Tamago Kake Gohan with Gyokuro Spent Leaves

Have you ever tried Gyokuro? It’s one of my favorite green teas to drink…and to cook with! I often feel bad getting rid of tea leaves after I brew them especially because I drink so much of it! I’ve used spent leaves in plenty of recipes but in my opinion, green tea is often the best for cooking. I’ve used gyokuro before sin a shrimp stir fry recipe here.

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I was brewing this gyokuro to try before posting a giveaway with Sencha.app. You can find this gyokuro here.

I was trying to decide what to do with the gyokuro. I prefer to create simple dishes here on my blog because I want these recipes to be easy to create with accessible ingredients!

I was reminded about a chef’s table episode where the chef was talking about his time studying food and working in restaurants in Japan. He was taught about a classic Japanese comfort food called tamago kake gohan which translates to egg over rice!

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The chef took hot rice and topped it with a beaten raw egg! He also added soy sauce and some seaweed type seasoning. It may have had some sesame seeds as well but I can’t remember. He mixed it together and ate it! This embodies the umami flavor. Umami meaning savory.

At first look, you think that eating a raw egg isn’t safe! After looking it up, it seems like if the egg is pasteurized it is ok. Consider also that if you are putting a raw egg on hot rice, it’s going to cook.

Unfortunately, after looking at all the eggs in my fridge, I noticed that none of them were pasteurized so I opted to do a poached egg so that I could feel a bit safer with my unpasteurized eggs but still get that delicious egg and rice flavor.

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I also decided how to use the gyokuro. Instead of just the egg, rice and seaweed I wanted to be a little extra. I stirfried some garlic, salt, pepper, sambal olek and the gyokuro leaves! Once this became fragrant I set this aside with my other ingredients, the poached egg and soy sauce.

Confession: I had never poached an egg before so I found a video to help. It’s actually super easy. I found this video short and straight to the point.

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The other modification I made was to use rice I had on hand and cooked which was a delicious red rice. If I were to do this again however I would definitely use a sushi or jasmine rice just for better texture.

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Once you have all your ingredients prepped, add them all to the rice and mix with chopsticks vigorously until combined! Use soysauce to taste.

Here you get a hearty and comforting snack AND you don’t waste spent leaves :) The gyokuro gives this dish a nice bold flavor.

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Would you try this??

5 Things I've Learned Since Starting Tea Thoughts

I started Tea Thoughts several years ago and I wanted to share some important things that I’ve learned. I hope that these will help you in your own endeavors!

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1) The Importance of a tribe

While creating content and/ or products can be satisfying to anyone trying to express themselves creatively, it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have an audience to share with! Tea Thoughts is still very, very small and has plenty of room to grow but one thing that Tea Thoughts has, is a tribe. Through social media, I’ve connected with the most amazing and supportive people. My tribe are the ones who pay attention to, engage with and support my content.

Even if your tribe is small, it’s way more important than having a bunch of followers who you never interact with. The tribe is there through all the algorithm changes. The tribe is there when you come back from not posting for a while because you needed a break. The tribe is there when you release new things. A tribe is actually just a family that you’ve created around your business. They aren’t just “customers” they are people who you can actually connect and share your passion with.

2) You can always do more

Sometimes it feels like I’m always working. I go to work then when I have breaks I’m doing things for Tea Thoughts and when I get home, I work on Tea Thoughts. Content creation or design is not the only task for my business. While I’ve gotten used to some of the other things I need to be doing like sales tax and managing bills, it’s so easy to neglect certain parts of a business.

For me, I often will focus on new designs and products and then my blog goes without an update for a while. This is something that happens all the time and it can lead to embarrassing things like having the link to your etsy shop on your blog in several places even though you don’t use etsy anymore !! A couple successes means that the work will continue to pile one. This is a good problem to have. It seems like the more you do the more you find out you can continue to do to improve. While I maintain my blog and shop as best as I can there are many aspects that I could go through and fine tune. It’s not the most fun but it’s important.

3) It’s not all sunshine and rainbows… and that’s ok.

I receive so much positive feedback about my blog and shop, it is sometimes emotionally overwhelming. I think when people see your online presence they make an assumption about your success. While you want people to view you in a positive light, their view doesn’t define your reality. In the communications I put out, I’m generally positive because I want to be and because I want to spread that to others. That positive attitude doesn’t always reflect what is happening in the background.

