I can imagine if you asked grown ups their favorite childhood holiday memory, most would say baking and decorating cookies. Every year my mother would make a big batch of gingerbread and sugar cookie dough for my brother, my cousin and I to roll out and decorate.
There would be bottle after bottle of red, white and green crystals, sanding sugars and little silver balls that looked just like holiday ornaments. The only time we were quiet was when we were all decorating our cookies with precision and care. My mom would then pop them into the oven to bake until just golden, while we sipped on hot cocoa before returning to the table to cover the cookies with icing and frosting in an array of colors. continue reading →
My family is a blend of Scottish, Irish, German and Native American. Our Christmas Eve tradition? A Nordic feast featuring Swedish meatballs and lefse at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. While most meatballs are known to sit on top of spaghetti, these meatballs are piled high onto a hearty serving of mashed potatoes. Lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread made of potatoes and flour… best served with copious amounts of butter! For the past 20 years, the table has been set with Spode Christmas china, poinsettias, candles and these two staple dishes.
Most likely, your family has a potato salad recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Take a second to recall your family’s favorite recipe… is it served cold or hot? Does it have a mayonnaise or vinegar base? The type of recipe you have probably depends on where your family hails from.
Have you ever wondered how Tea Collection became Tea Collection? The name Tea Collection originated from the idea that tea is shared in nearly every culture around the world. Tea (our company) is about sharing our discoveries and encouraging adventure. We thought this was a pretty great fit. In Morocco, mint tea is one of the most popular drinks and is served at least once a day. When guests visit a Moroccan home, it is considered good etiquette to offer them mint tea. At one time, the tradition was to ceremoniously prepare the tea in front of the guests. This tradition still takes place as a custom in certain regions and at some formal occasions, however, today it is more common to prepare the tea in the kitchen, then presenting it to the guests. We enjoyed our fair share of mint tea during our travels and we’ve tried many times to recreate the sweet drink for our friends here in San Francisco.
Below is a recipe that tasted very similar to tea we had abroad and we’d like to share it with you!
1 tablespoon loose-leaf green tea leaves
1 handful fresh spearmint leaves, washed
½ liter of boiling water (about 2 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
1. Boil a little more than a liter of water.
2. Rinse a small tea pot with a ¼ cup of water.
3. Add the loose-leaf green tea leaves and another ¼ cup of boiling water to the pot.
4. Swirl the water and leaves in the pot to rinse the leaves, then pour out the water.
5. Add the mint leaves, sugar, and ½ liter of boiling water to the pot and leave to steep for at least 5 minutes.
6. Stir the tea and pour into small tea cups to serve.
This recipe can also be chilled and served over ice as a cool refreshment. We think an iced Moroccan mint tea stand would be a fun alternative to a lemonade stand this summer!
Guest post by Emma Randall; current student at Santa Clara University studying Finance and Retail Studies.
A traditional Moroccan cake is referred to as Meskouta in Arabic. Most often made with either orange juice or yogurt as the main ingredient, you’ll typically find them served plain with no frosting. The recipe will vary depending on which family you ask and while it’s most commonly baked in a bundt pan, this cake is much lighter than any other cake you’re used to seeing in this shape. We think this is the perfect dessert to make with your little ones – only 10 minutes to prep and out of the oven 40 minutes later!
What You’ll Need:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Or, you can go by these “Traditional Moroccan Measures” we came across when making this recipe…
1 level soup bowl of sugar
1 tea glass full of vegetable oil
1 heaping soup bowl of flour
2 sachets of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tea glass of fresh orange juice
zest from 1 or 2 oranges
1 sachet of vanilla sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Juice and zest fresh oranges. Beat together eggs and sugar. Gradually beat in oil. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Mix until smooth, adding the orange zest and vanilla.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until top is brown and cake tests done (toothpick should come out clean). Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to continue cooling.
We’ve heard that three of the best Moroccan cities for street food are Fes, Marrakech and Essaouria (pronounced es-uh-weer-uh); coincidentally, we visited all three during our stay in Morocco. The best time to visit the food souks? Between 6 and 8 PM – this is the time Moroccans stroll and snack, before heading home for dinner around 10.
Rghaif is a flaky, layered flat bread that’s common throughout these souks. Although the dough may be stuffed with a variety of fillings before it’s folded and fried, plain rghaif are most popular served simply with honey or syrup made from butter. With only 4 ingredients, you can easily make this Moroccan flat bread at home!
What you’ll need:
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
white cheese (preferably a bit salty) – optional for filling
How to make:
Combine flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Add water slowly and knead mixture for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil, set aside for 10 minutes.
While your dough balls are resting, warm a cast iron skillet (or similarly heavy pan) to medium heat.
On a clean surface, roll each dough ball out as thin as you possibly can. Get started with a rolling pin and then carefully lift and stretch the dough by hand. The thinner, the better.
If you’d like to fill your flat bread, now is the time to do so! Once you’ve placed your filling in the center of the dough, fold the dough into a rectangle or square and place in the heated pan that’s been lightly coated with olive oil.
Cook for a total of 6 minutes, flipping the bread every minute or so – making sure each one is cooked evenly.
Best served warm with your favorite jelly or honey. Add a side of sliced meats and enjoy!
Cinco de Mayo is a day for celebration! The fifth of May is the anniversary of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory in 1862 in the fight for independence from French forces. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’ve rounded up a few recipes and DIY’s for this year’s fiesta.
Tablescapes – Mix & match old vases with cigar boxes to create a unique tablescape. Add bright flowers and succulents to bring your table to life!
Embroidered Textiles – The art of embroidery dates back thousands of years. Today, the hand stitching can be found anywhere from cocktail dresses to cocktail napkins.
Paletas – These pineapple and lime Mexican ice pops are sure to be a hit.
Piñata Crackers – This is a DIY your little ones won’t want to miss. Fill them with candy as set them out for your guests to takes as party favors.