December 28, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

We often think of mochi as a sweet treat, but have you ever tried a savory kind? In Japanese culture, rice cakes are a traditional food enjoyed during New Year’s. This version, also known as Isobeyaki Mochi, is nothing more than plain mochi that’s been painted with a sweet soy glaze and then wrapped in crispy nori. A simple recipe, but fantastically delicious!

Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

If you live close to a Japanese market, the plain mochi can easily be purchased premade. The store-bought version is called Kirimochi, and comes in hard, individually wrapped pieces. If it’s not easily found, then you can do as I have here and make your own plain (i.e. unsweetened) mochi at home.

Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

It’s essential to wrap a rich piece of seaweed around the sweet and salty mochi straight out of the frying pan. Enjoy hot with a cup of Japanese green tea (I prefer a strong one, like Gyokuro here) and you have one exceptionally tasty tea snack. For sweet mochi lovers who haven’t tried a savory version, this is crunchy, chewy creation shouldn’t be missed!

Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

 


Savory New Year’s Mochi (a.k.a. Isobeyaki Mochi)

Makes 16 small pieces.

Ingredients:

- Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake nori, to wrap mochi
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
{Homemade Plain Mochi OR pre-made Kirimochi}
- 2 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 3/4 tsp salt - 1 1/4 cups water
{Sauce}
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce - 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Directions:

1. Make the mochi by mixing all the mochi ingredients together to create a dough. Place this in an 8″ square, greased pan that is microwave safe. Use a spatula to even out the dough in the pan. Microwave on medium-high for 10-12 minutes until just cooked and translucent looking. Let the mochi cool, then cut into 16 pieces.

2. In a small pot, heat the soy sauce with the brown sugar until it dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Pan fry the mochi pieces for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Brush the mochi with the sweet soy sauce, then wrap with small pieces of nori to serve.


 

 

December 28, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Green Tea Ramen

Green Tea Ramen

During wintertime, piping-hot bowls of soup noodles are pure comfort. This recipe for Green Tea Ramen combines 2 of my favorite ingredients–store-bought bone broth and green tea. Together, these are a healthy and hearty match made in heaven!

Green Tea Ramen

Many types of noodles will work well here–Shirataki, udon, soba, and of course–ramen! The key to making a rich broth at a moment’s notice is to start off with nourishing bone broth. You can buy this at health food stores in the soup aisle or in the frozen section. To make an enriched broth, simply steep some Sencha in the broth after it reaches a boil.

Green Tea Ramen

Green Tea Ramen is perfect for chilly days and especially wonderful when you’re feeling under the weather. Top with a rainbow of colorful toppings and you have a super-satisfying and picturesque winter meal!

 


Green Tea Ramen

Makes 1 big bowl.

Ingredients:

- 1 serving of soup noodles, cooked according to package directions, then drained toppings
  (I used grated carrot, mushrooms, greens, ramen eggs, fish cake & black sesame seeds)
- 2 1/2 cups bone broth
- 2 tsp Yamamotoyama’s loose-leaf Sencha or 2 Sencha tea bags
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- squeeze of lemon

Directions:

1. Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add the toppings and set aside.

2. In a pot, bring the bone broth to a boil. When the broth reaches a boil, turn off the heat and steep the green tea according to package instructions. Remove the tea leaves, then add the ginger and soy sauce. Bring the broth back to a boil, then turn off heat and add the lemon juice.

3. Pour the broth atop the noodles and enjoy!


 

 

December 07, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Genmaicha Mendiants

Genmaicha Mendiants

Gourmet and easy-to-make is always a winning combination around the holidays, and that’s where Genmaicha Mendiants should come into your holiday plans. French chocolate mendiants are usually studded with nuts and dried fruit, but here I’ve flecked them with loose-leaf green tea and roasted brown rice.

Genmaicha Mendiants

There’s nothing like a fresh cup of toasty, nutty Genmaicha. The tea is used in 2 forms here. First, a powder is mixed in with the melted chocolate before it’s formed. Later the tender whole leaves and crunchy rice pieces are scattered on top.

