August 22, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

Smooth, savory and sweet, Gyokuro Cucumber Mojitos are the perfect cocktail for any occasion. This drink is a step-up from your standard mojito, balanced and sophisticated thanks to a bright pop of best-quality Japanese green tea.

Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

What makes this cocktail amazing are the additions of green, fresh flavor found throughout. The base starts with Yamamotoyama’s shade-grown Gyokuro green tea, also known as “pearl dew’ or “precious dew drop” green tea. The tea adds a mellow sweetness and hints of umami, resulting in a refreshing and rich highball.

Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

Atop the tea base we add 3 other ingredients: fresh mint, wedges of tangy lime, and very importantly, cucumber slices! Like the tea, cucumber adds a mild savory note to the drink. Persian cucumbers work great here, as the slices are wonderfully crisp and not too large.

Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

The leaves of Gyokuro become very soft after steeping, so I sometimes add a few of the leaves right into the cocktail itself. This is definitely a treat for avid tea lovers, but if you prefer your mojito crystal-clear with no tea leaf floaties, just make sure to use a strainer to separate the tea leaves from the rum after infusing.

Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

These are especially great on a Friday night, when work is over and it’s time to kick back. If you’re serving these cocktails up for a party, make sure to infuse enough rum to keep the drinks flowing. I’m sure your guests won’t be able to get enough of these Gyokuro Cucumber Mojitos!

 


Gyokuro Cucumber Mojito

Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

{Gyokuro Tea-Infused Rum}- make 24 hours ahead
- 1 cup rum
- 1 Tbsp Yamamotoyama’s Gyokuro tea leaves
{For 1 Mojito}
- 10 mint leaves - 1/2 lime, cut into 4 slices
- 5 slices of Persian cucumber - 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp (1 1/2 fluid ounce) Gyokuro Tea-Infused Rum
- 1/2 cup club soda, chilled - ice

Directions:

1. With a ratio of 1 cup rum to 1 Tbsp Gyokuro tea, steep the tea with the rum at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain out the tea leaves and discard or reserve some for adding into the cocktail itself. Reserve this Gyokuro Tea-Infused Rum to use for making the mojitos.

2. In a 12 oz. serving glass, muddle the mint leaves, limes, cucumber slices and sugar (and a 1/2 tsp of the softened, reserved tea leaves if using). Add 3 Tbsp of the strained Gyokuro Tea-Infused Rum and top with club soda and ice.


 

 

August 22, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Parmesan Nori Crisps

Parmesan Nori Crisps

Cheese crisps are an ideal snack for low-carb, paleo and keto diets, or for anyone who simply loves the taste of cheese! I love how simple these are to make and how a few do a such fantastic job of satisfying.

Parmesan Nori Crisps

These crisps look like something you’d find in the snack aisle of your local Japanese grocery store. The traditional recipe calls for sprinkling them with fresh herbs like thyme or basil, but for an Asian twist, I love to throw some flavorful strips of nori on top instead.

Parmesan Nori Crisps

The briny taste of seaweed pairs perfectly with the taste of salty cheese. If you haven’t tried this delicious combination, you’re definitely missing out! Shredded Parmesan works great, but if you like a stronger taste, use a blend Parmesan and Romano like I have here.

Parmesan Nori Crisps

I use a pair of herb scissors to cut Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake into thin strips. The taste is much better than using pre-shredded nori or pre-mixed furikake, which is lesser in quality and can make the crisps too salty.

Parmesan Nori Crisps

Use a measuring spoon to create equal piles of cheese on the baking sheet. This will ensure that all the crisps bake up evenly. For a punch of heat, I like to sprinkle the freshly baked crisps with some Asian chili flakes or hot paprika straight out of the oven.

Parmesan Nori Crisps

Parmesan Nori Crisps are delicious with a cup of sweet and savory Hojicha. The crisps keep well for several days so make plenty and store in air-tight containers for easy snacking at a moment’s notice. Easy, healthy and tasty…what’s not to love!?

Parmesan Nori Crisps

 


Parmesan Nori Crisps

Makes 16 crisps.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup of Parmesan, shredded (or a Parmesan & Romano blend)
- sheet of Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake, cut into 1″ x 1/8″ strips
- Asian chili flakes (gochugaru) or paprika

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place 8- 1 Tbsp piles of cheese on each of 2 baking sheets fitted with parchment or silicone mats, at least 2″ apart. Slightly flatten the piles into flat 2″ rounds with your fingers.

2. Sprinkle some cut nori strips on each of the cheese piles. When the oven has come up to temperature, bake for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and crisp.

