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    Dallas-Fort Worth area, Texas
  1. Thanks for the card, Nathan. You had posted the correct info earlier too. And I can imagine what you mean by Mr. Sikligar not being the surfing kind.. I should be calling his shop soon, and will post if I have better luck with that. Btw, saw the pictures from your Japan and France trips. Sumptuous and breathtaking! The gastronomic subjects are gorgeous, and the scenery in the (presumably) rural areas is quite literally out of this world. Also, the doors/windows theme running through some of the pictures is beautiful!
  2. Hi Nathan, thanks for your reply. I appreciate the info! eta: An e-mail to Mr. Sikligar bounced. Apparently his account "has been disabled or discontinued." I'll probably try to reach him by phone or regular mail.
  3. Let me add to the compliments... Fantastic pictures and a beautiful representation of the places you visited. Your pictures brought smiles (Big Tony and the Samosa Racket) and waves of nostalgia (I was born and brought up in Jaipur) and longing (I really NEED to visit Goa!) Can you tell us more about the "Organic Restaurant" in Rajasthan and the knife-maker in Gujarat?
  4. anchita

    tea newbie

    Oh, okay. I get it now. Thanks, His Nibs!
  5. anchita

    tea newbie

    Lucy, could you elaborate on washing-the-leaves-in-one-rinse-of-brewing-water part? Does that mean you "wet" the tea leaves with the hot water first or something similar? For how long and in how much water? How does this process (or the lack of it) affect the tea? Thanks!
  6. anchita

    tea newbie

    Thank you so much for all the suggestions! Upton seems to be a favorite, so I'll definitely be ordering some samples from them. I've already signed up for their catalog. Stephen, I liked the idea of doing a tea-tasting in a group setting. I'll probably use some of your suggestions as a starting point. Thanks! JohnL, I'll definitely look into the book you suggested. From the reviews, it sounds about perfect for my purposes. jpr54_, the FAQsFAQs you suggested have a wealth of info. A great resource! I'm expecting some of the samples in the next few days. I'm looking forward to that, and will be reporting my experiments/expeirences with them. Meanwhile, I'll be reading up on some of the very informative sites you all have suggested. I will probably have more questions as I go along. Thanks for all the guidance, and please keep it coming!
  7. anchita

