Beef & Lamb · Uncategorized

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Creativitea on the Grill

tea-Duo Dishes

We’re a tad frazzled with this month’s 24, 24, 24, but we hope our vision comes together for you in the end!  When Foodbuzz sent out a call for entries, we submitted our proposal just a couple of hours later.  The idea was buzzing in our heads, and we knew it’d be so fun to complete.  Unfortunately, we weren’t chosen.  Boo.  But one week later, we received word of a last minute cancellation, which meant there was room for us to squeeze in.  Yay!  We really love hosting these types of events for our friends, so needless to say, this was a great way to roll into the upcoming weekend.  And then it hit us!  We had a lot of planning to do–planning that we clearly had not been prepared to do.  So we went back to square one and started to re-brainstorm from where we’d left off following the proposal.  From there, it was nothing but a blast!

Did you know June is National Iced Tea Month?  Well if you didn’t know, now ya know!  Of course, you’re also aware that it’s almost July, so the summer grill season is well under way.  We wanted to combine our love for all things grilled with the celebration of all things tea.  Tea based barbecue sauce?  Tea in cupcakes?  Tea cocktails?  Tea-infused baked beans?  Yes, yes and another resounding yes!  We got the grill blasting and tossed floaties in the pool because this was going to be the bbq par-tea of the summer!

You may be wondering why we chose tea to feature in this meal.  Well, one, we’ve already mentioned the National Iced Tea Month that is June.  Two, we’ve explored the whole one-element-laced-in-each-dish theme with one of our last 24, 24, 24 meals.  That time it was liquor!  Something about expanding the boundaries and characteristics of an ingredient beyond its conventional applications appeals to our penchant for cooking thrills.  Third, we both enjoy the power of tea.  Whether it’s a cold, sweet tea on a muggy day or a hot, soothing tea when you’re sick, tea has the ability to make you feel good.  The health benefits range from boosting the immune system, providing antioxidants and releasing endorphins to increasing metabolism, lowering blood pressure and even fighting certain forms of cancer.  If all of that doesn’t sound good to you, then what does?   What better way to turn a taste good meal into a feel good meal than adding a bit of tea!

Take a look at the menu (full recipes below):

Spiced Beef Ribs with Ginger Plum Sauce (adapted from Food & Wine and Ezine Articles)
Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken (adapted from MyRecipes)
Black Tea & Bacon Baked Beans
Grilled Corn with White Tea Lime Sauce (adapted from Bon Appétit)
Min-tea Watermelon Cantaloupe Salad
Mango Salsa and Chips
Ginger Glazed Peaches with Whipped Cream
Coconut Tea Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Joy of Baking)
Chocolate Chai Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from Une-Deux Senses)
Minty Arnie P.’s

Having the opportunity to do these sorts of dinners and parties for our friends is really something that we love.  We look forward to cooking big meals, inviting folks over and letting fun ensue.  The only problem is that our friends are nowhere as adventurous–and sometimes tolerating–of our experiments.  Sometimes that part of the deal makes it difficult for us to plan, but for the most part, we usually go with our gut desire and bear with the moans and groans.  Why?  Because when they actually taste it, they see that it’s pretty good!  This time, we took a very sneaky approach.  People knew they were coming to a bbq, but they had no idea what we were going to cook.  We actually didn’t tell anyone the theme until it was all over.  Sneaky, right?

As usual, we were testing recipes we’d never made before.  Isn’t the rule for a food gathering to never make something new?  Always make a perfected dish.  Well, out the window with that one!   Our guests know they will usually not receive the same dish twice.  Once we revealed the news, the immediate reactions of the crowd hovered between confusion and pure interest.  Not as many of the moans and groans we’re used to, so that was a good sign!   We would have a good number of interesting dishes for them to try, but we also wanted to offer a few of the usual suspects for the grill, so in addition to the nine dishes previously mentioned, there were burgers and weenies.  There was so much food, we didn’t know what to do!   Apologies for the fact that we don’t have pictures for everything, but you’ll see why.

