Cho Best Matcha Latte

Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte
Cho Best Matcha Latte

Hey there! How has your week been?? I've been taking things slowly lately. After a few really hectic weeks, my body just needed a major reset. Over the weekend, Reuben and I lived our best homebody lives. We finished Queer Eye in a day, caught up on the craziness of West World, and made pizza (Reuben made it while I melted on the couch). Speaking of couches! We did manage to leave the house for some fresh air and some West Elm research. Our TV watching spot is about to get a nice upgrade! Oh, and we also went over to our good friend's parent's house for a beautiful dinner party full of cheese, clams, and Polly Ann Ice Cream. It was the best! It's always so nice to have someone else prepare an great meal for you. Alex's parents have a house in the Inner Richmond, so not to far from us, and it is the most beautiful place. If you dream of the ideal San Francisco home, this is it. Bright, sunny, breezy, charming, and with a backyard full of plums and other tasty things. I wonder if they would let me move in??

The weekend was everything that I needed it to be. Calming. I feel like with all the travel and craziness over the last 6 weeks, I've fallen out of my daily rhythms. Since I typically have a bunch of things happening at the same time, whether that's balancing work with blogging or the handful of other side hustles or just managing to make dinner most nights, I need daily rituals to help ground me. For a solid 5 months I was really good at getting up early enough to make myself breakfast and a matcha latte. I'm not a waking up person... but once I'm awake I'm a morning person... if that makes sense. I always look forward to the morning so I could plate a pretty bowl of yogurt and whiz up a frothy and warming matcha latte. Those 15 minutes of calm and focusing on one simple task helped me set myself off on the right foot each morning. I've finally started getting back into that rhythm this week. Well not this morning, because I had to wake up at 4am to drive 1 hour for a 6am meeting... 6am meetings should be illegal, right??! But other than this morning and some sick vibes I've somehow combatted, I'm feeling good. 

Good thing too, because I need to get back into the kitchen and share some real food with you guys and not just popsicles and matcha lattes! This matcha latte is the best though. I promise! I posted an iced matcha latte recipe about a year ago and honestly, you can ignore that recipe lol. I've learned a lot about matcha and how I like to make own matcha latte at home over the past year. When I first had matcha, it tasted like seaweed to me... but eventually I got over that or maybe I've found better tasting matcha since them. If you're looking to purchase matcha powder I highly recommend Mizuba Tea Co. or Ippodo. I currently have Mizuba Culinary Organic Matcha in my kitchen and I really love it. The color is super bright green and the flavor is strong. I like to buy culinary grade matcha because I can bake with it too. You really shouldn't waste ceremonial grade matcha on baked goods. If you do buy it, make sure to store your matcha in a dark place, otherwise the sun with cause your matcha to turn a little pale green grey. I learned that the hard way!

My secret ingredient to Cho Best Matcha Latte is vanilla infused agave syrup. I've had many coffee shop matcha lattes, but the best one I've ever had was from this random coffee shop up in Tahoe. I can't even tell you the name of it right now. But I asked them what they put in theirs because it just tasted so unbelievably good. Sweet but not too sweet. The matcha flavor was strong and not diluted from too much milk or water. And there was an interesting flavor I just couldn't put my finger on. The coffee shop told me they used vanilla agave syrup! Such a good idea! Infusing the vanilla bean pod in the agave gives it a really beautiful, light, and almost floral vanilla flavor to the latte. It also works great in regular old coffee! I tried it this morning. Coconut butter is another secret ingredient I've picked up. It adds a really lovely coconut flavor and also helps make the latte extra thick and frothy without all the extra milk! I sometimes add collagen protein powder or maca powder for some extra health points, but you can experiment with whatever you like! Add a little dash of pumpkin pie spice in when October comes along.

Another secret tip for making Cho Best Matcha Latte is using a blender! Don't be ashamed. It's is like a million times faster than whisking it by hand, frothing your own milk, and then artfully combining everything. I love my quiet mornings. But I don't have hours to spend at home doing it all at a snail's pace. While my water kettle is boiling, I prepare everything else in the cup of my immersion blender, and then whiz it up for a minute once my hot water is ready. It's crazy easy. You can save the matcha whisk for a special occasion or if you want to fit in a morning arm work out.

