Sunday, November 28, 2010

Challenge #2- Seeing green...tea.

Instead of waiting every 4 posts to do a challenge, both Maggie and I had so much fun with the first one that we decided to do a challenge every 2 posts. So we'll see how that goes!

This time around we are using green tea to make up any concoction. I blanched at first when Maggie suggested that this be the challenge--- I was so stuck and bewildered that I can honestly say that I wasn't sure if I could accept this challenge. I didn't even know where to buy matcha powder. But I did anyway.

It took me a full two weeks to find the right idea for this challenge. Among the rejects (and they were a bizarre lot) were: green tea ravioli, green tea pasta and green tea sauce. Uhhh.. gross. But then I thought, Green tea mousse! And that was brilliant, until I realized I had no idea how to make mousse and had never used matcha powder. I wasn't really ready to take that leap.

But then... one thing led to another, and I present today:

Green tea creme caramel (also known as flan):

Matcha powder.. no English
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
Butter for greasing
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fine grade matcha powder
         NOTE: I had a hard time with the matcha. You can buy it at your local asian supermarket in the tea section.  Unfortunately all the packaging is in Japanese. And nobody that I know well enough to get matcha for me is Japanese or reads Japanese. The only label in English said 'Ingredients: GREEN TEA'.So I did what any logical person would do. I felt the packages. I noticed that some were different prices than others and that some felt different. Some felt grainy and others were finer. I went with the finest (and consequently, most expensive) matcha there was. I reccommend getting the finest you can find. Nobody likes grainy dessert.
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Start by dissolving 1/3 cup sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is tinted golden brown. Pour into buttered ramekins (I used 2 large ramekins because that's all I had, but you can do six little ones) until bottoms of ramekins are coated. Set aside.

Before the bake
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs (and extra egg white), vanilla, milk, cream , sugar, and salt. Once combined, take a small amount of the mixture and blend it together with the matcha powder for even green tea distribution, mixing it back into the bowl when fully blended.

Distribute mixture into ramekins evenly and place into baking dish. Pour water into the baking dish until the water reaches about an inch deep. Bake at 350 degrees. If using two large ramekins, bake for 1 1/2 hours. If using six small ramekins, bake for 45 minutes. Let chill for at least 3 hours.

Once chilled, unstick edges with a knife and tip 
upside down. Watch for liquidy caramel! So tasty! Ok. No it doesn't look pretty. But it really does taste good, I promise!

I found it funny that Katelyn was so uneasy by this challenge, because it was originally her idea!! (Yes, Katelyn, check our messages, you were the one to first bring it up =) NOTE FROM KATELYN: I remember throwing this challenge on the board... I just never expected to be voted on so soon! Also. I thought that I would have a better idea by the time we came to this challenge.. whoops!).  I was pretty excited because I already had a green-tea craft in my repertoire.  So unlike Katelyn, this challenge was fairly easy for me…  So I present to you a green tea body scrub.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoon Epsom salt
  • 8-12 teaspoons of olive oil (if you have oily skin, I suggest using less…If you have dry skin, I suggest using more)
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 2 bags green tea
  • 2 bags lemon green tea
  • Small palmful of crushed mint
  • Small palmful of rosemary
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Jar with lid (I used an empty, thoroughly cleaned out salsa jar.  I had previously decorated it with spray paint & acrylic paint)
This is a fairly customizable recipe...You can use fresh lemon zest, but only if you indeed to use the scrub immediately (the zest can mold over time).  Or you could use orange or lime zest (I would be curious to see how well a green tea, lime, dried basil scrub would turn out...)  You could also add Vitamin E, essential oils, dried flowers (I've used lavender before), etc.  This is the first time I have used mint and rosemary, I enjoyed the minty-fresh scent of the mint/rosemary combo.  I like this recipe because it's fairly dry compared to other homemade scrubs and it's convenient because chances are you have most of the ingredients (if not all of them) at home!

    Pour sugar and Epsom salt into bowl.  Mix!

    Pour olive oil and honey into 
    sugar-salt mixture.  Mix!

    Cut open bags of tea, add to sugar-salt-oil-honey mixture.  Mix!

    Pour in mint and rosemary.  Mix!

    Put into jar.  Glue on labels (optional, see template, click on image, right click, "save image as" to save to your computer). 

    Perfect for a gift for a friend, or for yourself!  It smells minty and the green tea helps exfoliate to leave all skin types feeling nice and smooth.

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