Spiced Beef Ribs with Ginger Plum Sauce – Serves 10 to 12 (adapted from Food & Wine and Ezine Articles)

Duo Dishes Ribs

These ribs were some of the best ribs we’ve had in a long time.  Many rib aficionados have their own way of preparing them, but to get that true fall-off-the-bone result, we like the slow bake then grill method.  The strong tea scent in this rub may seem intimidating at first, but it gave great flavor to the meat.  And the ginger plum sauce was out of this world!  (We even rubbed down the burgers with the leftover sauce.)  The ribs were a huge hit.  There were absolutely none left!

3 bags green tea (orange and jasmine flavor)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
10-12 pounds beef ribs

1 bag white tea
1 cup water
14 ounces plum sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minded
5 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1.  Mix ingredients for the run in a small bowl, except vinegar.  Rub dry spices into meat, coating both sides.  Lay ribs on a shallow baking dish.  Pour vinegar over ribs.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees for 6-8 hours (or overnight).*

2.  Boil water, add tea bag and remove from heat.  Allow to steep 5 minutes.  Remove bag and cool water completely.  Mix ingredients for sauce and add 5 tablespoons chilled tea.  Set aside.

3.  On a heated grill, lay cooked ribs on the grill and rub with sauce.  Continue to baste as ribs cook, approximately 7-9 minutes.

*If you do not want to cook the ribs overnight, you can blast them for 90 minutes at 350 degrees before grilling.

Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken – Serves 10 to 12 (adapted from MyRecipes)

chicken-Duo Dishes

The chicken was a pleasant surprise.  We made a few changes to the recipe because the original marinade’s tea flavor was too strong–too much instant tea kick back, not enough sweet to mellow it out.  Adding more sugar was a good idea, and the slight sweetness does carry over to the meat, but it’s nowhere near overpowering.  We suggest marinating the chicken overnight for the maximum flavor blast.  Again, no chicken left at the end of the night!

2 whole chickens, cut into pieces
4 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened instant tea mix
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus extra for seasoning
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper

1. In a large bowl, mix tea, sugar, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, thyme, rosemary, garlic, lemon juice and zest and olive oil.  Whisk well.  Remove 1/2 cut of mixture and set aside.

2.  Add chicken to marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3.  When ready to cook, heat grill and dump marinade.  Season chicken with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Grill, cooking at least 10 minutes or until juices run clear, flipping pieces at least once.  Baste with leftover marinated as chicken cooks.

Black Tea & Bacon Baked Beans – Serves 10 to 12

baked beans-Duo Dishes

We love ourselves some baked beans.  Who does not like baked beans?  Of course, you can’t just take that can, dump it in a pot and let it go.  No, you have to dress it up.  And dress it up we did!   Everyone has their own way of doing beans, but this is our we’ve seen our families do them, and it’s never failed.  The black tea’s flavor was not as pronounced as we thought it might be.  If you want more, we’d suggest adding another couple of tea bags.

1 yellow onion, diced
40 ounces baked beans
1/4 cup yellow mustard
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon black powder
3 black tea bags
1 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1.  Heat butter and oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Cook onions and garlic until onions soften and turn translucent.

2.  Add remaining ingredients, stir well.

3.  Cook beans until they begin to bubble.  Then reduce heat to low and let beans simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Grilled Corn with Chile Lime Sauce – Serves 18-20 (adapted from Bon Appétit)

Duo Dishes Corn

This corn was really too good.  No one expected it to disappear as fast as it did, not even us.  As soon as the first round came off the grill, all of those buttery, yellow ears were gone like the wind!  It was a friend of ours who actually suggested we sprinkle them with cinnamon before putting them on the grill.  Good idea for sure.  The chile lime sauce and queso fresco took something good and put it over the edge to greatness!  People ate the corn so fast, they didn’t even realize there was a sauce to put on it.

