Which do you prefer–frilly tea sandwiches or plain ones? Personally, I’m partial to the plain variety, but I must admit–the fancy ones have a magical way of attracting the eye and setting a mood.
Delightfully Lacy Ham & Cheddar Spirals are all about the finishes and frills. Each sandwich is wrapped in a delicate pastel layer of soy wrapper cut with a decorative paper punch–yes, the same punches used for crafting and scrapbooks!
Craft punches come in so many impressive patterns. The ones used here go straight across, like a ribbon. The classic look of this infinity lace pattern is one of my favorites.
Start with soft, fresh bread. It’s important the that bread have enough moisture so that it stays compacted after being rolled out. If you can find it, super thinly sliced cheese also comes in handy. Make sure that both ingredients are at room temperature so that they’re pliable and don’t break apart during the rolling process.
Although I’ve made these in the classic ham and cheese, this roll-up technique will work with many fillings, including egg salad, chicken salad or even veggies. The trick is to handle the piece of the flattened bread as if you were rolling up a sushi roll.
For convenience, make the sandwich “logs” the night before you plan on serving. On the day of, all that’s left to do is slice and wrap with colorful lace. Finish with some chopped herbs and these pretty canapés are ready for tea time!
|- sliced bread, crusts removed||- ham cold cuts|
|- thin cheddar cheese slices, at room temperature|
|- mayo||- chives, chopped|
|- soy wrappers (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers), cut with edge paper punch into lacy strips|
1. Cut the crusts off of a slice of bread. Use a rolling pin to compress the bread to a tortilla-like thickness.
2. Spread a thin layer of mayo across the bread, making sure to cover the entire surface. Now place a slice of cheese directly atop the bread. If you need to, use another piece of cheese to cover the entire surface of the bread in a single layer of cheese. Now place a slice of ham atop the cheese in a single layer.
3. Starting at the bottom of the slice, roll upwards like you are making a sushi roll. Roll tightly and evenly. Place the roll into a fridge container, seam side down. For best results, make the sandwich logs the night before you plan on serving.
4. When ready to serve, cut the sandwich “logs” into 3 equal pieces. Wrap a piece of lace-cut soy wrapper tightly around the sandwich. Seal it at the seam with a dab of mayo. Sprinkle with chives to finish and enjoy!
Cucumber Sushi Rolls, or hosomaki, are my typical pick up at the to-go sushi bar. These one bite rolls make a delicious, light meal during summer months. I love their clean taste and how well they pair with hot or cold green tea.
If you’re the type of person who can’t stand long grocery lists, this is the recipe for you! These rolls have very few ingredients in them: cucumbers, nori and rice (and some vinegar, salt and sugar to season the rice). What makes this recipe great is its simplicity.
English cucumbers work well here, as do Japanese and Persian cucumbers. Seedless cucumbers with a light crunch and minimal bitterness are ideal. Since they aren’t peeled, try to stay away from any variety that has a tough skin.
You can get fancy here by replacing the cucumber with sashimi-grade fish, seaweed salad or a not-too-ripe avocado. The uncomplicated flavors of these Cucumber Sushi Rolls will allow each sip of your favorite tea to shine through.
Makes 48 small rolls.
|- 1 English cucumber, ends removed, seeded (or whatever is left of seeds) and cut lengthwise into 8 long sticks|
|- 4 cups seasoned sushi rice|
|- 8 half sheets of nori|
1. Place a sheet of nori on a sushi mat, rough side up. With wetted hands and a wetted 1/2 cup measure, spread out 1/2 cup of rice on the sheet of nori, leaving a 1/2″ border at the top.
2. Roll the mat upwards holding the filling in with your fingers. Continue rolling up to create a tight roll.
3. Cut each roll into 6 equal pieces by cutting each log in half, then each half into 3 pieces. Serve with soy sauce.
Sparkling Tea Jellies will add a classy pop of fizz to your 4th of July celebrations. After you’ve had your fill of BBQ and picnic fare, these gelatins make a refreshing, light dessert–like an enlightened version of jello shots!