I hope you get the chance to make Cho Best Matcha Latte soon! And I hope it brings you as much calm and joy as it brings me : )

*** Also happy birthday to Reuben's Mom today!!! and happy birthday Cho Momma tomorrow!!!!! Yay, Moms!


Cho Best Matcha Latte

makes one 12oz latte

latte materials:

1/2 cup warm milk
1 cup just boiled water
1 tsp matcha powder
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp vanilla infused agave syrup (see recipe below)
* you could also use honey

vanilla infused agave materials:

1 vanilla bean pod
2 cups agave

vanilla infused agave syrup:

Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife lengthwise, careful to not cut the pod all the way through. Scrape out the vanilla "caviar" and mix with agave. Place the scraped bean pod in the agave as well. Seal up the jar and allow the vanilla bean to infuse for at least 24 hours. Remove the pod after 3 days and store the agave in a cool dry place.

hot matcha latte:

Combine warm milk, just boiled water, matcha powder, coconut butter, and vanilla agave in a blender or vessel for an immersion blender. Blend for 1 minute until frothy. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

iced matcha:

Combine hot milk, matcha, and agave in a blender or vessel for an immersion blender. Blend for 30 seconds. Pour over ice and add in milk.

Cho Best Matcha Latte

Jasmine Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Boba

Jasmine Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Boba

I have a shorty post for you this week. There is a bit too much life happening and not enough time to fit everything thing at the moment. I'm leaving for LA tomorrow! And then I'll be meeting up with my friends in the desert for best friend Jeff's bachelor party! In between now and my flight to LA I need to pack, do my freaking taxes, make sure Reuben has food for the weekend, get some real work done, and pick up my inflatable pineapple inner tube. Getting the inflatable pineapple and finishing my taxes are obviously top priority. Please send me good luck and lots of thai food.

Gosh, I really need a boba tea. I often think about the day when I won't have the luxury of living a few short minutes away from a great boba tea place. It's going to be tough, but I will be ready! Making your boba tea is actually pretty easy. Plus you feel lot better drinking it knowing what you're actually putting in the tea. The biggest thing for me is being able to control how much sugar I put in my tea. I always order 30% sweet at the tea shops and I find it still plenty sweet. It makes me sort of grossed out thinking about how much sugar 100% sweet is.

Do you have a go to milk tea flavor? For me it's either classic black milk tea, taro, or jasmine! Jasmine is a really light and beautifully floral tea. Perfect for spring. My family always ordered chrysanthemum tea when we went out for dim sum, it has a really similar floral flavor. When I was a kid I would pour myself a little cup of tea, add an entire packet of sugar in the cup, and wait for it to cool throughout the whole meal. Once we finished all our food I would have a cup of chilled and super sweet tea. It was awesome. My brother and my little cousins followed my lead obviously. So I guess you could say I was obsessed with my sweetened tea drinks from the very beginning.


Jasmine Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Boba

makes 2 - 4 milk teas

for jasmine milk tea:

2 jasmine tea bags
2 cups just boiled water
perfered dairy
ice

for brown sugar boba:

1/2 cup dried boba
4 cup water + 3/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar

1. Prepare your boba first. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add dried boba to the boiling water, cover the pot, and boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, keep covered, and let the boba sit in the hot water for an additional 3 minutes. Remove boba from water and place in a heat proof jar. 

2. Start making your brown sugar simple syrup by boiling 3/4 cup water. Add in the brown sugar and whisk until dissolved. Remove simple syrup from the heat and allow to slightly cool for 2 minutes. Carefully pour the simple syrup over the boba balls. Allow the balls to soak in the simple syrup for at least 30 minutes.

3. Steep 2 jasmine tea bags in 2 cups of just boiled water for 8 minutes. Discard teabags. Pour 1 cup of tea in a steel shaker with some ice, desired amount of your preferred diary, and a tablespoon of the brown sugar syrup. Give it a quick shake to mix.

4. Pour milk tea over a glass of ice and sweetened boba. Enjoy!

Jasmine Milk Tea with Brown Sugar Boba

Oolong Tea Blondies

20180211-DSC03042.jpg
Oolong Tea Blondies
Oolong Tea Blondies
Oolong Tea Blondies
Oolong Tea Blondies
Oolong Tea Blondies

Hey, hey, hey!! How was your weekend?? Did you have to work on President's day? Did you stuff your bellies full of dumplings and noodles on Chinese New Year?!

