Here’s How to Creatively Use Tea for the Culinary Palate

Moroccan Mint Risotto with Poached Green Tea Shrimp (Photo: Courtesy of Fezziwig’s Marketplace)

If you’re like me, I love to talk about tea to anyone who wants to chat. But coming up with other ways to reach clients is also necessary. In our retail store, Fezziwig’s Marketplace in O’Fallon, Ill., we usually have a cooking school where we can entertain our guests with classes. During COVID-19 everything changed, and we now have virtual classes, as well as an outdoor culinary theater in our garden courtyard.

This spring, Fezziwig’s is shining a spotlight on a “Spring Cooking with Tea” class. For the educational course, I wanted to create something fresh and delicious that had an element of surprise. Enter stage left: Moroccan Mint Risotto with Green Tea Poached Shrimp.

Photo: Courtesy of Fezziwig’s Marketplace

I’ve added the recipe below, if you would like to give it a whirl.

No Kitchen? No Problem!

“I don’t have a kitchen in my store,” you say? Oh, not to worry. Here are some tips to have customers eating out of your hands when exploring the vast culinary options with tea.

Tea Popcorn: Just add green tea salt. Place three tablespoons of loose leaf tea and one tablespoon of coarse sea salt in a spice grinder or mini food processor. Add to popcorn, serve to your customers and enjoy. This can be made in a microwave popper, too.

Tea Snack Crackers: Add one package oyster crackers, two tablespoons of good olive oil, and one to two tablespoons of tea salt in a large zip lock bag. Shake it up until it’s well combined. Let the flavors culminate for two to six hours before serving. Be careful, they are addictive!

Summertime Tea Smoothies: Whip out your blender and add two cups of brewed tea, one cup of frozen berries, half-a-cup of yogurt, two tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon of honey and ice. Blend well and enjoy! Add chia seeds or flaxseeds for an extra antioxidant boost.

For the more adventurous culinary tea experience, try the Moroccan Mint Risotto with Poached Green Tea Shrimp.

RECIPE: Moroccan Mint Risotto with Poached Green Tea Shrimp

Ingredients:

-One cup of Aborio Rice (do not substitute the rice)
-Two tablespoons of good olive oil
-Two to three tablespoons of butter (divided)
-Two small shallots (chopped)
-Two to three cloves of garlic (minced)
-Four cups of prepared Moroccan Mint Green Tea (keep it hot)
-1/4 cup of fresh herbs – dill, parsley and chives (chopped)
-One lemon, zested (save the lemon for garnish)
-1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (grated)
-Salt and pepper (to taste)

Photo: Ellen Leaf- Moore, Fezziwig’s Marketplace

In a medium sauce pot, place olive oil and one tablespoon of butter. Melt together over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for one to two minutes. Be careful not to burn the shallots. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add in one cup of Aborio Rice and stir well (until rice is coated). Lower heat to medium low or low.

Add a cup-and-a-half of hot Moroccan Mint Tea and stir together. Stir every few moments. When the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid, add one more cup of hot tea. Stir every few moments until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Add in another one cup of hot tea and stir every few moments again. Once this liquid is absorbed, taste the rice. If it does not stick to your tooth, it is close to being finished. If it sticks to your tooth and is a little chalky, add another 1/2 cup of hot tea and stir until almost absorbed. Keep testing the rice to see when it’s done.

To finish the risotto, add in fresh herbs, lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and add the poached shrimp on top.

RECIPE: Tea Poached Shrimp

Ingredients:

-One pound of raw shrimp (deveined, peeled, tail on)
-Four cups of freshly prepared Moroccan Mint Tea (the same tea used in your risotto)

Add raw shrimp to the hot tea, put a lid on the tea pot and poach shrimp for four to five minutes. Remove shrimp and add it to the risotto dish above.

Photo: Courtesy of Fezziwig’s Marketplace

Pictured Above: I needed something pretty and green in the picture, so I used “cat mint” from my garden. After staging the risotto for its close-up shot, my cat, Thomas, decided to help himself to the cat mint and, hence, he took a nice long “cat nap” for the rest of the afternoon.

Ellen Leaf-Moore is the owner of Fezziwig’s Marketplace in O’Fallon, Ill. She’s also a Certified Level 4 STI Graduate. See FezziwigsMarket.com to learn more.