Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tune Into HSN for a Special Bon Appetit Cooking Event!

Once again Bon Appetit has teamed up with HSN to bring you a fabulous subscription offer: 12 issues for $12 during our November HSN Cooks Event Presented by Bon Appetit. Your subscription will start with our packed November issue, which is filled with Thanksgiving recipes as well as everyday recipes to help you through the busy season.

Our readers like traditional holiday food, gently tweaked. With that in mind we always present dozens of turkey, stuffing, potato, vegetable side dishes and cranberry sauce recipes as well as all your favorite pies from apple to pumpkin – all with a Bon Appetit twist. This year consider sampling our Malt Beer Brined Turkey with Malt Glaze, Rosemary Bread Stuffing with Speck, Fennel and Lemon and our tangy sweet Cranberry Sauce with Mustard Seeds. Try our new take on a veggie classic with Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts – and (are you sitting down?) – we even have a complete main dish that you can get to the table in less than Two Hours: our Roast Turkey Breast with Potatoes, Green Beans and Mustard Pan Sauce from our very popular FastEasyFresh column seen here below

Photo by José Picayo

Thanksgiving is but one day of the month so we also have recipes to help you with weekday meals, whether it is just for you and your family or visiting guests: the Seared Asian Steak and the Lamb Chops with Red Onion, Grape Tomatoes and Feta (see below) are also from our FastEasyFresh column, which means you will get the food on the table quickly, using fresh seasonal ingredients and a full nutritional profile for each dish. Photo by José Picayo

If you are vegetarian, or just looking for a change from turkey, try the hearty Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies from our Sunday Suppers column.

With your subscription, you get all this and more. Our December issue covers all the winter holiday menus and of course every issue has our standard columns, such as the ones mentioned above, as well as restaurant reviews, ideas for gifts, housewares, wine and beverage recommendations….and of course, my favorite, desserts! This turkey day I’m going with the Apple Pie with Oat Streusel (the crunch of the topping contrasts so nicely with the juicy fruit filling) and the Pumpkin Pie with Pepita and Ginger (tune in to HSN to see me make this one on-air; see the preview below).

Photo by Hans Gissinger

You can see all of these recipes and others on our HSN segments. Tune in EST on:

Thursday 11/4/10 during the 7am hour

Friday 11/5/10 during the 2am, 6am, 3pm and 7pm hours


Saturday 11/6/10 during the 2pm hour.

I expect Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse will be there to help us celebrate the season during our HSN Cooks Event Presented by Bon Appetit. Call in! I would love to hear your favorite Bon Appetit and holiday food stories.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Special Edition Magazine from Bon Appetit: Pasta Favorites

When I saw the cover of this hefty pasta cook "book" in all its full-color glory, my first thought was, I wish I could smell those meatballs! If ever there was a yearning for scratch and sniff, it was at that first glance. I seriously want to eat that Spaghetti & Meatballs All'Amatriciana.

This special edition is a magazine format, with over 125 pages of recipes to entice such as Penne with Lemon and Root Vegetables, Pancetta and Taleggio Lasagna with Treviso, Goat Cheese Ravioli with Bell Peppers, Seafood Pasta with Lemon-Saffron Herb Dressing, Thai Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles and more. Full page color pictures are plentiful. It is easy to use with chapter headings such as Quick, Baked, Ravioli and Other Filled Pastas, Gnocchi, Gnudi and Spaetzle, Salads and Sauces. And if you are hankering for some serious comfort food, turn to page 51 for the Tuna Noodle Casserole with Leeks and Fresh Dill.

You can find this special edition at the Conde Nast Store and also at Whole Foods stores as well as Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson News, among other outlets.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HSN and Bon Appetit

I will be returning to HSN on November 4th and 5th for several airings and a very special Bon Appetit subscription rate. Last time I was there with our September Restaurant issue we had fun on the set with Wolfgang Puck (when I fell in love with the Rice Cooker). We had so much food on the set, from main dishes to desserts and apps, but the item I kept nibbling was the Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn seen here. Can't wait to see what we will have on set in November as all the food will be from our Thanksgiving issue, which is my favorite.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vote TODAY for Bon Appetit as Best Magazine Cover!

I am so excited that Bon Appetit has been nominated for its juicy September cover. I need your votes TODAY! Please tell your friends, too.

Follow this LINK to VOTE.

Why Was This Cover Nominated?

