Category: Activities

In Good Taste: Classic Peruvian Empanadas

Our author and chef friend Emiko Davies is back with another Peruvian-inspired recipe. She and her two daughters, Mariù (8) and Luna (2), show us how to make classic Peruvian empanadas, inspired by Peruvian chef and food writer, Nico Vera. Read on to get the exclusive recipe.

Peruvian Beef Empanadas

 

I have to admit I am not very familiar with Peruvian food, so I had to do a little research to try to find something fun that the girls could make with me. My girls in particular love making things with pastry, so when I found these beef empanadas, I knew they would be perfect for the kids. They get to roll, cut out shapes, and snack on the ingredients along the way (pro tip: if making this recipe with kids, prepare extra!).

I ended up following the directions for Peruvian empanadas by a Peruvian chef and food writer, Nico Vera (aka @piscotrail). In the words of Nico himself, “Empanadas are a vehicle for almost every savory Peruvian dish. If this is your first time making empanadas, you need to start with the classic — ground beef with olives and hard boiled eggs.” He very kindly gave me permission to share the recipe (and a promise to give me his best food tips for when I do make them in Peru one day!).

Note: We did not have currants on hand, so I left them out as I saw some other recipes leave them out. We also used whole, pitted olives for each empanada rather than slices.

Makes 12 empanadas

 

For the beef filling (sofrito):

 

3/4 lb ground beef
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup currants
1 bay leaf
3 pitted Kalamata olives, cut in quarters
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into eight pieces

 

For the dough:

 

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (optional)
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup flour for rolling the dough

 

For the glaze:

 

1 egg
1 tablespoon cold water

 

To prepare the filling:

 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prepare sofrito by sautéing onions and garlic in a skillet with oil over medium to high heat. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and sauté until onions are translucent. Mix in ground beef, stir, and continue to sauté until the beef begins to brown. Add 1/2 of the beef stock, currants, and bay leaf, and simmer until liquid is reduced. Add remaining beef stock, then continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced further. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and set aside to let cool.

 

To prepare the dough:

 

Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the salt, butter, white wine vinegar (if using), egg yolks, and mix well by hand. Add 5 tablespoons cold water and continue to mix and shape the dough. Add another 4 tablespoons cold water and continue to shape the dough until it forms a firm ball (add more water or flour if needed in order to obtain a dough that you can roll without being too sticky or dry). Let the ball rest (chill in fridge if it’s a warm day) for at least 15 minutes.

Transfer the ball of dough to a well-floured working surface. Roll the dough to about 1/10 of an inch, adding flour as needed. Cut 12 circles with a 6” round dough cutter.

 

Assembling and cooking the empanadas:

 

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling to the center of each dough circle. Add 1/8 of a hardboiled egg and 1/4 of an olive to each filling (we used whole olives).

Brush the edge of each dough circle with water. Fold the dough circle in half, then seal the edge by pressing firmly with your fingers and a fork (alternatively, you can fold the edge over in sections, pressing down each time). Assemble the empanadas in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick the top of each empanada with a fork, and brush each empanada with egg glaze.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Follow @emikodavies on Instagram for more recipes like this, and be sure to check out our new fall collection inspired by Peru.

The Rainbow Connection

You may remember author and chef @emikodavies, and her two daughters, Mariù (8) and Luna (2) from our Mediterranean collection. We forged a fast friendship in Greece and asked Emiko to photograph her girls at home in Florence. Not only did the girls chase rainbows in their own backyard—but also whipped some up in their kitchen! Read on to get her exclusive rainbow pancake recipe.

Rainbow Pancakes

Pancakes are usually our weekend treat, but I turned this into an afternoon activity that kept the girls busy playing with their food for hours! We experimented with natural colors – Luna loved swirling the colored batter together, which resulted in a few multi-colored pancakes towards the end.

Ingredients for the pancake batter:

1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons of melted butter (or ricotta)
1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (optional)

For the colors:

Pink – Raspberry puree made by cooking 1 cup raspberries with a splash of orange juice (blood orange is even better if you have it!) for 5 minutes, then strain.

Orange-yellow – a teaspoon (or as needed) of turmeric powder.

Green – a teaspoon (or as needed) of matcha powder.

