Lavender Earl Grey Tea Latte

IMG_7797I’m not much of a coffee drinker, so when I go to cafes, I usually try their tea drinks. One US-based chain has a Lavender Earl Grey Tea Latte that I love, but it is outrageously expensive. I figured I could make something similar at home for much less money, and tried out different ways until I found something I liked. If you like this one, I also recommend the Pumpkin Spice Steamer I posted a while ago!

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup: 1 large or 2 small servings)
360mL (1-1/2 cups) milk
1 Earl Grey teabag (or 1 tbsp Earl Grey tea)
1/2 tsp lavender*
2-3 tsp sugar (2 tsp was enough for me, so start with that)

*Lavender is the hardest ingredient to find; you can get it at import stores or maybe also at tea stores. It’s quite inexpensive and a little goes a long way.

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer.

Turn heat to low and let the milk simmer very lightly for 10 minutes.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, and serve immediately.

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Yuzu Black Tea Cookies

yuzu cookiesI generally don’t like citrus flavor in cookies, but the exception is yuzu. If you get a chance to try yuzu, definitely go for it! It’s hard to describe, but really tasty in both sweet and savory dishes. I adapted a black tea cookie recipe to make these. You will need a whole fresh yuzu, which are commonly available in Japan in the winter, but I’m not sure about the U.S.

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp black tea leaves (about 1 teabag)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
113g (1/2 cup) butter
1 medium yuzu (for juice and zest)
6 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions

First, zest the yuzu, then squeeze out the juice (use a strainer – they have a large number of seeds). My medium-sized yuzu produced about 1-1/2 tsp zest and 1 tbsp juice. For this recipe we will use 2-1/2 tsp juice and 1-1/2 tsp zest.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugars, tea leaves, and salt. Pulse to combine.

Add the vanilla, butter, and 1 tsp yuzu juice, and pulse several times to combine.

Remove the dough from the food processor and place onto plastic wrap. Form into a log shape and wrap up in the plastic. Let chill in the fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Slice into 1/4 inch slices and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes until light brown around the edges.

While the cookies cool, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, 1-1/2 tsp yuzu juice, and 1 tsp yuzu zest.

Asian Pulled Pork

pulled porkI developed this recipe from the idea of a pulled pork with Asian flavors, and adjusted my recipe until I was happy with it. This pork takes a long time to cook, so it must be done on a day when you’ll be at home; or it would certainly do well in a slow-cooker, though I haven’t tried that yet. I always use pork loin, as it is a relatively cheap cut of meat in Japan, but I think any cut would do as long as it’s not too fatty..

Ingredients
300g (10oz) pork loin
salt and pepper
1 tsp each canola and sesame oils
1/2 onion, sliced very thinly
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
360mL (1-1/2 cups) green tea (I normally put a teabag in my measuring cup, fill it with hot water, and steep for a few minutes.)
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
1/4 cup brown sugar (if you prefer your pork less sweet, use half this amount)
1 tsp rice vinegar

Instructions

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat the oils in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the pork loin carefully into the pan and sear, turning it carefully until it is browned on all sides.

Add all the remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer on very low heat for at least 3 hours. If too much liquid evaporates during cooking, add some water. By the end, most of the liquid should be gone.

When ready to serve, cook uncovered on high heat for a few minutes. The pork can also be refrigerated after the 3 hour cooking time and then reheated on the stove on medium-high heat.

You can eat the pork however you like – add it to a salad, on top of rice with some veggies, or in a wrap – our favorite. I’ll write another time about how we make our pork wraps.

Matcha Green Tea Latte

IMG_7051This drink is very popular in Japan, and I think it’s gaining popularity in America as well. It’s sweet but not too sweet, due to the almost bitter matcha flavor, and can be drunk warm in the winter or cold in the summer. The only downside for me was that it can be expensive in cafes, so I wanted to make it at home instead.

Ingredients (for 1 serving)
1 cup (240 mL) milk (I have used both regular and reduced-fat with good results)
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp matcha (powdered green tea)

Be careful about the matcha. It is a special product, not the same as just any green tea made into powder. It should be a bright green, unsweetened powder, like these images. When I lived in the US I could only find it at Asian supermarkets, so try there if you’re having trouble. It is an expensive ingredient, even in Japan, but a little goes a long way. I bought 35g, about 1.2 oz, for 525 yen, around $5. In Japan, look for the word 抹茶, matcha, or ask someone for help.

Instructions

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and matcha and whisk until the powder is completely dissolved. Continue to whisk until the milk steams. Don’t let it boil!

When the milk is hot, pour into a cup and enjoy!

Note: the matcha powder will start to separate and go to the bottom of the cup after a little while, so I recommend stirring or swirling your cup occasionally!

Chai Tea

I love chai tea, and often make it at home. If you mix a larger batch of the spices in advance, it cuts down on the time to make the drink.

Makes 1 large mug of tea.

Ingredients
1 cup (240mL) cold water
1/4 tsp chai spice mix (see recipe below)
1/4 star anise
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 bag black tea
1 cup (240mL) milk
1 tbsp sugar or honey

Instructions

Put water, chai spice mix, star anise, and ginger into a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat.

When the water is bubbling, add the teabags and milk. Return to a simmer, and allow to simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and add sugar or honey. Enjoy!

Recipe for chai spice mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp ground cinnamon

This makes about 1/4 cup spice mix, or about 45-50 servings.