Genmaicha Mendiants

Although I usually prefer dark chocolate, the Genmaicha powder pairs especially well with either milk or semi-sweet chocolate. The toasty notes are more noticeable this way, where the taste of dark chocolate would be too strong.

Genmaicha Mendiants

Another pretty alternative is to use white chocolate, which allows the beautiful green color of the tea to show through. I happen to not like the sweetness of typical white chocolate, so if you’re like me, then either choose a lower sugar brand or make your own healthier version using cocoa butter as the base.

Genmaicha Mendiants

The Genmaicha Mendiants can either be made free form or in tin or silicone muffin molds for a more consistent look. These are perfect for gift giving or as a quick treat during the holidays–just as great as cookies! With very little effort you’ll feel like a chocolatier in your own kitchen, with results to prove it!

Genmaicha Mendiants

 


Genmaicha Mendiants

Makes 16 candies.

Ingredients:

- 1 cup semi-sweet or white chocolate
- 2 packets Yamamotoyama’s Powdered Genmaicha
- 1 Tbsp loose-leaf Yamamotoyama’s Genmaicha, tender leaves & toasted rice only

Directions:

1. In a small mixing bowl, melt the chocolate in a microwave in 20 second bursts until the chocolate is just melted. Be careful not to overheat. If you plan on gifting the mendiants or serving them several days later, you’ll want to temper your chocolate.

2. Mix the powdered Genmaicha into the melted chocolate.

3. Spoon out 1 Tbsp dollops of chocolate onto a large baking sheet fitted with parchment. Scatter some loose leaf Genmaicha atop the flattened dollops. Wait for the chocolate to set up completely, then serve!


 

 

November 30, 2017

Recipe - Soy Wrapper ›


Christmas Sushi Tree

 Christmas Sushi Tree

Last year, when my hubby and I went out to pick a Christmas tree, we ended up with a charmingly chubby one, more stout and cute than grand. This Christmas Sushi Tree is inspired by our adorable spruce from last Christmas–an edible version of it!

Christmas Sushi Tree

You can make Christmas Sushi Trees from regular sushi rolls made out of nori, but to carry the tree theme use Yamamotoyama’s beautiful soy wrappers. These super thin, crepe-like sheets are colored with spinach for a natural shade of green.

Christmas Sushi Tree

It’s always important to have vegetarian options at get-togethers, so this is a great recipe to keep meat-free. For a festive look, fill the rolls with roasted red peppers and avocado. The roasted peppers are easy to use, full of flavor and complement the soft avocado nicely.

Christmas Sushi Tree

For a pop of freshness and color, throw some chopped chives atop the tree. The cut herbs help to accent the tree layers and make it party-ready. Serve piping hot cups of Yamamotoyama’s aromatic green tea around this Christmas Sushi Tree and each cup is as good as a present!

Christmas Sushi Tree

 


Christmas Sushi Tree

Makes 1 tree.

Ingredients:

- 2 cups seasoned sushi rice
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry & cut into strips
- 1 avocado, cut into strips
- piece of yellow bell pepper
- 1 bunch chives, chopped finely

Directions:

1. Place a sheet of soy wrapper on a sushi mat, dull 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 2″border at the top and a 1/2″ border at the bottom

2. Place slices of red pepper and avocado across the rice, 1″ from the bottom border of the rice.

3. Roll the mat upwards holding the filling in with your fingers. Continue rolling up to create a tight roll. Use light dabs of water on the edge of the wrapper to help seal the roll.

4. Cut each roll into 8 equal pieces by cutting each log in half, then each half into 4 pieces.

5. Start creating the tree by placing the rolls on a board or plate. For the base layer, use about 12-13 pieces, placed side-by-side in a circular shape.

6. For the next layer, I use about 7-8 pieces of sushi, again placing them side-by-side in a circular shape.

7. The third layer from the bottom will have about 5 pieces.

8. The fourth layer from the bottom will have 3 pieces, and the last top layer will just have 1 piece!

9. Use a small star cookie cutter to cut out a star from a piece of yellow bell pepper. Stick a toothpick in the center of one side, then stick the free end of the toothpick into the top piece of sushi. Finish by scattering chopped chives on top.


