Category Archives: TGRWT

TGRWT #20: Pumpkin and Cooked Chicken

This month’s TGRWT is being hosted by John Sconzo over at docsconz. There is some good discussion this page as to the definition of ‘Cooked Chicken’, and I think the conclusion was, as opposed to roasted (as opposed to Raw Chicken).

This is one of those pairings that is a little easier to combine, and google will refer people to all kinds of recipes from different cultures. Some commonalities will include:

  1. Rice dishes. Chicken/Pumpkin Risotto? How about we move over a a bunch of time zones make it a Pulao.
  2. Curries/Sauces. Both ingredients hold up well with anything curry-like or even sauces like a mole.
  3. Soups/Stews. You can also use both of these ingredients in a soup or stew from any cuisine that has something kinda pumpkin’y/squashy. Pureed Pumpkin Soup topped with chicken. Both ingredients in a more simple stock. Anything goes.
  4. Use of Pumpkin Seeds. Awesome tossed with salt and some spices then roasted. Can be used as a garnish or as part of a sauce (see Mole).

Just remember the deadline is coming up on December 8th.


TGRWT #19 Tomato and Tea: Round Up

Hi TGRWTers!

Tomato and Tea seemed to have pretty mixed results. I think there is a tremendous number of possibilities with these two ingredients, especially with tea. Black tea has a bazillion different varieties, which: can be used to smoke, can be steeped into a liquid, added to a crust or rub, etc.

Lapsang Souchong Tomato Bisque and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

Lapsang Souchong Tomato Bisque and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini

Leanne Opaskar made a
Lapsang Souchong Tomato Bisque and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini. She writes:

The soup is smooth, tomatoey, smokey, and pretty tasty. I’d like to play with the balance of flavors just a bit, because I’d like a little more depth with the clove and anise flavors. They’re kind of swallowed up in the smokey tea taste. This is very satisfying for a first pass, though.

The crostini are also tasty, but there’s really not much tea flavor to them. I’m not quite sure how I’d play with that to improve it, but they taste good as it is. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I should have saved the soaking liquid — it would have made a fascinating vegetable stock.

Black Tea Souffle with Caramelized Tomato-Plum Sauce

Black Tea Souffle with Caramelized Tomato-Plum Sauce

From Lab To Kitchen whipped up a Black Tea Souffle with Caramelized Tomato-Plum Sauce. She writes:

The souffles tasted really good (pretty much like tapioca milk tea in a warm and fluffy form), and so did the sauce (tartness of the plum, sweetness of the tomato). And did TGRWT? Overall, I thought this was an eccentric but successful pairing. When I first smelled the tomato and black tea together, I thought it made sense–it reminded me almost of a tomato and herb combination. Implementing it was more difficult, but nonetheless, I thought the bold and earthy black tea was offset well against the sweet and tart tomato-plum combo. The tomato here showed off its true “fruitiness”, being treated as such in the puree, but it also kept its distinctive “heartiness” in the aftertaste.

five o'clock bloody mary

five o'clock bloody mary

Anu Hopia, Elli Laukkanen and Kristiina Niemi over at molekyyligastronomia went to the bar to make us a tea infused bloody mary.

Tea and tomato worked well together & tea made tomato smoothie flavor rounder and also more complex. This is actually a nice version of Bloody Mary for those who prefer lighter drink for a change. The tea flavor was not too strong: if one does not know about the tea, it would be difficult to identify it from the smoothie. However, as we compared smoothie with hot water only, the difference was obvious and it was not difficult to pick the watery version out. The acidity decreased and the tea versions were significantly less acidic.

Chicken Breast With Tomato Tea Sauce

Chicken Breast With Tomato Tea Sauce

Linda Roberts wrote in to tell us about her Chicken Breast with Tea Tomato Sauce

First I simply sliced the tomatoes. Before taste testing them with tea I tasted them plain, with soy sauce, and with a blend of soy sauce and sugar (just a tiny tiny bit, don’t tell!). Then I tried sprinkling the instant tea powder on the tomatoes. I didn’t really like the results at this point, but I had a subtle sense of what this pairing could turn into.

