It’s hot outside! Cool down with a milkshake… but keep this one away from the kiddos. 😉
Ingredients (Makes 2 servings)
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
4 ice cubes
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup rum cream
1/4 cup dark rum
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into festive glasses. Garnish with whipped cream if desired!
Matcha powder made into hot tea
Matcha tea is an important beverage in Japan, used in traditional tea ceremonies and favored as an everyday, relaxing beverage as well. Before arriving in Tokyo, I understood that matcha was a popular beverage. What I didn’t understand, but have come to appreciate, is that matcha is also a popular food ingredient!
Matcha tea is made from high quality green tea leaves. After the leaves are dried, they are ground into a fine powder (see photo above). Small quantities of matcha powder are whisked (or just stirred) into almost-boiling hot water to make tea. Note that there’s no “tea bag” here – there’s nothing to remove from your cup. Instead, matcha is whole tea, where the leaves themselves are consumed instead of merely steeped. Why is this significant? For starters, drinking matcha tea provides significantly more antioxidants per cup because you are consuming the entire leaf. Remember, antioxidants are powerful little cancer fighters and anti-aging weapons! Also, matcha tea contains more caffeine that steeped tea, making matcha tea a nice substitute for a cup of coffee.
Barracuda tempura dusted with matcha and salt
Here in Tokyo, we’ve seen matcha powder used as a seasoning. In the photo to the left, a lovely slice of barracuda tempura has been dusted with salt and matcha. Absolutely delicious!
We’ve also seen matcha used to flavor Japanese interpretations of traditional French desserts. I’m reserving those photos, friends, because I plan to recreate a few sweet treats and bring you recipes here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. Stay tuned!
Finally, matcha ice cream is quite popular here. The matcha soft serve ice cream cone shown below is Half-Pint approved!
Want to try matcha for yourself? Here’s a link for you!
Matcha ice cream – YUM!
Turmeric contains an amazing substance called curcumin, which is widely recognized as both a powerful antioxidant and a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Finding ways to work turmeric into your diet is an all-around good idea. There’s a catch, though – in order for your body to absorb that valuable curcumin, you need to consume turmeric with either a little black pepper or a bit of fat.
Today’s recipe for a simple Turmeric Springtime Smoothie is designed to introduce turmeric to those unfamiliar with this little root, and contains ingredients designed to aid in curcumin absorption. Did I mention this Turmeric Springtime Smoothie has an awesome tropical flavor? What are you waiting for?
Introducing Prime Pantry – Everyday Essentials Delivered to You
Ingredients (Makes 1 large smoothie)
2 tablespoons freshly grated turmeric root Continue reading
This just might be the easiest item to prepare on your entire party buffet… and the most popular! Who doesn’t love a good Bloody Mary? Sure, the spicy, tomato based vodka beverage is tasty, but everyone knows the best part of a well made Bloody Mary is the garnish. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we ran with that idea and created Inside Out Bloody Marys. The beverage itself is shot sized and potent, accompanied by an assortment of excellent pickled vegetables. Rock On!
Ingredients (Serves 12)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) spicy Bloody Mary mix, chilled (Preservation and Co. Bloody Mary Mix 32 Oz. Jar)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) good quality vodka, chilled
1 cup of pickled mushrooms
1 cup of pickled beans (Tabasco Beans, Spicy, 16 Ounce)
1 cup of pickled okra (TABASCO Spicy Pickled Okra 12 oz. jar)
Double (3 ounce) shot glasses
OK, friends – this is easy enough to prepare even if you’ve already enjoyed a full size Bloody Mary or three. 😉 Begin by arranging your relishes in the center of a party platter. If you want more than three options, go for it. Try thick slices of dill pickles, ginger pickled carrots, garlic stuffed green olives, rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes, etc.
Next, arrange your shot glasses on the outer edge of the party platter. Fill your shot glasses half full with chilled vodka, and top with chilled Bloody Mary mix. Serve immediately!
Gossiping with my little sister over cocktails isn’t something I get to do everyday – she lives almost 700 miles away, probably because I was bossy as a child. 🙂 In all seriousness, rare afternoons with my little sis are fun! On our most recent visit, we enjoyed this Frozen Watermelon Sangria. I think you’ll enjoy it, too!
Ingredients (Makes 2 jumbo servings)
2 baby watermelon (about the size of a large grapefruit)
1 cup of fruity, dry red wine
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 lemon (peel included), cut in small chunks
citrus slices for garnish
Step 1) Set watermelons on a countertop to see how they naturally balance. Cut a thin slice off of the top (parallel to the countertop) of each watermelon. Carefully scoop out the insides, placing the watermelon flesh in a blender. DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY – if you accidentally puncture the watermelon rind, you can’t use the rind as a serving cup!
Step 2) Add wine, triple sec, and lemon to the blender. Add crushed ice to fill the blender, and blend until the mixture resembles a pink slush. If mixture is too thick, add a bit of water, orange juice, or wine. If mixture is too thin, add more ice.
Step 3) Pour mixture carefully into watermelon shells. Garnish with citrus slices (and an adorable little umbrella if you have them on hand) and serve immediately!
…and little sis, about that Play-Doh I made you eat as a child… sorry about that… 😉
I have a sister who has a talent for mixing drinks. When she shakes something up in her kitchen, it looks and tastes like a beverage you’d pay a high price for in a fancy bar. I’ve asked her for her bloody mary recipe so many times that she has threatened to charge me next time… I think she means it. This summer, rather than driving my sister crazy, I’ve decided to channel my inner mixologist and have some fun! With fresh herbs and ripe fruits readily available, even I (a bartending rookie) ought to be able to make something tasty, right? These Strawberry Mint Mojitos are delightful – let me know what you think!
Ingredients (Makes 2 tall glass servings)
1/2 cup fresh, very ripe strawberries
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (spearmint or pineapple mint)
1/3 cup light rum
1/3 cup frozen limeade concentrate
Step 1) Pulse strawberries, mint, rum, and limeade concentrate in a small food processor or blender until well blended.
Step 2) Pour over ice into two tall glasses. Top with seltzer water and stir quickly.
Step 3) Garnish with a strawberry, a mint leaf, and an umbrella (of course!). Serve immediately.
What’s with the food industry’s obsession with fake watermelon? You know what I’m talking about… lipstick-colored watermelon sherbets and sorbets, cloyingly sweet and perfumed watermelon bubblegum, and powdered drink mixes containing a dozen different ingredients not found in nature. These products seem to grow in popularity during the summer months, when REAL watermelon is available! It just doesn’t make any sense.
Try this instead: buy an actual, real watermelon. Cut it in half, scoop out the delicious fruit, and puree it in a blender (this should be done in small batches). Then, freeze the puree in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can pop out the cubes, freeze them in a bag, and use them all summer in delicious beverages! I’ll even confess to freezing extra watermelon for “emergency” summer drinks in the dead of winter. True story.
To make today’s Watermelon Lime Cooler, simply puree 1/2 of a lime (with or without the peel, it’s up to you), 6 cubes of frozen watermelon puree, and 1/4 cup of cold water. That’s IT – for about 10 seconds of effort, you get a refreshing glass of real summer flavor, complete with fiber, vitamin C, and beneficial lycopene. Need something a little sweeter? Add a teaspoon of marmalade before you blend the ingredients together. Enjoy!