3/4 cup crema Mexicana
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Zest of 2 limes, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
10 ears corn, husked and halved
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
5 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1 bag white tea
1 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt
Black pepper

1.  Boil water and add tea bag.  Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.  Squeeze bag and discard.  Cool tea completely.

2.  Mix 1 1/2 tablespoons tea with crema Mexicana, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice and zest, chile powder, sugar, cilantro and salt in a small bowl until blended.  Cover and chill.

3.  Fill a large pot with water and set to boil.  Add corn in batches and cook about 15 minutes.

4.  On the heated grill, lay corn down and cook until they begin to brown and char, approximately 10 minutes.  Coat with melted butter as they cook.

5.  Sprinkle cooked corn with salt, pepper and cinnamon.  Spread on chile lime sauce and sprinkle with queso fresco.

Min-tea Watermelon Cantaloupe Salad – Serves 8 to 10

Duo Dishes Mint Melon Salad

This salad was probably one of the surprise hits for the crowd.  We were a bit nervous they would balk at the fruit and cheese combination, but people really liked it.  Soaking the fruit in the mint tea left each piece even sweeter and more refreshing.  We actually drank the minty watermelon cantaloupe juice over ice.  That’s how bright and refreshing it was to the taste.   Totally submitted to Deb at Kahaki Kitchen for her Soup, Salad and Sammie Sundays.

1 small seedless watermelon, cubed
1 small cantaloupe, cubed
3 ounces feta, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bag peppermint tea
1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint, sliced

1.  Bring water to a boil and add tea bag.  Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.  Stir in honey and cool completely.

2.  Once tea has cooled, add watermelon and cantaloupe.  Marinate in tea for an hour.

3.  Remove fruit and place on a serving dish.  Sprinkle with cheese, salt and mint.

Mango Salsa and Chips – Serves 6 to 8

mango salsa-Duo Dishes

If salsa could be gone in a flash, this would be the one.  People who don’t like mango liked this salsa.  People who don’t like spicy dishes liked this salsa.  There were probably people who don’t even like salsa who dipped their chips in this one.  The dish was wiped clean.  That’s all we have to say about that.  If we had grilled tuna steaks or salmon, this would’ve been great to put on top.

2 mangoes, peeled and diced
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 vine tomatoes, diced
2 avocadoes, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 serrano pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons fresh cumin seeds
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice and zest of 3 limes
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1 bag white tea
1 cup water

1.  Boil water and add tea bag.  Remove from heat, steep 5 minutes and cool completely.

2.  In a large bowl, toss everything together with 1 tablespoon of the cooked tea.  Serve immediately.*

*If you do not plan to serve the salsa immediately, wait to dress salsa with oil, tea and salt until ready to serve.

Ginger Glazed Peaches – Serves 6 to 8

Duo Dishes - Grilled Peaches

The excitement in the air for these peaches was palpable.  As soon as the peaches were in view, there were questions as to what we were about to do with them.  When we said they were going on the grill, people started to get excited.  These little skewers were a nice, light dessert after such a heavy meal.  Well, they would’ve been lighter had we not served them with fresh whipped cream and ice cream, but you can’t judge us for that.

4 peaches, pitted and cut into 8ths
1 packet ginger tea
2 cups water
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 skewers, soaked
Juice of 1 lemon

1.  Boil water in a pot and add tea bags.  Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.  Discard bag and stir in cinnamon, brown sugar and honey until incorporated and cook over medium heat until mixture reduces, approximately 5-10 minutes.

2.  Toss peaches with lemon juice and thread on skewers–3 peaches per skewer.

3.  Brush skewers with ginger glaze.  Lay skewers on grill and cook until darkened in color and soft, approximately 5 minutes.

