Spiced Cinnamon Dolce Latte

For some, coffee is an absolute necessity for daily functioning. The spiced cinnamon dolce latte is a great change from the standard brew, with a great hit of sweetness and warm spice. And it is easily adapted into an iced latte with just a bit of ice.

Cinnamon Dolce Latte

I find that, when it comes to most pop culture trends, Brian and I are always ahead of the curve. He introduced me to Lady Gaga months before she really piqued. I told him about Homeland and Walking Dead before they were really a thing. And when we both together decided to watch Orange is the New Black, it was weeks before the dozens upon dozens of other fans began watching. They discussed Piper’s Litchfield hijinks while we sort of smiled at each other, already knowing what would happen.

And can we just talk about Season 2? If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch it. Now. I fully plan on binging as soon as it is released on Netflix.

In order to binge, there must be coffee. And lots of it. But after drinking a cup or two of standard coffee, I need a little change. Enter, the cinnamon dolce latte. A quick hit of cinnamon dolce syrup gives the coffee a sweetness and a warmth, a spice. Add in a little bit of frothy cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon on the top. Then settle in for a long yet enjoyable night of television binging.

Spiced Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Recipe type: beverages, coffee
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Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • For cinnamon dolce syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • For latte:
  • 1 cup strong coffee, brewed
  • 2 Tbsp. cinnamon dolce syrup
  • 4 Tbsp. milk or cream

Instructions
  1. For syrup: Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer 15 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a container and store in the fridge.
  3. For latte: Combine coffee and syrup in a mug. Place the milk in a blender and blend for 30 to 60 seconds until frothy. Pour it on top of the coffee. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

 

 

Earl Grey Lemonade

Flavored lemonades are a big trend these days, with anything from coconut to lavender popping up both in stores and in the home kitchen. This earl grey lemonade may be a new favorite for the summer.

Earl Grey Lemonade

For Lent this year, I gave up ice cream and frozen yogurt. And it proved a lot more difficult than I’d originally thought. I realize it is meant to be a sacrifice and that my difficulty in avoiding frozen yogurt is not nearly the sacrifice it should be. But in retrospect, I’m really glad I didn’t give up coffee like I’d originally planned. Maybe it would have made me a better person, sacrificing something difficult, improving my faith. But for the rest of the world, me giving up coffee would have been awful. Sorry but it is a fact.

Either way, I started thinking about what I might turn to had I given up coffee. Tea is always a sufficient stand-in. And when the weather started heating up, I knew there must be lemonade, my all-time favorite warm weather drink. I could guzzle Arnold Palmers by the gallon but why not mix things up a little? Instead of a classic lemon iced tea, I went with earl grey instead. Earl grey lemonade was born.

It’s a little sweet, a little tart, a little smoky. The summer drink. And ok, so it’s not summer yet. And maybe some of us were graced with hail and sleet yesterday. But pour yourself a glass of this and dream about the upcoming summer.

Earl Grey Lemonade
Recipe type: drinks
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 3 lemons (approximately 1 cup juice)
  • 2 cups Earl Grey tea, brewed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 cups water

Instructions
  1. Juice the lemons and pass the juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove any pulp. Set aside.
  2. Combine tea and sugar has fully dissolved. Pour into a pitcher.
  3. Pour lemon juice into the pitcher with the tea.
  4. Top with four cups of water. Place in the fridge until cold.

 

Beer-Battered Tempura Vegetables

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”Beer Battered Tempura Vegetables

I’ll be honest for a minute and admit that we really enjoy going out to dinner. We try to stay home, save money, not indulge but there are times when we just can’t help ourselves. And when the occasion happens to be special, we head to our favorite hibachi. Some may order steak or chicken. Others – read: me – get loads of sushi. But one thing is always the same: Kirin Ichiban.

It’s a great brew that goes with just about anything you might order at a Japanese steakhouse. It is light, refreshing, frosty. I can’t help but order one. And so when Millennial Central sent out an email regarding Kirin Ichiban’s new collaboration with Chef Candice Kumai – you’d know her from Cook Yourself Thin or Top Chef – I immediately wanted more details. I’m a fan of pairing beers with delicious foods and the opportunity to create a recipe to coordinate with Kirin was right in my wheelhouse.

Beer Battered Tempura Vegetables2

I debated, for quite some time, about what to make. Sushi was at the top of my list but ultimately, I decided to use the beer in the recipe instead of just as a compliment to the recipe. Crispy tempura vegetables popped in my head. A light beer batter is always great, right? I mean, who can resist fried foods?

