Green Tea Smoothie 抹茶スムージー

photo from Public Domain Images

photo from Public Domain Images

It is still summer and still hotter than a load of jalapeno peppers and fireworks.  This is an easy peasy smoothie that is so good, cooling, and good for you too.  An excellent breakfast, a lunchtime pickup, or just to sit and sip in the shade while listening to summer winding down.

You can use almond, soy, coconut, or other milk.  Also if you use the other “milks”, using the ones with vanilla added is good as well. I like to play with this recipe. You can use an equivalent amount or mix of avocado and/or pineapple instead of or in addition to the banana. I like some pineapple along banana along with ginger. Make this smoothie your smoothieI like recipes with interchangeable parts to make something unique that tastes like just what I want.
 
You will need a blender, one of those bullet blenders, whatever that is similar in function. Matcha powder can be found in many specialty groceries such as Trader Joe’s or Asian market. It can also be ordered from an online source. You want pure matcha powder. Ceremonial grade is not necessary but be aware of what you are ordering. There are some sweetened or “smoothie” types available. You want the unsweetened, non-additive powder. You can also use the powder for baking or making ice cream. I have posted several recipes: Green Tea Cookies and Green Tea Ice Cream.

Green tea not only is good for you, it tastes good and is a lovely, happy green in color. You cannot grind green tea leaves to make matcha powder as the matcha is made by a different process.

Recipe
1 Banana (or assorted fruit, add a bit of fresh ginger if you use pineapple)
5 ice cubes
¾ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc)
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder

Put ice cubes and banana/fruit into blender. Add the “milk” of your choice. Add matcha powder. Blend until all ingredients are blended and smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 

Japanese Miso Grilled Corn on the Cob 味噌バターコーン

grilled corn 2

It is no secret – I love Japan – food, culture, people…I have visited several times and have always been delighted  A couple of friends over there led to more friends and I was invited to all kinds of meals and occasions.  But in Japan, I have had one major disappointment – corn.  Yes, corn トウモロコシ(toumorokoshi).

One smells it cooking on the street – sweet, smoky, exotic seasonings.  One purchases an ear with nice bits of char and dripping with butter.  Then the first bite:  like a waxy, starchy, tough satire of itself.  It is not the fault of the cookers, it is the corn.  And the Japanese enjoy corn, even to having sweet corn soup in vending machines at internet hangouts.

The corn had a lovely caramelized coating seasoned with miso.  Out of sight of the proud vendor, I licked the flavor off the ear of corn and tossed into a trash can.  I had been teased by the potential of this food.   But Japanese corn is best fed to farm animals, not people.  A friend of mine had fallen in love with fresh summer corn when he came from Japan to live here for awhile.  When he returned to Japan, I would receive sad emails asking me about the summer crop of corn.

When I returned home from my trip, I made the miso corn with fresh pulled, tender summer sweet corn.  All I can say is “yowzer!!”  The result of some experimentation was a grilled corn coated with a caramelized layer of earthy miso and rich butter.

I wowed some friends last week with the corn, my favorite sunomono, ginger/garlic/sesame grilled chicken wings.  Green tea ice cream for dessert.  I think you will like it as much as we.  Easy: two minutes to prep and about 10 minutes to cook.  One ear is one serving. NOTE: I keep a tube of miso paste in my fridge for frequent use and convenience and instant miso soup or udon noodle soup, or a miso baked chicken.

Ingredients
4 ears sweet corn
3 tablespoons butter – unsalted softened
3 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tbs honey
1 small clove garlic grated

Instructions
Peel away the husks and silk of the corn, leaving the stem attached to the cob. Use a damp paper towel to rub off any stray strands of silk. Put the corn on a hot grill or in a hot broiler, turning periodically until there are some charred specs on every surface of the corn. In the meantime, add the butter, miso, honey and garlic. Use the back of a fork to mash the mixture together. When the corn is done, spread a generous amount of miso mixture onto each ear of corn and return to the grill. Grill, rotating regularly until the miso has caramelized onto the outside of the corn. Remove from the grill to serving dish and chow down.   Note: I place a piece of pierced foil under the corn at this point to keep rolling the ears around in the good stuff that drips off. I use tongs so as not to burn myself.

fresh cprn

 

Easy Peasy Banana Pudding Cake

This is one of those cool, yummy, creamy cakes that are so good in the summer, especially after Sunday dinner, a backyard cookout, or to take to a potluck.  I love banana pudding but I don’t always feel like taking the time to make the pudding (I always use homemade rich pudding for my nanner pudd’n (see post  http://kanzensakura.com/2012/07/25/future-mother-…g-nanner-puddn).

This cake really is easy and it really is good.  You can use sugar free pudding and/or light whipped topping to help save on some calories and fat.

Y’all enjoy!!!!