Don't you wish you could take a big, juicy bite? Still-life photographer
Nigel Cox shot this gorgeous burger from just the angle you'd see it from if
you were about to dig right in. The bright and colorful image embodies the
spirit of an issue filled with easy, fresh and delicious summer food. The
big surprise here? Beneath that smoky, garlic mayonnaise, crisp arugula
leaves, charred bell peppers, grilled red onions and melty Monterey Jack
lies a luscious-but-light turkey burger on a ciabatta bun. Good-for-you has
never tasted or looked so unbelievably good.

After you vote, make the burger! RECIPE HERE from

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday is the Last Day for Bon Appetit and Wolfgang Puck on HSN

Photo by José Picayo

Our whirlwind long-weekend is coming to a close but it's not too late to take advantage of both Bon Appetit and Wolfgang Puck specials through HSN. I have had the pleasure of using many of Wolfgang's small appliances and equipment and the Cutlery Block Set is a dream to use. They have sold out of several colors, they are so popular, but there are still some in stock and it is a great deal. The Santoku knife might just become the knife you use more than any other in your kitchen. Check the HSN site for airing times; call in an chat with us! We would love to hear about your experience with his products and our magazine. The picture above is of our Labor Day Barbecue Menu; you will get all those recipes with your first issue.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bon Appetit and Wolfgang Puck Take Over HSN

Photo by Craig Cutler

I've been here at HSN for 4 days now and the energy and excitement hasn't diminished one bit. If anything, Wolf and I are more energized than ever. He is presenting all of his fabulous cookware and bakeware (including an incredible deep fryer) and I have a great Bon Appetit offer for the viewers - and you! The set is electric with smells and tables and tables of gorgeous food... and the callers who call in and let us know how much they love his cookware and our magazine are such a great way to connect with our readers. The HSN special is 12 issues of Bon Appetit for $12. Even if you have a subscription, this is a perfect time to pick up a gift. It makes a perfect host and hostess gift for the upcoming holidays. Your subscription will begin with the September issue, which is our highly anticipated Restaurant Issue. The pic above is of Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn with a kick of cayenne. It is from a September article on bar food and everyone here at the studios has been munching on this morning, noon and night. It's sweet, salty and positively addictive. And might I add that the recipe for Cava Sangria in the same issue is a mighty nice sip to go alongside.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bon Appetit, Wolfgang Puck & HSN

Photo by Nigel Cox

Wow! I am down at the HSN studios in St. Petersburg, FL and let me tell you, the amount of amazing food in the studio is unbelievable. The pic above is a close-up of the Triple Beef Cheeseburger that graces the cover of the September issue of Bon Appetit. I can't even count the number of people working behind the scenes getting all the food ready for me and Wolfgang. He is demonstrating all of his cookware and bakeware and I have to tell you, the 10-cup rice cooker is blowing my mind. He uses it to make everything from mac n' cheese to flan to a clam bake, all in one tabletop unit. Check it out, and of course pick up a year's subscription to Bon Appetit while you're at it. We have a HSN special $12 for a full year. Thats 1000 recipes, cookware and restaurant reviews, drinks, techniques and tips. Your subscription will start with the September issue so that you can make that burger. Call in while I'm on the air!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wolgang Puck and Bon Appetit Team Up This Weekend on HSN

Bon Appetit has partnered with HSN to celebrate the Wolfgang Puck 12th Anniversary Event. I am bringing you a full year subscription to the magazine, through HSN, for $12. You can also shop for all sorts of Wolfgang Puck products from grill pans to immersion blenders. Wait till you see the steak I will be cooking from our September issue on that grill pan...stacked with fried onion rings, crumbles of blue cheese. I wish we had aroma-television!

HSN will be presenting fabulous cookware and food related items all weekend starting on Friday. If you would like to catch my Bon Appetit appearances, they will be during the following hours:

Friday August 27th 1:00am (yes, am)
Friday August 27th 6:00pm
Friday August 27th 9:00pm to 11pm (most likely at beginning and end of each hour)

Saturday August 28th Noon to 1:00pm (most likely at beginning and end of each hour)

Sunday August 29th 9am to 11am (most likely at beginning and end of each hour)
Sunday August 29th 2pm to 4pm (most likely at beginning and end of each hour)

See you there! Call in! We would love to hear about your experiences with Wolfgang's cookware and our magazine.

See you from the studio!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

REPOST: This was Last Year's Pie Contest at The Dutchess County Fair....I Ate 40 Pies...and Not only Survived, but Enjoyed Every Moment!


