Matcha Mint Chocolate Chip "Shake"

Today’s recipe, my Matcha Mint Chocolate Chip Shake is sponsored by my new friends at DōMatcha.

I have been consuming matcha tea almost every day for the last six years.  The benefits of matcha tea are endless.  Matcha is packed with antioxidants, is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins.  It does contain caffeine (Woo Hoo!) so if you’re not a coffee drinker like me, matcha is the way to go.  As a matter of fact, the caffeine boost that you receive is gradual and steady producing a sense of calm throughout your day.  You won’t experience the ups and downs, then eventual crash that coffee brings.

I first learned about matcha tea while taking an Art in Non-Western Societies class in college.  It was in this class that I learned that this tea is used in the Japanese tea ceremony called Chanoyu or Sado.  It is a well-choreographed ceremony that was reserved for Samurai’s and royalty, but is enjoyed today by everyone that visits Japan and wants the experience (raises hand).  The equipment in the ceremony consists of the chakin (small white cloth to wipe the tea bowl), chawan (tea bowl), chashaku (tea scoop), and chasen (tea whisk) to create the frothiness of the tea.  Matcha was born during the 8th century by travelling Zen monks from Japan that brought the tea and tea seeds from China and began their tradition of cultivating, processing and preparing powdered green tea.  The ceremony was also born from the Zen monks, where they based the ceremony on the four principles of harmony, purity, tranquility and respect.

In addition to drinking the tea daily, I use it in my smoothies and other recipes.  This smoothie contains coconut milk (chilled), spinach, mint, bananas and matcha tea powder.  I finished it off with some coco whip and cacao nibs. Delicious, nutritious and refreshing.

 

Enjoy!

Matcha Mint Chocolate Chip Shake//serves 2

2 frozen bananas
2 cans (14-oz) coconut milk, chilled
1 cup spinach
1 handful mint
2 teaspoons Matcha

Garnish
Coconut Whipped cream (recipe here)
Cacao Nibs
Mint sprig

Blend all ingredients on high speed until smooth. Top with coconut whipped cream and cacao nibs

Smoked Salmon, Dandelion Green, Spinach Frittata w/ Ricotta

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  I made this magnificent Smoked Salmon, Dandelion Green, Spinach Frittata and Ricotta with my mother in mind.  She adores frittata’s and equally loves making them.  When I moved back in with her to complete school, I remember venturing downstairs to her kitchen and seeing this omelet-like dish cut in wedges on a serving plate.  I recall calling it an omelet at which point, she quizzically looked at me and said, “You’ve never had a frittata before?  Aren’t you the food person?” Yep, that’s my mama!  I remember it being cooked to perfection...custardy, eggy and cheesy.  Yum! So, I thought it was fitting to create this recipe and dedicate it to her.

My mom inspired within me a love, passion and curiosity for food.  I remember trips to New York (New Jersey native) as a pre-teen and experiencing all my “food firsts” with her.  My first time having sushi, eating at a French restaurant, and eating dim sum.  As I got older, we would continue these culinary field trips in the city, but this time I was the point person.  Our nights in New York would always end at Rocco’s Pastry Shop and Espresso Cafe on Bleecker St. indulging in a cannoli and espresso.  These days we swap recipes over the phone or when I’m visiting New Jersey, we “waste our time” in her kitchen cooking whatever.

Love you mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

 

Smoked Salmon, Dandelion Green, Spinach Frittata and Ricotta//serves 8

frittata
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dandelion greens, coarsely chopped
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup ricotta
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375’ degrees.  In a well-seasoned, oven proof pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.  Add the greens and sauté until wilted.  Add the eggs and drop the ricotta in balls in the egg mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook on top of the stove until the edges and bottom start to set, about 5 minutes. Transfer pan to the oven and bake until set, about 10 minutes.  Remove frittata from the oven.  Slice into wedges and serve hot.

 

Black Bean Veggie Burger w/ Pickled Beets

Although I consider Los Angeles home, I lived in Atlanta, Georgia for seven years.  During that time, I discovered Atlanta’s culinary gems. Atlanta’s restaurant scene is vibrant, growing, and edgy.  I basked in its rich Southern cuisine from Busy Bee CaféMary Mac’s, my favorite vegetarian restaurant Cafe Sunflower, and my favorite spots to get a burger, Flip Burger Boutique and Marlow’s Tavern.  This recipe is inspired by my go-to meal at Marlow’s Tavern-- their House-Made Black Bean Veggie Burger.  When I first ordered the burger years ago, it came topped with pickled beets (as I write this post, they’re using pickled carrots), and I was a bit apprehensive about the combination of beets and a black bean burger.  I love beets, but at the time, my ever-changing palate wouldn’t yield to the combination.  But ultimately, I was encouraged; egged on even.  Of course, the meal was ordered and it did not disappoint; and, as they say, the rest is history.  Since that time, I’ve created various types of veggie burgers (chickpea, sweet potato, and so on) and added creative toppings, some of which I can’t wait to share on this blog. 

This Black Bean Veggie Burger is simple to make and quite flavorful.  I started with two cans of black beans that I drained.  This is an important step.  In the past, I found that my veggie burger patties were runny and didn’t hold shape when frying. Even if I drained the beans, I found myself taking them for a spin in my food processor.  The result was more of a dip than a burger.  So, I grabbed some carrots, ate the black bean dip, and stood there thinking, “I’ve got to get a burger out of this next time.”  So, drain the beans and place the beans in a bowl.  Now, start mashing with a fork or a potato masher.  It's okay to let some of the beans stay whole.  I like a textured veggie burger.  Now, add your spices and a binder.  I used smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, panko crumbs (bread crumbs are fine also), salt and pepper.

At this point, I wouldn’t mash the black bean mixture.  You can either use your hands or a spoon to incorporate the spices and bread crumbs.  The mixture should be thick and firm. If not, add more bread crumbs.

Shape the mixture into 4 nice, thick patties and pan-fry on medium high heat.  Once all of the patties are cooked, start assembling your burger. 

The Pickled Beet Situation

I adapted a recipe from Sarah at Snixy Kitchen.  I was looking for a quick recipe for pickling beets and this recipe satisfied tremendously. I added coriander seeds and maple syrup instead of sugar.  I also increased the liquid to fit the breadth of my jar. You can find the recipe here.

 

BLACK BEAN VEGGIE BURGER W/ PICKLED BEETS // Yields 4 patties
Inspired by Marlow's Tavern House-Made Black Bean Veggie Burger

black bean burgers
2-15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil, coconut oil for frying the patties
salt
pepper

Toppings
avocado
arugula
½ cup of pickled beets
hamburger buns

pickled beets (adapted from Snixy Kitchen)
1 medium beet, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Put the beans in a bowl and mash the beans with a fork or a potato masher. Next, add the next 5 ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper. Form 4 patties.  They should be thick patties about the size of your hamburger bun.  Cook patties for about 4 minutes on each side or until a nice crust develops on top of them.  Once patties are cooked through, set aside on a plate and begin assembly of your burger.

For the pickled beets, shred beets in a food processor fitted with your shredding disc.  If you don’t have a food processor, a hand-held shredder will work just fine.  Place the shredded beets in a jar.  Add the boiling water, salt, maple syrup, coriander seeds and vinegar.  Seal the jar and place in the fridge to pickle for about 30 minutes.  The pickled beets can be stored in your fridge for up to a month.