The Walk – Part V – Green Tea

free public domain photo

free public domain photo

She had told him
there were sixty-five cherry trees
in the office park.
He was always amazed at this
jewel of a place set down
in the midst of
strip malls, box stores,
office buildings, gas stations.
Set apart, one road leading in
one road leading out.
It is as if the cherry trees,
the pond, the birds – all were
the purpose of this place
instead of the two tall office buildings.
She had told him
in the spring,
the trees would all burst
into clouds of pink and white –
the pond would reflect the blooms
just as the mirrored sides of the buildings
reflected the sky and cherry blossoms.
She had promised him.
She had pointed out
the different trees as she would
have introduced him to
her friends. It was silent today,
all offices closed.
He was lonely and this place
seemed like home to him.
A few minutes more.
She was working today
in spite of the holiday.
He looked up and there she was,
walking over the crest of the small
hill with a cloth bag in
her hand. Childlike,
he began to wave.
At the upper end of the pond,
under the five small bare cherry trees,
they stood.
Like a magician, she pulled two small
pads from the bag and motioned
for him to sit.
In silence, she spread a
bamboo mat and set out two pottery cups.
A small bowl, a small lacquered caddy,
tiny wooden spoon, bamboo whisk,
a thermos bottle,a small cloth.
In continued silence
she opened the caddy and added
bright green matcha to one
of the cups, poured steaming water into
the cup and softly began to
whisk the matcha and water into
a delicate foam. His breath caught as she placed the
cup in front of him and turned
it so he could see the dragonfly
painted on the cup.
She prepared tea for herself.
In silence they sat and sipped
the tea.
A few flakes of snow
began to fall.
He felt the warmth of the
tea in his body and in his soul.
He looked above him.
In his mind, he saw
the cherry blossoms.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

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!

 

Sunday Sweets: Green Tea Cookies

I love the flavor of green tea. Like the green tea ice cream recipe I posted, I use ceremonial grade matcha for these. These cookies are not as sweet as we Westerners are used to; the texture is more crumbly as well. I like to cut these with either flower shape or heart shape cutters. They are good as they are with tea or milk or, you can decorate with drizzles of chocolate, tinted white chocolate (pink is especially pretty). This is a simple cookie – an excellent introduction to Japanese desserts (in addition to the heavenly matcha ice cream).

Matcha Cookies

5 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp cake flour
4 tsp green tea powder
white chocolate, or regular chocolate, melted for decoration (optional)

Instructions
Sift cornstarch, cake flour, and green tea powder together. Set aside.

Beat soft butter in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar and sugar and mix. Add yolks and milk and mix well. At this point, mix these ingredients well as you don’t want to over mix when adding the flour mixture.

Add flour mixture and mix. Let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator. Divide into two parts and wrap in plastic or parchment paper. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thick and cut out with cookie cutter. Use a little flour to keep from sticking. Use enough, but try to use as little as possible. Bake at 350F in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes. Cool completely on cookie rack, and decorate with chocolate or powdered sugar if you want.

 

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