where the wild things are no.14. stinging nettle and mint tea.

This morning we made a fresh stinging nettle and mint tea. A fresh tea or a tisane is really easy to make. A tisane is a herbal or plant infusion made from the leaves, fruits or roots of a plant other than a traditional tea bush. When we were in Sweden last summer we had a different tea every morning at the restaurant Faviken Magasinet. Herbal infusions like this one can be served either hot or cold. One of our favorites at Faviken was a cold juniper infusion.

As with any wild plant, make sure you properly identify it before eating it. Nettles are available this time of the year at greenmarkets or in the wild. They are definitely available at the Union square Greenmarket here in New York. If you choose to harvest them yourself, wear gloves and long sleeves and pants! Always make sure you are harvesting from a pesticide free area.

 

2 loosely packed cups of stinging nettles. ( wear gloves when handling.)

1 cup fresh mint leaves.

 Set tea water to boil.

Place the mint and nettles in your teapot. You can chop the nettles and the mint if you wish or use them in their whole form.

When the water is boiling, pour over the nettles and mint leaves and leave to steep for 8 to 10 minutes. The boiling water and the steep time erradicate the sting in the stinging nettles, so be sure to leave it to steep for the entire time!

The tea will take on a beautiful soft green color and subtle grassy woody flavor.

Drink it straight or add a little milk and honey.

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rainy day bellocq

There is nothing quite like a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon. With rain on the horizon this weekend what better thing to do than to head to Greenpoint, Brooklyn to visit the beautiful new Bellocq Tea Atelier. It is a veritable visual feast in there! Every corner is an insanely beautiful tableau. Tea tasting  at Bellocq is a must and it should not be rushed!! My favorites of the moment are the Afghani Chai, Hindu Holiday and Gypsy Caravan.  

 

If you can't make it to Greenpoint any time soon, you can sometimes catch Bellocq at The New Amsterdam Market at South Street Seaport on Sundays. Check the market list for and update of weekly vendors.

Bellocq teas can also be ordered on line here.

prop styling  Kim Ficaro   food styling  Susie Theodorou

prop styling Kim Ficaro

food styling Susie Theodorou

little dickens

I stopped to see my friend, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, and one of her three partners, Michael Shannon, tea proprietors of the wildly gorgeous and successful line of artisan teas Bellocq at the New Amsterdam Market last Sunday. I picked up three of their irresistable teas. No. 18, Afghani Chai, a black assam tea with organic red poppy flowers, green cardamon, star anise, ginger, clove and black pepper. It had been on my mind since a cold winter day at the market when they were handing out samples. I had become somewhat obsessed with it. I also picked up what they were calling their "summertime chai", a little lighter than the Afghani Chaiand caffeine free. It is called Hindu Holiday. It is a rooibos based chai, caffeine free with cardamom, fragrant cassia, spicy ginger rose, jasmine and marigold petals.

I was, however, most intrigued by the tea called Little DickensLittle Dickens, was  lovingly created by Heidi and her son. It is full of all kinds of things that kids love. Like Hindu Holiday, it too is rooibos based and caffeine free.  A few of the ingredients in Little Dickens are ginger, cinnamon, mint, chocolate, marigold and a little rose. Steep it, then add a little milk and honey. 

Hiedi feels that scent and flavor not only bring back forgotten memories, but that they also enrich the present. "Great teas can be powerful conduit to unite life's precious moments." I couldn't agree more. Many of my strongest memories are attached to taste and smell. So I decided to pick up some tea to share with my sweet little friend Odette, who just became a big sister this past week. Odette is no stranger to tea drinking, but part of me just wants to hear her tell me all about Little Dickens and what is in it. She is at the amazing, curious and talkative age of three. Having her own tea, like her mom does, will make her feel very grown up. It will be a nice way to make her feel special in these new and sometimes confusing post baby days.

I am upstate and all is quiet except for the crazy morning birds. I think it is the perfect moment to sit on the porch and have a cup of tea. 

Look for Belloq's new atelier at 37 Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, coming very soon!

You can order Bellocq's teas online at: http://www.bellocq.com/ 

Bellocq's founders, Heidi Johannsen Stewart, Michael Shannon, Young Yoon and Scott Stewart joined creative forces with a desire to collaborate on a shared aesthetic vision, an appreciation of traditional artisan production and a passion for tea.