrap as well...

Also, you all know Greg @ Sippity Sup, because I talk about him all the time right? Well he has this 'Tomatomania' post each Monday, and I entered this into the contest...

My grandmother grew beef steak tomatoes all along her acre fenced in yard when I was a young girl, and I looked forward to eating all things tomato when arriving each summer. My family still considers me a 'tomato maniac'! One of the things that probably lead me into the cooking field was her Tomato Honey jars she would pull out of the cabinet and hand me to take home; of course after I ate two or three tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper she would let me pick about three seconds after that...

Original Recipe- Vintage Tomato Honey

Puree about six or seven vine ripe tomatoes in small food processor, and then strain overnight into a bowl.

Measure the strained juice – it should be about one cup – and pour into a saucepan; then add a little salt, 1 cup sugar and a few dashes of Tabasco; boil all together half an hour on medium fire until it becomes a thick jelly; then put it into glasses, and lay double tissue paper over the tops, or beeswax to seal out any air.

Now the difference between my grandmothers recipe and what I did-

I used an old canning pot/soup pot. Line the bottom of pot and ramekins (I had a hard time removing the burnt candied tea later) with foil. Mix equal portions loose tea to raw sugar, and sprinkle it around the foil. Taking any steam insert from another pot; place a piece of foil inside, and place it on ramekins. With it lifted up you will get even distribution of the smoke all around the vegetables.

Any smoker will do, I also have cast iron smoker, but had read about a few other cooks using tall pots like this, and wanted to try it.

Vintage Smoked Tomato & Onion Honey

I smoke the onions and tomatoes in a ORGANIC MATE LIMON CHAI tea and sugar mixture, equal portions that I sprinkle on the bottom of pan (in between ramekins); begin a medium low heat, and when you begin to smell the tea mixture place steam pan to rest on ramekins; add double lids and clothe to cover tightly for at least a half hour. You should be able to see smoke slowly rising from pot edges. Karen @ Steep It Loose had contacted me about trying some of her teas, and I have been wanting to try smoking with tea, and what a great way to add flavor to fish, poultry, and tomatoes!

Once they are cool place them into the food processor and pureed them along with a few of the onion slices, and following the rest of my grandmothers recipe for the honey. With one more exception- I used to 'Natural Brew' coffee filters that do not contain bleach placed inside a large strainer, and it worked beautifully. The liquid results really does look like honey, taste and smells smokin!

I have a question, and could not find a real answer out there, but does adding sugar to the tea act as a buffer? I bet Buffalodick would know this answer...