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Process, as Inspired by White Tip Oolong (from guest blogger Heidi Dixon Kwon)

The wind breathes gently through the snow outside. Each flake seems to linger in the late winter air, as though in mid-sentence, hesitating to say its goodbye. As I wrap my hand around the steaming cup of white tip oolong, I let the experience slowly wash over my thoughts. The tealeaves have gone through a delicate, yet complex process in order to achieve this smooth, elegant and distinctive taste. Each leaf is hand selected, withered and carefully rolled. After some time, they are dried and placed in the fire. The tradition of crafting oolong has been handed down from generations passed; it is tried, meticulous and perfected. Like seasons, the process is methodical and each step is a necessity. I...

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The Month of Love (from guest blogger Heidi Dixon Kwon)

I like to think I’m an excellent multitasker. I play catchup with my husband while cooking and checking emails. But the dog needs to be fed, the brussel sprouts must be turned in five, I have a due date on Tuesday and Daniel has an early class tomorrow—which means I should pack lunch tonight. Three of my close friends recently went through a breakup, so I should give them a call to see how they’re doing. My husband explains how his exam went, and I nod in agreement.  If I were to quiet my thinking and focus on him, I would notice the way his eyebrows furrow and how his shoulders turn inward. His voice is tired. I would realize that...

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Ringing in the New Lunar Year with a Tea-Smoked Chicken

Lunar New Year is coming very soon (2/8/2016 being the start of the new year!), which means I get to think about what yummy food I get to create in my kitchen. I have always liked the idea of tea-smoked anything, especially chicken.  Traditional tea-smoking technique requires a wok, which I know many people don't have.  And since my son borrowed my wok, I thought I would experiment tea-smoking with my toaster oven.  And not only did it work great, it was really tasty and easy!  Now, you too can tea-smoke anything when you want to. Ingredients: 3 lbs of chicken (whatever form that fits inside your toaster oven) 2 TB salt (I prefer sea salt for flavor) 1/4 cup...

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A Coffee Addict's Tea Journey: Chapter 1 (From guest blogger Heidi Dixon Kwon)

I’m addicted to the way coffee smells like home and how it punishes my impatience by burning mytongue. I drink on average, three to four cups of coffee a day. I take it smooth with a generous pour of cream and a spoon (or three) of sugar. As a writer and a procrastinator, caffeine is a requisite. Coffee is and has been an integral part of my adult life—it fueled my late nights studying in college, my 4 a.m. essay writing and the quiet afternoons in the library. And now, as I work full-time, coffee is the string that holds up my wrists as I stare down Excel spreadsheets, attend meetings and run from deadlines.Knowing that I like my coffee at...

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Celebrating Holidays with Puer Tea

Hi, I'm Donna from Far Leaves Tea. We opened our teashop in 1998 to provide our community with better access to premium quality loose leaf tea and all the cultural elements and rituals that come with having tea.  For me, one of the most important elements of tea is how it fits into daily life, especially as it relates to food. There is a Chinese saying:  開門七件事 - 柴米油鹽醬醋, which translates to tea as one of the seven key ingredients in making a complete kitchen. In this blog, I hope to share with you my experiences with tea and things I love, in particular, pairing tea with food.  For my cooking, I like to build with traditional recipes, but incorporate new ingredients...

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