New Leaf Tea: Tiger is out of the cage

Tiger half & half - the tea that's a lemonade tooThe good folks at New Leaf Brands sent us a case of tasty teas to try this week.

So far we're pretty amazed at the flavors these ready-to-drink organic cane juice sweetened teas pack.  There's a tea for every taste - from green, blue, white and black teas combined with real fruit juices. 

These drinks contain no high fructose corn syrup and nothing artificial, just real teas and real juices.

They're quite refreshing and delicious - ideal for these too,too hot summer days we've been suffering.

Our favorites:

  • Tiger Half and Half Iced Tea Lemonade - usually I like my tea to be tea and my lemonade to be just that, but no more. I'm a Tiger convert. Not too sweet & not too tart. Just right.
  • Lemon Blue Tea - notice a theme here?  Dried Oolong tea leaf is bluish in color and is the base for this crisp, citrusy tea drink. the addition of Panax Ginseng Extract and Ginkgo Biloba Extract make me feel smarter and more energetic whether it's fact or fiction.
  • Honeydew White Tea - Clean and fragrant flavors of ripe melon fused with white leaf teas make for a long, cool drink.  I like mine straight up, but over crushed ice is nice too.
For more information about New Leaf Brands or to buy online, visit

Rachel Ray's White Sangria Recipe with an Italian twist

Martha Stewart loves Pink Sangria too Late spring and early summer mean two things - white Sangria and picnics.

I love an old-fashioned picnic, spreading out a large tablecloth on the grass, opening the hamper and pulling out the goodies - cold roast chicken, a loaf of crusty bread, briny oil-cured olives, a nice pungent - yes, stinky - cheese, a layered salad full of crispy, crunchy veggies, the requisite deviled eggs, and, of course, an icy pitcher of white Sangria.

It's a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon, lounging on a blanket in a grassy meadow, grazing on tasty tidbits and sipping a little Sangria.  We like to make a day of it, bringing cards, board games as well as the wiffle ball and bat. 

It's the perfect playdate.  Eat a little, play a little and everyone's happy.

This Rachel Ray White Sangria recipe is a classic with an Italian twist, using Campari instead of Calvados, which gives the drink a lovely pink color.

Pink Sangria

adapted from a recipe by Rachel Ray

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 shots Campari
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
  • 1 bottle white Rioja Spanish wine or other dry white wine
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • Sparkling soda water, for topping off glasses of sangria at table


Combine sugar, Campari, lemon, orange and peaches in a large pitcher. Cover with 1 bottle of Rioja wine and chill sangria several hours. To serve, spoon fruits into glasses or goblets, adding a few fresh raspberries in each glass, pour wine over top of the fruit. Top glasses of sangria off with a splash of soda water and serve.

Culinary Institute of America offers wine certificate

St. Helena, CA, January 19, 2010 – The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has created a new wine and beverage certificate program for 2010 at Greystone, the school's Napa Valley campus.

The Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program (AWBP) advances a student's professional skills in the wine and beverage sector and positions graduates to pursue career opportunities in numerous segments of the food and beverage industry.

"A deep understanding of wine, beer, spirits – even coffee and tea – is vital to career success in the food service and hospitality fields," said Adam Busby, CMC and Director of Education at CIA Greystone, in a press release.

The pioneering AWBP program will equip students with skills and insights required for advancement toward leadership positions in beverage management in both fine and casual dining, restaurant front-of-house management, wine and beverage retail, wholesale, and more.

The accredited 30-week AWBP will impart knowledge and skills related to sensory evaluation, flavor dynamics, cellar management, and mixology. Food and beverage pairing, service, and hospitality are major components of the eight-month curriculum. "AWBP students will graduate with a wine and beverage education on par with those skills learned by the CIA's culinary students," notes Busby.

The program launches in September 2010 at the CIA's Greystone campus in St. Helena, CA. Classes will be held at the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies, a state-of-the-art complex featuring two tasting theaters ideally designed for the in-depth study of wines and beverages.

Program enrollees must have a bachelor's or associate degree in hospitality management, culinary arts management, or a related field, or have a bachelor's degree in another discipline as well as relevant food and beverage industry experience. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

For more information about the AWBP, visit or call 1-800-CULINARY.

Cool Waters recipes thirst quenchers

If one of your resolutions for 2010 was to exercise more and be healthier, drinking more water is likely on your 'New You' to do list too.

Cool Waters by Brian Preston-Campbell, Jerry Errico

 Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy, Homemade Thirst Quenchers by Brian Preston-Campbell offers 50 ways to infuse excitement into your drinking water, and the recipes are accompanied by thirst-inducing color photographs by Jerry Errico.

Published by the Harvard Common Press, the 96-page book of thirst-quenchers retails for $12.95 in hardcover.