Also, come on by at 3:30 and 5:30 for demos from my newest book, Unforgettable Desserts. There will be plenty of samples.


This past Tuesday I was up at the NY State Dutchess County Fair teaching chocolate classes as well as judging a Pillsbury Pie Contest. The chocolate classes went well, as they always do. Folks get to learn about how cacao is grown and taste different chocolates. I spent a fair amount of time talking about How to taste chocolate critically....look for that info in an upcoming blog.

But at 7pm I was one of 4 judges who got to sample 40 home baked pies. Here we are getting our instructions.I was joined by a CIA pastry professor (to my left), a recent graduate and a gentleman who owns several restaurants. Jack Ford, the organizer is in the blue chef's coat. The rules were provided by Pillsbury. Contestants had to use both crusts from the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust package, fruit had to be in the filling and they had to be 9-inch pies or 9 or 10-inch tarts. The pies/tarts had to be there a half-hour before judging and be accompanied by the recipe typed on an 8x11" paper.

At about 6pm the pies started arriving.
There were several classic double-crust apple pies, some with lattice work and even one savory pie! It was a BBQ chicken and Pineapple Pie. The rules said fruit had to be in the filling, so this was within the suggested parameters. The chicken was shredded and the top crust was dusted with cayenne and chili powder. It was actually a nice break from all the sweet pies, but it didn't make it into the finals. Here's another shot of some of the great entries.
We judged on Appearance, Creativity, Ease of Preparation, Taste and Overall Impression. We split into 2 judging teams and each of us took one table full of pies. Then we tabulated our scores to get the top 3 pies on each long banquet table and we all sampled those last 6 and picked our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.

Equipped with clip-boards, judging sheets, pencils and bottles of water, we got down to work. Here we are tasting and discussing as the crowd looks on. I was equipped with a mic and was giving some running commentary.
Here are two close-ups:
Even before we started sampling, I noticed at least one pie that was in a tempered glass pie plate that I knew was larger than 9-inches. I asked the organizer, Jack Ford, if we had a ruler or measuring tape, which he provided. I huddled with my fellow judges, who at first eyed me a bit suspiciously, and I explained my thought process. This judging was going to be hard enough as it was, and as far as I was concerned, Pillsbury had provided the rules and we were supposed to judge by the rules And the contestants were supposed to follow the rules. If anyone hadn't followed the rules, I thought they should be disqualified. They all agreed and quickly added that this should go for any of the rules. Turns out that a couple of pies were too large, one arrived late and one had the recipe hand-written on a small notecard. Unfortunately, these were all disqualified. I say unfortunately because some of them were very tasty!

We used clean knives to cut slices and clean forks for each bite. Someone asked me if I was going to bite and spit. No Way! I was here to eat some pie!

I thought it was interesting that there were so many apple pies. After all, these were not going to get big marks for creativity, and therefore the rest of the execution had to be spot on. I found several of them to be way too heavy with nutmeg and/or cloves; for me this meant they were marked down. We had several crusts that were underdone. Even thought everyone was starting with the Pillsbury crusts, there was huge variation. Several factors come into play: some used a tin pan, some used Pyrex and some crockery. All conduct heat differently. Some started in a high oven and left it there throughout. Others started in a very high oven and turned the heat down....pies were baked on pans and off...on different rack placements in the oven and what have you.

There were a few that were very creative, but then the execution wasn't carried out very well. There was a Blueberry Merlot pie that I loved, but apparently the other judges didn't because it didn't make it to the finals. The most creative was a Key Lime Blueberry. Here is a pic:
It had a bottom crust, a layer of key lime, a layer of cheesecake filling and a layer of blueberry filling all under a decorative top crust. The cheesecake layer was too thick and the filling on the whole was too gloppy. But I Love this idea and hope the baker will refine it. Curiously only 2 pies contained chocolate, both combining it with berries. There were many, many blends of fruit. Many of the pies were way too sweet for me. There was also a lot of tapioca used as a thickener, which I too like to use. And I was so happy that none were overly thickened; I like a juicy pie. Here are the ribbons, ready to be handed out.
My favorite ended up winning! It was a Peach Nectarine Cherry Pie with Sugar Glazed Almonds. Man was it tasty! There was a bit of almond extract in the filling; not enough to taste but it enhanced the filling beautifully. The cherries were dried but nice and plumped up. The sugared almonds on top were such a lovely addition! The winner, Sandra Trifilo from Glenham, NY, could not have been sweeter. She received a $200 prize and a was interviewed by Pillsbury. Here is The Winning Pie! Here she is the Moment she learned that she won.

