How to Make Matcha

How to Make Matcha

When it comes to food “trends,” I’m usually so late to the game. Chia pudding, smoothie bowls, cauliflower smoothies… I didn’t see any of those foods coming and staying (to be honest the cauliflower smoothie thing still sounds a little gross to me). But matcha… I’ve been loving matcha before it was the cool thing to love.

I can’t quite remember the first time I tried matcha. It’s been so long, but it might have been on a swirly soft serve cone in Kyoto. Matcha desserts and matcha lattes are all over the place now, but what I want to focus on in this post is simply how to make matcha. We’re partnering with Pure Leaf because they make matcha now(!), which means that you can find matcha in your regular grocery store. Pure Leaf Home Brewed Matcha Tea is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ tea estates in Kagoshima, Japan. The green tea leaves are shadegrown, dried, and ground for a full-bodied, smooth taste. I very often skip coffee in the morning and drink matcha with almond milk instead. Here’s how to make a cup (I made two!) of Pure Leaf Pure Matcha or Pure Leaf Matcha with Ginger:

How to Make Matcha

Step 1: Bring 8 oz. of water (or a mix of water and nut milk) to a boil and empty your matcha sachet into a mug or bowl.

Step 2: Pour just enough water (2 oz.) over the serving of matcha to blend.

How to Make Matcha

Step 3: Whisk until matcha is fully dispersed and there is a foamy layer on top. A matcha whisk is ideal, but you can use a small regular whisk if you don’t have one. To get your matcha to foam, whisk briskly from side to side (not in a circular motion).

How to Make Matcha

Step 4: Add remaining 6 oz. water (or steamed almond milk like I did!) and whisk again until foamy.

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Step 5: Enjoy!

You can use steamed almond milk or coconut milk (like I did) in lieu of the second addition of water. I often like mine with sweetened vanilla almond milk, and if you’re a newbie matcha drinker, you might want to try it this way until you acquire the somewhat bitter taste of matcha.

This post is in partnership with Pure Leaf Tea.

Favorite Vegetarian Soup Recipes

Red Curry Kuri Squash Soup

Depending on where you live, it may or may not be quite soup weather yet. The temps are cooling off over here in the midwest, but to be honest, I’d eat soup even if it was one hundred degrees out (and I used to in Austin!). I love soup anytime and all the time! I love making it, I love eating it… I also love how it yields lots of leftovers that are almost always better the second or third day after flavors have had the chance to fully develop.

If you love soup as much as I do, here are some favorites you may want to add to your list this fall!

Red Curry Kuri Squash Soup (pictured above)

This is the first soup that I crave in the fall – if you can’t find a kuri squash, substitute butternut squash instead. This creamy soup is made with coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, and red curry (hence the name) for spice.

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I get excited for winter just thinking about this one. I roast the whole cauliflower – cores and all. Its nutty rich flavor becomes a luscious creamy soup (without cream!) when blended with vegetable broth, thyme, a little lemon, and a few other secret ingredients.

White Bean Tomato Mushroom Soup

White Bean Tomato Mushroom Soup

Sometimes my favorite soups start in the pantry – this one makes good use of both canned tomatoes and canned beans. Mushrooms, butternut squash, kale, and herbs get simmered down, making this a hearty one bowl meal if you serve it with a little crusty bread.

Curried Red Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

Curried Red Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

While this one is on the ugly side, it remains one of my favorite stews. Sweet potato, ginger, lentils, and curry spices make thick hearty base and a bit of lime juice gives it an unexpected pop of flavor. The flavors here go so perfectly together!

Ribollita - Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ribollita – Tuscan White Bean Soup

I hope you have some stale bread laying around, because you can transform it into this tasty Ribolita! Tomatoes, carrots, white beans, kale, a touch of white wine, and some good crusty stale bread make up this hearty soup that will get you through the winter.

Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Pesto

Carrot Soup with Carrot Top Pesto

Waste not, want not. Use those beautiful carrot tops to make a pesto – it’s the perfect thing to swirl into this creamy 6-ish ingredient carrot-ginger soup.

Easy Vegetarian Pho

Easy Vegetarian Pho

This recipe was inspired by a Vietnamese restaurant that was down the street from our Austin house. Now that we’ve moved, I’ll be making my own pho again – I call this one faux pho, because it involves a few shortcuts that make this soup possible to make relatively quickly.

Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup

Creamy White Bean & Tomato Soup

This one is a reader favorite because it’s so easy and quick to make. If you have a can of tomatoes, a can of white beans, and a blender, you’re pretty much there.

Sustenance Sweet Potato Stew 

Sustenance Sweet Potato Stew 

This recipe is from Tess Masters’ The Perfect Blend. It’s one of my favorites because it’s packed full of vegetables (as the title suggests). There’s a clever twist where almond butter is stirred in at the end. It sounds a little odd, but the flavor combo is really incredible.

For more soups, see the soup section of our recipe index!

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

We’re halfway through October and I suppose I’m behind on pumpkin season :).

I haven’t made pumpkin bread, I haven’t made pumpkin cookies, in fact, I haven’t even opened a can of pumpkin yet which is blasphemy in the blogosphere.