    tea newbie

    Thanks for all the info and guidance, cdh. I was looking at the Adagio website, and they do seem to have a "tea of the month club" type thing and it includes two teas every month. Looking at the prices though, I think I'd rather opt for the sampler.. Also, SpecialTeas seem to offer comparable value in their samplers. I've seen the website mentioned on this forum, so I'll probably keep it in mind as well. If anyone has had good or bad experiences with them, I'd appreciate the info. On the equipment front, I do have a strainer, but not a thermometer. So I need to get that and then wait for my online purchases to arrive... Meanwhile, I'll also peek into the local Whole Foods. I'm excited about learning more!
  8. My only flirtation with tea has been in the context of milky, spicy masala chai. Some time ago, I was introduced to green/flavored tea, which I found very light and refreshing by comparison. Now I want to delve further into this fascinating world. Thanks to the informative threads and links here, I now have some idea about the differences between the major types of tea. I also understand that they have to be prepared differently. I live in an area where I might have access to stores (ethnic grocery stores, Central Market etc.) that sell tea. Also, there seems to be a decent number of reputed online vendors to buy from. But as a complete newbie, my problem is, where do I start? Do I simply order small quantities of random varieties from a store or website (which one?) and try brewing them at home? Or can there be a more structured approach to it? Should I first concentrate on one major type, say green tea, or jump headlong into a variety? I don't possess a tea kettle or a pot; would that be a pre-requisite or can I work with makeshift equipment till I'm more seriously into this exploration? At this time, I probably don't even know enough to ask all the right questions, but I do want to begin, and am not sure how...
  9. Yeah, running the knife along the curved part helps, but for me, it's simply more convenient not having to do that with the 'flat' version, especially when I'm grating just a small amount of ginger/garlic. Nothing beats the long, thin one for drier stuff though.
  10. ratgirlny, are you talking about this one? I faced a similar problem using it. Lost most of the grated ginger/garlic because it stuck between the curved undersides of the grater. I guess it works better as a zester and for grating stuff like nutmeg and hard cheese. For ginger/garlic, I've been using the Microplane coarse grater and am very happy with it. I find its shape better suited to retrieve the grated material, and it is also available in the fine version.
  11. Thanks so much for your response, fifi. I forgot to mention that I do have rosemary; it sits in the big top opening of the strawberry planter. I'll definitely look around for Mexican Oregano and Mexican Mint Marigold. Good to know about the not-so-'full sun.' I guess I can move the planter from the balcony to the front door, which faces east, so that it can have some shade during higher day temperatures. For the pots that are going to have to stay in the balcony, the urethane foam pots sound like a good idea! Let's see how I fare through the summer; I'll report my progress as I learn new things about my plants, and as I have more questions.
  12. Hi all, first time 'gardener' here. All I have in the name of a garden is a tiny balcony and some pots. I'm also a novice to most herbs, so please forgive my ignorance. I was, however, desperate to have herbs in my gardenening-space this year, so I recently bought some tiny plants. I've put a sprig or two of each in a strawberry planter, which seemed like a good idea to begin with, but now I think the individual openings/spouts are too small to provide much room for vigorous growth (which, I'm wishfully thinking, might happen ) We will see... Anyway, my actual questions are regarding the varieties of herbs. I would love to get to know the 'classic' varieties of herbs first, and I'm not quite sure if the varieties I have belong to this category. I've added the botanical names if that'll help (you can obviously tell that I'm new to this!) Here's what I have: French Lavender (Lavandula dentata) I really like its flavor, but I've read (somewhere on eG, where else!) that Provence lavender is the one to have.. Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis) Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum) English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Spearmint (Mentha spicata) Also, I'd appreciate if someone could give me pointers to local sources for the other varieties that might be suggested (plants rather than seeds, as I think I'm late enough in the year and early enough in my experience to begin dabbling in seeds.) I'm in the Richardson area of DFW and the herbs I have now came from Calloway nursery. As if I haven't already asked enough questions, I'd (shamelessly) also like to ask if specific herbs/varieties do or don't do well in Texas summers. As of now, all my plants get full afternoon and evening sun; should I shift some of them to shadier spots as summer progresses? I really appreciate all the knowledge and enthusiasm here. That's how I got bitten by the bug to start with, and am I thankful for that!
  13. I like ketchup, but I love its variations.. Maggi offers ketchup in flavors such as garlic-chili, tamarind-chili, hot-n-sweet, etc. Garlic-chili is my absolute favorite!
  14. if i understand your question, i think it's because when you are making the Chai you are boiling the leaves/spices directly in the water to incorporate the flavors. When you are making loose leaf tea, you boil the water first, then pour it into the warmed teapot with the leaves. this steeps the leaves. You do not boil the leaves in the water. depending on the kind of tea, you also do not always want to add boiling water to the leaves, but need to use water below the boiling point. The recipe i have for making chai includes adding the milk to the boiling water/tea/spice mixture, in order to cook off some of the milk and concentrate the flavors. But i know there are many different chai recipes out there... ← I appreciate your response, twiggles. I've been reading further and I understand that different types of tea (black, green etc.) should be steeped at different temperatures. I'm wondering why one cannot wait for the heated/boiled water to come to the right temperature by taking it off from the heat source, and then steep the tea leaves in this same vessel which had been used to heat the water. Or will the heat capacity of the heating vessel interfere with the process? In other words, is it necessary to have a teakettle as well as a teapot to prepare tea, or can one vessel serve the purpose of both? Also, what would that vessel be made of, ideally? And yes, I've known chai recipes to vary by the household, sometimes even by the members of a household!
  15. Another beginner with a question here. The only tea I've had so far is 'chai,' which involves (at least in my experience) boiling water along with spices, adding tea leaves to the boiling water, waiting a minute or two, and straining directly into cups to which hot milk is added later. There is no separate brewing vessel involved. However, procedures for preparing all other types of tea invariably mention a teapot (brewing vessel) as distinct from the teakettle (boiling vessel.) How come it isn't advisable to brew the tea in the same vessel as has been used to heat/boil the water while preparing most types of tea?
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