I had a pretty swell weekend! Well it's technically still going on. It is Monday/President's Day. I am sitting at a tiny cafe table at the Sierra Ski Resort up in Tahoe. I am not skiing. Because I hate skiing and I'm not very good at it. But Reuben is having a great time though. Zipping through the snow, doing whatever skiers do. The lodge smells like chicken fingers and donuts right now. It's terrible. Because I'm so full from just general eating this weekend and the idea of eating anymore makes me a little nauseous. But I LOVE chicken fingers and donuts. OH GOD, THERE ARE CHICKEN AND WAFFLES AT THE LODGE! Ugh, and the family behind me brought their own instant noodles for lunch! THE TORTURE.

(Ok focus - ignore the delicious and conflicting smells) 

I'm going to rewind our weekend just a smidge. One of my very best friends, Kate, made a last minute visit to San Francisco on Saturday. She is literally a ray of sunshine. Or maybe more like a cosmic light beam/rainbow hybrid. I had not seen her in like a year (or maybe even more?!). So I got to spend the day with her showing off my hood, making matcha popcorn (recipe coming up next week!), and celebrating Chinese New Year with a big old feast! We invited a few friends over, folded dumplings (I made my family's classic potstickers. THEY ARE SO GOOD. But I don't quite have the heart yet to share the recipe.....), sipped on some beers and wine, giggled alot, and ate until our bellies ached. It was so great. How Chinese New Year should be celebrated. It also made me incredibly happy to have other people fold dumplings for me, muahahahaha!

The next morning, Reub and I woke up early to drive to Sacramento. We planned a really weird weekend. Instead of paying a million dollars to stay in Tahoe over President's day weekend, we got a hotel room in the nicest hotel in Sacramento for the night. The nicest hotel in Sacramento is not that expensive... if you're looking for a weird vacation destination. We stopped in a cute coffee shop with waffles, drank beer at a brewery, had the best poke, watched the olympics in bed (IDEAL), and got Mexican food for dinner. Pretty much our typical vacation itinerary. The next morning, we woke up before the sun was up to drive to Tahoe. Which is where we are now. Suffocating from the smell of chicken fingers and donuts.  

Sorry, we should probably talk about these blondies now, right?? One of my favorite ingredients to bake with is tea. Matcha. Ceylon. Jasmine. Earl Grey. Green. Oolong. I love it all! Infusing baked goods with tea creates a really lovely and delicate flavor. It's not as in your face as coffee flavor can be. I found that the best way to get tea flavor is by infusing butter with loose tea leaves. Instead of steeping tea in hot water you steep tea in hot butter. Sounds great, right?!

The idea for these blondies have been dancing around in my head for a few weeks now. I originally wanted to make Oolong Tea Snack Cakes (think Hostess Snack Cake), but when the weekend came for me to make them I was really craving something slightly fudgey, chewy, and slightly chocolatey. Blondies! These blondies definitely satisfied my fudgey, chewy, and chocolatey craving!  Oolong tea is a darker full bodied tea, with beautiful caramel and floral notes. It pairs perfectly with chocolate and the little bits of pistachio. I think they are best after they have cooled and firmed up. Plus it makes it a lot easier to cut into perfect little bars or squares to dunk into some ice cold milk! They sort of taste like one of those giant chocolate chip cookies you always wished you bought from the mall. But better and fancier because you just infused butter like a pro!


Oolong Tea Blondies

makes 16 2" squares

steps:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8"x8" baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Once butter is melted, add in loose leaf oolong tea. Heat the butter and tea leaves over low to medium heat for 5-8 minutes.

Remove the butter from the heat and pour butter and leaves into a fine mesh sieve over a heat proof bowl. Use a rubber spatula to gently press down on the leaves to get as much butter out as you can. Discard the tea leaves. Add the butter back into the sauce pan with the brown sugar and salt. Whisk over medium heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Pour butter mixture into a large heat proof bowl. Allow butter to cool to about room temperature. Mix in eggs and vanilla until combined.

