Beyond Tea

 

I don’t drink tea. I’ve never really liked it. I drink coffee. Black. I also tend to be a little contrarian by nature and generally appreciate a good challenge. Because of all of this, I’m not terribly inclined to immediately think of using our Chai Spice blend in tea. I am, however, inclined to look for other uses of it.

With the cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla, it’s pretty much a slam dunk in sweet applications. Try throwing it into oatmeal cookies, apple sauce or butter or banana bread. My wife loves it in oatmeal.

As a challenge, though, I like to find savory uses for it. The key to using this with savory foods is to add salt and a touch more pepper. They will make the sweeter flavors a little more grounded.

It’s got a lot of flexibility, and as a result, is an easy ingredient to play around with. Dice some pineapple, sauté it in coconut oil, add some chai and serve it with tilapia. Or, make a compound butter and use it with fresh corn. One of my favorite ways to use it is with sweet potatoes.

Roasted Chai Sweet Potatoes

Combine all ingredients and mix to coat sweet potatoes. Roast at 450° for 45 minutes or until tender.

My absolute favorite way to use the chai, is in corn bread. This recipe, which makes me want to bake everything in cast iron, is adapted from the 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking. The ’64 Rombauer is, hands down, the best cookbook ever. If you find a copy, buy it.  (Or, swipe it from your mom like I did.)

Skillet Corn Bread with Chai

    • ½ c. sifted all-purpose flour
    • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
    • 3 tbsp. Chai Spice
    • ¾ tsp. Kosher salt
    • 1 ½ c. finely ground corn meal
    • 1 egg beaten
    • 2-3 tbsp. melted butter
    • ¾ c. milk
    • ½ c. cooked, diced bacon

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven until sizzling hot.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix in corn meal. Add egg, milk, butter and bacon. Combine with a few rapid strokes. Pour batter into hot pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Approximately 30 minutes.

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