 

 

October 24, 2017

Recipe - Green Teas ›


Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

Hojicha is wonderful for drinking at all times of the year and any time of day, but it’s especially cozy for enjoying in the fall. In the best possible way, this tea reminds me of fallen leaves–woodsy, twiggy and earthy.

Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

For both color and taste, there’s a good amount of pumpkin puree added to this latte. You can add more or less than the suggested amount of strongly brewed tea to adjust the thickness of the drink to your liking. As the recipe is written, this latte has the consistency of eggnog and makes a nice swap out for dessert.

Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

Most of the time, coconut milk creamer is already sweet, so there is no need to add any additional sweetener here. The creamer is also fantastic for creating a fluffy froth as the topping.

Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

Warm yourself through and through with a heart-warming Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte this fall! The mix of freshly brewed tea, velvety pumpkin and autumn spices definitely hits the spot!

Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

 


Pumpkin Spice Hoji Latte

Makes 2 lattes.

Ingredients:

- 1 rounded Tbsp of Yamamotoyama’s Hojicha, loose-leaf
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water - 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut milk creamer - 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- extra coconut milk creamer, for frothing

Directions:

1. Brew the tea with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain the tea and set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients, including the strained tea, in a small pot over low heat. Heat until the ingredients just come up to a simmer. Pour into cups and top with froth.


 

 

October 23, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

Is there any room left in the fridge after last night’s dinner? At this point, I’m guessing that the chill box is chock full of leftovers.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

This recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki is exactly what you need to finish up whatever delicious morsels remain after Turkey Day! This is an East meets West take on sushi hand rolls, an easy and healthy meal or snack to serve alongside a piping hot cup of Japanese tea.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

For a post-Thanksgiving lunch, it’s common to throw everything onto sandwich bread and call it a day. But if you’re trying to cut back a bit, wrapping the sandwich fillings in crisp, flavorful nori is a nice way to lighten things up.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

If you haven’t paired nori with bites other than seafood before, you’ll be surprised at how well it complements other ingredients. Most often, temaki are filled with rice and raw fish, but here I’m stuffing them with classic Thanksgiving fare like turkey, sweet potatoes and spinach. As long as you don’t over-stuff, any starch, including dressing or roasted potatoes will also work well here.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

My favorite tea pairing with these Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki is a cup of strongly steeped Genmaicha. The savory, slightly sweet notes are perfect for complementing fall holiday flavors. Drink up and get creative with your temaki-making. Just stuff and roll and it’s time to eat (again)!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

 


Thanksgiving Leftovers Temaki

Ingredients:

- sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes, rice, stuffing…you get the idea!)
- sautéed spinach (or other veggies)
- dried cranberries (or cranberry sauce)
- turkey, shredded
- Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake nori, cut in half, parallel to lines on the sheet
- gravy or cut herbs, to serve

Directions:

1. To assemble the temaki, lay a piece of nori horizontally on a work surface, rough side up. Scoop out 3 Tbsp of the potatoes and place it on the left half of the rectangle. Spread the potatoes out so that it lays in a square. Top the potatoes with spinach, cranberries and strips of turkey. Take the bottom edge of the rectangle and fold it over the ingredients. Continue rolling to form a cone. Seal the cone with a dab of water.

2. To serve, drizzle some gravy or a sprinkling of cut herbs atop the temaki. Enjoy!


 

 

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

When it comes to cooking with tea, you can easily find recipes where food is either infused or has steeped tea added to it. Less commonly, you’ll find recipes where you can taste tea in its full form, where the tea leaves are actually eaten whole.

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

In this recipe for Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba, tea is used like a spice. If you’re looking for a subtle way to spruce up best-quality wild salmon, this is the recipe for you!

