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Posted on Aug 27, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 3 comments

Creamy Gazpacho

Summers in our nation’s capital come in pretty much one flavor: humid. And though, granted, this summer has been slightly less sticky than most, I’m still just one big ball o’ sweat most of the time when I’m outside. So when it comes to foods that I’m craving in August, I’m almost always going to prefer something chilled over something hot. Duh.

Of course, one can’t live off of popsicles forever (I’ve tried, believe me), so upon occasion you might find me in the kitchen trying to whip up a nice no-heat meal. Don’t worry, I’m not going raw. I’m just hot — all the time. Which brings us to the following recipe — one that’ll make you forget you ever even liked hot soup to begin with.

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Whether eaten (er, drank?) straight from the blender or allowed to chill for a few in the fridge, I just know that this creamy (yet dairy-free!), zesty gazpacho will hit the spot. It’s light, it’s bright, and depending on how spicy you want to make it, you can take your tastebuds for a real ride, hehe. Reserve a bit of the tomato, cucumbers, and onions to chop and serve in the bowl for a bit of texture, or blend it all to your heart’s desire. There’s really no wrong way to make this, since all it takes is a handful of fresh, natural ingredients and a blender!

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Creamy Gazpacho
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup crushed tomato juice (about 3 medium to large ripe tomatoes)
1/4 large onion, or 1/2 small onion
1 small cucumber, cut into rough pieces
1 poblano pepper (or green bell pepper)
1 – 2 jalapeño peppers (optional)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lime (juice only)
1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk (vanilla or original — your choice!)
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of green chile Tabasco sauce (optional)

Instructions:

1. Crush tomatoes until you yield ~1 cup of juice. Seeds and some pulp are okay.

2. Combine tomato juice, onion, cucumber, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and jalapeño (if using) in blender. Reserve a tablespoon or so of the onion and cucumber if you want to dice and add to soup for texture. Blend on medium – high speed for 30 to 45 seconds, or until ingredients are all finely combined.

3. Add lime juice and almond milk, salt and pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco (if using) to the soup and stir.

4. Pour over chopped tomato, onion, and cucumber, or serve ungarnished! Eat immediately, or keep it in the fridge to chill further before consuming.

5. Enjoy!

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almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Jul 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 11 comments

Homemade Bubble Milk Tea

So, I throw the word “Whasian” around here a lot. And yes, I know it’s partly because I have a bit of a complex about people not knowing that I’m half-Chinese… since I don’t look particularly Asian (except for maybe a handful of times of year, which usually coincide with things like Chinese New Year or my brother’s Chinese Banquet-style rehearsal dinner). Though, to be fair, I went on a cruise with my family the summer after my Freshman year in college, and the ship’s photographer thought that I was Ben’s girlfriend (gross) rather than an actual part of my family. So I think said complex is at least somewhat understandable.

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ANYWAY. For as much as I mention my ethnicity on this blog, I don’t really highlight too many Chinese recipes. Mostly, this is because my mom is such an amazing cook that I don’t dare try to copy her recipes for fear of ruining the dishes for myself. But that’s not to say I don’t prepare my fair share of Chinese cuisine. I love whipping up a batch of frozen xiao long bao at home (steamed soup dumplings), I adore going out to dim sum, and I am absolutely OBSESSED with bubble milk tea.

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Bubble milk tea, boba, pearl milk tea, zhen zhu nai cha — whatever you call it, I love it. I was first introduced to this most magic of beverages during the three years I spent living in Taiwan, and to this day it is one of the surest ways to make me a happy, happy girl. Unfortunately, all the most authentic bubble milk tea places around here seem to be up in Rockville, and I don’t enjoy braving Seven Corners traffic enough to frequent the Eden Center on a regular basis. So, I’ve had to figure out ways to satisfy my total obsession occasional craving on my own.

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Now, admittedly, I cheat and use a milk tea powder more often than not. But! For you folks, who have probably come here to read at least a somewhat healthy-ish recipe, I decided to brew up a batch from scratch. You’re very welcome. 😉

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Introducing my very own taste-tested and Whasian-approved recipe for bubble milk tea. And because I love you guys so much, I even made it dairy-free, don’tcha know! I used regular ol’ black tea bags, but if you really want to go authentic, head for your nearest Asian grocery store and pick up a can of looseleaf Hong Kong-style black tea. Also, since I imagine most of you don’t keep the pearls in your pantry, you can zip right over to Amazon.com and pick up a pack of tapioca pearls, along with some of those nifty fat bubble tea straws.