Cool Waters is full to the brim with healthy, natural, and delicious ways to make ordinary water extraordinary.

Workout Fuel


Drink a few glasses of this before, during, and after a strenuous workout—its taste surpasses that of any bottled sports drink, and it has far fewer calories. Coconut water is a natural electrolyte-replacing rehydrator—exactly what you need from a sports drink. Other nutrients here are vitamin C, iron, and calcium. If you cannot find golden kiwis, use green.

Makes 4 servings


  • 2 golden kiwis, peeled
  • One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or unsweetened canned coconut water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 cups still water


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, for about 1 minute.
  2. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Serve cold or at room temperature.

TIP: Don't confuse coconut water with coconut milk or cream of coconut. Canned coconut water can be found at many grocers and health-food stores.

Dubonnet cocktails inspire magic of French Riviera

 Do you Dubonnet? If you don't, then you should.Bring some of the magic of the French Riviera to your next party 

Make something magical at your next brunch, dinner or celebration with cocktails inspired by Dubonnet aperitifs.

Dubbonnet aperitifs have been anticipating good things to come since 1845 when Parisian chemist and wine merchant Joseph Dubonnet created this exceptional aperitif.

Originally, created to make quinine more palatable for Foreign Legionnaires battling malaria in North Africa, the French aperitif with the storied past has been preparing the palate with its mix of fortified wine, a proprietary blend of herbs, spices and peels, and medicinal quinine.

Derived from the Latin, aperio, meaning to uncover or lay bare, aperitifs are consumed to open the palate, to prepare the appetite for a meal. Dubonnet, one of the many different styles of aperitif, is part of a special class of  aromatized wines or fortified wines that flavored with herbs, roots, flowers, barks and other botanicals.

In the world of sophisticated drinks and mixology, Dubonnet is legendary.  Bring the flavor of the French Riviera to your next gathering with this crisply, aromatic recipe and make your own legend.

adapted from Dubonnet recipes

The Riviera

1 1/2 ounce Dubonnet Rouge

1/2 ounce Grand Marnier

1 ounce freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Add all the ingredients to a shaker half-filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled five-ounce martini glass. Garnish with an orange slice.

The Republic of Tea serves dessert in a teacup

Coconut Cocoa Dessert Tea I've heard there are people who don't like dessert.  I am not one of them.

The thought of ending a meal without something sweet makes me sad.  But then I remind myself that dark chocolate is chock full of anti-oxidants and no more blues.

When I heard The Republic of Tea was introducing a new dessert tea - specifically chocolate - I was ready to give it a taste test.

The Republic's Minister of Enlightenment was kind enough to send me the new Coconut Cocoa Dessert Tea and a recipe for Chocolate Coconut Iced Latte.

The low caffeine dessert tea is an herbal blend of roasted carob, caramel malted barley, roasted chicory, dates, coconut flavor, cocoa powder and chocolate flavor. 

Since my only experience with barley is in soup and my acquaintance with chicory is limited to its use as a coffee substitute, I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the canister. 

A little research demonstrated that both barley and chicory are good, good, good for you as a brew. Barley is reported to aid digestion and ease congestion and bronchitis symptoms while chicory is said to cleanse the blood and improve the health of the liver.

Chocolate and coconut added to the mix could only be a bonus.

Opening the canister, I got a whiff of the wonderful pleasures to come.  The aromas of coconut and coconut were rich and dark, like a delicious cordial.

I put the kettle on and got the teapot ready.  My mother and I watched the kettle impatiently.  After rinsing the pot, we poured the hot water over two tea bags and waited for the tea to steep sufficiently.

The tea's color was a deep, nut brown and the aroma was lovely and tropical. I was happy just smelling my cup. 

Normally, I take milk and sugar in my tea, but since The Republic promised this tea was naturally sweet (and therefore a low calorie treat), I took my first indulgence without the usual suspects.  It is naturally sweet and could certainly be consumed without any addition.

But I am a creature of habit and nothing says tea cozy like a milky-sweet cup. I added my sweet addictions and finished the last drop.

My mother is a tea purist. She takes her tea with a teaspoon of sugar, no more, and no lemon, no milk. Nothing fancy for her. Black tea or green tea keeps it simple.  She found the coconut overwhelming. It was not her cup of tea.

Of course, I loved it. Coconut Cocoa Dessert Tea lends itself to lingering after dinner and I'm pretty sure it would pair quite nicely with a mango mousse or pumpkin cheesecake.

Coconut Cocoa Dessert Tea is packaged in a recyclable tin containing 36 unbleached, round tea bags free of unnecessary strings, tags and staples. Available now, the dessert tea has a suggested retail price of $9.50.