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

I love serving this salmon with green tea soba for its color and flavor. Tea-infused ponzu broth means that you get a double hit of this delicious toasted brown rice green tea, allowing us to appreciate it in both its dry and steeped forms.

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

If you prefer less of a tea taste, just serve the salmon with some healthy sides like sprouted brown rice and steamed veggies. A generous squeeze of lemon juice atop the salmon’s golden, crunchy crust and you’ll develop a whole new appreciation for Genmaicha!

Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

 


Genmaicha Crusted Salmon with Green Tea Soba

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

- 2 wild salmon fillets
- 2 Tbsp Yamamotoyama’s Organic Genmaicha tea, loose-leaf
- 1 tsp lemon zest - salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil - 1/4 cup ponzu
- 1 cup Genmaicha tea, steeped
- 2 servings of green tea soba, prepared
- Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake nori, to serve

Directions:

1. Place the tea, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small zip-top bag. Seal shut, then crush the contents well with the bottom of a large skillet.

2. Pat the salmon filets completely dry with some sheets of paper towel. Place the crushed tea mixture on a plate, then crust the skin side of each filet with the dry tea mix. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the butter or oil over medium high heat. When the butter comes up to temperature, place the fish filets into the skillet, skin side down. Pan-fry for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip the filets over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside.

4. Heat the stock and steeped tea to boiling. To serve, distribute the cooked soba between 2 shallow bowls. Place a piece of fish over each of the soba-filled bowls. Pour some prepared ponzu-tea broth in each bowl, directly over the soba, making sure not to disturb the crust on the filets. Garnish with cut nori to serve.


 

 

September 30, 2017

Recipe - Nori Seaweed ›


Almost No-Carb Sushi

Almost No-Carb Sushi

When it comes to sushi, white rice seems like a must-have ingredient. But for those looking for a lighter, less carb-heavy option, Almost No-Carb Sushi is the answer!

Almost No-Carb Sushi

I know what you’re thinking: Almost No-Carb Sushi…what am I thinking! Ok, this is definitely a different take on sushi, but one worth trying if you’re super strict with counting carbs.

Almost No-Carb Sushi

The trick here is to swap out cauliflower bits for starchy white rice. Cream cheese helps the cauliflower to bind and work just like regular rice does.

Almost No-Carb Sushi

Here, I’ve made some California Rolls and Hosomaki, thin rolls that typically only have one filling ingredient. Instead of making the California Rolls with the rice inside out (the way they are typically made), I like to wrap the entire roll in a full-sheet of nori. This enhances the umami-rich flavors, giving a greater proportion of nori in each bite.

Almost No-Carb Sushi

If I happen to have some on hand, I like to add some Japanese powdered sushi vinegar to the faux-rice mix. This ingredient helps the cauliflower to taste more like seasoned sushi rice without making the mixture too wet.

Almost No-Carb Sushi

The cauliflower sticky rice used for this Almost No-Carb Sushi works perfectly for all your sushi-making needs, including maki rolls, onigiri, and onigirazu. Make sure to wrap all your creations with Yamamotoyama’s best-quality Kiku Ariake Nori and you can’t go wrong!

Almost No-Carb Sushi

 


Almost No-Carb Sushi

Makes 32 pieces.

Ingredients:

- 1 Tbsp avocado or vegetable oil
- 16 oz. cauliflower, processed into rice-sized bits
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- powdered sushi vinegar (optional, to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 full-sheets of Yamamotoyama’s Kiku Ariake Nori
- sushi filling ingredients

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

2. Transfer the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Let cool, then mix in the cream cheese, powdered sushi vinegar, and salt. Use the cauliflower sticky rice as you would regular sushi rice, in the same amounts.

3. Place a sheet of nori on a sushi mat, rough side up. Spread out 1 cup of rice on the sheet of nori, leaving a 1/2″ border at the top.

4. Roll the mat upwards holding the filling in with your fingers. Continue rolling up to create a tight roll.

5. Cut each roll into 6 equal pieces by cutting each log in half, then each half into 4 pieces.


 

 

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.


 

 

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