As a product shop owner, I haven’t reached a point where I’m sending out a bunch of orders every single day. Generally, I will have times where the orders roll in and then times in between that are quiet. These quiet times can be rough. As a small business owner, we can sometimes tie our self worth to the perceived success of our business whether that is views, sales, referrals etc. So when your your success is down, you often feel down on yourself.

Having these times aren’t all bad. When orders roll in, it’s generally a time of happiness and motivation. When sales are slow or non existent there is a different type of motivation. During these times, I take a deeper look at what I’m doing and see what I can change or fix. Great progress can also happen during these times. Trying to find positive aspects in times we perceive as “bad” can be healthy and productive for our businesses.

4) Follow your passion

It’s easy to get sucked into following trends in order to be successful. I don’t advise that you ignore trends but to make sure that everything you do is somewhat in the realm of your passion. When we are passionate about something, the result is always better. Creating a certain product or type of content can be more fruitful but only if it’s done right. If the trend is boxes, you can’t just throw together a box and expect it to do well.

Your passion will lead you on a journey and while on that path, there will be stops along the way where you can step off the path slightly to create something. When creating that something, make sure that one foot is still on the path. Ultimately, that path will lead you to success and you don’t want to stray too far from it. Passion makes us happy and happiness helps us be more successful.

5) You’re doing ok!

In all aspects of life we like to play this comparison game. Sometimes the comparison is against actual statistics like: my swim time was this and that other person’s was 3 seconds slower or faster than mine. The other more harmful type of comparison is when there isn’t a clear outline or what you “should” be doing and yet you compare yourself to others anyway. This type of comparison extinguishes parts of our passion. It brings us down. It makes us doubt ourselves. This is an illusion. When you’re on your own journey, the path is what you make it and just stepping out and being brave enough to follow your passion on a somewhat scary and undefined road is an accomplishment.

In times when the comparison bug won’t stop nagging, remember all the amazing things you’ve done. Little wins are worth acknowledging because all together they equal something great. Be motivated but be kind to yourself along the way!

Make it Fancy - Oatmeal Cream Pies

One of my favorite Tasty segments is “Make It Fancy” ! Rie is one of my favs and she does this fun challenge where she is given something not fancy and tried to make it fancy! I saw her do this with twinkies and I did my own version of it with oatmeal cream pies!

Confession: I’ve never had a twinkie so I didn’t want to use them. I wasn’t allowed snacks like this when I was a child but sometimes we got by with grabbing oatmeal cream pies from the shelf! I wanted to make this childhood treat a little fancier.

Confession #2: When I tried the Oatmeal Cream Pie, it wasn’t as delicious as I remember it!

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This is an entire box of oatmeal cream pies (12). I just smashed them up and to make them stick together I used 2 tablespoons of brewed hojicha.

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Once you make the balls whatever size you’d like, place them on a baking sheet and keep them in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour until they are not sticky anymore.

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You can make these into cake pops like Rie did but I just wanted to make messy bite sized shapes. The chocolate I used was bittersweet melting wafers. The reason I used bittersweet chocolate was to counteract the sweetness of the oatmeal cream pies.

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You might notice some bumps on this chocolate and that’s because I added in chopped walnuts. I think walnuts go really well with both the small amount of hojicha in these as well as the bittersweet chocolate. It also gives these a little bit of crunch!

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Dipping these into the chocolate was a bit messy, as you can see there were small puddles created around them. While I like the extra chocolate you can totally use a cake pop stick to dip these like Rie did!

The combination of the very sweet oatmeal cream pies with the hojicha is offset by the bittersweet chocolate and walnuts. You get the right amount of sweet instead of sickly sweet!

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Dip in your favorite type of milk for that extra childhood effect! :)

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What do you think? Did I succeed in making oatmeal cream pies fancy?!

Matcha Marshmallow S'mores!

I was watching a feed feed video about making s’mores in the oven. I know, I know, it goes against everything that is wonderful about s’mores. Finding the perfect stick, getting your marshmallow too close to the coals so that is catches on fire by accident, and of course trying to find the perfect way to melt your chocolate slightly.

BUT, I don’t have access to a nice fire whenever I want but I do sometimes want s’mores so making them in the oven would be awesome. I then thought, how about matcha s’mores!

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The most important thing is finding the right chocolate to go with the matcha marshamallow. I decided on this taza chocolate toffee with almond and sea salt because those flavors sound AMAZING with matcha.

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My recipe below is for making the marshmallows but you will also need chocolate and graham crackers. Basically you want to put one side of the graham cracker on a baking sheet in the oven with a piece of chocolate and the marshmallow on top. Put the oven on high heat or use the broiler and dont walk away, make sure the marshmallow is soft enough to finish the sandwich !

