All in Recipes

Ochazuke: a delicious Japanese tea soup

You can’t see me but I’m doing a little happy dance over here, because my trip to Japan is fast approaching!! I’ve never been to Japan in the wintertime and I’m super excited to visit again one of my favorite countries in the world. Cold weather means hot tea and comforting dishes and I will definitely be on the lookout for the best ochazuke, a Japanese tea and rice soup, basically the epitome of comfort food (but healthy). Usually, genmaicha and hojicha are the teas of choice but sencha and matcha can also be used. Today I’m testing out a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.

Tartine with oolong poached quince and pecorino

I love the fall for two reasons. The light, which is a photographer’s dream, and the produce. Dates, passion fruit, chestnuts and quince … I mean, have you ever tried fresh Californian dates? I’m obsessed. My recent trip to Madrid, Spain inspired this combination of quince and cheese on sourdough (which is all the rage there thanks to great artisan bakeries, I felt very at home). In Spain membrillo (quince paste) is a popular accompaniment for Manchego sheep milk cheese. I didn’t have Manchego on hand but Pecorino, Italian sheep milk cheese. The sharpness of the cheese goes really well with the sweetness and tartness of quince. I added a strip-style oolong from Korea to the mix (because... I’m the Tea Squirrel, remember?). Its pronounced roasted, slightly smoky but still buttery notes are a great addition to this savory tartine. Fall cravings? Satisfied! Oh, I almost forgot! Scroll down to catch a glimpse of my new tea pet.

Poached eggs with matcha salt

The original recipe for matcha poached eggs is attributed to the author of the cookbook The Breakaway Cook and founder of Breakaway Matcha, Eric Gower. I came across it after falling down an internet rabbit hole and being the curious squirrel that I am, I had to try it out and see what all the hype is about.

Korean steamed eggs with puerh tea and miso

I love infusing tea in savory dishes and the flavor combination of ripe puerh and mushrooms is a no-brainer. Earthy, woodsy and deep, bold, savory notes work perfectly together. Does this remind you of fall? While the rest of the northern hemisphere is enjoying the last weeks of summer, here in San Francisco we can’t wait for Fogust (fog+August) and its gray skies and chilly temperatures to be over. The good news is, from September on, we will have our fair share of summer too! Yay! So let me snuggle up with these delicious Korean steamed eggs while I bid adieu to Fogust and get ready for San Francisco summer!

Iced Cocoa Nib Chai Tea Latte

Have you ever noticed that it’s almost impossible to get an unsweetened (or even lightly sweetened) chai latte in coffee shops, tea shops, cafes or bakeries? Chai lattes are almost always made from a chai concentrate, a fancy name for chai flavored syrup, which means you can’t have an unsweetened chai latte. I don’t enjoy sweetened drinks and this is one of those things that I find extremely frustrating, second only to fine dining restaurants serving awful tea. I understand that most establishments have constraints in the preparation of drinks, but there must be a solution. I was craving a good unsweetened iced chai tea latte and my only option was to make it myself from scratch.

Iced matcha rose tea latte

Let’s face it, most of us are more or less openly obsessed with matcha. Personally, I’ve learned to embrace my matcha obsession and even though my go-to is traditionally whisked, I’m always on the lookout for good flavor combinations with matcha and especially for matcha-based beverages that are naturally sweet.

Matcha madeleines


Some days, I find myself craving matcha. Does that ever happen to you? I crave the chawan in my hands, the powder on my fingers, the swoosh of the chasen, the pattern of the tiny bubbles on the surface and the aromas and texture and flavor. It’s irresistible. Some other days, I crave whatever edible and colorful pops up on my Instagram feed and that’s exactly what happened when my sister Chiara made her matcha madeleines dipped in white chocolate and those popped up on my feed… they’ve been on my mind ever since! 

The marine layer tea cocktail

I am a huge fan of craft cocktails and I probably don’t have to tell you that I’m always on the lookout for tea-infused craft cocktails wherever I go. Recently, I’ve realized that 99% of the already scarce tea cocktails available on the local imbibing scene feature Earl Grey. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good Earl Grey tea cocktail, but I believe it’s high time bartenders tried something new. To make up for the lack of other teas in the craft cocktail world, I have a beautiful recipe for you. When I don’t go out, I love playing bartender at home. Let’s be honest, sipping a fancy, creative drink crafted with homemade and locally sourced ingredients and served with great attention to detail is still a fancy affair, even if you are in your pajamas and slippers.

