Tuesday, August 12

Playing with Matchas

Cmoore's note: When I recently found matcha in San Francisco's Japantown, I was ecstatic. Not only do I love matcha lattes (soy), but I've been wanting to cook/bake with matcha for months. Here, at last, I thought, was the answer to my culinary invocations. Not so -- whereas I believed (and believe) that the term matcha is synonymous with a form of powdered roasted green tea, the matcha I procured is, in fact, a blend that includes green tea still in leaf form. The following post recounts Perrin's misadventure with our "ground" matcha:


Perrin: thought process:

we have lots of matcha. why not bake with it? GOOD IDEA.

find recipe based on very limited ingredients. aha! i think i've found a good one--
Matcha Tea and Honey Cakes.

this looks great! not only is it chinese (go beijing olympics), but i could put in our local honey too. i bet this would taste really good.

assemble all ingredients. use up our last 3 eggs. prepare to add matcha powder...oh shit, it's not POWDER, it's matcha tea leaves! they're not ground. should have paid more attention. ah well, i will figure it out.

figure it out? yeah right. panic. find a blender, with parts strewn across various parts of cabinet. attempt to assemble blender in a haphazard fashion. pour a generous helping of matcha leaves into blender. look around to see if roommate is still home. good. he's gone.

press 'ON.'

hm. why does it smell like burning rubber in the kitchen? crap, it might be the blender. frantically turn blender off. smell gradually subsides. roommate walks through the front door and into kitchen.

he sniffs the air, "it smells good." leaves kitchen. smells good??

sigh. take blender off stand, only to discover that the matcha leaves are not, in fact, turned into powder. entire batch of "blended" matcha proceeds to fall out the bottom of blender. mess ensues.

decide to make the leaves into a powder with my own brute strength. use a knife and cutting board in attempt to crush leaves. more mess ensues. become exasperated and grind leaves with thumb and forefinger. dump leaves in dough and hope for the best.

stick mixture in oven for alloted time. is it done yet? hastily take it out and turn off oven. hm they look a little raw, maybe i should put it back in? turn oven back on. stick mixture in a little longer. wait. okay, they look a tad brown, but they're done. success! that wasn't so bad.

break off a tiny piece of cake. the matcha results in a weird, bitter flavor in mouth. kind of like garbage drizzled with honey. uh, what can i do to make this taste better? frosting makes everything taste better? right? right.

proceed to google 'how to make your own frosting'. decide on a brown sugar frosting. sounds good. re-read recipe. wow that's a lot of ingredients. oh well.

make frosting with maximum mess, using half of dishes in kitchen. proceed to frost shit cakes.

why do i still have a gallon of leftover frosting?? stick it in fridge and hope nobody notices.

resolve to stick to ingredients that actually taste good.

Cmoore's post-script: The tea cakes are, in fact, delicious. More like muffins than cakes, but the flavor is lovely, the texture is moist, and the improvised brown sugar frosting adds the perfect touch of sweetness. I would recommend this recipe to anyone -- anyone, that is, who has matcha powder on hand.

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