Also available from The Republic of Tea is Double Dark Chocolate Mate, an organic roasted yerba mate from Brazil generously dusted with all-natural dark organic cocoa powder. Available now, the dessert tea has a suggested retail price of $15 for a tin containing 36 unbleached round tea bags.

Chocolate Coconut Iced Latte

Yields one serving.


2 tea bags, Coconut Cocoa Dessert Tea

6 ounces filtered water, heated to boiling

3 ounces milk or milk substitute

Sweetener, if preferred

Brew two tea bags in 6 ounces of filtered water for five minutes. Remove tea bags and allow tea to cool.

Add 3 ounces of milk or milk substitute. Blend milk and tea. Serve in a tall glass over crushed ice. Sweeten as desired.

Halloween beverages punch up the party

You can borrow the witches' chant from Shakespeare's MacBeth—"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!"—as you stir these special Halloween punches from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Young boys and ghouls will love to add the candied worms and other sweet creepies to the Ghoulish Gummy Punch below, a tasty concoction filled with healthy fruit juices.

For a special trick, add candy that fizzes to their glasses before you fill them up.

Treat those of drinking age to delicious Tea Punch. Made with Green Tea or any other type of tea you prefer, the combination of rums and simple syrup will surely please your guests.

Click here for more CIA recipes

 Ghoulish Gummy Punch

Yield: 1/2 gallon

  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling cider
  • 1 cup of your favorite gummy candies
  • Ice or dry ice as needed
  • 16 Fizzies candies (optional)
  1. Combine pineapple juice, pomegranate juice, apple cider, sparkling cider, and gummy candies in a punch bowl.
Add ice or dry ice to cool. Be sure to include some gummy candy in each glass served. If using Fizzies candies, place one candy in the bottom of the glass and add punch.

Nutritional analysis without candy per cup: 130 calories, 0 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 20 milligrams sodium.

Tea Punch

Yield: 1/2 Gallon

  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup white rum
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 5 cups Green Tea (or your favorite tea)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice or dry ice as needed

Combine the rums, lemon juice, Green Tea, and simple syrup in a punch bowl. Adjust sweetness to taste by adding more simple syrup. Add ice or dry ice to cool.

Simple syrup: Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and cool to room temperature.

Nutritional analysis per cup: 160 calories, 0 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium.


Makes 24 Knackerli

  • 1 cup dark, milk, or white chocolate morsels
  • 24 pistachios, peeled
  • 24 dried cherries or cranberries
  • 6 dried apricots, quartered
  • 24 slivered almonds, toasted

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Spoon the chocolate or fill a parchment cone with the chocolate and pipe 1-in disks (1 teaspoon per disk) onto a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Arrange 1 pistachio, 1 dried cherry or cranberry, 1 piece of dried apricot, and 1 piece of slivered almond onto each disk of chocolate.

Let the chocolate fully set before removing the disks from the parchment paper.

Notes: The chocolate can be piped in larger or smaller disks, if desired. Any type of nuts or dried fruit can be substituted for the pistachios, dried cranberries, and apricots.

When making Knackerli, it is important to remember that the size of the nuts and dried fruits corresponds to the size of the chocolate disk and that the colors and flavors complement each other.

Chef's Note: When preparing Knackerli, work in small batches so that the chocolate disks don't set before you've had a chance to garnish them. For Halloween, you can add candy corn kernels or make ghosts using white chocolate and dark chocolate chips.

Nutritional analysis per 16-ounce candy: 80 calories, 1 gram protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 0 milligrams sodium.

Candy Apple Chambord Martini a real treat

Candied apple cocktail

Give the grown-ups a treat this Halloween.

While the kids fill their loot bags and bob for apples, the big kids get their own nostalgic treat - a candy apple martini.

Chambord Candy Apple Martini

1 oz Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
1 oz Finlandia Vodka
3/4 oz apple schnapps

Splash of Tuaca Liqueur

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini
glass. Rim the glass with caramel and garnish with an apple slice.

'True Blood' inspired Halloween cocktail

A truly ghoulish and delicious Vampire Kiss

I vant to drink your blood. But good manners suggest settling for a potent cocktail of another kind.

True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse might offer her undead guests a little Vampire Kiss to take the edge off the evening on Halloween. 

This berry-flavored sparkling Martini made with Finlandia vodka, Chambord and Korbel Champagne makes for a ghoulish good time for guests.

Vampire Kiss Martini

Serves one

1 ½ oz. Finlandia Vodka, chilled
1 ½ oz Korbel Champagne
¾ oz part Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Rim an oversized chilled Martini glass with red sugar (use food coloring to mix your own) or drop in a set of wax vampire teeth for a real surprise.

Pour vodka and half of the Chambord in the Martini glass, top with Champagne and pour the remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float.