I’m going to keep this short, because we are preparing for a busy weekend full of birthday festivities. Zane turns two tomorrow and we’re throwing a toddler party that I’m both excited for and exhausted just thinking about. I’ll be back next week with a full report.
In the meantime, here’s another hot matcha beverage to warm you up! This one is inspired by Autumn’s homemade pistachio milk, which I used as the base for a green tea latte that’s rich, grassy, and slightly sweet. Oh, and dairy-free if that’s your thing.
Matcha Pistachio Latte
1/2 c raw unsalted pistachios
1 1/2 c water, plus more for soaking
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1. Cover the pistachios by a couple inches with water, cover, and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
2. Drain and rinse the pistachios then add them, along with 1 1/2 c water, to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
3. Pour into a small pot, stir in the honey, and cook over medium heat until hot.
4. Pour back into the blender, add the green tea powder, and blend on high until the matcha is fully incorporated and the drink is frothy.
Perhaps counterintuitively, winter is the season that most makes me miss my farming days. Nothing compares to a steady stream of manual labor to keep you warm, but beyond the physical benefits of the job, working in nature gave me ample opportunity to appreciate the splendor of winter – the beauty in the stark contrast between the bare trees and the crisp sky, or the way newly fallen snowflakes glitter in the nooks and crannies of the final crop of savoy cabbage.
Particularly rewarding was the satisfaction of growing food in cold weather. You would be amazed at the heartiness of some plants, who refuse to stop growing despite the apparently unhospitable conditions. With a little help from some row covers or a simple structure covered in plastic, and kale, chard, and lettuce can thrive, a pop of color and nourishment hiding beneath the snow.
(One winter I even made a little video inspired by winter farming.)
Brooklyn, on the other hand, gets no favors from winter. The cold feels particularly brutal upon leaving my small apartment, and sidewalks are hazardous. The snow is bright white for maybe five minutes before it’s punctuated with litter and dog pee. Even the sun is hesitant to come on scene and we’ve spent so little time outdoors that when we do leave the house, Zane dramatically shields his eyes like the vampire and cries “Bright! Bright!”.
To cope, we are filling up on comfort food and hot beverages. Hot cocoa is a staple, since we almost always have cocoa powder and milk on hand. I’ve been experimenting with little twists on my standard recipe, and one I keep coming back to is this version with matcha. The powdered green tea adds a subtly sophisticated flavor – the best descriptor I can think of is “grassy”, but I mean that in the best of ways. Rather than my usual maple syrup, I sweeten it with honey, whose floral notes pair perfectly with matcha.
The little jolt of caffeine and warming effect of matcha hot cocoa make it my ideal afternoon pick-me-up these days. While I’m enjoying it on an almost-daily basis, I have to admit I’m desperately looking forward to the days when a smoothie is my snack of choice…
Matcha Hot Cocoa
1 1/2 c whole milk
1/2 tbsp honey (or to taste)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp matcha
1. Heat the milk and honey in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and continue to cook, whisking often, for about five minutes.
2. Put the matcha in a mug and add a small amount (about a tablespoon) of the hot cocoa. Use a pastry brush to incorporate/dissolve the matcha into the hot milk mixture before returning the contents of the mug to the small pot. Whisk and cook another minute before serving hot in the mug.
Well, it’s still winter. And despite some recent blog posts and tweets I’ve seen proclaiming spring is “right around the corner”, don’t be fooled: Winter is not almost over. And I’m not happy about it.
So, I’m “celebrating” in the best way I know how…through food. A cheesy casserole, specifically, made into a complete meal with chicken, roasted red pepper, spinach. The cheese béchamel gets a subtly smoky kick and killer color from roasted red pepper puree, so the vegetable isn’t so much hidden as a defining characteristic of the dish. Get the recipe for cheesy roasted red pepper chicken and pasta bake over at Hellobee.
And since we can still expect weeks more of cold weather, next week I’ll have a hot cocoa recipe – a new combination I recently discovered I think you’ll love.