Monday, December 19, 2011

Les Fetes : Christmas J6: Kusmi Kashmir Tchai & Homemade Kolache

On the first night of Christmas Week, my true self ordered for me - some delicious Nepalese Recipe Tchai from Ku....smi....Everybody sing!

Rather than go through the usual routine of describing teas yay or nay, this week I'm posting the comfort treats that I'm enjoying as part of my own holiday traditions. Tonight my order from Kusmi Tea arrived and I was excited to try the Kashmir Chai simply because of its description as being slightly different from norm. It was slightly on the pricey side as well, but this was in part my own treat offered to me after a bit of a rough-and-tumble 2011.

Indeed - it's not Chai in the Southern Indian fashion at all - there's not so much sweet or piquant as there is smoothness. The cardamom and ginger are still there, but there's almost a floral undertone, and the black tea base is Chinese rather than Indian, which may explain the smoothness as well. I feel like my breath might actually smell like spicy flowers, the aftertaste lingers so well.

I'm enjoying it with some homemade kolache - tonight's specimen was fig for the filler and went perfect with the tea. I have health issues with drinking milk teas, so I enjoy chai straight-up, and the kolache was just sweet enough to complement the savory notes. I can feel myself relaxing still as I type.

Wish I could send this all to you good people with smell-o-vision. Check out the muslin tea bags - no 'controversial nylon' or bleached paper here. (I got the bag as a free sample with my order of a 4 oz. tin of the loose leaf).
As for the kolache - it's not made from the authentic recipe I learned two years ago, but it's just as delicious - and you can make your own just as easily!

Here are the complicated instructions:
1 can of pre-packaged biscuit dough, baked per package directions with a small indentation in the top to accomodate the filling. A package of Pillsbury 'Grands' for example will make 6 good-sized kolache.

1-2 tablespoons of your preferred filling. Traditional kolache is made with fig, poppy-seed jam, apricot, or sweet cream cheese filling, but you can add whatever tickles your fancy.

When are still warm from the oven, whisk together some water and confectioner's sugar in your preferred proportion to make a sugar glaze and coat the kolache. Then add your topping.

Allow to cool a bit and keep away from family animals. Kolache are known as 'Polish Dog Food' in my family because our labrador has been known to eat an entire box of bakery-fresh kolache perched on the countertop after being procured from the deli on the other side of town. That feat hasn't been repeated, but she still manages to garner a crumb or two once in a while. 'Tis the season and all.

So - on this still-busy Monday night of Christmas Week 2011, here's to exploring new traditions, eating good things in moderation, and of course, good tea to one and all!


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