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Bubble Milk Tea
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 black tea bags, or equivalent looseleaf black tea
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup uncooked tapioca pearls
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk
Ice (optional)

Instructions:

1. Steep tea in boiling water. You are aiming for a very strong brew, so let steep for a good 8 – 10 minutes. It is also best to allow the tea to cool somewhat before mixing your milk tea.
2. While tea is steeping, heat water on stove in a small or medium sauce pot until boiling. Add tapioca pearls and cook until all pearls float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar to pot and stir just until dissolved. Cover and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Reserve about half of the tapioca pearls and sugar water for each serving of bubble tea.
3A. For frozen bubble milk tea, add tea, milk, sugar water from the pearls, and ice cubes to a blender, and blend until ice is fully incorporated. Add tapioca pearls and enjoy!
3B. For regular bubble milk tea, simply combine tea, milk, and sugar water in a pitcher or glass, then add pearls. If the mixture is not cool enough, you may add ice cubes or refrigerate* the tea first. Enjoy!

*Do not refrigerate the pearls in the tea — store them in the sugar water separately. The pearls become hard when cold, and will need to be reheated in the microwave to become soft again.

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So there you have it. You can add as much or as little additional sweetener as necessary to achieve the desired taste of your milk tea, but I tried to keep it fairly light. As mentioned, you can store any leftover pearls in the sugar water mixture (a mixture of water and honey is also a great preserver, and gives good flavor to the pearls). Just reheat the pearls for about 30 seconds in the microwave if you decide to use them later! Easy peasy.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Jun 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 4 comments

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Rice Pudding

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, people, because the more time I spend here writing this post, the more time I spending with my fingers typing instead of shoveling spoonful after spoonful of ooey, gooey, creamy, dreamy chocolate rice pudding into my mouth. Yeah, it’s pretty good.

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This steaming bowl of deliciousness is so, so easy to make, with only four real ingredients, plus a few seasonings and whatnot. Plus, it’s dairy-free! (And maybe gluten-free? I’m not actually sure about that. But definitely gluten-lessened!) With no added sugar other than what’s in Almond Breeze’s Chocolate almond milk (and perhaps a drizzle of chocolate syrup at the end… if you’re a glutton like me, hehe), it’s still very rich, hearty, and makes you feel all warm in the tummy.

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Rice pudding in general is actually quite versatile. It’s a dessert that can also be a breakfast food (just think oatmeal, minus the oats), so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re pretty much covered. I added dried plums (mmm, fiber!) and blueberries to this dish to make it a little more appropriate to eat before 11 AM, but if you’re looking for something even less desserty, you can always just sub in non-chocolate almond milk, too!

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Chocolate Rice Pudding
Makes 2 heaping servings

Ingredients:

3 cups Almond Breeze chocolate almond milk
3/4 cup rice of choice (I used jasmine)
1/4 cup dried plums (or dried fruit of your choice)
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
Drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional)

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat rice and almond milk until it reaches a soft boil.
2. Add seasonings and dried plums, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. As the milk gets absorbed and the rice thickens, being stirring more frequently. When the desired consistency is reached, remove from heat. Stir in blueberries and serve.
4. Drizzle on a squeeze of chocolate syrup, if desired, and enjoy!

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Nutritional info: Per giant heaping serving (1/2): 345 caloris, 4.6 g fat, 4 g protein. Per normal person’s serving (1/3): 230 calories, 3.1 g fat, 2.6 g protein.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on May 30, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 4 comments

Chocolate Crepes

Mon dieu, mes amis! I am so humbled and flattered by all your support and camaraderie in response to my big job announcement post! You guys really know how to make a girl feel loved, you know that? Well, I’m tossing the love right back your way with an extra special (and extra delicious) new recipe!

