Tea party recipes (+ how to make homemade Japanese sushi!)

I received a beautiful Japanese tea set from Teaopia at my most recent birthday party. Ever since, I wanted to throw a tea party so that I could use it. Okay, my reasons weren’t as superficial as that: I have loved tea parties for several years, and I was anxious to prepare homemade sushi, as my vegetarian, half-Japanese friend had taught me how at our vegetarian dinner party. So, I scouted my favourite foods for tea party recipes. Your Japanese tea party will celebrate  exquisite simplicity; all you have to do is create the serene setting, prepare the food, and invite the guests!

Japanese tea party recipes

The ideal tea time is between meals, but I didn’t want my guests to go hungry, so I prepared enough snack food to keep them fairly satisfied.

Tea: I served green tea, which I purchased from a store. The Teaopia tea set favours tea leaves, but leaving the bags inside the teapot seemed to suffice. The key is to serve the tea very hot and refill the pot halfway through the party with freshly boiled water! I swear the tea tasted better in the tiny Teaopia cups…

My lovely Teaopia tea set.

Appetizer: Chinese hot and sour soup recipe

Side sandwiches: Egg salad sandwich recipe and cucumber sandwich (put cucumber slices between two slices of whole grain toast bread with light layer of mayo)

Delicate tea party sandwiches!

Vegetarian sushi: Avocado sushi, cucumber sushi, and avocado & cucumber sushi recipe

Sushi is as much about its taste as its presentation.

Setting

I got lucky; my backyard houses two Japanese trees that usually boast beautiful pink blossoms. The trees were not in bloom at the time of the party, so I set up a little table with a fountain (which I happened to possess, sorry) and accentuated it with flowers on either side. Setting up a comfortable dining area by a garden should do the trick. You may also opt to play quiet Japanese music in the background (I was tempted to bring out my The Last Samurai soundtrack.)

The tea party set up.

The fountain, for effect.

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Indian Dinner Recipes

A few weeks back, one of my best friends proposed we make dinner for our boyfriends and she suggested we make a homemade Indian dinner. It was simple to make, relatively inexpensive ($15), and when my boyfriend dug into his creamy butter chicken, he proclaimed that we didn’t even need to go to an Indian restaurant anymore to get tasty food! Although, of course, we will (in fact, I had Indian food from 309 Dhaba at the 1,000 Tastes of Toronto festival a week ago and the spicy chick peas were tasty).

Looking to satisfy your Indian craving with a quick fix? Prepare a well-balanced meal of rice and vegetables with creamy Indian butter chicken sauce. WARNING: The recommended butter chicken sauce contains, sadly, a chicken ingredient. So strict vegetarians should refrain from consuming this sauce. Unfortunately, I do not have a homemade sauce alternative but hopefully the international sauce section of your nearest grocery store has some tasty options.

Indian Dinner

Mauritian rice and vegetables with creamy Indian sauce.

Ingredients

Mauritian rice

  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ cube vegetable broth
  • 1 can corn nibblets

Vegetables

Indian sauce

*Warning: the sauce has a chicken ingredient.

*Note on the sauce: I tried the VH Indian butter chicken sauce but it smelled and tasted too tomato-y compared to the more authentic flavour of the President’s Choice brand. Having said that, I still found the sauce addictive once I stopped trying to make it live up to the PC one…

Delicious Indian dinner (photo credit: María López)

Directions

  1. Fill a pot with water and rice. Add ½ vegetable cube to the water once boiling.
  2. While the rice is cooking, boil water in a separate pot and add asparagus. After a few minutes, add broccoli. Broccoli takes less time to cook than asparagus, and by sharing the water you, obviously, save water. Remove once cooked (use a taste test to determine).
  3. Once rice is ready, add corn nibblets and chopped green onions and cook for two minutes.
  4. Pour creamy Indian butter chicken sauce over rice and dig in! It makes the vegetables taste better too…
  5. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to add meat for guests,  prepare the chicken according to the butter chicken recipe below.

Butter chicken

If preparing the meal for a party or someone who eats meat, you may wish to add this concoction. Depending on your feelings towards meat, you may not want to make it yourself and may prefer to lend a sibling or family member the option.

Throwing a party with non-vegetarians? Butter chicken (photo credit: María López)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cut chicken into cubed chunks.
  2. Heat oil on medium high. Lower heat to low-medium.
  3. Add chicken, cook until it is white on the outside, then flip.
  4. Add sauce and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When you slice the chicken open, it should not be pink!

