Plum Shrub

Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub
Plum Shrub

Do you ever get a weird sinking feeling stuck deep in your chest and no matter what you do or how many calming matcha lattes you drink you just can't shake it??? That's what anxiety feels for me. Actually this time, it sort of feels like I'm suffocating and stuck in a room with a million doors but none of them can open right now. Anxiety hits me in great big waves. When it's not hovering over me, I feel like the happiest person in the world. In my natural non-anxious state, I like to think of myself as a sunny and overly positive person. But then every once in a while, it just crashes down on me and it takes few days for me to bounce back. I'm honestly not a fun person to be around when I'm feeling like this. Sorry, Reuben.

My anxiety could be triggered by a whole bunch of things. It could be from an exhausting or unproductive week of work. I hate not having anything to do... it literally drives me crazy. Or it could be from experiencing a creative block with my art or developing recipes. Sometimes, it's from something dumb like posting a photo on Instagram and having no one "like" it. This time it's triggered by feeling super restless and unsure about everything that I'm doing. Like, what am I supposed to be doing with my life?!!

We all feel this way sometimes, right? Tell me I'm not the only one!

In an attempt to help get this anxious feeling out of my chest, I try my best to relax and find some hippy dippy internal peace. I take a break from developing recipes and just cook without any intent of photographing or styling. I let myself clock in some extra hours on the couch watching Netflix (we're currently watching Weeds!). I get Reuben to take me out to a new restaurant for some recipe inspiration. I try to sit outside on my lunch break, alone, breathe, and reassure myself that this is exactly where I'm so supposed to be. Hopefully this weird feeling is over in a few days because I need to get out of this funk and back into the kitchen.

Apologies if you didn't sign up to hear about the lows and only want to know about the fun things I do on the weeks or the random recipes I whip up in my kitchen. About 95% of my life and blog are sunny and happy, thankfully. But as with everyone, there is always those days when you're not feeling 100%. If you're down for 5% that's not so sunny, thank you for listening : )

Let's brighten things up now, should we?!
*metaphorically opens the curtains and sunshine comes flooding in*

You know what also helps you get out of funk? A bright, sparkly, and fruity drink! Have you had shrubs before? It is a drinking vinegar made with sugar and fruit. It's super easy to make and is a great addition to cocktails. I personally like to just mix it with some sparkling water for a quick, pretty, and refreshing drink that makes you feel fancy on a Tuesday. I had some rhubarb shrub at the photography workshop I went to a few months back and I though it was magic. I have an affinity towards anything sour and tart. I love me some sour beer, pickled vegetables, and kombucha. You can make shrubs with pretty much any fruit! Don't use bananas, I think that would be pretty awful. I used red plums because our friend, Alex, has a ridiculous abundance of plums from his tree and I'm doing my best to help a friend out! I also recommend that you play around with the types of sugars and vinegars. Maybe throw some herbs in there! Get fancy with it.

I might actually make myself of spritzer right now! 


Plum Shrub

Materials:

1 lb pitted and chopped plums
2 cups white sugar
2 cups white vinegar

Steps:

1. Combine plums and sugar in a bowl. Give it a light smash with a potato masher to help release the juice of the fruit. Cover and let the sugar and plum mixer sit in the fridge for 24 hours.

2. Mix in the vinegar. Cover and allow the shrub mixture to chill in the fridge for another 24 hours. You can allow this mixture to sit for a few more days if you want a stronger flavor.

3. Strain out the plums from the mixture and discard. Pour shrub into airtight glass containers and keep chilled in the fridge. Use shrub in cocktails or mix with sparkling water.

I make a spritzer using 1 part shrub and 3 parts sparkling water.

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