You may have seen, from my previous post on crepes, that I have some serious love for these hoity-toity cousins to the good ol’ pancake. I’ve always loved how incredibly easy they are to make something so seemingly impressive. I mean, flour, eggs, milk, sugar… and a little water to thin out the batter. It really doesn’t get much easier than that!

So when Almond Breeze challenged me to come up with another delectable brunch recipe, I knew exactly what direction I would be headed in. Only these fluffy little dreams have one serious new twist to them: CHOCOLATE!

Yes, these sweet-but-not-too-sweet chocolatey crepes will have you singing aloud (probably in French). Eat them plain (they’re delicious on their own!) or stuff ’em full of whatever your heart desires! I went with a raspberry cream filling this time around, but you could honestly do anything! Jam, fruit, more chocolate (you know you wanna)… the possibilities are endless!

Chocolate Crepes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar (or equivalent of sweetener of your choice)
1/2 cup Chocolate Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk
1/2 cup water
2 eggs (or vegan substitute)
Pinch of salt

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt) with a whisk or fork, making sure to break up any clumps in the cocoa powder.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until yolks and whites are fully combined and are fluffy. Mix in almond milk.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix together until thoroughly combined. Add water, using additional if you need to thin out the batter even more. You are aiming for a rather thin, drippy consistency.

4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and grease with butter or nonstick spray. In 1/2 cup increments, drop batter into hot pan and swirl around until the entire bottom area is coated. Cook ~45 seconds, flip, and cook an additional 20 – 30 seconds.

5. Roll your crepes with whatever filling you choose! This time, I whipped up a very quick filling with cream cheese, raspberries, and a dash more of almond milk to thin it out.

6. Bon appetit!

This recipe makes 5 – 6 large crepes (only 5 if you mess the first one up, like I did, haha). And each crepe has only 115 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. Enjoy!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on May 22, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 4 comments

Sean’s Roasted Salsa

Hi friends! Today I’ve got something special for you: Sean’s uhhhmazing homemade salsa recipe! I’ve posted about his salsa a couple of times before, and it was a HUGE hit at my birthday party, with several recipe requests coming out of that. Well, ask and ye shall receive… eventually! Ha!

He made salsa again recently and had the thoughtfulness to take pictures of the process for me to blog about. See, told you he was a keeper. 🙂

Sean’s salsa has deep, roasted flavors and has restaurant-style consistency — he purees it very finely so it coats each chip, as opposed to the chunkier, pico de gallo-style salsa I’m often used to out of the jar. This salsa is perfect not just for snacking, but for topping tacos and other dishes since the consistency is so smooth and pourable. Sean makes fish tacos sometimes and I douse them in this salsa — SO good!


You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like — he’s a spice-fiend, but I often have to ask him to scale it back for me. I know, I’m pathetic. But it’s so good that even when he makes it too spicy, I can’t stop myself from eating it. I just end up paying the price for it later, hahaha.


So without further adieu, awaaaay we go!

Sean’s Roasted Salsa

Ingredients:

6 medium tomatoes
1 large onion
2 jalapeno peppers (or poblano, ancho, guajillo, or peppers of your choice)
2 cloves elephant garlic (or ~6 small cloves)
1 canned chipotle pepper in sauce (unpictured, but they come in small cans in the ethnic foods section of your grocery store)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Seasonings: Cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt (all to taste)

Instructions:

1. Heat grill or set broiler to high. Slice tomatoes in half, and onion into thick, grill-bearing slices.

2. Put tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapenos on the grill/under the broil, and cook until outsides are blackened, flipping once. Tomatoes take about 25 minutes, everything else around 10 minutes, so remove items as they finish cooking.

3. Add veggies to food processor and add canned chipotle pepper (you can add as many as you like if you like your salsa spicy, but one is enough for me!) and some of the sauce from the can as well. Add lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and pulse food processor until everything is combined. If you don’t have a food processor, this could potentially be done in a blender, or you could chop and combine ingredients by hand (it’ll just be a chunkier salsa).

4. Add seasonings to taste, including more vinegar and olive oil if you think it calls for it. This is where you can tailor the salsa to your exact preferences!

5. Once everything is to your liking, you can serve it warm right away, or allow salsa to cool in the fridge if you prefer it cold. Then, when you’re ready, just dunk some chips in there and enjoy! Ole!

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