Milk tea mornings

Alternate title = “Am I the only one who does this?”

So, most of the time, my drink of choice is genmai-cha (Japanese green tea with toasted rice) or mugi-cha (roasted barley tea).  No sweetener, no milk.  Unadulterated tea.  Even when I do drink black teas, I still tend to drink them plain.  I’m very fond of drinking Irish Breakfast or Orange Pekoe black.

Now, I have nothing against milk teas.  In fact, I love hitting up a Taiwanese styled tea shop on occasion for sweet milk tea.  (No boba though, it’s too filling.)  (And I don’t go too often.  Even when requesting reduced sugar, it’s still a lot of calories.)  It’s more than I seldom satisfied with any milk tea that I prepare at home.  I know a few people so love black tea with sweetened condensed milk, but there’s something in the mouth-feel texture I don’t like.  If just milk is added, it just dilutes the tea flavor.  I’ve tried heating the milk and letting it be part of the steeping, but it feels like such a hassle.

A couple of months ago, I realized that I had an opened bag of dry milk that was going to go bad if I didn’t use it up.  (I couldn’t even remember which recipe I had originally used it for.)  It led to much searching on the internet for ideas for use, which eventually led me to this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 4.54.53 PM

I like this combo so much so that I used up the bag, and then went and bought a new bag of dry milk.  Right now, It’s part of my weekend morning routine**.  (Mornings of national holidays also apply.)  I think I use about 2 teaspoons per cup of black tea, but that’s just my preference.

How do you like your tea?

** = oh, I should pack up some and bring it to work

There are things we want, and there are things we need.  Donabe by Naoko Moore and Kyle Connaughton was definitely the former.  I won’t lie.  When I picked it up, I expected to treat it more like a coffee table book but I think I completely underestimated it.

Why did I want this book?  A handful of years ago, I read Naoko Moore’s blog regularly.  I don’t even remember how I found it.  But I did, and I’d dream about buying a donabe (particularly the rice cooker donabe) to make all sorts of Japanese inspired recipes.

You might be asking what is a donabe?  It’s the Japanese word for clay pot.

And now, you might be asking if I ever bought one?  Um, no.  To be fair, I never bought one because most of them are not recommended for an electric stove… of which  I have.  D’oh!

But still, I enjoyed Moore’s blog even though I rarely used any of the recipes she posted.

Oh.  Maybe I do know how I found her blog.  I learned to make shio koji and I think I was researching for more background information.


Moore use shio koji a lot.  She even included a recipe for it in her new cookbook.

Right, back to the cookbook.

Donabe-owner or not, I think I’m going to have to cook a lot of these recipes.  I think most of it should be ok for normal pots and pans.  The exceptions to this are the recipes meant for the rice cooker donabe and the donabe smoker.  But I imagine that the rice cooker donabe recipes can be made in an electric rice cooker.  I’ll have to experiment.  I don’t have a smoker though, so those recipes are unlikely to ever see the light of day in my kitchen.   

Thankfully, there are a lot of soup recipes (I love a good nabe) and steamed recipes.  These should all be ok to make in my kitchen.  So, things on the to do list (besides more shio koji)?

  • Kyoto-style saikyo miso hot pot
  • Chicken hot pot
  • Duck and tofu hot pot (well, minus the tofu because I’m allergic)
  • Chicken meatballs in hot sesame miso broth
  • Simmered pork shoulder
  • Salmon chowder with miso soy-milk broth (I plan on using whole milk)
  • Pork and vegetable miso soup (maybe mostly because I love watching Shinya Shokudo)
  • Steamed yellowtail shabu-shabu (looks very simple and delicious)
  • Steamed enoki mushrooms wrapped in beef
  • Green tea seam cake
  • Steamed-fried salmon and vegetables in miso sauce

Obviously, it looks I’m going to get a lot more use out of this book than I originally anticipated.

While most of the recipes are Japanese, there are also some recipes with Chinese or Western influences.

Oh, and the pictures are really lovely.  I get hungry just looking at them.  At the end of the day, I’m really quite pleased to own a copy of Donabe.  Maybe one day, I’ll get around to buying that rice cooker donabe for myself.

