April 28, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Ochazuke

Ochazuke

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

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.

Ochazuke

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.

Ochazuke

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.

Ochazuke

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!

Ochazuke

 


Ochazuke

Ingredients:

- cooked rice
- salmon, cooked & flaked
- hot Japanese tea, steeped strong
- rice cracker balls
- green onion, sliced
- nori, cut into small strips

 

Directions:

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!


 

 

April 27, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Tea Poached Chicken

Tea Poached Chicken

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.

Tea Poached Chicken

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.

Tea Poached Chicken

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.

Tea Poached 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.

Tea Poached Chicken

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.

Tea Poached Chicken

 


Tea Poached Chicken

Makes 2-3 chicken breasts.

Ingredients:

- 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

 

Equipment:

pot or saucepan
meat thermometer

 

Directions:

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.


 

 

April 26, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Nori Rolled Omelette

Nori Rolled Omelette

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.

Nori Rolled Omelette

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.

Nori Rolled Omelette

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.

Nori Rolled Omelette

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.

Nori Rolled Omelette

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.

Nori Rolled Omelette

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!

Nori Rolled Omelette

 


Nori Rolled Omelette

Makes 1-12″ omelette.

Ingredients:

- 4 full sheets of nori
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- cooking spray

 

Equipment:

10″ non-stick square pan

 

Directions:

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.


 

 

April 24, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Green Tea Edamame Hummus

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

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.

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

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.

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

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.

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

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.

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

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!

Green Tea Edamame Hummus

 


Green Tea Edamame Hummus

Makes about 2 cups.

Ingredients:

- 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

 

Equipment:

food processor, fitted with steel blade
rubber spatula

 

Directions:

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!


 

 

 

 

April 19, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

As spring is officially in full swing, it’s all about the gingham this time of year. Because I love it so much, for the longest time I’ve been trying to translate this iconic pattern into something edible for afternoon tea. Just in time for Easter, I finally figured it out, all thanks to one very special ingredient.

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

If you’ve ever decorated cakes or cookies with fondant or gum paste before, you know that those methods of cake decorating involve a lot of, well…work! Pastel soy wrappers are the easiest way to create a gingham look to all your spring-themed cakes and cookies. The trick here is to cut with accuracy.

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

All you need is a sharp knife (an X-acto knife works great), a ruler, and a cutting board. Long strips of soy wrapper can than be arranged directly atop of your iced confections in a criss-cross fashion. Even though soy wraps are more commonly used for savory recipes, their flavors are so mild that they easily compliment the flavors of sweets too!

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

Use this simple decorating technique on the flat side of any baked confection, but do use a base of white icing so that the color of the wrapper comes though. Thanks to ingredients like powdered Sencha tea, yogurt and lemon juice, this cake has a brighttart flavor, frosting to crumb.

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

Serve these eye-catching Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes alongside decorated eggs for Easter or even for a outdoor picnic during the sunny days of summer. And don’t forget to pair these moist, tender cakes with some extra grassy Sencha for sipping on in between bites–this tea time won’t be complete without it!

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes


Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

Makes 4- 4″ square cakes.

Ingredients:

{Cake} {Frosting}
- 2 cups cake flour - 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
- 6 packets of Yamamotoyama’s Powdered Sencha - 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup of sugar - 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder - 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt - pinch of salt
- 3 egg whites, at room temp
- 1 cup plain or lemon yogurt

- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp

{Decoration}
- half-sheets of soy wrapper, cut into 10 cm x 1/2 cm strips (you’ll use about 18 strips per 4" cake)

 

Directions:

Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes
Gingham Sencha Tea Cakes

1. Make the Cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the sugar with the rest of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the yogurt, egg white and extracts and incorporate well. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy.

2. Add 1/3 amount of the wet mix to the butter, then lightly mix, then add 1/3 of the dry mix and lightly mix again. Alternating, add the rest of the wet and dry mixes. Continue mixing until everything is just incorporated.

3. Transfer the batter to a well-greased 8″ square baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place the baked cake on a cooling rack. After completely cool, use a serrated knife cut the cake into 4″ squares before frosting.

4. Make the Frosting. Combine all the ingredients. Spread a thin layer of frosting on each of the cakes, enough to be opaque.

5. Decorate the Cakes. Arrange the soy wrapper strips first in one direction, spaced out a 1/2 cm in between each strip. Start placing the strips in the center of the cake, then work out to the edge.

 

Repeat this process in the opposite cross direction (2nd set of lines is perpendicular to the 1st set of lines), creating a gingham pattern. Again, start by placing first strip in the center, then work out to the edge until the gingham pattern is created.

***Serving Tip: If you need to cut the cakes after decorating, cut with a sharp knife while the cake is cold.


 

 

April 18, 2017

Recipe - Soy Wrapper ›


Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

A trip to the local farmer’s market yesterday yielded 2 gorgeous bags of produce and a bunch of organic carrots that went straight into making these Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps. For some reason, springtime fresh veggies just seem to taste better when they’re eaten the same day that they’re bought!