4.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, ice cream or crushed gingersnaps or amaretti cookies.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream Frosting – 1 dozen (adapted from Joy of Baking)

vanilla cupcakes-Duo Dishes

Well, here’s where we start to move into the disappointment round of the entire meal.  These cupcakes did not turn out as great as we hoped.  They were a little dry.  The fact that it was a super hot day, and we had to keep the frosted cupcakes in the fridge to keep the buttercream from melting, only amplified the dryness.  The tea’s flavor was also not as strong as we would’ve liked, so we can always go back to the drawing board with this one.  The frosting was good though, although we may use Amaretto liqueur instead of almond extract next time.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon, minced
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup milk
3 bags spice tea
1/4 cup almonds, slivered

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk (spice tea-infused milk)

1.  Set milk to simmer on the stove.  Add tea bags and warm on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove bags and squeeze out extra milk.  Cool completely.

2.  With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and zest for cupcakes until fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.

3.  Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla.  As wet ingredients mix, whisk together remaining dry ingredients.

4.  Alternately add dry ingredients with 1/4 cup milk (save remaining milk) until just incorporated.

5.  Pour batter into paper lined cupcake tins and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Cool completely.

6.  For frosting, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar then milk.  Pour in extracts and mix until creamy.  Add more milk if necessary.  Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with almonds if desired.

Chai Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream – 1 dozen (adapted from Une-Deux Senses and Martha Stewart)

You know the sound of a crashing plane that whizzes down to its doom, right?  That’s what these cupcakes were.  Actually, that’s what the frosting was!  If anyone knows the proper way to get this swiss buttercream thing to work, please let us know.  Long story short, we ended up with a clumpy mess of curdled, melting butter.  It was so severe that someone said, ‘Oh, is that risotto?’  Boo!  Fail fail fail.  We didn’t frost these cupcakes, and we didn’t want to offer naked mini cakes to our guests.  It was too bad because the cake was actually pretty good.  Next time, we’d probably stir in a bit of cocoa to really maximize the chocolate flavor.  Again, no picture here.

1 1/8 cups milk
3 bags chai tea
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, shaved
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt

5 egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1.  Simmer milk over medium heat and add the tea bags.  Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes.  Remove the bags, squeeze out the milk and cool completely.

2.  With a whisk, combine eggs, yolks, vanilla and 1/4 cup of the chai milk.

3.  With an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, cocoa and salt.  Add the butter and remaining chai milk.  Mix on medium low speed until light and fluffy.

4.  Add the egg mixture in three rounds, scraping the bowl well.  Fold in shaved chocolate pieces.

5.  Divide the batter among the cupcake tins, about 2/3 full, bake for 20-22 minutes in a preheated oven on 350 degrees or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

6.  As cupcakes bake, prepare icing by beating egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl over simmering water until sugar has fully dissolved.  Pour mixture into the bowl for an electric mixer, add cream of tartar and cinnamon and beat until stiff peaks.

7.  Add butter pieces one at a time, and beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes.

Minty Arnie P.’s – Serves 14 to 16

And finally, one of the afternoon’s stars…the Minty Arnie P.  If you like Arnold Palmers, you’ll love these.  Please invest in a bottle of Firefly stat and start making these babies for your friends.  They will love you.  Now if you’re not a fan of Southern sweet tea, then this may not be for you.  It’s a sweet drink, so we suggest cutting it with club soda or using less sugar in the lemonade.  We prefer the club soda as it adds a nice lift.  Honestly, taking a picture of this one was near impossible because the two pitchers were gone that fast.  Needless to say, we will be making these again.

2 cups sugar
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
2 cups lemon juice
7 cups vodka
3 cups sweet tea vodka
Club soda

1.  Add water and sugar to a large pot over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Stir in lemon juice.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

2.  In a large picture, pour in lemonade and add vodka and mint leaves.  Chill for at least an hour.  Pour over ice with a splash of club soda.

A very big thanks to Foodbuzz for giving us the opportunity to do this once more.  It’s our fourth time at the 24, 24, 24 rodeo, and we’re so grateful to have been asked to take part in the June group.

Click HERE for printable recipes.


53 thoughts on “Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Creativitea on the Grill

  1. Wow! What a menu. I love the short ribs and that is the proper way to prep them in my book.

    Wish I could have been there!

