Miraculous Matcha!

The Makings for Matcha
The Makings for Matcha

I love coffee but some times I like to mix things up so I just started making Matcha lattes in the morning.  They are not only super delicious but really really healthy.  Let’s review why.

Matcha is a high-quality green tea that is covered before picking to accentuate the color, then stone-ground after being picked.  You consume the whole tea leaf since you consume the tea powder rather than infuse tea leaves. Also, because it isn’t oxidized at all, all of the antioxidants in the leaf remain.

The taste is strong and earthy – some people would say spinachy, others would say grassy and with an umami character. This will also of course depend on the quality and source that you use. The tea used to make matcha tea is important; there are many cheaper imitations that use low-grade tea.

One cup of matcha tea is equal to the nutritional and antioxidant values of 10 cups of brewed green tea.  Matchasource.com states that the levels of antioxidants in matcha green tea are higher than that of spinach and blueberries. Antioxidants help protect cells against free radicals that can destroy cells and tissues and help strengthen the immune system.

For coffee drinkers, matcha may be a better choice because it has a calming effect as well as giving an energy lift from caffeine and other elements from the tea leaf. Coffee can cause jitteriness, and a caffeine high with a crash afterwards. Matcha, while still containing caffeine, tends to cause a more even, long-term energy rise. Plus, with all of those healthy antioxidants, it is a great way to fight against disease and cancer.

Here are the things you’ll need for a match latte and how to make it!

Matcha Latte
Matcha Latte

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup plain hemp milk (or regular organic milk)
  • organic, raw honey to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring enough water to a boil for the amount of servings you are making. Whisk 1 teaspoon matcha powder per serving with 1/4 cup boiling water. Once powder is dissolved into water, mix in the hemp milk. Sweeten to taste with organic, raw honey.

Enjoy!

Making Homemade Dashi (homemade Japanese Sea Stock)

Seafood Miso at Boke Bow
Seafood Miso at Boke Bow

I live in Portland and love getting this soup at Boke Bowl.  It is a seafood miso dashi ramen with a slow poached egg on top.  Perfect on a cold, rainy day.  The broth of my seafood miso dashi ramen was full of umami goodness.  The noodles were al dente with the perfect chewiness and the shrimp were fresh and tender.  The poached egg just tied the dish up in a neat little bow.

I wanted to try and make a version of this soup at home but had no idea how to make dashi until I started doing some research.  It seems really easy and, like all homemade food, is not too complicated once you jump in and get started.

Before I tell you how to make it, let’s just review the super duper health benefits of this broth!  Basically dashi is a combination of three ingredients — seaweed, dried fish flakes and water — that’s it!

Kombu, the first ingredient, is a type of kelp that is harvested and dried in the sun.  Kombu is rich with minerals, vitamins, protein, and dietary fiber.  It is particularly a strong supplier of calcium (which primarily serves skeletal functions) and iron (which plays critical roles in oxygen transport). You can find it in Asian markets anywhere or here on Amazon.

Next is Katsuobushi, dried bonito flakes (Skipjack Tuna), which are also rich in minerals, vitamins and protein. In Japan, it is a traditional remedy for recovery from fatigue and colds and for improving blood circulation.  The flakes are made by shaving wispy thin flakes with a special tool from a bonito fish that has been filleted, boned, boiled, smoked, and dried in the sun.  You can also buy this at any Asian market or here on Amazon again.

Filtered water is the last ingredient.

Here’s how to make it.  Ready?

Ichiban Dashi (First Sea Stock)
Ichiban Dashi (First Sea Stock)

Ichiban Dashi (First Sea Stock)

Makes 4 cups

4 cups water
16 — 20 square inches of kombu*
1/2 cup loosely packed katsuobushi

1. Place the water and the kombu in a pot and let the kombu soak for about 15 minutes.  Place the pot over medium heat.  Right before the water starts to boil (watch for bubbles starting to break around the edge of the pot), remove the pot from the heat and scatter the katsuobushi over the surface of the water.

2. After 3 or 4 minutes (the katsuobushi will have sunk to the bottom of the pot by this point), strain the stock through a strainer lined with a tightly woven cotton cloth or a coffee-filter.

3. Refrigerate the stock in a tightly covered container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.**

* If you would like to weigh out your kombu (I usually eyeball it)–somewhere between 0.45-ounces or 0.6 ounces (13-18 grams) is good!  Of course, you can always go with more or less depending on your tastes.

** Sources disagree on whether ichiban dashi can be frozen.  Some say that it can be frozen, while others argue that the stock loses its aroma/flavor when frozen, so it’s best to use it when it’s fresh.  It’s up to you!