And here is her glorious pie. The crust was fabulously handled, the flavors were creative and is even pretty when cut - not an easy thing to accomplish!Second place went to Arleen Harkins from Red Hook, NY with her Peachy Blackberry Pie; she won $100 and third place was given to Fran Conway of NYC who won $50 with her classic Apple Pie. Her crust was the best there that day. She got that crust as flaky and perfectly browned as one could hope for. Check it out:
Here are our three Finalists, left to right: Sandra Trifilo, Arleen and Fran.

I can't wait till next year! Start practicing now folks! See you there....the Fair, by the way, continues for another week.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Come Cruise the Mediterranean with Me

Ciao Friends, Food Fans and Family!

I'm excited to have teamed up with premier tour operator Gohagan & Company once again!

I'll be guest speaker and host for their exclusive “C'est Bon! Culinary Traditions” program this October 24 to November 1, 2010: Crossroads of the Classical Mediterranean, a four-country cruise aboard the specially-chartered, deluxe M.S. Le Boreal. Click HERE for an electronic brochure.

We'll be sailing from Venice, Italy, along the fabled Dalmation coast to Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; then cruising to Taormina, Sicily; Naples, Italy; Bonifacio, Corsica; and concluding in Nice, France.

Here are some pictures to entice you. First, Venice, below:

Taormina in Sicily

And below is Naples, Italy:

Onboard, I'll be giving lectures and specially-arranged tastings, and providing commentary while the ship's French master chef demonstrates a few fabulous recipes. I'll also be hosting the exclusive Gohagan & Company “C'est Bon! Culinary Traditions” excursions, which have been carefully planned to include a private visit to an historic Sicilian pastry kitchen with a special holiday pastry demonstration and samplings; a hands-on opportunity to make traditional Croatian peka followed by a family-hosted lunch featuring grappa from their vineyard; and learning the art of making pizza from an authentic "pizzeria" cooking school chef in, where else--Naples, home of the original pizza!

This is the perfect time to book, now through June 25, 2010 , when you can have benefit of the EARLY Booking SAVINGS of $2,000 per couple and take advantage of the 2010 Special Family and Friends Offer! You, along with Friends and/or Family are eligible to receive an additional discount of $1,000 per couple off the EARLY BOOKING SAVINGS price, one-time and for this program only, when they reserve one or more staterooms in addition to yours and mention code: 433.

I would love to know when you've signed up! Hope to see you on board.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TODAY Show Appearance....or The Most Fun I've Ever Had with Mayonnaise

Yes, I said fun with mayo:) In this case its Bon Appetit's take on the classic Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake - and it is Delicious. Watch the TODAY segment and see what you think.

Click HERE for the TODAY Show segment from April with Al Roker and Mayonnaise!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fun with Oscar

Ok Ok I know this is long overdue but HSN snuck up on me (see last blog entry). I've been meaning to post pics of the Oscar party I attended as it was incredibly creative and fun. My cousin worked in the industry for years and while he and his family live on the east coast now, the Oscars are still of keen interest and not to be missed. But why not make the night fun and food centered? For the second year in a row, my cousins Larry Jackson and Judith Williams, have prepared a feast where each dish is either from a nominated movie or representative of it in some way, shape or form.

The Fried Chicken from Precious had NOTHING on my cousin's version. Amazing. Juicy and super crunchy from panko crumbs.

We had Truffled Popcorn as an ode to Julia Child from Julie & Julia

Bad's Biscuits were buttery and flaky

Airplane snacks and green "alien" looking food stood in for Up in the Air and Avatar

District 9 had cat food, which we did not eat

For dessert we had a couple of options. First, a delectable ice cream bombe that looked like a bomb! An homage to The Hurt Locker

We had some "balloon" sugar cookies to represent Up:

And then we had some surreal green meringue cookies that seemed reminiscent of those roundish floaty objects in Avatar. The baker even looked up how to describe and name the dish in Navi!

Friday, March 19, 2010

HSN Cooks! 24-Hour Spring Event Kickoff

Come join me this Monday on HSN (HomeShoppingNetwork). I am bringing the pages of Bon Appetit alive for you during this 24-hour extravaganza!