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

Chicken salad comes in so many classic variations, many on the salty and savory side. This version has a mild, natural sweetness thanks to the addition of grated carrots, raisins, and some orange zest and juice.

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

It’s important to grate fresh carrots here instead of using pre-shredded carrots. The thinner pieces meld into the salad better and won’t poke out through the wrappers.

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

To make these carrots, fill paprika colored soy wrappers with a scoop of the chicken salad. The wrappers are great for using if you want a lower carb option on your tea table, a lighter version of carrot cones made with crescent rolls.

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

If you can get your carrots in whole form, this is a perfect time to use the green tips to decorate the top of these carrot wraps. If your carrots don’t come with, just use some sprigs of curly parsley.

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

The flavors of these Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps pair wonderfully with teas that have a hint of orange or citrus flavor in them. A fragrant Earl Grey is especially delicious here..enjoy!


Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

Makes 15 cones.

Ingredients:

- 1 cooked chicken breast - zest of 1 orange
- 1/3 cup raisins - 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 large carrot, grated - 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped & toasted
- 1/4 cup mayo - sprigs of parsley or carrot tops
- 1-2 Tbsp orange juice
- 8 orange soy wrappers (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers), cut in half

 

Directions:

Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps
Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps
Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps
Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps
Carrot & Raisin Chicken Salad Wraps

1. Mix all of the chicken salad ingredients together, walnuts last.

2. Lay a 1/2 sheet of soy wrapper out on a work surface. Spoon 1/4 cup of the chicken salad on one end of a soy wrapper.

3. Take one corner of the wrapper and tuck in and over the filling.

4. Create a cone-like shape by rolling the wrapper up, leaving one side open and another side narrowed to a tippy point. Continue rolling the wrapper over, tightly and evenly.

5. Place the cone seam side down. Snip off a ruffled piece of parsley or a carrot top off of a long sprig.

6. Tuck the edges of the open side into the middle of the cone. Insert the parsley sprig or carrot top into the open side of the cone to finish.


 

 

March 28, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Green Tea Chia Yogurt

Green Tea Chia Yogurt

My favorite time to enjoy Green Tea Chia Yogurt is basically anytime of day. For breakfast, dessert, or even as a mid-day pick me up, this nutritious snack is easy to love.

Green Tea Chia Yogurt

Yogurt seems to come in almost every flavor you can imagine these days, but one flavor that you don’t see much of is green tea! The taste of green tea is mild and refreshing here, a gentle layer of freshness that complements the taste of vanilla.

Green Tea Chia Yogurt

Tiny black chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, protein and fiber. Suspended in liquid, they taste something like gel covered strawberry seeds. I often throw a handful of these into ice tea for a nutritional boost, but with this yogurt, you can be even more generous. If you haven’t tried them yet, you’re definitely missing out!

Green Tea Chia Yogurt

If you’re enjoying these for breakfast, use a mix of both unsweetened and lightlysweetened powdered green tea. For a dessert-like treat that’s reminiscent of parfait, exclusively use the lightly sweetened kind.

Green Tea Chia Yogurt

It’s a good idea to whip this yogurt up the night before you plan on enjoying it. Spoon the mixture into serving glasses or even to-go containers with some fresh fruit or crunchy granola the night before, and breakfast is ready to go!

Green Tea Chia Yogurt


Green Tea Chia Yogurt

Makes 4 cups.

Ingredients:

- 2 1/2 cups Greek or Icelandic yogurt, preferably vanilla flavor
- 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (1 can)
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 8 packets Yamamotoyama’s Lightly Sweetened Green Tea Powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4-1/3 cup milk, optional
- fresh fruit, diced or cut into small pieces
- granola

 

Directions:

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Let this mixture sit in the fridge for 1 hour to allow the chia seeds to plump up.

2. Just before you plan on enjoying the yogurt, you can mix in some milk to adjust the thickness of the yogurt. The amount you add will depend on the brand of yogurt you use and the thickness you prefer. Mix everything together well.

3. To serve, spoon the yogurt into cups, and garnish with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of granola


 

 

March 28, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

While roaming though Little Tokyo the other day, I was lucky enough to come across a fresh bucket of cherry blossom branches at one of the local flower shops. With a light trail of petals fallen behind me, I left inspired to create a tea cocktail that would showcase these iconic signs of spring.

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

The base of this cocktail starts with tea-infused sake or vodka. Using some tender leaves of organic Sencha, the infusion only takes an hour to develop a light and refreshing layer of tea taste.

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

You can make these with either sake or vodka. Using sake will give a sweeter, smoother taste to the cocktail, while using vodka will yield sharper, brighter and more noticeably alcoholic notes.

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

The smallest splash of concentrated tart cherry juice gives these cocktails a soft mauve tinge. You’ll be tempted to add more juice, but for subtility it’s important to stay light-handed here.