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A few notes about the recipe. You can certainly use corn syrup instead of cane sugar syrup and I have also seen recipes with honey but you’d need a few other ingredients to make that work. When mixing in the matcha, I put a range because I added little by little while it was mixing until I got the color I wanted. The color also darkens a bit after they dry out.

You might be thinking why put more sugar on top of something that is basically just made of sugar. I didn’t say this was the healthiest snack! The confectioner’s sugar on the bottom and top of the mixture make it so much easier to cut out squares. Without it, I think you just get a sticky mess.

I also wanted to mention that while I left these out uncovered for several hours, I covered them and put them in the fridge overnight and they were ok!

Here is the recipe I worked from!

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If you like to order supplies online as I do sometimes, I have created a little list of supplies from amazon that you can take a look at here to get for this recipe or to spark ideas.

Amazon List

Culinary Matcha - Get Midori

Please note: if you purchase anything from these two links I will receive a small commission.

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Uncle Nearest Whiskey + Peach Infused Oolong

Ok, so I’ve discovered a new whiskey that I LOVE. I found it by chance, it had an incredible story so I decided to give it a try! I got sucked into learning about the greatest whiskey maker the world the never knew. Read about Uncle Nearest here!

So, I broke two of my rules to make this cocktail but I’m not mad about it. A whiskey like Uncle Nearest is not one that I would create a cocktail with. It’s what I would enjoy neat. I also rarely ever drink blended tea or fruity tea but here I’ve infused the oolong with slices of peach. It turned out a lot better than I thought!

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The idea I had for this drink was pretty simple. Oolong and whiskey go really well together because of their complimentary taste profiles. Peach is also a flavor that goes well with both oolong and whiskey. Peach also symbolizes the south in so many ways and because Uncle Nearest hails from Tennessee I thought this was fitting.

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Cold brewing these two together gave the oolong a slightly sweeter flavor and softened the peaches even more. You could opt to sweeten this brew if you’d like but I personally decided not to as I don’t like super sweet cocktails.

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When drinking this cocktail you get the punch of the whiskey that is then softened by the oolong and peach. On it’s own, it’s not very sweet at all but when you take a bite of the peach slice, it’s the perfect amount of sweet. The slice that is muddled at the bottom also has a whiskey kick!

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While the pulp of the peach doesn’t make this the most attractive cocktail, I would argue that these three are an incredible mix. I can’t wait to get my hands on some more uncle nearest and make this again!

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I think the flavor of uncle nearest goes well with the other flavors but you could use a whiskey of your choice. In terms of oolong, I would go with an unflavored, large leaf oolong for sure and a dancong oolong if you can as that is the type I used. You can find the oolong I used here

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The container I used to cold brew the tea in took about 5 cups of water and that allowed me to create two glasses! You could split this up more into small glasses and have a more potent drink.

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Matcha Waffles

I have a lot of matcha recipes planned for this summer! Mostly because summer is kind of go, go, go and matcha powder makes everything so easy!

I don’t generally eat a lot of starchy carbs except for rice but one of my all time favorite things is waffles!!! I remember back in high school, I requested that my birthday dinner be at eggspectations because they serve waffles all day and night - chocolate chip, of course.

Please note, This post and the photos within it contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

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I was browsing waffle recipes and saw this one that was simply blended and used oats. I based my recipe off of this one! I don’t have a large blender but a small ninja smoothie blender. What I did was split all the ingredients into two batches like shown above and placed my matcha powder in one of them so I get two waffles of each! Feel free to use matcha for all your waffles!

My batter felt a little thick even for waffles so I added a little bit more cashew milk (the milk I used) for each batch. I have one of those waffle irons that flips and has a timer. I put a range of time on my recipe because people like their waffles differently. I cooked mine for about 4 minutes and that made a softer waffle with a touch of crisp. If you like crispy, I would go for 5-6 minutes. Here is the waffle maker I have, we got it a few years ago at Christmas time :) p.s. Christmas is almost here. Yes, I’m linking my fav countdown for you!!!

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The top waffle is the matcha one and at first you may not see the green due to the golden crust but just bust these babies open and you will reveal that beautiful green! I really like the way the matcha and oats compliment each other in this recipe. I chose not to use any additional sweetener, but note that because a banana is used, these aren’t totally savory. There is a hint of sweet.