Bon Appetit magazine has teamed up with HSN to bring you a fabulous subscription offer. I will be demonstrating delectable recipes from our April issue all day and evening long on Monday March 22nd. Tune in during the 2am hour, 6am, 9am, 1pm, 3pm and 6pm, all on Monday. During those hours I will be presenting our special subscription rate and you can get a preview of some of the April issue’s dishes. This is a perfect opportunity to buy a new subscription, renew, or buy gift subscriptions. See you there! Call in and tell me how you use Bon Appetit in your life - Would love to hear your stories!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine's Chocolates - What I'm Loving Right Now

Photo by Alexandria Grablewski

I love chocolate...usually dark. And since I make a lot of my own candies and Truffles, it is not typical for me to buy or even enjoy many of those that are available commercially. (For info on the luscious truffles above, you will have to wait till the end of this blog entry). Ah, but never say never, right? Every once in a while I will taste a candy that knocks my socks off. I want to introduce you to a few of them. I figured Valentine's Day is approaching and for those of you looking to purchase something new and different, I'd share my personal current faves.
Look at that pic! This is a romantic box of chocolates from Fran's Chocolates. It arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago quite unexpectedly. Every now and then a company will send me a product to sample and you know if you read this blog that I am not in the habit of "advertising" food products. I will only blog about the ones that I truly love. I opened the box right away; the sumptuous ribbon begged to be pulled open. Inside was a dark chocolate assortment that came with a handy color guide. I am a sucker for these! I want to know what I am eating Before I bite into it! I went right for the caramels the company is so famous for; I didnt need the guide for finding those. I approached the box in a restrained manner, eating only one or two at a time or the following week. After a few days the guide somehow was left downstairs and the box was upstairs; I grabbed a small dark square that had delicate lines of chocolate zig-zagging across the top. I was making dinner (yes, I know...I will eat chocolate anytime, anywhere) and I was moving quickly around the kitchen getting my pots and pans and ingredients together...and then...I literally Stopped in my tracks! The flavor in this particular truffle hit me like a ton of bricks. A welcomed, intense, velvety Raspberry ton of bricks! The flavor was undeniable. Still, I momentarily forgot about dinner and ran downstairs to retrieve the guide. Sure enough what was unfolding in my mouth was their new Raspberry Truffle. I loved it. The 64% bittersweet chocolate was a perfect foil for the fruit. This filling was incredibly rasberry-y (or is that raspberryeeeeee). Just fabulous. Another much appreciated aspect to this chocolate was the incredibly thin, fine, delicate outer shell. Its delicacy was fitting for such a lovely candy. The enclosed information informed me that the filling was made from chocolate and raspberries - no liqueur and no cream! I found this last omission to be quite interesting. Apparently the ganache filling is therefore made from chocolate and raspberries (well, perhaps there is butter) but by leaving out the cream they are allowing the pure berry flavor to come to the fore. Brilliant.

Here is another item I'm crazy about - Bissinger's Handmade Chocolate Covered Marshmallows. Drop one (or two) of these into your favorite hot chocolate and you will see what I mean. Or, if you want to eat them out-of-hand, they are conveniently bite-sized for easy eating. They are handmade in small batches in their St. Louis factory and keep well all winter long. I have a thing for marshmallows - they are very low calorie. And since dark chocolate is "healthy"....well you see where I'm going with this LOL. I am very good at figuring out how to mentally "allow" myself my chocolate indulgences and this one fits the bill. And they are Gluten Free to boot.

Speaking of raspberries and chocolates, Bissinger's makes one of my all-time favorites that I first tasted a few summers ago - Raspberry Caramels. On-line they are available in their chocolate covered caramel assortment (seen below) but if you call the catalog at 800-325-8881 you can order the larger ones in one-pound increments (and of course they can be found at their retail locations as well). I love caramel. I love dark chocolate and I love raspberry but I had never had them all in one candy before I sampled these. They reduce fresh raspberries to create a fruity concentrate, which is then blended with the caramel. The caramel takes on a ruby hue as well. And then a generous square of the caramel is drenched in dark chocolate....OMG. My mouth just started watering. They are chewy and fruity and chocolatey - a must for fruit and chocolate lovers and caramel lovers alike.

And of course if you want to make your own, please do refer to my Truffles book. The dark chocolate passion fruit ones and the dark chocolate lemon are particularly fabulous. Or, in my most recent book, Unforgettable Desserts, you will find my version of a raspberry truffle....featuring a whole berry in each truffle. Look for Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Bites in the index. And yes, these are the truffles featured at the top of the blog. A feast for your eyes, I hope!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Brewing Loose Tea - Every Pot Perfect

My last post was about my favorite tea timer, but there are several things that go into making the best possible pot of tea. It is not easy to get a great cup of tea out and about, which is why I go the coffee route on the road. When at home we can surround ourselves with the proper accouterments and brew a fabulous pot.