Yamamotoyama’s Apple Sencha mingles nicely with the grapey wine base and also helps to taper any harsher alcohol notes. The tea reminds me of biting into a fresh, crisp apple–not too tart and not too sweet. It’s just perfect in this recipe.
In a pinch, a plain, unflavored green tea will also work well. Whichever tea you use, try steeping it on the lighter side to minimize bitter notes. Ideally, it should taste light and bright with a hint of fruit.
Work quickly to retain those tiny bubbles in the jello. Instead of warming up the wine itself, the freshly steeped, hot green tea helps to dissolve the bloomed gelatin. Any just-ripe fresh fruits taste great here, including pitted fruits like peaches, plums and apricots.
A pretty teacup or glass will make all the difference when it comes to serving. But be careful with how much liquid the vessel holds–although they look harmless, these Sparkling Tea Jellies are surprisingly strong!
Makes 6-8 servings.
|- 3 cups (1 bottle) sparkling white wine, like Prosecco|
|- 2 Tbsp powder gelatin|
|- 2 bags of Yamamotoyama’s Apple Sencha, brewed in 1 cup water at 175 degrees F for 3 minutes|
|- 1/2 cup sugar||- 1 cup apple juice|
|- 2 cups berries||- whipped cream, to serve|
1. Measure out a 1/2 cup of sparkling wine, then mix the gelatin in it. Set aside to bloom.
2. Pour the freshly-brewed, hot tea in with the bloomed gelatin. Mix well until the gelatin is dissolved.
3. Combine the wine with the tea-gelatin mixture. Mix in the sugar and apple juice.
4. Distribute the berries into the cups. Pour the gelatin mixture into the cups. Let chill for at least 4 hours. Top with whipped cream and more berries to serve.
With summer around the corner, it’s just about time for some tall, frosty glasses of lemonade. It’s such a treat to see the kids in my neighborhood set up lemonade stands. The only problem is that they don’t pop up often enough!
This Sencha Green Tea Lemonade is kind of like an Arnold Palmer, except that the proportions aren’t quite 50/50–there’s definitely a stronger lemon component. Swapping out black tea for green gives the drink a brighter, sharper taste and also lighter body.
Sencha adds a sweet and grassy essence to this tart drink. Honey’s syrupy thickness makes it an ideal sweetener here–just make sure to taste as you go so that you don’t end up adding too much.
If you want a richer lemonade, try leaving the pulp in. Personally, I prefer straining the lemon juice for a clear and smooth beverage.
Let Sencha Lemonade come to your rescue this summer when you feel worn out by the heat. A few gulps of this sunny sip and you’ll come back to life!
Makes 1 large pitcher.
|- 2 cups lemon juice|
|- 5 Sencha tea bags (I used Yamamotoyama’s Organic Sencha)|
|- 2 cups water @ 160 degrees F|
|- 4 cups cold water|
|- 1/2 cup honey, or to taste|
liquid measuring cup
1. Steep the tea for 3-4 minutes in the hot water. Add the honey and stir to dissolve.
2. Mix in the lemon juice and another 2 cups of water together with the tea. If you’d like, add more honey to taste.
3. Serve chilled or over ice.
What is it about spring and summer that make utensil free foods so appealing? Today I’m making onigirazu, otherwise known as Japanese rice ball sandwiches. Stuffed with kale and Shiitake mushrooms, these are perfect for enjoying as a healthy and portable tea snack.
Making onigirazu sounds complicated, but it’s really not. The easiest way to make these (and if you make them often) is by acquiring a clever onigriazu maker. If you don’t want to bother with gadgets, just use a measuring cup to make the amount of rice equal on both sides of the filling.
For better mushroom flavor and texture, both fresh and dried Shiitakes are used here. A generous helping of Lacinato kale and aromatic garlic and shallots make the mushrooms taste that much more hearty.