3. Let the baking sheets cool slightly. When the crisps are cool enough to handle, remove them from the parchment with a thin spatula. If you find that the crisps stick to the parchment, try peeling the parchment away from the bottom of the crisps. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


 

 

August 01, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Aloha Tea Smoothies

Aloha Tea Smoothies

July is supposed to be the hottest month of the year in LA, but honestly, I find August to be the most suffocating. Mid-summer in La-La Land has me feeling warned out, parched and yearning for a trip to The Islands.

Aloha Tea Smoothies

This Aloha Tea Smoothie is a trip in a glass–a drink to keep you happy, healthy and hydrated. The base of this smoothie starts with frozen pineapple, mango, and banana. For an extra nutritional boost, I like to add a heaping spoonful of Greek yogurt too.

Aloha Tea Smoothies

A third of the smoothie base gets an addition of beet juice powder. This supplement not only creates the most brilliant mauve color, but also extra antioxidants, fiber, calcium and vitamins A and C.

Aloha Tea Smoothies

The top layer of this smoothie is where you’ll find a refreshing pop of green tea. For extra nutrition and vibrant color, I also blend a cup of baby spinach into the mix. I love using Yamamotoyama’s Pineapple Mango Green Tea Powder here, concentrated tea that echoes the same tropical flavors in the smoothie itself.

Aloha Tea Smoothies

For a fun twist, serve these Aloha Tea Smoothies with some colorful drink umbrellas and lots of extra garnishing fruit. These drinks are like a relaxing tropical breeze, sure to quench your thirst through to the end of summer!

 


Aloha Tea Smoothies

Makes 2 large drinks.

Ingredients:

{Base layer}
- 1 cup frozen pineapple - 1 cup frozen mango
- 2 cups frozen banana - 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
{Middle layer}
- 1 Tbsp red beet powder
{Top layer}
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 packets of Yamamotoyama’s Pineapple Mango Powdered Green Tea
{Garnishes}
- extra cut fruit - drink umbrellas

Directions:

1. In a blender, blend the base layer ingredients together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into one glass. Now pour another 1/3 of the mixture into another glass. Leave a 1/3 portion in the blender.

2. To make the middle pink layer, add 1 Tbsp of red beet powder to one of the glasses of smoothie. Mix evenly to achieve a pink smoothie.

3. Add the spinach and tea into the blender. Blend on high until the smoothie is evenly green.

4. Evenly distribute the yellow smoothie evenly between 2 serving glasses, then layer on the pink smoothie. Top with the green smoothie. Garnish the drinks with extra pieces of cut fruit and/or drink umbrellas. Enjoy!


 

 

July 31, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

I love tea foods that are portable, convenient and nutritious. That's where onigiri come into the picture, those Japanese shaped rice balls that you can jazz up and make your own.

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

I came up with this recipe for Sweet Potato & Avocado Onigiri the other day when I had way too many avocados getting ripe at the same time. The ingredient list is simple and meatless but super satisfying.

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

There’s a special twist here that makes these onigiri extra special, and that ingredient is browned butter. The butter chars the outside of the onigiri, giving the brown rice an almost popcorn like taste.

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

For vegans, just use coconut oil instead of butter. The oil itself won’t brown, but you’ll be able to get a nice golden finish on the outside of each onigiri.

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

To go along with those popcorn flavors, try enjoying this with Genmaicha, otherwise known as popcorn tea. These Sweet Potato & Avocado Onigiri make a hearty snack, ideal for eating on-the-go or on a summer picnic.

Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

 


Avocado & Sweet Potato Onigiri

Makes 6-8 large onigiri.

Ingredients:

- 1/2 avocado, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 small sweet potato, roasted & cooled, then sliced into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 1 sheet nori, cut into 1 1/2″ x 4″ strips
- chopped chives, to garnish - togarashi, to garnish

Directions:

1. Cook the rice by rinsing it several times, then cooking in 2 cups of water (or according to package instructions). When it has cooked, fluff up the rice in a large bowl and let it come to room temperature.

2. Wet your hands and a onigiri mold in a bowl of water. Add enough rice to the mold to cover the bottom and half way up the sides. Create a bowl-like space to place the fillings. Place 1-2 pieces each of the avocado and sweet potato in the space. Now top with rice to cover the fillings inside.

3. Press the top of the mold into the bottom half to compress the rice ball. Push the rice ball out then wrap a piece of nori around it.

4. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Wait for the butter to gradually turn a brown color, then grill the onigiri for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Garnish with chives and togarashi to taste. Best served immediately, with Genmaicha.


 

 

July 04, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Genmaicha Lattes

Genmaicha Lattes

It’s most common to see tea lattes made with a strong black tea or matcha, but a Genmaicha Latte is a whole new experience–mild, sweet and savory.

