My friends know me well. Teas from near and far show up in pretty bags, with smiles and tales of "you've got to try this one!" Or "it's like drinking Champagne, I'm telling you!" and exclamation points run rampant. I love this. What a joy to give and receive something that transforms water into celebration. Last week Adrian came by with an outrageous princess tea cup (more on that soon) and the promise of a few teas she'd sampled in Hong Kong. A few days later, Coconut Pouchong was brewing . . . Little did I know this long leafed green tea imbued with the most captivating, REAL coconut flavor would seduce me into an imaginary stroll along a palm tree-lined path, a soothing tropical breeze whispering in my ear and a sleepy sunset in the distance. Transported I was from the grey, wet, difficult winter of Portland . . . The tea banished the rain and ushered in bright snacks too.
About that snack -- What to pair with this pleasant, aromatic brew? Why certainly a little canape of sprouts, mascarpone cheese, pickled onions, smoked sesame seeds and Jacobsen's Pinot Noir salt. Don't you love it when your hunch for pluck, rich, tart, crunch and smoke hits the mark? Bulls eye. I'd serve these little beauties to guests in a heart beat. However a plate of the canapes for just me made a rather fancy and colorful lunch, simple and surprising.
And the sprouts, I grew them! My black thumb was dusted off as another friend of mine gifted me a sprout-growing kit (a mason jar with a special lid is all it is) and armed me with some easy instructions for care. I am so pleased with the results, the sprouts have much more spicy, sproutey, flavor than any I've bought in those sad plastic containers. After about a week of rinsing my sprout seeds (an assortment of dill, clover, onion and mustard) and shaking them dry, I have a full quart of healthy, happy sprouts to sprinkle on all my meals. I highly recommend trying this sprouting adventure out -- it's easy even for the gardening-challenged such as I.
Mascarpone Sprout Canapes with Pickled Onion, Smoked Sesame Seeds & Wine Salt
serves 1 as a light lunch
10 crackers (I used these Edward & Sons baked Brown Rice snaps I like)
1 dollop of mascarpone cheese
sprinkle of sprouts
sprinkle of smoked sesame seeds and Jacobsen Pinot Noir Salt
to make quick pickled onions:
- slice or dice 1/2 of a red onion
- cover in red wine vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar and pinch of salt for at least 30 minute
- keep covered in the fridge for up to a week -put on everything!
- spread each cracker with a smidge of mascarpone - the cheese is rich, so a little goes a long way
- top with sprouts and finish with a few pickled onions, sesame seeds and salt
- the canapes don't keep very well, so just make as many as you'd like to eat, right then and there!
*Coconut Pouchong Tea can be purchased here.