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If you don’t know which matcha to use, I suggest Midori by Matchaeologist. It is a great quality matcha for culinary purposes!

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Top these waffles with whatever treats you like! I usually love to either have just butter or some butter and fruit on my waffles!

Do you have a favorite waffle topping?!

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Gyokuro Rice with roasted herbs and tomatoes

My brother brought me some gyokuro from his trip to Japan. Gyokuro is one of my favorite green teas and I have had good luck cooking with it in the past! You can find a previous shrimp recipe here.

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This time I decided to take my love of rice on another test ride and cook it in gyokuro! I didn’t want to just use gyokuro so I decided to use a few other flavors with it as well. I wanted something savory and herbed.

Starting small, I used one cup of rice and only a few tomatoes but after trying this recipe I think I would like to have even more of the roasted ingredients in the rice and would definitely add more or even double the amount! I have timing for the roasted vegetables in the recipe but really you just want to make sure that they start to break down and give it a few mixes so that they soak up the oil and herbs.

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After you take the tomatoes and herbs out, place them in a bowl so that they can soak in the olive oil and herbs.

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When making rice, olive oil at the start is important to make it tender and flavorful. Instead of adding olive oil plain, the tomatoes + herbs + olive oil are mixed into the rice + gyokuro mixture before cooking. In addition to mixing, I also smashed up some the tomatoes further before putting this on the stove.

When adding in the roasted ingredients, I would also suggest a taste test to manage the salt and pepper level. I didn’t add anything additional at this point because I added it to the roasting pan but I wish I had!

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The result is a richer and more flavorful rice. I’ve combined a few favorites of mine here. First of all, rice. But the reason I added the roasted ingredients is because it is similar to many Persian rice dishes where the meal is in the rice. You have plenty of ingredients blended up in the rice and in this case it was herbs and tomatoes!

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Hojicha Truffles

Have you ever tried hojicha? It is a delightful roasted green tea and while I love to drink it, I’ve always thought the flavor would make a great addition to sweets!

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Hojicha has such a rich flavor I thought that truffles would make a great combo. Instead of infusing the tea into the truffles I decided to make powder of it.

I used the hojicha gold powder from Hojicha Co. but they also sell a powder if you’d like to skip the crushing!

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I crushed the hojicha and walnuts with a mortar and pestle and then mixed it with the chopped chocolate!

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Truffles are so easy to make, all you need to do is heat the heavy cream and pour them over the chocolate. After letting the chocolate and heavy cream sit for a few minutes, mix well and refrigerate for several hours until solid.

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Once the truffles are solidified, take a tablespoon or whatever size you want your truffles and round them out. You can roll the truffles in whatever topping you’d like. I chose coconut! I thought that coconut and the nutty flavor of the hojicha + walnut flavor would go well together.

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These truffles are so rich and delicious!

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Make sure to use a real chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips. It is so much easier to get smooth truffles this way!

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A fair warning, if you do use nuts these will have a little bit of crunch :)

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Long Jing Quinoa

Hey There! I’m finally back with another recipe and I thought that it was time to do something savory! I’ve done tea infused rice before so why not try quinoa!

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I bought this red quinoa loose from safeway. They have a nice section where you can fill up a paper bag and the cost is by weight. I like how I can just recycle the bag afterwards, no plastic packaging! I want to start off by saying, I’m Persian so rice is like a love language to me but every once in a while I’ll have quinoa.

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I had been making my way through some long jing that I got for my birthday and was towards the end of it so I decided to use that. I think this could go well an oolong, hojicha or something like genmaicha or gyokuro as well.

I didn’t have directions for this quinoa so I followed the general rule of doubling the amount of quinoa for how much water to use. Quinoa expands 3 times so 1 cup will make plenty !

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The recipe is simply one cup quinoa to two cups water. Instead of using plain water I brewed two cups long jing and used that to cook the quinoa so that it would have a delicious green tea flavor!

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Prepare your two cups of tea, I used this pot because it is so handy! Again, feel free to change up the tea to some of the suggestions mentioned above. Place the 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups tea in a pot. I added a bit of salt, pepper and liquid saffron as well.

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With the lid off, bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat and let the quinoa cook until the water has been absorbed (10-20 minutes). Once all the water is absorbed, turn off the pot and let the pot sit with the lid on for another 10 minutes then fluff the quinoa with a fork!

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The result is a nicely flavored quinoa with a touch of green tea! The long jing gives the quinoa a bit of it’s roasted nutty flavor !

Voila!