A recipe for flank steak first marinated in black tea and lemon, then rubbed with tea leaves and thyme, grilled, and then topped with a fresh gremolata.
The six of us packed into the car, we head off for a few hours of family bonding. We pull into the downtown, slowly creeping through weekend traffic and the Sunday morning brunch crowd. Stop light. Pedestrian. Train. Searching for a parking spot.
Pulling our coats close, we walk a few blocks, the children rushing ahead to push the walk buttons, which audibly tell us to “wait. wait. wait,” as they each have a turn pressing the metal arrow. The bagpiper and his jacketed terrier sit on the wall behind us. The smell of sausages wafts from the corner stand, and as we enter the covered rows, the low din of market conversation fills our ears.
We look down to avoid knocking over the baskets of produce on the edge of the tables. We look up to avoid the crowd, and we scan the market tables for what we’ll bring home to eat for the week.
Over-eager, my children approach each vendor with confidence, pointing to the perfect apples, usually loudly arguing with each other over which basket of carrots is best. I hush them and we exchange money for food. I slip a few dollars to the older kids, pointing out what we need and sending them across the way on their errands as the youngest and I discuss the pros and cons of giant apples over tiny apples, of apples that are all red over apples that are streaked with green. Then he tastes them, toothpick in hand, selecting his slices and always, always pointing to the largest basket on the table.
Honey sticks in hand, tears from not being able to buy all the honey wiped from small faces, we pass our change and an apple to a friend on the corner. Our market purchases tucked tightly against each other in the back of the car, we head to the store where the kids eagerly try the produce samples, telling me which grapes and plums are best as they hang on the cart and point excitedly to the displays. We grind peanut butter in the bulk section, and we stand in front of wall after wall of choices. Boxes of tea. Bars of chocolate. Bags of coffee. Containers of coconut oil.
The way we shop in itself is a choice. I choose to bring my kids, to show them how we purchase and select what we eat. I choose to support my local farmers, saying hello to vendors we’ve been buying from for years during the snowless months. I choose to shop in a store where I can survey the options and pick ones that are right for my family and also for the farmers in the fields who work to bring us that food.
On weekday mornings as my kids gather in the kitchen, we make breakfast and lunches with the food we purchased, the knowledge of how we eat tucked inside each bite because they were there to experience it with me. Then I send them out the door to school, where they can learn a different set of life skills and lessons, but they’re all interconnected. Compassion and care for others is tied into how we purchase food, being aware of how our choices at home affect people in our community and around the world.
As I clutch my cup of tea on my back steps in the moments after the kids have headed to school, Komuhendo Jacqueline is a world away growing the tea. She has been growing tea sine 2009 and is selling Fair Trade Certified tea, which has helped pay for three of her seven children to attend school. Her hope is to sell more so the other four can also attend. The Fair Trade community development funds at The Mpanga Growers Tea Factory in Uganda where Komuhendo Jacqueline grows tea have gone to build a well so that there is access to clean water, to help women generate income, to build health clinics, provide food security and nutrition training, and will hopefully also be used to build schools that are closer to the community to reduce the time the children spend traveling to and from school. These are things you probably take for granted in your own community.
October is Fair Trade Month, so I’ve partnered once again with Fair Trade USA to raise awareness. The choices you make in the store matter. You can learn more at BeFair.org to see how buying Fair Trade changes lives. Fair Trade USA has partnered with Le Creuset. Equator Coffee, Guittard, BarkThins, Lake Champlain Cocoa, LaraBar, Traditional Medicinals Tea, Dang Foods, Numi Tea, EcoLips, Alter Eco, Third Street Tea, Celestial Seasonings, Sunspire Chocolate, Nourish Organic Shea Butter, and Where Am I Eating? by Kelsey Timmerman to build awareness, and they’re sharing a bit with you. Enter below for a chance to win a fun prize pack that will introduce you to these great brands and Fair Trade products.
This recipes makes use of black tea in two ways. The flank steak first gets a tea-infused marinade with lemon juice. Then before grilling it is rubbed with ground tea leaves and fresh thyme. Served with a gremolata, which is simply a fancy way of saying minced herbs, shallots, and lemon zest, it’s a rather quick and easy meal to prepare.
Thyme and Tea Rubbed Flank Steak with Gremolata
- 1½ pounds flank steak
- 2 cups brewed black tea
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the rub:
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 teaspoons salt
- For the gremolata:
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- In a shallow bowl or zip-top bag, marinate the flank steak in the brewed black tea, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Place in the refrigerator for at least two hours before cooking.
- When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high. Remove the flank steak from the marinade. Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the black tea leaves, fresh thyme, lemon zest, and salt for the rub. Rub both sides of the steak with the mixture, pressing to adhere.
- Place the steak on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. Flip and cook until you reach your desired doneness, another 1-3 minutes. Remove from grill, cover with foil, and allow to rest for at least 7 minutes before slicing.
- In a bowl, combine the shallot, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Serve the gremolata over thinly sliced steak.
Disclose they say, and so I shall. I am not paid by Fair Trade USA. They do send me a package of Fair Trade Certified products to make a recipe and talk about the organization, which I voluntarily do because I think it’s important. I actually asked them to include me back in May because I think it’s a worthwhile topic to educate more people about. That giveaway image is taken from Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes. She’s hosting a giveaway, too, if you want extra ways to enter, and she made Baby Chocolate Bundt Cakes for the occasion.