Note: Boiled vegetables lose some of their vitamins in the water. So unless you reuse the water later (for example, to make a soup) to recuperate the vitamins, you may wish to steam vegetables instead. This requires seating vegetables in a strainer, which then sits over the boiling pot of water.

For a healthier 10-minute alternative to preparing asparagus, please see this asparagus and olive oil recipe.

Do me a favour—do as we did and make sure your carnivorous guests consume their share of vegetables too!

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  1. How to host a dinner party
  2. A successful dinner party
  3. Mauritian-Indian rice recipe
  4. Asparagus and olive oil recipe

Mexican food recipes—Mexican fiesta tonight!

This could be your kitchen table! (Photo credit: iStock.)

It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted, oops! Let me make it up to you: whaddya to say to a Mexican fiesta for dinner tonight?

If you eat everything below, you’ll feel sick of Mexican, and we don’t want that. So pick and choose your favourites, and enjoy!

Click on the images below to acquire the recipe.

Mexican Fiesta

Nachos

Nacho dip

Taco salad


Guacamole


Bean and cheese quesadillas

Tacos

Taco lasagna, yum!

Taco pizza

Nacho dip recipe—supreme it or basic, both yummy!

Health tip: Buy nachos that are baked, such as Garden Fresh Gourmet chips, and unsalted. The unhealthy part of this meal lies in consuming too many chips.

Ingredients

  • cream cheese or sour cream (I prefer cream cheese for this dip)
  • salsa
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • lettuce, sliced (thin strips somehow taste yummier!)
  • tomato, diced
  • black olives
  • green onions (soooo good!)
  • a bag of nacho chips (I recommend a healthier, baked version, such as Garden Fresh Gourmet chips)

Directions

For a basic version, follow steps 1-3 (and of course #8, the best part!!). For a supreme delight, continue.

  1. Smooth cream cheese over a plate, covering the entire base.
  2. Spread a layer of salsa over cream cheese (quantity varies depending on your taste).
  3. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese over salsa.
  4. Add a layer of lettuce strips.
  5. Sprinkle diced tomatoes over lettuce (yumm…).
  6. Sprinkle black olives over dip.
  7. Sprinkle green onions over dip.
  8. Grab a chip—and dip!

Daily food group servings
Grain: 1 (depends on how healthy you consider chips to be)
Fruits&veg: 1
Protein alt: 0 (add
Yves veggie ground over lettuce, or refried beans under cream cheese, for protein)
Dairy: 1
*These quantities vary based on how much you snack on!

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    Chinese Stir-fry recipe

    Photo credit: iStock photography

    Ingredients

    • ¾ pot of water
    • pasta or rice
    • salt
    • peanut oil
    • ½ cup frozen or fresh vegetables including: broccoli, water chestnuts, snow peas, baby corn, carrots and green beans
    • peanuts
    • sesame oil
    • stir-fry sauce (eg. peanut sauce)

    Directions

    1. Fill pot ¾ with water and set to boil.
    2. When water boils, add preferred type of pasta and follow cooking time indicated on the package.
    3. While pasta is cooking, add a light layer of peanut oil to a pan and heat.
    4. After 1 minute, add frozen vegetables to pan. If also adding fresh vegetables, wait until frozen vegetables are lukewarm before adding to pan. Stir vegetables.
    5. Occasionally stir pasta as well to keep from sticking. Add a dash of salt. Remove pasta once cooking time is done and drain. Pour into bowl.
    6. When vegetables are warm, add peanuts to pan. Cook until vegetables are hot, adding 2 drops of sesame oil for flavour.
    7. Remove vegetables and pour over pasta. Add stir-fry sauce as desired.

    Serves 1 (multiply by desired number of guests to serve more)

    Yves Veggie Ground Mexican recipe

    Yves veggie ground: imitation ground meat, good for tacos, pasta sauce or shepherd's pieMakes a great nacho topping or taco stuffing!)

    Makes a great nacho topping or taco stuffing!

    Ingredients

    • Yves veggie ground
    • Old El Paso taco seasoning
    • 1 stem green onion, chopped
    • 3 tbsp tomato, diced

    Directions

    1. Pour desired amount of Yves veggie ground into a pan.
    2. Add enough water to keep from sticking.
    3. Add desired amount of taco seasoning.
    4. Heat for 3 minutes.
    5. Add green onions and tomato.
    6. Heat until warm and cooked (taste).

    Photo source: Image credit

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