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

For an extra special touch, decorate these Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails with pickled sakura blossoms and leaves. These pretty pink drinks are a elegant way to wind down after a long spring day–a once in a year treat that’s definitely worth the wait!

Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails


Cherry Blossom Tea Cocktails

Ingredients:

{For 1 Cocktail}
- 1 cup ginger ale or citrus flavored soda, regular or diet
- 1 oz. tea-infused sake or vodka
- 1 tsp tart cherry juice concentrate
- squeeze of fresh lemon or lime
- pickled sakura blossoms and leaves
- ice
{Tea-Infused Sake or Vodka}
- 1 cup sake or vodka
- 1 Tbsp Sencha tea leaves (I used Yamamotoyama’s Organic Sencha)

 

Directions:

1. Make the tea-infused sake or vodka by combining the two ingredients for about an hour. Strain out the tea leaves from the alcohol.

2. Prep the sakura blossoms by placing them in hot water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove them from the hot water and pat dry.

3. Mix all the ingredients for one cocktail together with ice. Strain out the ice and serve with a prepped sakura blossom and/or sakura leaves.


 

 

March 27, 2017

Recipe - Soy Wrapper ›


Sakura Blossom Sushi

Sakura Blossom Sushi

Every spring, I make it a point to celebrate with sakura blossoms. These blush-pink blooms mark the arrival of another sunny time of year, and of course, picnic or hanami season!

Sakura Blossom Sushi

Many imagine the flavor of sakura blossoms as being cherry-like, but because the flowers are pickled, it’s actually much more of a salty flavor. Although the blooms have some floral undertones, sakura blossoms taste nothing like cherries.

Sakura Blossom Sushi

Since we eat with our eyes, I thought it might be a good idea to feature sakura blossoms atop a savory dish like sushi. For those new to sakura, this is a great way of hinting at what you should expect to taste.

Sakura Blossom Sushi

The rice of this sushi is flavored with Sakura Denbu, or flaked cod, which gives a mild fish taste to the rice. Like the blossoms themselves, this pinkish powder is both savory and sweet, and also tints the rice the prettiest shade of ballerina pink.

Sakura Blossom Sushi

I like to use a thin sheet of green soy wrapper to provide a color contrast to the beautiful blossoms. The crepe-like look is especially delicate, making the rolls almost resemble little cakes!

Sakura Blossom Sushi

Serve these with a hot cup of Sencha or even some of the sakura tea leftover after hydrating the blossoms. Even better, take these along for a picnic under a canopy cherry blossoms. There isn’t a better meal to celebrate springtime with!


Sakura Blossom Sushi

Makes 8 pieces.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 3 Tbsp Sakura Denbu
- 1 green soy wrapper (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers)
- 8 sakura blossoms

 

Directions:

1. Soak the blossoms in a cup of hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove the blossoms from the water, shake off any excess water, and set aside. The leftover liquid can be diluted with more hot water to create a sakura tea.

2. Scatter the Sakura Denbu in with the rice and mix together. Place the soy wrapper on a sushi mat. With wet hands, distribute the rice on the lower half of a soy wrapper sheet. Roll the mat upwards to create a tight roll. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces.

3. Place a blossom atop each roll. Enjoy alone or as a side dish.


 

 

March 24, 2017

Recipe - Soy Wrapper ›


Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

Onigiri Pops are the savory version of cake pops, those one bite wonders that are always a hit at parties. These are like sushi on a stick, but that much easier to make with the help of some delicate, crepe-like, edible soy wrappers.

Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

To make Onigiri Pops, you’ll need a greater proportion of rice to filling. It’s also important to use short grain sushi rice here–its stickiness allows for the rice ball to secure around the stick.

Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

Naturally small or tiny bits of flavorful ingredients work well here. Ground meat, finely diced veggies or even freshly cut herbs will all make tasty additions, just be careful with the amounts that you use.

Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

This is a great time to use up leftovers like grilled salmon or tuna. Even the canned variety will do. Flake it up with a fork and make sure it’s free of fine bones before throwing it in with the hot rice.

Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

Just like the wrappers on sugary lollipops, you can see some of the ingredients peeking though these semi-transparent soy wraps. A tie with twine and Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops are sure to add an unexpected pop of fun to your next sushi party!


Salmon & Pea Onigiri Pops

Makes 8 pops.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup seasoned sushi rice
- 1/4 cup petit peas
- 1/2 cup cooked salmon, flaked
- soy wrappers, cut into 5″ squares (I used Yamamotoyama’s Soy Wrappers)

 

Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, lightly mix all the ingredients together.

2. With wetted hands, shape the rice into 2 Tbsp balls. Let the rice balls sit for about 10 minutes so that they hold together well.

3. Insert a lollipop stick into the center of each rice ball. Wrap each ball with a soy wrapper, then tie with a piece of twine.