Blue-green – 3 teaspoons (or as needed) of spirulina powder.

Purple – 1 cup each of blackberries and blueberries, cooked together with a splash of water then strained. Keep the leftover fruit pulp to mix with icing sugar for the berry sauce to go on top!

Additional ingredients for decorations (optional):

Rainbow sprinkles or colorful fruit
3-4 tablespoons of icing sugar for berry sauce or maple syrup

Make the batter by placing the egg, half the milk, and the butter in a bowl; whisk until combined well. Add the flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the milk and the vanilla until it becomes a smooth fluid. Separate the batter into 5 bowls. Add the colors a teaspoon at a time to see how strong they are. Add more color if you like (see important tips below on turmeric and matcha).

Using a non-stick pan over very low heat, cook small pancakes (about 3 tablespoons or so of batter) for a few minutes or until it lifts easily from the pan. Flip and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. You are looking for a pale pancake so that the color comes through nicely.

Stack and decorate the pancakes with sprinkles or colorful fruit. Finish by topping with berry sauce if using or maple syrup!

Important tips: Leaving sugar out of the batter will ensure a paler pancake that allows the natural colors to come through. Cook them over very low heat for the same reason. Being generous with baking powder (or the addition of a couple blobs of ricotta) to add some lift and fluffiness to the pancakes will let you see the color come through the sides, which is really where you get the best rainbow effect. Note that the turmeric and matcha have very strong, bitter flavors, so you may like to use less of them. While they may be more pale in color, they won’t be as strong in flavor. I personally love them (they would go down well as savory pancakes), but the kids didn’t! The berry and spirulina pancakes were a hit though!

Follow @emikodavies on Instagram for more recipes like this, and be sure to check out our new fall collection for equally colorful styles.

Activi-Teas for Curious Citizens!

 

Welcome aboard all curious little citizens of the world! This is the exciting new world of learning and exploring with us here at Tea. Each week we will bring you a list of fun, creative and educational Activi-Tea’s for you and your whole family. This is a place for us to stay not only connected to each other, but to the world! A big part of who we are is a global connection. Even though we can’t physically be in Ireland, Greece, Thailand or even a neighboring state. We can still be connected globally through so many different avenues. We have traveled the world to bring inspiration not only into our clothes but into our messaging and hopefully to each and every one of you. So, what a better way to start of our list than with an activity/coloring book combining designs and inspirations from all of our global destinations!
You can download and print right in your own home!

 Here you will find not only educational tools but games and puzzles too! Beautiful flowers, magical creatures, and scavengers hunts await! From sharks to lions, we have the whole world right at your fingertips.  

 Please share your drawings and adventures with us! We want to share with you just as much as you share with us. Please tag us on IG, email us pictures or even feel free to send us snail mail too! Use the #activiteas and #teamakesfriends to let us follow along on your journey!

 Happy learning and happy exploring!

Download the Activity Book  here TeaCollection-ActivityBook

Get Crafty: Make A Paper Plate Octopus

Octopus Craft Finished

March 3rd marks World Wildlife Day, a day aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This year’s theme is “Life Below Water,” which aligns perfectly with the eight-legged friends we encountered during our travels around Southeast Asia.  We teamed up with Amy again from Start Creative Studio to create the perfect under-the-sea activity for you and your little citizen of the world to participate in World Wildlife Day.

You probably already knew that octopuses have eight legs, but did you know that octopuses live in all of the world’s oceans and can change colors to blend into their environments? While we made our octopus purple, feel free to make yours in any color you like!

Materials:

 

  • Paper Plate
  • Black, White, and Colored Card Stock of Choice
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Stapler
  • 1 Inch Hole Punch (Optional)

Instructions:

 

Step 1: Trace a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter in the center of the plate. We used a mason jar to trace the circle, but a large cup works well, too!

Paper Plate Circle

Step 2: Cut four equal sections of the plate around the edge of the circle.

Paper Plate Octopus Plate Four Cuts

Step 3: Pull two sections together and staple the ends (we recommend adults handling this step). Continue until all four sections are stapled together to form the body of the octopus.

Paper Plate Octopus Body Formed

Step 4: Paint the octopus body and allow to dry.