Sift together flour and baking soda in a medium bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture into the wet mixture, while mixing with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add in chopped pistachios and chocolate until combined. The batter will be really thick.

Scrape the batter into baking dish and spread out with an offset spatula or back of your spoon so that the batter is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle flakey sea salt over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes. Once golden brown, remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cool, remove the blondies from the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper. Cut into squares and enjoy!

materials:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
14 tbsp butter
1/3 cup loose oolong tea leaves
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
2 tsp flakey sea salt for topping


Adapted from Vanilla Bean Blog's Coffee Blondies!

Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles

20170904-DSC_1355.jpg
20170902-DSC_1331.jpg
20170902-DSC_1335.jpg
20170902-DSC_1338.jpg
20170902-DSC_1347.jpg
20170904-DSC_1353.jpg
20170904-DSC_1350.jpg
Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles
Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles

It seems like the rest of the country is rejoicing in 65 degree weather, chunky sweaters, and pumpkin flavored everything. While here in typically-foggy San Francisco, our weird Indian Summer is just starting. It was 106 degrees over the weekend. 106 freaking degrees!!!!! Gah. It makes me hot just thinking about. It was the hottest it had ever been in the city EVER. Friday and Saturday were absolutely miserable. Your only options were:

A. Sit around your apartment in your underwear with the fan blowing on you while covered in ice packs.

B. Go to the mall or the movies.

C. Perish.

We opted for A and B. We made it to about 1pm on Saturday until we started to get delirious. So we reluctantly put some clothes on, rented a Zipcar with AC, and drove out of the city to do basic suburban things, like go to Target, walk around the mall, and stand in the freezer section of Whole Foods. It was wonderful and made my inner soccer mom very happy! It has thankfully cooled down quite a bit since then. It looks like it's going to be in the 70s for the next week or so. Which in theory sounds great... I just need to get some more summer duds into my cardigan and sweater heavy wardrobe. Hi arms! Nice to see you guys again!

The moment the temperature started to creep into the high 70s I was thinking of popsicles. There was no way I would have survived this hot-as-balls weekend without these Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles. They were air conditioning on a stick basically. I grew up drinking Hong Kong Milk Tea, either the store bought canned/juice box versions or the real deal panty hose strained versions in Hong Kong. It is a simple combo of strong black tea (preferably ceylon tea) with condensed milk or evaporated milk. It's seriously the easiest thing to make. Also, guess people also call it "pantyhose milk tea" because they strain the tea leaves through pantyhose to get it's characteristically super smooth texture. I don't own or wear pantyhose so I'm just going to stick to the more conventional tea bag method. 

One of my absolute favorite things to do in Hong Kong is getting lunch at a loud Chinese diner. I order a simple fried egg sandwich on fluffy milk bread and an iced milk tea, maybe some noodles too. It's so simple and so good. Then I would probably run around for a little until I'm hungry again and find some dumplings or and egg waffle. The flavors of these popsicles made me want to go back to Hong Kong so bad! Reuben and I are trying to plan our next international trip for next year and I'm pushing for Japan and/or Hong Kong real hard. Reuben wants to go to Italy... not a terrible option. But flights to HK are so affordable and easy from San Francisco! I'm just going to continue making Reuben my favorite Hong Kong favorites and brainwash him into wanting to go to Asia. Heh heh heh. Think about all the noodles and dim sum, Reuby!

Anyways, if you're still burning up on the West Coast you better make a batch of these, stat! Even if the temperature is cooling down where you are, summer is not technically over. It's still totally socially acceptable to make popsicles! Enjoy the rest of the week, peeps!


Hong Kong Milk Tea Popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

Materials:

2 ceylon tea bags

2 cups hot water - almost boiling

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup half and half

1/2 tsp vanilla

Steps:

1. Pour hot water over tea bags in a heat proof vessel and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes. I like my tea a little dark so I let it steep on the longer side.

2. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk until evenly incorporated into the tea. You can add more or less depending on personal taste preference.

3. Pour milk tea into popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2" at the top of the mold. Place in the freezer and allow them to set up for 1 hour.

4. Whisk together half and half with vanilla. Pour half and half into the remaining portion of the popsicle molds. Use a popsicle stick to gentle mix up the half and half with paritially frozen milk tea. Place popsicle sticks into the mold and place popsicles back into the freezer for at least another 4 hours to set up.