A few tips for tempura. Be sure to use very cold beer. The colder the beer, the better – and lighter – your tempura batter will be. Also be sure to use hot oil. Don’t you dare stick those vegetables in the oil until the oil is hot enough. The batter will go to heck. And lastly, use veggies you will like. But keep this in mind: root vegetables need at least 4 minutes of frying time. They just need a little more cook time.

Beer Battered Tempura Vegetables3

 

Beer-Battered Tempura Vegetables
Recipe type: appetizer
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Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ cups Kirin Ichiban beer
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into coins
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 6 to 8 sugar snap peas
  • oil for frying

Instructions
  1. Heat ½ inch oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot, prepare your batter.
  2. Combine flour, beer and cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss in zucchini and make sure it is evenly coated.
  3. Place zucchini carefully into the pan and fry until golden brown. Flip and fry until golden on the opposite side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Repeat with sweet potato and sugar snap peas.
  5. Serve with soy sauce.

 

Black Tea and Honey Scones

Easter is coming soon, which means you’ll need brunch recipes. This one, a subtly flavored black tea scone, fits the bill to a T. 

Black Tea and Honey Scones

When it comes to holiday breakfasts, what are some of your favorite go-to options? Do you go all out, loading the table with waffles, pancakes, bacon, sausage and eggs? Or is lighter fare making the cut? Well, no matter what way you choose to go, these black tea and honey scones should certainly be on your list.

I’m a big scone fan to start. They are easy to make, incredibly versatile and tasty to boot. But these babies? They’ve become my favorite these days. The black tea flavor is so subtle, giving them just the right kick of flavor. And because tea is used over cream, they are incredibly light, airy and fluffy. Call me crazy but does the cream weigh a scone down?

Black Tea Scones 2

A few scone tips that you’ll absolutely need.

- Use cold butter. Always use cold butter. A scone is like a pie crust, in need of flakiness, fluffiness. The cold butter will melt in the baking process, leaving little pockets of air that give a scone its fabulous texture.

- Don’t overmix the dough. Just like with a pancake or muffin, overmixing can be the ruination of a great scone. You’ll want them to be thoroughly mixed but not so much that you’ve kneeded them into toughness.

- Play around with shapes. I know a traditional scone is shaped like a triangle. I get it. But that’s so boring. So I always whip out a cookie cutter of some sort and make my scones a bit more fun. Give it a try yourself!

Now, because these scones are made with black tea over cream or milk, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Be sure to cool the tea completely to room temperature before you use it. Hot tea = ruined scones. Also, the batter may appear a bit runny. If it seems too runny to mold, just add a bit more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it reaches a more moldable consistency. And finally, when serving, keep a little dish of honey near by. It’s not necessary but it definitely adds another flavor dimension that is quite fun!

Black Tea Scones 3

Black Tea and Honey Scones
Recipe type: breakfast
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Serves: 6
 

Ingredients
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup butter, cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup black tea, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. honey

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add in butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. In a bowl, combine egg, black tea and honey until well mixed. Drizzle the mixture in with the food processor on low, allowing it to come together.
  5. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to about ½ thick.
  6. Use a square-shaped cookie cutter to cut as many scones as possible from the dough. Lay them on the parchment, about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have used it all.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just golden. Cool on a baking rack.

 

Vegetable Quinoa Bibimbap

Vegetable Quinoa Bimbimbap

There is a little cafe in our building that sells a huge assortment of delicious foods. One such food is the bibimbap. It’s a traditional Korean dish and is basically a whole mess of veggies and marinated beef tossed over rice. The entire thing is then topped with a fried egg and the spiciest of sauces. It’s a little pricey at ten dollars a pop but I get two days worth of lunch out of it so win/win. I try not to buy it often but every now and then, I just can’t help myself.

Being who I am meant trying to recreate this, in some form, at home. I decided to leave the egg off – even though a runny egg is usually the best part – so that I could easily transport this with me to work. I also swapped out the rice for quinoa, just to make myself feel a little better. Well, let me tell you, this is a winner. It’s so bright, fresh and healthy. The bean sprouts and carrots give a great crunch while the spinach and zucchini are filled with flavor. Top the whole thing with a sweet chili sauce and you are good to go. A perfect, easy lunch that’s healthy and tasty. Score!

Vegetable Quinoa Bibimbap
Recipe type: lunch, dinner, healthy
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Serves: 1
 

Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish filled with veggies and marinated meat. This version uses quinoa and is filled with delicious, crunchy vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • ½ zucchini, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. bean sprouts
  • Sweet garlic chili sauce for serving

Instructions
  1. Heat sesame oil in a sauce pan over medium. Once hot, toss in the spinach and sauté until wilted. Remove to a plate.
  2. Place quinoa in the center of a large bowl. Around the quinoa, place carrot matchsticks, zucchini matchsticks, spinach and bean sprouts. Serve with chili sauce.