Did you notice how rich the color of this brown rice is? The rice looks like it’s been made with beef broth, but the coppery color is actually the result of being cooked in Hojicha tea. Cooking rice with tea adds a beautiful layer of fragrance and also a deep vegetable taste.
These Kale & Shiitake Onigirazu are super satisfying as a wholesome meatless meal. Plan on making many, as they keep for well for several days (in the fridge). A zap microwave and this delicious tea snack is ready to enjoy!
Makes 6 onigirazu.
|- 3 Tbsp cooking oil||- 6 large Shiitake mushrooms, fresh|
|- 2-3 large leaves of Lacinato kale, cut into 1″ pieces|
|- 1 cup Shiitake mushrooms, dried & rehydrated, tough bits removed & squeezed dry|
|- 1 shallot, minced||- 4 cloves garlic, minced|
|- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce||- 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce|
|- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce||- 1 tsp sugar|
|- black pepper, to taste||- 2 Tbsp rice wine|
|- 1 tsp sesame oil||- 1 cup brown rice, short grain|
|- 2 cups hot water @212 degrees F|
|- 1 rounded Tbsp of Hojicha (I used Yamamotoyama’s Hojicha)|
|- 6 half-sheets of nori (I used Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake)|
|- skillet||- work surface|
|- onigirazu maker or 1/4 cup measure|
|- bowl with water||- plastic wrap|
1. Steep the tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain out the leaves. Wash the brown rice and cook it with the 2 cups of steeped Hojicha tea.
2. Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add all the mushrooms, then stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice wine and let it cook out.
3. Add the kale and stir fry for a minute. Add the sauces, sugar and pepper, then mix everything together. When the mushrooms are slightly browned and the kale is wilted, turn off the heat. Drizzle the mixture with sesame oil and set it aside to cool slightly.
4. Place a half sheet of nori on a work surface. With wetted hands and a wetted measuring cup, measure out 1/4 cup of rice and place this on the top half of the nori sheet. Slightly pat down into a patty, then place 2 Tbsp of the mushroom filling atop the rice. Finally, place another 1/4 cup of rice atop the filling and slightly pat down into a patty. Refer to the images from my BLT Onigirazu post for instructions on how to wrap. Please note that these Kale & Shiitake Onigirazu are slightly smaller than the BLT ones, made with half sheets of nori instead of full sheets.
5. Wrap the rice ball in the nori so that is it fully enveloped. Place in a piece of plastic wrap and cut with a sharp knife to serve.
Tea and toast–a simple pairing, but a satisfying one.
Green Tea Sugar Toast is best for enjoying on mornings when you’re straggling out of bed or on afternoons when you’ve had enough and need a quiet tea break. This is a tea-obsessed person’s swap out for cinnamon sugar toast, a grown-up take on the kiddie favorite.
Yamamotoyama’s Lightly Sweetened Powdered Green Tea is great for drinks like ice tea or cocktails, but this toast is so fantastic that I would seriously buy it purely for making this tea toast. For mornings when you want luxury without much effort, all you need is 1 packet of green tea, 2 spoonfuls of butter and 2 slices of bread..that’s it!
To make a compound sweet butter, combine the green tea with softened butter. Slather this on your bread, making sure to cover the entire surface evenly, all the way to the corners. You’ll want to keep an eye out on the slices as they toast up in your oven. Too light and you won’t get that gorgeous caramelized finish–too dark and the sugar becomes bitter.
For a crowd, place the prepped slices on a large baking pan and toast in an oven set to 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. For that classic brûléed top, crank the oven up to broil. Again, watch and wait–don’t walk away! The goal? Crunchy tops and soft bottoms with a thin layer of green tea butter showing through…so delicious!
Makes 2 slices.
|- 2 slices bread|
|- 2 Tbsp butter, salted, at room temperature|
|- 1 packet powdered green tea (I used Yamamotoyama’s Lightly Sweetened Powdered Green Tea)|
1. Mix the butter and green together thoroughly. Smear an even, thick layer on the bread slices.
2. Toast the slices in a toaster oven, and don’t walk away. Toast until you achieve a caramelized top. Carefully remove from oven and enjoy immediately.