Paper Plate Octopus Body Painted

Step 5: From white card stock, cut out circles (or use 1 inch hole punch) to form eyes. From black card stock, cut out half circles to form pupils. Glue black circles to white circles to complete the eyes.

Paper Plate Octopus Eyes

Step 6: Glue eyes to octopus.

Paper Plate Octopus Eyes Attached

Step 7: Cut eight 1 inch x 8.5 inch strips of card stock.

Paper Plate Octopus Legs Cut

Step 8: Using a pencil or finger, wrap one end of a strip and curl. Continue until all eight strips are curled.

Paper Plate Octopus Legs Curled

Step 9: Glue strips to underside of octopus body.

Paper Plate Octopus Finished

Find more octopus-themed looks and more at TeaCollection.com. Did you make this craft? Be sure to share it on Instagram with #teacollection, or tag @tea_collection and @startcreativestudio.

Get Crafty: Make A Tiger Mask

Tiger Mask

Amy is a life-long crafter who shares modern kids crafts on Instagram @startcreativestudio.

During our travels abroad in Southeast Asia, we discovered that tigers are considered a symbol of bravery and protection in many Asian cultures. To celebrate this mighty animal, we created dresses, tees, rompers, and more featuring unique tiger prints as part of our Tiger Cub Club. We also teamed up with Amy from Start Creative Studio to create the perfect craft to work on with your little citizen of the world. For all the brave, little tigers out there, this tiger mask makes for a fun activity and creative play afterwards. All you’ll need are some painting, gluing and scissor skills.

Materials:

 

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper Plates
  • Black Card Stock
  • Glue

Instructions:

 

Step 1: From cardboard, cut out large heart shape.

Tiger Mask Cardboard Heart

Step 2: Paint cardboard heart orange. Allow to dry.

Tiger Mask Orange Heart

Step 3: Cut textured edge off of paper plate. Use the center portion to cut out ears.

Step 4: Paint the ears orange and allow to dry.

Tiger Mask Painting Ears

Step 5: Cut two white circles (from the center of your paper plate or from white card stock) and two black circles from card stock.

Tiger Mask Eye Cutout

Step 6: Glue black portion to white portion to form eyes.

Step 7: Glue two pieces of textured paper plate edge on each side of the tiger’s face. Trim as needed.

Tiger Mask Paper Plate Whiskers

Tiger Mask Whiskers Trimmed

Step 8: Cut a black circle shape for nose and glue to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Nose

Step 9: Cut stripes from black card stock.

Tiger Mask Cutting Stripes

Step 10: Glue stripes to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Stripes On

Step 11: Glue ears and eyes to tiger face.

Tiger Mask Complete

Step 12: If desired, cut out black portion of eyes to make them see-through.

Use for dress up or as artwork in your child’s gallery! Pair it with books about tigers for a book and craft kind of afternoon. Or, wear it with your favorite tiger print from our new collection.

Tiger Mask On

Did you make this craft? Be sure to share it on Instagram with #teacollection, or tag @tea_collection and @startcreativestudio.

Voyage to Vietnam: A Tea Sponsored Exhibit at the Portland Children’s Museum

Voyage to Vietnam Exhibit Tea Collection

Here at Tea, we want to give children the world. We set out to help them discover new cultures and traditions, sparking their curiosity and opening their eyes and minds to a world beyond the one they know and live in. This spring, we’ve partnered with the Portland Children’s Museum to bring you a very special exhibit, Voyage to Vietnam: Celebrating the Tết Festival. Now through May 6th, stop by the museum to experience the beauty, sights, sounds and customs of Vietnam.

Curious what you’ll find there? Long-time Tea friend and local Portland mama, the wonderful Chelsee Hood of The House of Hood Blog, recaps her recent visit…

DIY: Tea-Inspired Tile Coasters

DIY Tile Coasters

Time to string the lights, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring on the cheer! Whether you’re looking for a unique tabletop accent to rest your hot cocoa or eggnog on, or are on the hunt for a thoughtful and thrifty gift, these DIY tile coasters will do the trick. A fun project for you and your little citizens, they’re festive, functional and feature unique Scots-inspired Tea prints. Follow along for the fun!