The techniques I use are not unique. In fact, this is the way I learned when I visited the esteemed Mariage Freres tea-house in Paris. Whether they have been doing it the same way since their inception in 1854 I have no idea, but one has to assume that they have come to use these techniques after trial and error, coming to the conclusion that it is the best way.

Let’s start with the pot. I have many, from a vintage cast iron tetsubin that my father brought back from Japan in the late 40’s, to a very modern clear glass pot made in Germany, but my favorite is my insulated pot (seen pic above) from Mariage Freres. The metal is lined with an insulated felt-like material and opens like a clam shell; there is a hinge on the back. You have full access to the ceramic pot, which comes with it, and your tea will stay hot. (I have to tell you a funny story here....the picture of the pot above was generously shared with me by Rebecca Varidel of in Australia. Mine is, let's just say, well worn, and photo worthy. I found her image on-line, we became virtual buddies. Check out her blog for down-under, insider foodie info.)

The first thing I do is warm my pot with tap water that is as hot as possible. (I remove the pot from its insulated jacket and place in the sink). I have different pots, depending on what I am brewing: pots for black, pots for green and certainly separate pots for anything scented, like an Earl Grey. The flavors can certainly cross-contaminate from batch to batch, even thought the pot material might be glass or ceramic. While the pot warms, I heat the tea water and measure the loose tea.

I begin with double-charcoal filtered water, as I do not like the flavor of my well-water. We must start with excellent water, or you will not be able brew a tasty pot. I measure out 6-ounces of water per each scoop of loose tea. Note that this is Not “a cup” which is 8 ounces. A “cup” for making tea is 6 ounces. I then use an actual tea scoop to measure out the tea, seen here below:

The lighter and fluffier the leaf of the tea, the larger the amount of tea is used. I am very good at measuring "by eye" and know how big a scoop I want from whatever tea I am using at the time. This comes with practice and also by using the same scoop every day for over 12 years; my measurements have become fairly standardized. When brewed properly in every other way, if your tea is too weak, you have probably used too little of the loose tea – and the converse is true as well.

Right before the water is ready (described in next paragraph), drain the teapot of the warming water and place a cotton tea sock over the mouth of the pot. This is an unbleached cotton “sock” where the open end is attached to a wire ring, that can rest on the top of the pot. Photos courtesy of Upton Tea Imports

The sock will hold the tea leaves and eventually be submerged in the water. It allows for the full expansion of the leaves, which means their flavor will be properly released; tiny metal tea ball infusers do not allow for this expansion and I can also detect a metallic flavor that they impart. My method also allows you to easily remove the sock when the steeping time is up. So, drain the pot, put sock into place and measure the correct amount of tea into the sock. I have separate socks for green, black and flavored teas, again so the flavors don't cross over.

For my black teas the water is Just brought to a boil, but not allowed to boil for more than a moment, lest the water lose its life and end up tasting flat. For green teas, it depends on the tea, but many are brought to about 140 degrees F. A good tea purveyor should be able to make specific suggestions as to measurement amounts as well as brewing times.

Here are two of my favorite morning teas, both black tea, which I purchase from Upton Tea Imports. These images are from their site. Here is the Keemun Mao Feng (order tea ZK98):

You can see that the leaves are large and fluffy, so I measure a very generous scoop with this tea. I brew this Keemun for a full 8 minutes and it is a bracing morning cup, which I enjoy with milk. It hails from the An Hui province in China and is both mild yet complex. Here is another fave - Yunnan TGFOP (order tea ZY51):

This tea is slightly more compact and the scoops are a bit smaller as the tea is denser. I brew this Yunnan for a full 5 minutes. If you are a tea lover you must get Upton's catalog....there are over 300 teas from which to choose. They direct import and their prices are very reasonable. Their blender, Frank Sanchez, is very knowledgeable. Ask for him and tell him I sent you! He will be able to make recommendations to you based on your palate.

As soon as the steeping time is up, remove the sock and throw out the tea leaves. Your pot is ready! While I mentioned using milk with my hearty black teas, please do not use it with your greens!

I guess I will follow up at some point with a posting on green teas and matcha.