Ochazuke is such quintessential tea food that it seems like I should have posted about it long ago. This recipe is simple, humble, and comforting–the type of meal you can enjoy as a healthy breakfast, lunch or even as a snack.
Ochazuke is basically green tea poured over rice. Some flakes of fish are often used to top the rice and, if you want to get fancy, you can also top with condiments like crunchy rice crackers, sliced scallions and some confetti-like cut nori.
The fantastic thing about Ochazuke is that you can enjoy it with so many types of Japanese tea. Hojicha, Genmaicha, Sencha and Gyokuro all work well here.
This is a great chance to use up leftovers, especially if you have some fish and rice from last night’s dinner. Wild salmon is usually my fish of choice, and brown rice, with its nutty taste and added nutrition, is a nice change from the usual white variety.
Can you guess which tea I enjoyed my Ochazuke with? I ended up choosing Gyokuro for its intense sea-like taste and emerald green color. It’s one of my favorites for pairing with seafood, wonderful if you enjoy a strong taste of umami!
|- cooked rice|
|- salmon, cooked & flaked|
|- hot Japanese tea, steeped strong|
|- rice cracker balls|
|- green onion, sliced|
|- nori, cut into small strips|
1. Place the cooked rice in a bowl and top with flaked fish. Scatter some rice crackers, green onion and nori atop the rice.
2. To serve, pour hot tea over the rice and enjoy immediately!
As plain as poached chicken looks, it’s actually not the easiest to make. I speak from experience, having made one too many rubbery versions of this kitchen staple.
To poach chicken, you definitely need a meat thermometer. This helps you to measure the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast so that it isn’t over or undercooked.
Here, tea is used as an aromatic to flavor the poaching liquid. This recipe is very versatile and can be used with a variety of teas depending on how you end up enjoying the chicken.
You can use either loose or bagged tea for this recipe, but I definitely prefer the bagged variety because it makes for an easy clean-up. If you prefer using loose leaf, place the dry tea into filter bags or tie loosely into a piece of cheesecloth as you would for a bouquet garni.
Choose the tea you poach with depending on what other flavors or ingredients you plan on combining with the chicken. Sliced, shredded, diced or crumbled (the best variation for tea sandwiches!), this moist and flavorful Tea Poached Chicken is super convenient to have around for all your culinary creations.
Makes 2-3 chicken breasts.
|- 2-3 boneless chicken breasts|
|- 4 tea bags or 1 Tbsp loose leaf tea (I used Yamamotoyama’s Sencha here)|
|- 3 green onions, cut into 1″ pieces|
|- 3-4 slices of ginger|
|- 2 Tbsp salt|
|- 2 tsp black peppercorns|
pot or saucepan
1. Place chicken breasts in a pot, then add 4 cups of cold water to cover. Add the green onions, ginger, salt and pepper. Add the tea leaves in.
2. Set the heat on medium. Let the water come to a simmer (not a boil). Continue to let simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the tea bags. Let simmer another 10-15 minutes for a total simmer time of 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken breasts is 165 degrees F.
3. Remove the chicken breasts from the heat and let cool to room temperature before shredding, dicing, or slicing.
Nori Rolled Omelettes may look exotic and fanciful, but they’re actually made from the simplest of ingredients. Nori adds a hearty taste and aroma to this egg dish–it’s a lowcarb meal made with artistry and ideal for enjoying next to a cup of hot tea.
The best way to make this is in a square-shaped frying pan. Technically, this pan can be any shape, but the squared edges come in handy for creating an evenly shaped roll where nori is present in each bite.
A 10″ square pan perfectly holds 2 eggs in a very thin layer. Depending on the exact proportions of your pan, you may need to use more or less liquid egg.