Easy Banana Pudding Cake
1 box yellow or white cake mix
2 small boxes instant banana flavor pudding
1 8 oz. whipped topping, thawed
2 ½ small bananas
2 or more tbs. orange or lemon juice

Make cake as directed in a 9×13 baking dish and allow to cool. With handle of wooden spoon, poke holes all over cake to bottom of pan. Slice bananas and put into bowl and lightly toss with juice. Make pudding as directed on box. Before pudding sets up, pour all over cake making sure to fill up holes. Place drained bananas all over cake and cover with whipped topping. Cover and allow to chill for about an hour. Cake is best eaten within 24 hours. Bananas may brown overnight, but juice should help stop the browning.  Optional:  Garnish with crushed vanilla wafers and/or fresh banana slices.

banana pudding cake

 

Twofer Twosday – Karaage Chicken and Sunomono

East meets South in this Japanese version of fried chicken and a kinda sorta cole slaw – actually an easy pickled vegetable dish which is a perfect side dish.

Karaage fried chicken is a very popular food in Japan – it is served in restaurants similar to tapas restaurants, as a street food, a snack with beer in local bars, picked up and taken home for dinner – but it is an easy and different take on fried chicken. Recipes call for chicken thighs but I use similarly sized strips or chunks of chicken breast meat. it can also be made with firm fish, but usually when the term karaage is mentioned, it refers to chicken.

Tebasaki Karaage – is a variation. Disjointed chicken wings are used and are my favorite. Use the standard recipe using 10 wings and deep frying for – 10 minutes.

I have posted sunomono before. it is a wonderful cooling dish as a side, salad, accompaniement to fried foods, grilled foods, baked foods. Usually made with thinly sliced cucumbers, it can also be made with thinly sliced celery, radishes, and/or sweet onion. I feel like the more the merrier so I add different veggies to mine.

So enjoy your un-Southern Fried chicken and Japanese un-slaw. Good eating for parties, lunch, bento lunches, TV watching food. I have often been asked to bring my fried chicken to get-togethers. “Some ask for the regular and others ask for the Japanese. I always take half and half. It all disappears.

public domain picture

public domain picture

Kaarage Chicken
4 chicken thighs or equivalent of chicken breast
2 Tbsp Sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp garlic, grated
1-2 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn starch
salt and pepper
oil for deep frying (Unless you have allergies or family with allergies, peanut oil is the best oil for deep frying having a higher flash point. A pure vegetable oil such as Crisco is second best.)

Instructions
Cut a chicken thigh into 3-4 pieces (or breast into more pieces/strips).  In a medium size bowl, mix Sake, soy sauce, salt, garlic and ginger with chicken.  Let it sit for 1/2-1 hour. The longer it sits, the more salty the chicken will become.
Mix flour, corn starch and some salt and pepper in another bowl.  Coat marinated chicken pieces with flour mixture.
Heat oil at medium high heat (350F).  Deep fry for 5-8 minutes depending on the size of meat. Drain on paper towels, serve while hot with a few squirts of fresh lemon juice.

public domain images

public domain images

Sunomono
3 Japanese or 4 Persian cucumbers *English cukes can be used. Also thinly sliced celery and/or radishes and/or sweet onion can be added
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds
Instructions

Instructions
Slice cucumbers/veggies as thin as you can. Stir in salt, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze water out from cucumbers.
In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce together until sugar dissolves.
Add vinegar mixture and sesame seeds to prepared cucumbers and mix well. Chill for about 1 hour for flavors to marry and veggies to chill.

 

 

 

 

Japanese Cabbage Salad

Hot and sticky summer is here. I usually keep Japanese pickled veggies in my fridge all year, but this time of year, in addition to the pickles, there are usually several containers of salads – American, potato, pasta, layered, congealed, vegetable and of course, always a Japanese salad. This cabbage salad is a favorite and super easy. the miso adds a tasty variation on the flavor and is good for you too! This salad sounds a lot like cole slaw and indeed, some shredded carrots are good added to this for color, flavor, and nutrition.  Of course, you can make a smaller version.  It keeps well and I like it better the second day.  This was given to me by a friend in my past and is from the Hakone area.  Good with meats, as part of an all salad meal, or I like as a lunch with steamed rice.  NOTE:  I use chopsticks to toss and mix food items to keep vegetables from bruising.

There was a yakinuku (grilled meats) restaurant near where I was staying at the time in Japan.  I ate there with regularity.  With great courtesy, this recipe was shared with me by one of the chefs shortly before I returned to the US.    I think he was charmed by my Southern American accent!

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare  y’all!)  Eat well said by the cook to the eaters…

Cabbage Salad
1 tbs. white or yellow miso paste
2 tbs. soy sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tesp. Rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 c. safflower or other neutral vegetable oil
6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 thinly sliced green onions
Toasted sesame seeds

In large non-reactive bowl, whisk together miso paste, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and vegetable oil. Toss cabbage in ingredients and let chill for about 1 hours, tossing several times. Garnish with sesame seeds when serving.  OPTIONAL:  Can add thinly sliced fresh snow peas, red cabbage, shredded carrots

cabbage salad 2

 

Mama’s Favorite Fruit Salad

And now, brought to you by way of tablet and stylus, and just in time for Memorial Day cookouts and events: My mother Celia’s favorite fruit salad. It is quick, easy, and better the next day.  No measuring – one of those add more of this if you like this and less of this if you like something else better.  The pineapple juice adds a nice flavor and keeps the bananas from turning dark.