5. Enjoy!

Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles

20170617-DSC_0163.jpg
20170617-DSC_0169.jpg

Happy first day of Summer! Happy Birthday to Momma Cho! I've always loved how those two days are the same, double the reason to celebrate! I spent about 75% of my waking hours outside in the sun this weekend, which is what everyone should be doing in preparation for summer. My shoulders were the color of tomatoes, but it was so worth it. It has been HOT in San Francisco this past week. Hot in SF = +70 degrees. My mom says it has been +90 in Ohio... we are wimps. This heat reminds me of summers in Ohio. When my brother and I were growing up at our family's restaurant we would keep cool by eat popsicles and running into our giant walk-in refrigerators. I remember walking in there and snacking on little bits of carrots and cooked roast pork. *Making a note to incorporate a walk-in fridge/freezer into the design of our future home.

On Saturday, we walked on over to Mountain Lake Park to check out the new playground. Reuben's coworker redesigned the new playground and it is so fun and colorful! I haven't been surrounded by that many kids in a very long time. I feel like I was being super creepy and staring at all the cute toddlers stumbling around and hoping they would walk over to me to play. I saw essentially my mini me and I wanted to be her friend so bad. Once we got our fill of kids and watching them wipe out on the big concrete slide, we headed down south for some rare time at the beach. It has been a while since we drove along the coast and saw the ocean. I often forget that I live in California when all I see most days is the stretch between Inner Richmond and Downtown. So it was a beautiful reminder that I live in a cool place : )

Sunday was picnic day. A great group of ladies and I get together for a Babes brunch every month or so and this month was a picnic edition! I look forward to these brunches so much. I love catching up with my girls and meeting the new babes that we invite each time. We found an amazing shady spot in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens to spend our afternoon. Did you know you can go in for free if your driver's license has an SF address?? Some how I did not, but now I want to go every weekend. It's gorgeous when the sun is out and it's not super crowded like Dolores Park. It's much more "civilized" than Dolores Park as well and less smells. Reuben was a little jealous of my sunny girl time so we went out for a Babes Picnic part 2 during the remaining hours of light. We drank beer and played soccer... I never play soccer.

I'm feeling great from maxing out on vitamin D and my shoulders are gradually settling into a nice tan. The heat is supposed to last until this weekend and then it will go back to a cool 65. To help cool down all week I made these refreshing Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles. Yes, a second stone fruit recipe. Yes, another tea based recipe. Peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots are really delicious right now. So eat as many as you can! If you are food nerdy and want to learn more about oolong tea, read this. I've been really interested in experimenting with tea flavors (see Mango Green Tea Popsicles and Oolong Tea Sugar Cookies). I have dreams of making a Jasmine tea cake very soon.  I personally, love oolong because of it's strong and slightly caramel-y flavor. It's a pretty great replacement for coffee too if you want a rich and dark tea in the morning. It pairs beautifully with the sweetness of peaches. This makes a gorgeous peachy colored simple syrup that would be delicious in so many other recipes! I had a pop during my commute to work the other day and it was great. Breakfast popsicles should be a thing.

I hope you all are keeping cool wherever you are! I need a friend with a pool.


Peach Oolong Tea Popsicles

makes 10 popsicles

Steps:

1. Remove the pit from 2 peaches and thinly slice. Bring peaches, sugar, and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes and gently crush the peaches with back of a wooden spoon to bring out that peach flavor. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the peaches steep in the sugar water for 20-30 minutes. Strain the peach infused simple syrup through a fine mesh strainer and dispose of leftover peach flesh or eat it with dessert.

2. Brew your oolong tea by steeping the tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Dispose of tea bags. In a large pitcher or measuring cup, combine tea with 3/4 c of peach simple syrup. You can add more or less depending on sweetness preference.

3. Remove the pit and thinly slice your remaining peach. Add 2-3 slices of peach to each popsicle mold. Fill each mold with peach oolong tea. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Add wooden popsicle sticks and place back in the freezer to fulling freeze for atleast 5 hours .

Materials:

3 ripe peaches

1 C water (for simple syrup)

1 C sugar

3 oolong teabags 

3 C water (for tea)