Matcha

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In addition to my new lemon water ritual, I’ve started drinking matcha tea, which has some pretty amazing health benefits. I was apprehensive to to try it, because when I drink regular green tea, I prefer it to be flavored with something else, like ginger and honey. But because it’s so good for you, I really wanted to try matcha.

The proper tea-to-water ratio is about 1 teaspoon of matcha to 2 1/2 ounces of hot water. I started with the recommended amount for newbies: 1/4 teaspoon of tea, and I used a full 3 ounces of water. I was surprised by how much I liked it, and within a few days I increased the tea to 1/2 teaspoon to 3 ounces of water. I like that ratio, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll increase to the full teaspoon.

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There are several grades of matcha, from the finest of ceremonial grades, which can cost more than $60 for 20 grams (yikes), to much more affordable grades that can be used for making smoothies and lattes. I’ve been drinking a “teahouse” grade, which costs around $17 for 20 grams at Whole Foods. Twenty grams will normally yield 10 bowls of matcha, but I get 20 bowls out of it.

The health benefits are the same for all grades.

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I’ve been enjoying the very Zen ritual of making matcha, and I’m looking forward to exploring more kinds of tea, especially loose teas. If you have any recommendations (preferably organic), please leave a comment or drop me a line.

Whey to Go! smoothie

20140527-072819-26899832.jpgLast month I bought a copy of Best Green Drinks Ever. I had a feeling it was going to be a great book when the woman behind me in line at Target told me how much she loved it.

One of my favorite recipes so far is this cocoa-blueberry-kale number. It sounds weird, I knowbut it grows on you.

Whey to Go!
Slightly adapted from Best Green Drinks Ever

1 cup nut milk of your choice
1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries or mixed berries)
1 cup kale
1 scoop chocolate-flavored whey
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1 scoop (45 mg) stevia extract (I use Trader Joe’s)
3 ice cubes

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend well.

 

French Friday ~ quinoa, fruit, and nut salad

quinoa, fruit, and nut salad

Wow. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted (about a month and a half)! And it’s been almost just as long since I’ve cooked or baked something from Around My French Table.

And I’m afraid I haven’t been shooting much lately, either. Jim, the boys, and I took a road trip to Florida in March to visit family, and I didn’t even shoot much while I was there. I’m feeling out of touch with my camera … like I’ve lost my groove.

As far as French Fridays are concerned, this salad was all it took to get inspired and get back to cooking out of that awesome book.

quinoa, fruit, and nut salad
quinoa, fruit, and nut salad
quinoa, fruit, and nut salad

This salad is easy and delicious. All of the flavors and textures are wonderful. My choice of fruits and nuts were dried apricots, raisins, golden raisin, pepitas, sunflower nuts, and almonds. My herb of choice was cilantro, and its pop really rounded out the salad perfectly.

Now, off to get back in the photography groove.

French Friday ~ orange-almond tart

orange-almond tart

This tart is my new favorite recipe from Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book. (If  you’re new to this site, I’m cooking my way through AMFT with a group of cooks over at French Fridays With Dorie.)

orange-almond tart
orange-almond tart

I had never made a tart with almond pastry cream. And you know what? It is the real star of this tart.

orange-almond tart

As a matter of fact, if you made this tart with only the pastry cream and no oranges, no one would complain.

orange-almond tart
orange-almond tart
orange-almond tart
orange-almond tart

But the oranges are beautiful and add a wonderful, subtle bitterness after they’ve been baked.

Yes, this is my new favorite.

Next week: pancetta green beans
Last week: basque potato tortilla