Tea has always been a great means by which people can sit around, catch up and bond. So what better spokesperson for Pure Leaf's new home brewed tea than family and at home personality Daphne Oz?
Oz sat down with a crowd to talk about her new collaboration with Pure Leaf, and her tips for hosting before speaking to me personally. She urged the crowd to try the indulgent blueberry tea cakes that she had prepared (and for which she shares a recipe in her new cookbook The Happy Cook), saying that they are her attempt at recreating boxed cake mix.
Sometimes you really just need that easy-to-make treat.
Daphne Oz is all about accessibility. Her first book, The Dorm Room Diet, helps college students make food that is easy and healthy, and her new book is full of all new healthy and tasty recipes. She is chock full of wisdom from kids to party planning.
Daphne got involved with Pure Leaf a few months ago, but tea has always been a big part of her life. "I would come home from school and have tea with my mom and [we would] talk about our days," she said.
Tea also plays a huge role in her cooking, especially recently. "Tea is very underrated. It can be used the same way as you would use wine, like to deglaze a pan." She mentioned it goes great with any meat from short ribs to chicken.
After trying her cakes, I had to ask, with a father like Dr. OZ, was cake a big no-no growing up? In short, no. Oz says her father encouraged them to "always say yes to adventure, try new things."
He instilled a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and always made them feel good about indulging every once in a while. She would never encourage you to miss out on these either.
She also loves the idea of experimenting. "Cooking is experimentation," according to Oz, and since her mother and grandmother, and even herself for a brief time, are vegetarians, she loves using vegetables as main dishes. "Anyone can make bacon and butter and sugar taste good," but it takes skills to make a vegetable that is usually a side dish shine.
And when it comes to dessert, "Sundaes are your friend." She recommends putting together some sundaes (like this amazing creation) because they're easy and makes everyone happy. Party planning shouldn't be hard and you should be able to act as a guest at your party instead of running around like crazy. "You should be relaxed. If you are then your guests will be too."
And when she doesn't feel like cooking, she loves digging into some fancy foreign fare. Some of her favorite include Balaboosta for Lebonese, Babo for fancy occasions, Uncle Boon for Thai food, and Aba for Turkish cuisine.
As with other chefs, I had to ask Daphne how she solves some pressing food debates:
Should pizza be folded or eaten open?
Hot dogs with ketchup or mustard?
Thoughts on french fry dipping in milkshakes/Frosty's?
DO: I've tried it, but shakes are creamy and cold, and fries are crispy and hot. So the combination is cold and soggy and not for me.
How should you really eat an Oreo?
DO: Twist and lick the cream, then dunk the cookie in milk. But if you really want a great Oreo, you should make it yourself.
Coke or Pepsi?
DO: If I have to choose, I'd have Coke, but now I drink less soda and prefer sparkling water.
Best way to cook steak?
DO: Medium/medium rare with a nice dark brown crust and basted with butter. And always serve it hot.
Daphne also came out with a new cookbook called The Happy Cook. Check out her recipe for some incredible Blueberry Tea Cake, and grab a copy for some more tips and great recipes.
Daphne Oz's Blueberry Tea Cake
- Prep Time:20 mins
- Cook Time:1 hr 15 mins
- Total Time:1 hr 35 mins
- 2 stick 8 ounce plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
- 21/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square cake pan with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter, lay down two sheets of parchment paper perpendicular to each other, leaving overhang to use as tabs to lift the cake out when it is cooked, and grease again with another 1/2 tablespoon butter.
To make the streusel, in a medium bowl, whisk together 11/4 cups of the flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave. Drizzle in the melted butter and use a fork to stir the mixture together until large streusel-like crumbs form. Set the streusel aside.
To make the batter, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 11/4 cups of the flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the granulated sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar and 10 tablespoons butter and cream on low speed until the mixture is combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and cream until the butter is airy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
Reduce the speed to medium-low and add half the reserved flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture, then the rest of the flour mixture, mixing until combined and scraping down the bowl as needed. Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the blueberries.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top evenly with the streusel and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a crumb or two attached. The top will be a rich golden brown under the streusel, and the cake will give springy resistance to pressure.
Use the parchment paper to remove the cake from the pan, then discard and cool the cake completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve, or cover with a dome or plastic wrap for up to 3 days (though there’s no chance it lasts that long in your kitchen).
#SpoonTip: This batter works very nicely in a muffin tin, a loaf pan, or practically any baking dish. The cook time will vary depending on whether you use a dark coated pan, cast iron, or glass dish, so just keep an eye out for the golden brown top and springy texture to make sure you don’t overcook.
From THE HAPPY COOK by Daphne Oz. Copyright © 2016 by Daphne Oz. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.