If you want to make a second round of the soup using the kombu and bonito flakes from the Ichiban Dashi then your soup will aptly named Niban Dashi (which means Second Sea Stock)

Here’s how to do it.  It makes about 4 cups

4 cups of water
Kombu and katsuobushi used in ichiban dashi

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a pot.  Place the pot over low heat and cook the mixture for 10 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and then strain the stock through a strainer lined with tightly woven cotton cloth or a coffee-filter.

2. Refrigerate the stock in a tightly covered container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!  We’ll keep talking about Asian food and practices a lot here.   Soon, we will look at how to take this broth to the next level by adding miso and lots of other nourishing ingredients.  This base is your gateway for lots to come in your healthful eating repetoire!

Healthy Breakfasts that are Easy, Healthy and Sustaining

Asian Breakfast Broth

Start Your Day Off Right!

Healthy Breakfasts that are Easy, Healthy and Sustaining!

When:  Sunday Jan. 25th from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: Mississippi Herb Shoppe in N. Portland

Breakfast is the meal that sets the tone for your entire day. Join Teri Sprouse and I, both Certified Holistic Nutritionists, for a fun, informative and interactive class that will help you diversify your breakfast repertoire. Learn how to start your day off with a powerhouse of nutrients while keeping you energized all day long!

Together we will make:

  • An intoxicating Asian Breakfast Broth.  This recipe was prompted by Anthony Bourdain. Every time he is in a Southeast Asian country like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia he’s always eating some form of spicy soup for breakfast – and raving about it.
  • A Green Tea Antioxidant Smoothie that will kick you into high gear with loads of nourishing veggies and fruits.  You can drink this before or after your workout and it will set your morning off right!
  • A Chickpea, Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Mini Frittata filled with lots of warming spices to get your fire moving soon after you wake up!  These freeze wonderfully but they may be gone by the time you get to this step!
  • A Gluten Free Multigrain Warm Porridge with dried blueberries and toasted nuts.  Top with maple syrup and fresh nut milk.

In the class, we will learn how to soak and sprout beans, make nut milk from scratch and eat spicy soup for breakfast and enjoy it!  There will, of course, be goodies to take home!

Cost for the class is $40.   Register at http://www.mindyourmanna.com/

What’s In The Box?

Organics to you

Every two weeks I get a box on my front porch from Organics to You.  It’s like a big care package of goodness delivered straight from the farms in the surrounding area to my family.  I’m always a little curious what I might get and how I’m going to work with it.  Sometimes, I see it on my porch and just leave it there for awhile longer until I really have the time to really dig into it and absorb it’s contents.

This week, here’s what it looks like:

IMG_1528

4 large Fuji apples, 4 D’anjou pears, 4 naval oranges, 1 large chard, 4 nice size lemons, a 6 oz bag of shiitakes, a 6 oz bag of brown button mushrooms, 3 large parsnips (yikes), head of garlic, 1 large yellow onion, 1 large avocado, 1 nice size head of broccoli.  I think that’s it!

Now the question is WHAT to do with all this delicious food?  Exciting!  The opportunities are boundless.  Sometimes, I really try to make a bigger meal using what I get and other times I just use it as I go along.  Like today when I made eggs with some sauteed leeks, shiitakes and parmesan cheese.  WOW!

Shiitakes and Leeks

Be fearless when you cook!  Enjoy the sight, the touch, the aromas and, of course, the tastes that come with preparing a fresh, healthy meal made with love.  We have so many opportunities to do this every day and the rewards are so great.

Bon appetit!

Pirate Bread for the People!

Pirate Bread

I love when someone turns me on to a great new product.  Especially one that I can feel really good about eating and recommending to others.  This was the case the other day when my sister in law told me about a new bread.  The brand is “Pirate.”   Their website is http://piratebread.com/.  Though they make 5 kinds of bread, I opted for the Sourdough Rye with Caraway Seeds.  I love the ingredients primarily for one reason — I can actually READ them.  No weird chemicals or names of ingredients I can’t pronounce — just water, enriched, unbleached flour, rye flour and salt.  Thank you Pirate!  Why do things need to be so complicated?

Pirate Bread fresh out of the oven

I bought the bread at a great natural foods grocery/deli in St. Johns in Portland called Proper Eats (http://www.propereats.org/).   They have a decent curated selection of organic products and a sweet cafe in the back that I could hang out in all day long if I lived in the area.  But I also found it while perusing the aisles at Food Front Co Op, which is great because St. John’s is a hike from where I live!

Pirate BreadLook for it on the shelves!  Pirate Bread for the People!