(Haha, but right now I really want a nice carbon steel skillet.  That might be a story for another day.)


Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.

Reference Links




Happiness is… getting a copy of Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Kitchen before it was officially released.  (^_^)


I’ve read through Chernila’s first cookbook, The Homemade Pantry, a few times because it really appeals to the part of me that wants less processed foods in my life.  (It’s probably a pipe dream of mine.  Work lunches are my downfall, and I’m never going to give up frozen pre-made Chinese dumplings.)  So when I found out that I could get my grabby hands on her new book, I didn’t even hesitate.

Overall impression?  I love it.

More detailed impressions and a recipe?  Keep reading.

Continue Reading »

It’s been a long while, so I decided it was high time to hang out in lecture hall C of Harvard’s Science Center for the opening lecture featuring Harold McGee and Dave Arnold last night.  Overall reaction?  I still have a nerd crush on Dave Arnold.  He’s like a puppy when it comes to food science and related interests.  How can anyone not like him?

Before the lecture started, the audience was handed plastic packets filled with sugar-related items.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 9.35.26 PM

What the?

I don’t eat a lot of sugar anymore!

Confusion ensued.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 9.35.14 PM

Continue Reading »

If you head over the 75 Canal Street in Salem, Massachusetts, you’ll find a car transmission place and a day care center.  Not very exciting stuff, I’ll admit.  However, if you pop your head around the Gardner Street corner, you’ll find that the building also houses the upcoming Deacon Giles Distillery.

I got the opportunity to check out the distillery as construction is still being finished.  Simply put, I think wonderful things are in store for its future.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.23.50 PM

One of the walls of the tasting room features an illustration from The Dream, or, The True History of Deacon Giles’ Distillery and Deacon Jones’ Brewery: Reported for the Benefit of Posterity, which is the inspiration for the distillery name.

And the tasting room is very cozy!  Co-founders Ian and Jesse have worked really hard on it.  It features a lot of gorgeous salvaged wood.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.24.06 PM

If you look very hard, you can see that we got to taste samples of the gin which had been made in a small tester batch.  The still hasn’t made its way to Salem yet (but it’s en route!) so mass production is on hold.  I don’t even drink, and I have to say that it was a pretty fantastic gin.  I can also tell you that the other product is rum, and it’ll be made with molasses.  100% molasses.  No cane sugar.

The distillery hopes to open in October, and I hope so too!  Ian and Jesse are a couple of really nice guys with a dream and a whole lot of determination.  I plan to have a follow post when everything is open to the public.

Continue Reading »

A new cookbook graces my bookshelves… ok, dining room table because my bookshelves are full.  Yes, yes, I have a cookbook problem.  This is nothing new.  (^_^)


Continue Reading »

Boston Public Market

My city finally has a building dedicated to act as an all year farmers’ market.  And yes, I went on opening weekend.

It was busy.  Not everything is open yet.  Some vendors were hidden between other vendor booths (hello Soluna Garden Farm!), but I did my best to explore.  I didn’t buy anything today but I’ll probably come back next week with my sister so I didn’t want to stress over it.  (Plus, there are things in my freezer that I should defrost and cook up before I stock up on some locally raised meats.)

(I miss having a meat farm share.)

Overall reaction, I am very happy to have this building in the general area.  I commute by public transit mostly, and Boston Public Market is right next to Haymarket station.  The Kitchen entrance is closest to the station but I didn’t see any demonstrations going on.  Looking at their calendar, it looks like it’ll be a few more weeks before that space sees any real use.

There’s a wall in the market area called the Cookbook Exchange.  The idea is to take a cookbook/magazine, and leave a cookbook/magazine.  Writing in the books is encouraged!  Then the next borrower will know what people tried out.

Taza chocolate wasn’t open yet and neither was the wine vendor.  But there was a beer section, two meat sellers, cider donuts, Union Square donuts, a honey seller, a seller of bowls and boards from local trees, etc.

Anyway, have a mini-tour:

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 9.33.40 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 9.33.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 9.32.54 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 9.33.13 PM




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 77 other followers