This year, I wanted to think a little outside-the-box for my pumpkin recipes, so I’m going to start with the actual vegetable rather than canned pumpkin (so I guess I’m thinking outside-the-can?). When I was brainstorming ideas of what to make with fresh pumpkin, the winner was one of my favorites – tortilla soup. While it’s traditionally made with chicken, I thought cubes of pumpkin would make a delicious, hearty, comforting soup for fall. Lucky for all of us, I was right.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

I got this giant pumpkin from the farmers market last weekend – it’s called a Long Island Cheese pumpkin, because it’s shape resembles a wheel of cheese. It’s similar in flavor to a sugar pie pumpkin and let me tell you it was a beast to cut open. Uhh.. it was a beast that I made Jack cut open. If you can’t find a good fresh pumpkin (or you want something easier to cut), feel free to sub in butternut squash into this recipe.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

The base of the soup is made with roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic. These are blended with a dried (and soaked) chipotle pepper, which adds depth and smokiness (see notes below if you can’t find a dried chile), and a corn tortilla, for thickness. It all gets simmered with vegetable broth, pumpkin cubes, and black beans.

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Of course, tortilla soup is all about the tortillas… slice the remaining tortillas into strips and bake until crispy. Load up your bowls with the rest of the toppings – crispy radishes, avocado and lime juice. Then dig in!

Pumpkin Tortilla Soup

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

It’s been a crazy few months. We moved into our new place in Chicago, almost immediately left for a whirlwind trip that took us through France and Italy, then ended back in the Midwest in Madison before heading back home. I’m eventually going to share a little bit about each trip, but for today I’m starting with the most logical place to begin – the middle! Italy!

Jack and I spent 4 days in Milan and Parma at Barilla® Pasta World Championship. It’s crazy to reflect and see where our work takes us. Eating our way through northern Italy was a blast, to say the least.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

The competition started in Milan with 19 young chefs competing, each with their signature pasta dish, for the title of Pasta World Champion. Each dish was more creative and artful than the last. Look at those colors! My #1 takeaway from this event was that my pasta twirling skills definitely need some work 🙂

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

At the end of Day, 19 chefs were narrowed to 10 to compete the following day. We weren’t in Milan very long, but we managed to squeeze in an evening walk to the Milan duomo and the next day, of course, some gelato time.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

On day 2 of the competition, each chef made their version of Spaghetti Pomodoro. It was fun to watch the variations that each chef made using tomato, pasta, and basil. The dish at the top of this post was my favorite (not the winner, but maybe next time they’ll let me judge, ha ha).

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

After the competition was whittled down to 3 contestants, we headed to Parma where we strolled the picturesque cobblestone streets with fellow bloggers Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking and Jenny (with her husband Jordan) from Spoon Fork Bacon. (Not pictured, we had 2 great meals at La Forchetta and Ristorante Cocchi).

On day 3, each chef made their signature dish again and a winner was chosen – Chef Accursio Lota the chef from San Diego (originally from Sicily) was named the Pasta World Champion. We were especially rooting for him, not just because he was representing America, but because his dad (who speaks no English) bravely stopped waiters from taking my bread away at dinner the night before.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

The last day was the day I was waiting for – the day we visited a Parmigiano Reggiano factory. Look at those rows! We also visited a balsamic producer where we tasted tiny drops of the best aged balsamic vinegar ever in Modena.

Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma Pasta World Championship in Milan & Parma

So that was it, and we had a blast! We got to photograph and taste amazing pasta, hang out with friends and see Parmigiano Reggiano making in Parma! Plus, we can’t wait to visit Chef Lota’s restaurant in San Diego and try more of his delicious pasta!

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Crispy Butternut Squash & Poblano Tacos

Even though we all officially celebrated the first day of fall a few weeks ago, my season starts the day I roast a butternut squash. I love love love roasted butternut squash. First off, it makes my kitchen smell so warm and cozy. Second, it’s such a delicious and versatile squash that works in so many of my favorite comfort food recipes like soups, risotto, and pastas. But I’m saving comfort for another day because today is taco day! I’m so obsessed over these tacos with crispy baked butternut squash.

This recipe starts with a pretty darn awesome sauce, if I do say so myself. Roasted poblanos, onions, and garlic get mixed with lime juice, cilantro, and the best mayo on the planet – Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how much I love Sir Kensington’s condiments (see here, here, and here). They source the best ingredients and their ketchups, mustards, and mayos just taste so darn good because of it. I could eat this mayo straight from the jar, but since this blog is about recipes, I whipped it up into this spicy, tangy sauce to go with the tacos. Btw, if you’re vegan, go ahead and make this with Sir K’s Fabanaise.

Part two of this recipe is the baked crispy squash. There’s no need to fry anything here because this spiced panko & hempseed “breading” makes the squash cubes crispy and delicious in the oven. The hemp seeds might seem like a strange addition, but they offer a lovely nutty flavor (as well as some nutritional benefits).

As the squash roasts in the oven, make a quick slaw with a scoop of the poblano sauce.

Pro tip: once the squashed is baked, try not to stand at the kitchen counter dipping and snacking on the crispy cubes like I did! Assemble the tacos with the slaw, the remaining roasted poblanos & onions, the crispy squash, avocado (optional), and generous scoops of the sauce.