If I could relate a single item to my childhood, and Momma, it would, without hesitation, be 'tea.' No matter her stage in life, Momma has never given it up, despite caffeine wars and grumbles from pop over the pitchers in the fridge, tea is her favorite beverage. When I was younger I'd often look forward to flu season, not only would Momma baby me with all the candy and ice cream I craved, but she'd toss open those kitchen cabinet doors and allow me the full selection of her extensive tea collection. It wasn't a literal collection, of course, but there were enough varieties of flavorful little bags to have me contemplating my next attack for hours. Would I mix Perfect Peach loved pondering as I hunted for the hidden cup full of honey sticks in the back. Whether iced, or steaming hot, Bigelow tea was as much a part of my childhood memories as Spongebob Squarepants, and I'm sure to pass down those memories, and that affection, to my family today.
While Bigelow is a household name in our home, there is little I knew about the company itself. As it had been around for my childhood, I knew the brand was well established, but that it's roots went 60 years back, I did not. In fact, one of my favorite blends of theirs is actually how the company got started. Founded by women, and run through familial generations, Bigelow began when Ruth Bigelow arrived at the conclusion that the American tea market was lacking zest and pizzaz. She introduced her own, sharper, more flavorful, blend of everyday tea, which quickly gained compliments leading to it's name, and 'Constant Comment' tea was born. Today this lively blend of orange and spices continues to garner compliments worldwide and remains a top seller among equally delicious blends such as Vanilla Chai and White Tea Raspberry.
Bigelow remains my choice for tea due to it's simple range of classical flavors, and festive range of holiday variants, like the yummy Egg Nog blend! I love that this family run brand is driven to excellence in one category, tea, and devotes entire teams to the crafting and research of the most powerful blends, rich with natural flavors. No gimmicks, just real, good, tea.
Tea is much more than a beverage to Momma, and learning to cook with tea has opened a world of flavors to my table at home. The carefully crafted blends of Bigelow tea help me add flavor without extra calories and sugars. While many might be intimidated at the thought of substituting water for tea, the truth is it can be done in nearly any recipe; the trick is pairing the right blend for your recipe. Recently we headed to our local WalMart to stock up on our favorite Bigelow favorites and pick up the Oscar Award Winning film Life of Pi on DVD. With international 'Pi Day' just around the corner (3/14), I was easily inspired that we would turn the film's viewing into an experience with exotic foods made with my favorite Bigelow blends. I planned a simple, yet flavorful, menu of Constant Comment Tea Braised Chicken atop Green Tea Rice with Vegan Earl Grey Poppyseed Cookies. Not to spoil the film or story in any way, but it seemed appropriate I tackle a Vegan recipe, as the majority of Pi's family is Vegetarian.
While it seems natural to me to pair my favorite tea with this film (okay, I'd drink Bigelow without an excuse too), you may need a little extra inspiration to create a tea moment of your own. Bigelow and Life of Pi is teaming up so you can create your very own Relaxing Moments movie night, like us, with their Relaxing Moments Sweepstakes! Now through March 29, 2013, 'Like' Bigwlow on Facebook and fill out the simple entry form for your chance at one of over 175 amazing prizes, including 25 first place winners of a Panasonic Blu-Ray Player and Bigelow Chest of Teas!
Earl Grey Poppyseed Cookies (Vegan)
* 2 C Unbleached Flour
* 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
* 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
* 1/4 TSP Salt
* 2 TBS Earl Grey Tea (4-5 Bags)
* 6oz Non Dairy Margarine
* 2 TSP Vanilla Extract
* 1 TBS (Optional) Poppyseeds
* 1 TBS Vanilla Soy, or Dairy Milk Alternative
1.) In a food processor, combine the sugars, salt, and tea. Pulse until tea is well combined and ingredients are equal size/consistency. Add flour and pulse to combine.
2.) Add margarine/butter substitute, vanilla, and soy milk. Pulse until dough begins to take shape. Remove from processor and place into large bowl. Kneed until loose bits of flour are combined and texture is even.
3.) Cut dough in half and roll into a log. Wrap the dough logs and refrigerate them for a minimum of 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350F.
4.) Remove the dough from the fridge and cut slices that are about 1/3" thick. Place them on a greased/lined cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway.
Constant Comment Braised Chicken
* 3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Sliced to 1/2" Strips
* 1 C Strong Brewed Constant Comment (3-4 Bags Steeped)
* 3/4 C Diced Green Onions
* 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
* 1/2 C Honey
*1/4 C Soy Sauce
* 1TBS Chinese 5 Spice Powder
* 1 TBS Toasted Sesame Oil
Preheat Oven to 350F
1.) Place the chicken in a large Saute Pan or Casserole Dish. Pour the tea over the chicken and sprinkle the garlic/onions around the meat.
2.) In a small bowl whisk honey, 5 Spice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour the mixture over the chicken.
3.) Place the lid on the pan, or loosely wrap foil atop the casserole dish. Braise 2 hours.
4.) Remove from oven and serve atop noodles or Jasmin Rice.
Green Tea Rice:
* 2 TBS Loose Bigelow Green Tea (2-3 Bags)
* 1/2 C White or Jasmine Rice
* 1 C Water
* 1 TBS Sugar
* 1 TBS Rice Vinegar
1/4 TSP Kosher Salt
1.) Boil tea, rice, and water in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until all moisture has been dissolved.
2.) While waiting, in a separate saucepan, over low heat, stir sugar, vinegar, and salt until dissolved. Fold into cooked rice, and serve.Bigelow blends. We'd rent all of the Oscar nominated films appropriate for my eyes and make an entire lazy afternoon out of playing critic. I'm glad tot see that Bigelow continues to inspire family traditions, and memories, still today. Life of Pi proved to be the perfect pairing for my tea infused menu, and even made Sabrina tear up towards the end, as the film's poignant tale of survival and faith hit home.
I wish we'd had a chance to experience Life of Pi on the real 'big screen,' but the story still seemed quite fantastic and magical even at home. The cinematography was breathtaking, even when one considered the majority is painstakingly computer rendered, and the plot is much more than a boy and a tiger on a boat. Thematically, there are some intense moments, and a broader agenda to the plot, than merely telling an extraordinary tale. The film sparked questions about religion in general, Hinduism, and faith. I was happy to differ most of the questions to the real curiosity, for Sabrina, vegetarians, and explain Pi's struggle with survival versus his need to destroy. In the end, our Earl Grey Vegan cookies saved the day, as talk turned to how 'flavorful' vegan food can be! Bigelow, #AmericasTea, creates memories yet again! Check out an exclusive behind the scenes peek at our movie night planning and Google + album.
What Daughter Says: I was raised to recognize good flavor. I was raised with Bigelow.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Bigelow Tea #CBias #SocialFabric #AmericasTea