At this point I dumped the can of tomatoes into the Vitamix machine (a food processor or blender would work as well) with a heaping teaspoonful of the tea powder. Gave it a whir. Guess what! That was IT! I really liked the results, the tea really did enhance the tomato flavor. So I served it up with my piece of chicken breast, added some nori flakes and sliced tomato for garnish – it was tasty! Even if I were not on the diet from hell, I don’t think I would want to add anything else to this sauce, but I think it might also go well with meatballs and pasta.

Rukiiset tomaattimuffinssit black tea

Rukiiset tomaattimuffinssit black tea

The Finnish blog, Sisters Cook, rocked it out with a Rukiiset tomaattimuffinssit black tea. I am pretty confident tomattimuffinssit means something akin to “tomato muffin”.

Was it then the black thanks to the tea or not? I think it is a bit difficult to say what proportion of the black tea is a taste of the end. Although the first to separate the black tea properly when the mouth is full of muffaria, after taste is clearly yes black tea aroma. […] Maybe Assamissa would have been even more taste and half-dried tomatoes would have emphasized better than this sekoitelmani fresh and sun-dried?

Bill Trost wrote in to tell us about his lasagne making adventures:

Details on the lasagne: I made my own lasagne noodles using the pasta recipe from _La Tavola Italiano_, and throwing in a bit of homemade pesto. So much for simple! The pesto didn’t seem to add much flavor, but the pine nuts certainly added to the texture of the noodles. After spreading a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom, I spread out a layer of noodles, a layer of ricotta thinned a bit with the tea so that it would spread easily, a thin layer of mozzarella, and a grating of parmigiano, and then the next layer of pasta et seq, ending with a layer of pasta, the bulk of the tomato sauce, and another grating of parmigiano. All told, it was about two eggs-worth of pasta, a pound of ricotta, a pound of mozarella, and a fair amount less parmigiano.

The lasagne I served at the dinner party was rather disappointing. The lasagne as a whole lacked depth, possibly because I didn’t bake it long enough or because I served it too soon after baking. The leftovers were much better. The sauce tasted like — well, roasted tomatoes, but the sauce never did develop any depth. The tea didn’t seem to have any impact at all.

What? You made it through the whole post? Well, here is my entry:

I made a vietnamese-ish summer roll, steeping the rice vermicelli in pot of a smoky tea (I think it was Lapsang Souchong). Then I took the tomato and just julienned it and rolled it up in rice paper with some fresh herbs, the tea infused vermicelli, and some fried tofu. The tea infused vermicelli was nice, didn’t necessarily feel any benefit for having used the tomatoes, or synergy with the tea. Also, not super inspired, but I was crazy exhausted.

TGRWT 19: Tomato And Black Tea

Special Note: We are extending the TGRWT#19 deadline to October 5th!

Hot on the heels of TGRWT18, Martin Lersch was foolish kind enough to let me host TGRWT 19. In case you’ve forgotten, They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT) is a challenge where you are encouraged to find creative ways of pairing flavors (that may sound unusual) but have one or more key odorants in common.

I’ve written and quasi-contributed to TGRWT several times, mostly cause I think it gets you thinking about food. If Michael Pollan is right, then now more than ever we need ways to inspire people to actually cook.

This isn’t a competition, as such there can be no winner and there will be no fabulous prizes.

But, maybe, just maybe, you can use this to get your creative juices going, and find your way back into your poor, neglected kitchen. I wanted to choose common ingredients that were familiar, seasonal and could still be exciting for people to riff on. I also wanted to choose things that would let our vegetarian/vegan friends contribute.

While you go and look at the fancy logo and the guideline, I’m going to go and enjoy a refreshing, venti tomato-chai latte. Ciao!

I am Jack's Fancy Logo (color coded with the ingredients).

