Like most of us, Chinese takeout was a weekly family menu mainstay. When I was a young child, I always looked forward to Sundays, when my mother took a night off from cooking our usual curried Indian fare and we patronized the Golden China restaurant located a short drive from our house. On these beloved evenings, without fail, we ordered Kung Pao chicken, sizzling rice soup, and crispy egg rolls. I find Asian food very comforting as it reminds me of my childhood and good times with my family. Not being in the mood to cook tonight along with the fact that the only things in my refrigerator were Asian condiments and several types of mustard, we decided to order take out from Big Bowl which thankfully is located a block from our house.
I wasn't in the mood for wine tonight (shocking but true) so I decided to brew up a new Amaretto flavored fruit tea that I purchased the other day from Tea Gschwendner. I am a tea addict and will soon need an intervention as I can't stop buying and trying new flavors. When I was first getting into wine, I had a difficult time pin pointing fruit descriptors in wine and someone suggested that I get into tea as the different flavors can be useful in helping you build a scent bank. Whenever we smell wine, our brain's job is to decode the various compounds based on our history of past smells. The more you pay attention to smells and access and build your scent bank - the better a wine taster you become. We don't actually taste blueberries, peaches and bananas on our tongue - it's all in our head. Don't believe me? Taste something and then pinch your nose closed. Chances are you won't be able to taste anything aside from sweet, salt, bitter, sour, temperature & texture. Smells also dredge up our memory as evidenced when you smell Eternity cologne for men and you are instantly reminded of the 90's.
I brewed the tea, added a little Stevia sweetener and poured it over some ice. The fruit tea is a mixture of apple pieces, raisins, rose hips, Rooibush tea and almond bits. It really tastes like Amaretto on ice (or Di Saronno on the rocks as they like to say in those cheesy TV commercials). We ordered Kung Pao Beef, Scallop & Shrimp Citrus Curry, Spareribs and a very spicy Green Curry with Tofu. The sweetness of the tea really helped in putting out the heat and I enjoyed the almond, apricot flavors along with the exotic Asian flavors in the entrees.
Wine is not the only thing you can pair with your food in order to heighten the flavors. Non alcoholic choices such as tea can also enhance your everyday meals. Think about this next time you are trying to figure out what to drink with that ham and cheese sandwich at lunch time.