When using the nori, try to cover as much surface area as possible. For my 10″ pan, this meant using one full sheet (or 2 half sheets) and an extra strip or 2 of nori. If you keep the nori in a single layer, you’ll end up with a crepe-like, thin roll of egg with a perfect spiral pattern.
Garnish this Nori Rolled Omelette with some chopped herbs, pepper flakes or sesame seeds. To mix things up, even try sprinkling it with cheese or use butter instead of oil. I like to cut the pieces fairly thick so that they can be easily picked up with chopsticks without falling apart.
This omelette makes a fantastic protein rich meal to serve with hot tea, my favorite pairing being with Gyokuro. On a table among other dishes it always steals the show!
Makes 1-12″ omelette.
|- 4 full sheets of nori|
|- 6 eggs|
|- 1 Tbsp soy sauce|
|- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil|
|- cooking spray|
10″ non-stick square pan
1. Crack 2 eggs in a bowl. Add 1 tsp of soy sauce and a 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Scramble until evenly combined.
2. Mist a 10″ square non-stick pan well with cooking spray. Set atop a low-medium flame. Pour the scrambled egg mixture on the pan and roll the liquid around evenly until the entire surface is covered in egg. Let cook for about a minute until the eggs are lightly set.
3. Lay a single layer of nori on the surface of the semi-cooked egg, trying to cover as much area as possible. You may need to cut one of the pieces of nori to fill in some of the surface area.
4. Take the pan off the heat and onto a heat proof surface. Using a rubber spatula and your fingers, start rolling the omelette upwards, away from you, to create a tight roll, seam side down. Be careful as the egg will be hot. When you have created a roll, slide it down towards the handle of the pan.
5. Spray the pan evenly with oil spray again. Now, repeat steps 1-4.
6. Finally, for a third time, repeat steps 1-4. Carefully remove the omelette from the heat, wait to cool slightly, then cut with a sharp knife to serve.
Green Tea Edamame Hummus is an Asian twist on a classic Middle Eastern favorite. Soy beans are swapped out for chick peas, and green tea keeps the dip tasting light, fresh, and deep with veggie flavor.
Puréed edamame has a lighter mouthfeel than chickpeas, and is also less starchy. I love the play on green ingredients here, from rich avocado to spicy wasabi to grassy Sencha.
Because its flavor is stronger, bolder, and more astringent, I like using powdered Sencha instead of Matcha. Sencha’s flavor profile is earthy and vegetal, bold enough to stand up to the other flavorful ingredients used in this recipe.
I love that this powdered green tea comes pre-measured into little convenient pouches. When you’re trying to prepare a healthy meal and you’re short on time, these are a cinch to use, in recipes and for drinking.
Serve this dip with a pile of warm pita bread, the best of your local farmer’s market produce, or even as a smear in a wrap or sandwich. The taste of Sencha adds a full vegetable flavor that’s noticeable but subtle. If you’ve ever been curious about cooking a savory recipe with tea, this is a yummy, easy recipe to start things off with!
Makes about 2 cups.
|- 1-10 oz. bag of shelled edamame|
|- 1/2 ripe avocado||- 1/4 cup tahini|
|- 1 large clove crushed garlic||- 1 tsp wasabi sauce or 1/4 tsp wasabi powder|
|- 2-3 tsp powdered green tea (I used 2 packets of Yamamotoyama’s Organic Powdered Sencha)|
|- 3-4 Tbsp lemon juice||- 1/4 cup olive oil|
|- 1/4 cup water||- salt & pepper to taste|
|- avocado or olive oil, to finish||- paprika, to finish|
food processor, fitted with steel blade
1. Place the edamame, avocado, tahini, garlic, wasabi, powdered Sencha, and lemon juice in the food processor and process until smooth. Add the salt and pepper. Reattach the lid of the food processor and while the mixture is being puréed, slowly add the olive oil and then the water to the mixture.
2. Place the hummus into a bowl, then lightly drizzle with avocado or olive oil to finish. Sprinkle with paprika, and serve!