  2. I come from a long line of limy tea drinkers. I’ve only dabbled with tea in sorbet, but these recipes look amazing. I’m going to go through my tea stash right now. Thanks for the amazing inspiring post!

  3. Holy cow, that is a ton of cooking and baking! I’m beginning to like the sound of watermelon in salads, and the sweet tea chicken sounds like a fun twist.

    Re: swiss meringue buttercream, the first time I made it, it came out as a complete disaster, then I learned that the secret is just to turn the mixer on high and keep whipping the mixture until it eventually comes together. Since then, sometimes it doesn’t curdle at all and it might have to do with the temperature the butter is, but idk about that, all I know is to keep whipping.

  4. That makes me tired just thinking of all the planning and preparing and cooking!

    Everything looked amazing! I think having the tea themed event was a great idea!! Glad someone dropped out and you guys got a chance to do this….to bad I live so far from you! Ha!

  5. Mmm… those ribs look tasty! Have you ever tried making jasmine rice with lapsang souchoung, the black tea smoked over pine needles? The rice takes on a unique smoke flavor that is amazing and totally unique. You should try it!

  6. I amazed by your talents, dear friends!

    A whole menu based on tea! I will try a few of your delicious recipes! I totally love the whole menu! Creative foodies you are,….!!!!!!

  7. Great job and great tea theme! I wonder what you’d be planning for your next theme!

  8. That sweet tea grilled chicken looks AWESOME. This was a cool idea, I’m glad you were able to pull it off so well.

    A little bit of beer went up my nose when I read this:

    “bbq par-tea of the summer!”

    I don’t know why exactly!

    If you guys are tea people, and it certainly seems from the post that you are, I highly recommend trying some “monkey picked oolong” tea. Apparently it is made from only the youngest tea leaves that were traditionally found at the very tops of the plants, and they purveyors had to train monkeys to go up there and pick it. It is my FAVORITE, very light on the palate but hugely complex and soothing to drink.

    Nice job!

  9. What a brilliant idea for a BBQ theme … and a 24 post! Well done again, Duo! You guys are becoming 24 regulars and its no wonder that you are. I love the tea theme and my mouth is watering over all of it. I think tea and BBQ are a match made in heaven … your friends are lucky indeed. Now pass me some of those ribs and beans, please!

  10. If I could reach out and grab one of those ribs I would. With summer going into full swing, it’s almost necessary to fire up the grill. The usage of tea is a great twist.

  11. Now that is a spread! Sounds/looks like the perfect summer feast. I especially love the idea of the watermelon canteloupe mint salad!

  12. Wow, such a nice feast…love the idea of using tea since I always have lots of different teas at home…I’ll definitely use these ideas…the ribs, chicken and cupcakes…yummie!

  13. oh WOW great job!! Man more than one must have dropped out because I wasn’t picked and then I also got a last minute “can you do it??” too much fun!! You pulled off an amazing event and in crazy short time!! great job!!

  14. Welcome to the madness that’s the “24” dinner…a little hectic but alot of fun! The ribs, chicken and all the fixins’ look delish…look forward to your next event!

  15. Holy cow, I am slammed down impressed with you!! Awesome choice of theme and the dishes all look phenomenal!! You guys are so the best!

  16. Congratulations on being selected this month for the Foodbuzz contest! We applied, but lost! Bummer. Your idea was super creative! GREAT JOB!!!! Sounds like you had a ton of dishes to prepare… goodness gracious!

    PS. We shipped out your demi glace sauce on Thursday, so expect it in the mail soon =)

  17. Love it! Wish I could try everything. I am a tea fanatic and have a bunch of recipes tagged that are made with tea–now you make me want to get moving on them. 😉

  18. Wow! You guys made so much stuff! Adding tea to everything was such a creative idea. Your cupcakes look great… I’m sorry they were disappointing.

  19. Man, you guys are *too much.* Great party theme and, as always, a huge array of wonderful foods. The black tea baked beans and watermelon salad are especially interesting. I’d like to try both.

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