Simple, naturally sweet, pretty and cool.  In the upcoming heat, cool and simple are the operative words.  I have been known to eat this for my supper as well as my breakfast.  With strawberries at the peak of their season, this is a scrumptious eat.  Let the flavors blend for a couple of hours.  Enjoy!  The picture is from Pin Interest.  It shows one option for serving.  We just put in a bowl and serve, but for Memorial Day or July 4, this is nice.

Mama’s Favorite Fruit Salad
1 qt. strawberries, washed, hulled and halved or quartered
2 – 4 bananas, depending on size
1 large can pineapple chunks or tidbits in their juice
***Optional: pint of washed blueberries. sliced kiwi, watermelon (if eaten the same day)

Depending on size of berries, halve or quarter. Cut bananas into 1/2 inch chunks. Place in large non-reactive bowl and add pineapple chunks and juice. Toss gently to coat bananas well with the pineapple juice. Chill. Eat. Done!

d8d09f6fbc4f8b68baee66f87ce401a5

 

Sesame-Miso Green Beans/Sandomame goma-miso ae

It is getting to be that wonderful time of year when all kinds of fresh vegetables are making their way to produce stands and coming out of back yard gardens.  Juicy red tomatoes, full of acid, are my most favorite.  After that, they are all rated No. 2.  I grew up eating vegetables.  It was none of this coaxing and threatening.  There was one simple rule – eat what was offered or make do with bread and milk.  Because I was started on veggies as a toddler, I had no problem with that rule.  A backyard garden added to the appeal of veggies. The garden was not only a source of fresh food for us, it provided us home-canned and frozen veggies to take us through to next garden season. Summer meals often consisted of nothing but vegetables and of course, a big ol’ glass of sweet tea.

As a child, the vegetable garden was often a magical place to play. Warm, soft earth caressed bare feet, tiny frogs hiding under leaves, lady bugs, butterflies, birds pulling worms from the soil or grubs eaten off plants – except time spent with a book, this was one of my favorite places to be and thing to do. I helped weed and pick the vegetables. I was taught respect for the plants, the earth, the food, and the value of hard work and a job well done. A ripe tomato, or cucumber, or a few green beans pulled right from the plant made an excellent snack.

Veggies picked that morning were on the table for lunch and supper that same day.  Garden to table is still the best way.  That isn’t always possible but consuming veggies picked within a few days is next best.  Always choose the freshest you can find of what is in season.  Seasonal fruits and veggies save money and when at their peak, has a flavor that beats frozen/canned/weeks old veggies hands down.  Pulling down the shucks of ears of corn, with dew still on the shucks is a sensual delight.  The silky feel of the husk, the green smell of the husk as it exposes the lush yellow, white, bi-color kernels, the pop of the kernels when you bite into them or slide a paring knife down the ear separating kernels from cob…I can go on and on about corn.  And don’t get me started on tomatoes, okra, squashes, green beans, butter beans, cucumbers…

But I digress.  We started off with a recipe about green beans.  There are many different varieties: blue lake, tender green, Kentucky Wonder, Tenderette, and many more.  Then types: bush, climbing, half runner, flat, pole beans, , Italian, French, and…Hannibal Lecter’s F-f-fava beans .  Different textures, flavors – green beans are not your plain old green side dish.  Barely cooked and bright green and crisp, cooked with bacon or ham or fatback until melt in the mouth and flavored with the meat, pickled (!), cooked in the manner of different cuisines using tomatoes, garlic, sesame, onions, peppers, soy – they bring international flavor to your plain old everyday meal.

I enjoy green beans many different ways.  One of my favorites is quick cooked and then tossed with a creamy sesame and miso sauce.  A plate of these on their own is a quick dinner for me.  Some on the side of teriyaki chicken and rice makes a fancy meal that is not your same old meat, starch, vegetable supper.  Mixing these with freshly made and cooked udon is another of my happy place dishes.

You can find the ingredients in Asian food stores or sometimes, in specialty sections of a grocery store.  If you can’t find the sesame paste, tahini can be substituted and in a pinch, smooth peanut butter, but the taste will be very different. This recipe is fairly common. The version I use comes from the Hakone area.

Sandomame Goma-miso Ae
1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame paste (shiro neri goma)
1 1/2 tablespoons shiro (sweet, white) miso
dash of low sodium soy sauce
good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons daishi or water, or water from cooking green beans
16 ounces green beans, whole or cut into 2 inch pieces or sliced in diagonals
1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (optional)

In a bowl, mix the sesame paste with the miso, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Stir with wooden spoon or non-reactive whisk to blend completely. Taste, and if it seems too sweet, adjust the seasoning with salt. Blend by hand again until smooth. Thin the mixture with stock or water, one spoonful at a time. Set aside.  Clean the green beans, snapping off the ends. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the beans and cook for 3 minutes or until bright green. Drain the beans then let cool at room temperature.

Toss the green beans in the sesame-miso sauce just before serving and garnish with sesame seeds. I always like to add a light sprinkle of thinly sliced green onion. Serves 4 (maybe).

imagesJU6OK8VT

 

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