Genmaicha Lattes

This is a nice drink for enjoying in the evenings or when you don’t want a caffeine overload. The strong tea base is made from steeping a generous amount of popcorn tea leaves for a longer than usual period of time.

Genmaicha Lattes

I prefer to sweeten this latte with brown rice syrup, which highlights those toasty rice flavors in the drink. The malty taste of brown sugar or a mild flavored honey also work well.

Genmaicha Lattes

Dusting the tops of the latte with some powdered Genmaicha is a tasty way to finish off this pick-me-up. The latte itself doesn’t have a lot of color, so serving it up in a brilliant teacup makes for a pretty presentation.

Genmaicha Lattes

 


Genmaicha Lattes

Makes 2 lattes.

Ingredients:

- 1 Tbsp of Yamamotoyama’s loose-leaf Genmaicha (or 2 tea bags), steeped in 1 cup of boiling water for 1 minute
- 1 cup almond, coconut, or regular milk
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or brown sugar, or to taste
- 1 packet Yamamotoyama’s Genmaicha powdered green tea, for sprinkling on top

Directions:

1. Mix the sweetener in with the hot, strained tea.

2. Fill each teacup half full with tea. Froth the milk and use it to top the tea cups to full capacity.

3. Sift some powdered Genmaicha atop the lattes and serve immediately.


 

 

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

I love spring rolls at all times of the year, but in the summer they’re especially delicious. Sips of refreshing iced tea in between bites of crunchy, veggie-packed rolls and life is good.

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

I usually use rice paper to make spring rolls, but soy wraps are a nice way to add a pop of color to your summer table. These Shrimp & Mango Rolls are a like tropical version of lettuce wraps, light and healthy.

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

To go along with the rolls, there’s a spicy green curry based dipping sauce. A packet of green tea adds a fresh vegetal fragrance to the sauce, and complements the slices of mango perfectly. If you’re craving some richness, also try adding a slice of ripe avocado.

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

I love enjoying these with an ice-cold glass of Genmaicha. The taste of toasted rice in the tea helps to take the place of a whatever carbs you feel like you might be missing in the meal.

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

When the days are long and hot, make these colorful wraps as a healthy tea time snack. The combination of sweet and spicy are a brilliant combination of flavors!

 


Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls with Green Tea Curry Sauce

Shrimp & Mango Spring Rolls

Ingredients:

- boiled shrimp, peeled (I like to use cocktail shrimp)
- mango, peeled, pitted and cut into sticks
- leaf lettuce - red cabbage, shredded
- thin vermicelli, cooked according to package instructions
- soy wrappers (I used Yamamotoyama’s Orange Soy Wrappers)

Directions:

Lay a piece of soy wrapper on a work surface. Place 3 shrimp evenly along the center of the wrapper, followed by an even layer of lettuce. Lay some sticks of mango and shreds of red cabbage atop the lettuce, followed by vermicelli. Fold both sides of the wrapper atop the center strip of ingredients, snugly. Flip the roll over, shrimp side up/ seam side down. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 3 equal pieces.

 

 

Green Tea Curry Sauce

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)
- 1 tsp green curry paste - 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp fish sauce - 1 packet powdered Sencha green tea
- squeeze of lime juice

Directions:

Place the coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce covers the back of a spoon. Take off the heat, squeeze with lime and set aside to cool.


 

 

May 23, 2017

Recipe - Soy Wrapper ›


Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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.

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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!

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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.

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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.

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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.

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

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!

Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

 


Lacy Ham & Cheese Spirals

Ingredients:

- 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

Directions:

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!


 

 

May 23, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Cucumber Sushi Rolls

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

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.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

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.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

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.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

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.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

 


Cucumber Sushi Rolls

Makes 48 small rolls.

Ingredients:

- 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

Directions:

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.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls

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.


 

 

May 18, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Sparkling Tea Jellies

Sparkling Tea Jellies

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!

Sparkling Tea Jellies

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.

Sparkling Tea Jellies

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.

Sparkling Tea Jellies

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.

Sparkling Tea Jellies

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!

Sparkling Tea Jellies

 


Sparkling Tea Jellies

Makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients:

- 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

Directions:

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.


 

 

May 18, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Sencha Lemonade

Sencha Lemonade

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!

Sencha Lemonade

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 Lemonade

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.

Sencha Lemonade

If you want a richer lemonade, try leaving the pulp in. Personally, I prefer straining the lemon juice for a clear and smooth beverage.

Sencha Lemonade

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!

 


Sencha Lemonade

Makes 1 large pitcher.

Ingredients:

- 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

Equipment:

liquid measuring cup
large pitcher

Directions:

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.


 

 

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