This is how you can participate in TGRWT #19:

  1. Prepare a dish that combines tomato and black tea. You can either use an existing recipe (if there is any) or come up with your own.
  2. Take a picture of the dish and write an entry in your blog by October 1stOctober 5th with TGRWT #19 in the title. Readers will be particularly interested in how the flavour pairing worked out, so make an attempt at describing the taste and aroma and whether you liked it or not.
  3. A round-up will be posted here (with pictures). Please send an email to with the following details: Your name, URL of blog, URL of the TGRWT #19 post and a picture for your entry in the round-up. If you don’t have a blog, email me your name, location, recipe and a brief description of how it worked out and I’ll be glad to include it in the final round-up.

TGRWT17 Redux: Apple/Rose

This post is available on my new blog, located at

Two months in a row with rose based food pairings. This time it’s Apple/Rose. It is pretty hard to get around the whole persian/middle eastern connection. So I am not going to shock you with MORABAA-YEH SEEB, an apple jam with citrus (usually lime, sometimes lemon) and rosewater. Will you be dazzled with the Rose Scented Apple Pie? What if I were to tell you of a tree that produces a fruit called the Rose Apple, which is neither Rose nor Apple and is yet reminiscent of both?


That’s right… the Syzygium jambos produces a fruit that is according to some random sources on the internet both apple and rose like. The above picture comes from here, where you can also find some recipes.

I think when:

  • nature itself
  • the ancient persians, and
  • the mother-f’n food network

have managed to combine the two flavors, we can call this pairing a lay up.

Thoughts on TGRWT16: Chicken and Rose

TGRWT-16 was Chicken and Rose. I am pretty late to the party on posting this, but the gears of work are grinding away at my free time. However, I did make a note to myself:

I am sure there is a persian or middle eastern recipe for this already. Something old school.

Googling around, I did manage to find a recipe:

Take Orenges or Lemmons pilled, and cutte them the long way, and if you can keepe your cloves whole and put them into your best broth of Mutton or Capon with prunes and currants and three or fowre dates, and when these have beene well sodden put whole pepper, great mace, a good peece of suger, and some rose water, and either white or claret Wine, and let all these seeth together a while, & so serve it upon soppes with your capon.

So old school, this recipe is simply called “To Boile A Capon With Orenges And Lemmons” and which according to the some random site on the internet was first published in the 1594 classic cookbook, The Good Huswife’s Handmaide For the Kitchen. This shakespearian era cookbook was one of the earliest cookbooks targetted towards the middle class (perhaps because that was the first time in history the middle class was literate). As you may know, I am not going to rely on just one random internet website when I can rely on a couple. Ay, there’s the rub.

That SCA joinin’, armour wearin’, spellin’ armor ‘armour’ wearing mother fucker had his attribution totally wrong. The true source of this recipe is from the way more contemporary smash hit The Good Huswife’s Jewell of 1596. There is a similarly named recipe in The Good Huswife’s Handmaide For The Kitchen called confusingly enough “To Boyle A Capon With Orenges Or Lemmons”.

The recipe from that book is:

Take your Capon and boyle him tender,
and take a litle of the broth when it is boiled,
and put it into a pipkin, with Mace and
Sugar a good deale, and pare three Orenges
and pill them, and put them in your pipkin,
and boyle them a litle among your broth, and
thicken it with wine and yolks of Egges, and
Sugar a good deale, and salt but a litle, and
set your broth no more on the fyre, for quailing,
and serue it in without sippets.

Well, Boyle Me Tender

So anyways, we clearly have evidence of Chicken and Rose flavor pairings dating back to a time where our mouth breathing ancestors could point at someone, call them a witch and then burn them alive. Today, we could do it a little more humanely. Like vaccuum seal them and toss them in a temperature controlled waterbath at the precise temperature required to kill a witch (note to nathanm/baldwin or keller/ruhlman: please produce a temperature chart for properly cooking witches at various thicknesses).

Now that I’ve gotten all Federman on you, allow me to get back on topic…

Apart from Elizabethan era cookbooks, you are most likely going to find rosewater in middle eastern/persian recipes. For example, Djaj Bel Loz (Chicken with Almonds and Honey) is a Moroccan dish that can contain rosewater. Feeling some south of the border love? Try adapting the Quail With Rose Petals recipe found in Like Water For Chocolate.

I am going to call this flavor pairing a win.