Hojicha mochi muffins with hojicha tahini drizzle

Remember the mochi muffins? I while ago I had shared the recipe for matcha mochi muffins and - to date - it is still one of my most popular posts here on the blog. If you are not familiar with the mochi muffins (which I refuse to believe if you live in the Bay Area), let me tell you what the hype is about. This time around, I’m flavoring the mochi muffins with hojicha, roasted Japanese green tea, which I think pairs really well with the other ingredients.

Holiday entertaining. Tea and food pairings to wow your guests

With the holiday season officially in full swing, I look forward to holiday parties! I will attend an Alice in Wonderland themed party in December and I hope there will be plenty of tea. I will very likely host some holiday dinner parties too and I’m making a point of introducing everybody to the magic of tea and food pairings. If you, like me, want tea to be the star of your holiday celebrations, I have tried and tested some combinations that will sweep everyone off their feet, from appetizer to dessert.

My favorite smoky tea cocktail

Fall… the most nostalgic, sweet, smoky and luxurious of all seasons. The grape harvest, the weather turning chilly, we go back to craving hot tea, even though we never really abandoned it in the summer. When I was a child, fall meant collecting edible chestnuts with my dog, playing in the fallen leaves and trying to avoid the spiky chestnut pods (ouch, those spiky pods sting!). Chestnuts are delicious roasted on an open fire, they become soft, sweet, smoky and earthy. For me smoky and earthy flavors are the embodiment of fall, which is why I’ve created a tea based cocktail that brings all those notes together. 

Oolong tea and passion fruit affogato

Despite being located in California, San Francisco has little in common with the rest of the Golden State when it comes to its climate. Summers in San Francisco should not be called summers. Can we all agree on a different name, please? What do you call a foggy, overcast and cool season? Fall? Oddly enough, fall in San Francisco is the best time of year. We’re experiencing a heat wave right now and warm and sunny weather is expected to last until early November. No pumpkin-spiced anything for us, at least until then. To beat the San Francisco heat, I’m making plenty of ice cream. The best way to pair any ice cream with tea? Read on to find out! 

Hugo: the European summer cocktail gets a tea makeover

Elderflower has a charming flavor with a very sophisticated profile, somewhat vintage-y, but very classy. It’s a flavor I associate with Austria. Chilled sparkling water with elderflower syrup is a popular non alcoholic summer beverage there. As it turns out, elderflower syrup is popular in cocktails too! The first time I’ve heard about the Hugo cocktail was in Austria, but - strangely enough - not until my recent trip to Europe did I fell in love with it. There’s no tea in the original version of the Hugo cocktail, but you know me, I can’t help myself ;-) 

Matcha mochi muffins

Mochi muffins have become so popular in the Bay Area that I challenge you to find a cafe or tea house where you cannot get them. Their rise to stardom has been a quiet one, yet strong and steady. I keep seeing them everywhere. They’ve been in the news, they are on the menu at Asha Teahouse, Boba Guys serves them … need I say more? Despite being very curious, I had never tried them before (don’t ask me why). So I made them and suddenly realized what the hype is all about.

Tea-infused Negroni, two ways

If you haven’t already, it’s time to hop on the Negroni bandwagon. Negroni, now ubiquitous, is an iconic Italian cocktail. Legend has it that Count Camillo Negroni invented it in 1919 in Florence. Why is it so popular? For one thing, it’s Italian, need I say more? (just kidding, of course). Well, it’s a simple recipe (just 3 ingredients in equal parts) and it doesn’t require any special bar tools. Nevertheless, it’s a very sophisticated cocktail. Its strong flavor, with bitter and sweet notes, might not be for everyone but palates have evolved to appreciate the bitter flavor in coffee and IPA beers, kale and dark chocolate, to name just a few examples. As it turns out, tea is perfect to create playful variations of Negroni, so without further ado, let me introduce you to the Tea-groni, two ways!