Morning Tea Rituals & Recipes for the Week of April 16, 2012

by Julie

I’m a big believer in having a morning ritual. For me, that ritual has, since undergrad, been tea. Granted, sometimes I’m up and out the door at 5:45 for a workout, but I always try to leave myself enough time in the morning to sit down quietly with a pot of freshly steeped tea. Going through the motion helps calm and prepare me for my day.

In college, I started out with black tea with honey and soy milk. This trend continued for a few years, then I switched to yerba mate. Green tea made a comeback with me after I got married and my husband started buying different kinds of green. He would get up before me, make himself a pot, and I would come later and pour myself a cup. Lately, however, I’ve been loving white tea. It’s a bit more mellow than green, and I find that I need a low profile tea upon first waking (I’ll still, for instance, have a cup of black with milk and sweetener, but that will come later in the morning/early afternoon).

My tea ritual

To prepare my pot of tea, I take 2 small pinches of dried white tea leaves and place them in a teapot. I fill my kettle with filtered water and bring the water to a full boil over medium heat. Then I pour all the water over the tea leaves and, if I’m lucky, I’ll keep an eye on the tea and pour my first cup after 3-5 minutes. (The timing’s always a challenge for me!) However, I’ve learned that white tea is more forgiving than green so, if, like me, you sometimes over steep your tea, not to worry: You won’t be met with a mouthful of bitterness.

What’s your morning ritual? Do you stick to it every day? Have you had the same for years or do you try to find new rituals as you go?

Monday, April 16: Tomato and Lentil Curry (from Cookie and Kate)


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon cumin

pinch of sugar

2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, chopped

salt and black pepper

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup coconut milk

1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes

1 small cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Tuesday, April 17: Giant Chipotle White Beans (from Eats Well With Others)


1 pound large dried white beans, soaked overnight or up to 24 hours

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 big pinches of red pepper flakes

2 pinches of salt

3 cloves garlic, chopped

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers

1 medium clove garlic

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon water

salt, to taste

1 bunch swiss chard, de-stemmed and torn into strips

Wednesday, April 18: Broccoli Gribiche (adapted from Happyolks)


1 pound broccoli florets

1 pound fingerling potatoes

1 sweet onion

2 shallots

3 lemons

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

salt/pepper to taste

Thursday, April 19: Shichimi Mushroom Rice Bowl (from 101 Cookbooks)


2 cups cooked brown rice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

Fine-grain sea salt

12 ounces chanterelles or mushrooms of your choice, sliced ~1/4-inch thick

8 ounces firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes

1 small bunch kale, well chopped

Shichimi Togarashi or red pepper flakes, to taste