Philz Coffee Style Iced Mint Mojito

I have a very valid reason for disappearing from the Blogosphere this time, the big move from Seattle to San Francisco, Bay area happened recently. This was huge for me considering how much i love rainy Seattle which has been my home for 8+years. Change is sometimes inevitable and i hope i get to like the new place as much as i loved Seattle. Eat, live,burp kitchen is all set up and i have started cooking/baking in the new home. I am still trying to figure out the new oven temperature settings and even had a brownie fiasco but i have a killer banana bread recipe coming up real soon.

Pic Courtesy: Google

Pic Courtesy: Google

Coming from the land of Starbucks, i was quite skeptical about trying out a local coffee chain recommended by Yumjay. But Philz coffee did not disappoint, you are assigned a barista who is willing to customize your coffee very patiently (which in my case is important because i cant make up my mind when it comes to food) which is pretty cool. While i’m still partial to my skinny vanilla lattes at Starbucks, i wanted to check what the hype is all about the iced mint mojito at Philz. It was quite refreshing with the flavor of fresh mint leaves and fresh ground coffee. Its so simple to recreate this recipe at home so you can avoid those never ending long lines at Philz. The barista at Philz recommended brewing coffee at room temperature for this Iced mint mojito and i used coffee ice cubes to make sure the drink did not get watered down. I think this may be a new favorite of mine to make at home in this scorching heat.

Iced mint mojito

Ingredients

1 cup coffee, brewed at room temperature

1 tablespoon sugar (add more or less according to preference)

10 mint leaves

1/4 cup milk or few tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup coffee or regular ice cubes

Method

1. To make coffee ice cubes, pour freshly brewed coffee into ice cube tray and freeze.

2. Take mint and sugar in a bowl and muddle them together using the back of a spoon or a pestle till the mint leaves are crushed.

3. Pour coffee over the mint/sugar mixture and top with milk or cream.

4. Mix well, add ice and garnish with mint leaves.

Bai 5 Malawi Mango- Apple Smoothie

About a month ago, i received a shipment from Bai with samples of their antioxidant drinks. Bai has a line of 100% natural, antioxidant drinks each containing just 5 calories, hence the name Bai5. They use coffee fruit, the casing that surrounds the coffee bean as the base for their beverage. Coffee fruit is supposedly an antioxidant powerhouse and good for our immune system. Each 8 oz bottle contains about 2 servings and each serving has 35 mg of caffeine which is the same as a cup of green tea. Bai5 is a kosher, vegan and GMO-free product.  Out of their 9 flavors, my favorites are Malawi mango, Congo pear, Brasilia blueberry and Ipanema pomegranate. Their first infusion, Sumatra dragon fruit is definitely an acquired taste, it is very mild and really doesn’t have much flavor. The beverages contain erythritol, a sugar alcohol which is not completely absorbed by the body, therefore low in calories. Excessive consumption of erythritol could lead to diarrhea and headaches. But 1 gram in each serving shouldn’t hurt, i suppose.

bai5 mango apple smoothie

As for the taste, i don’t think i can ever drink it straight off the bottle, the coffee fruit smell is very overpowering. But they do make a great base for smoothies. I combined the Malawi mango with apples, almonds and flax seed to make this simple and filling breakfast smoothie. Its a win for caffeine lovers, this refreshing smoothie is good as your morning cup of Joe with added benefits from the fruits and flax seed.

IMG_0523

Ingredients

8oz Bai5 Malawi mango

1 medium apple, sliced

handful of raw almonds

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

Method

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

2. If you don’t have a powerful blender like vitamix or blendtec, i’d highly recommend soaking the almonds in 2 tablespoons of water for 20 minutes before grinding it.

Dry Ginger Coffee/ Chukku Kaapi

Dry ginger coffee aka chukku kaapi is a South Indian favorite especially when one has a runny nose or indigestion. Dry ginger pieces or powder are ground along with dry roasted spices and boiled with water and jaggery or brown sugar to make this caffeine free herbal concoction. Warm sunny days are almost over in Seattle. Looks like its time to break out the soup pot while sipping on a cup of steaming hot chukku kaapi. While there are instant dry ginger coffee mixes available in Indian stores, there is something aromatic and flavorful about freshly roasted and ground spices, so give this a try.

dry ginger coffee

Ingredients

1/4 cup dry ginger powder or pieces

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4-5 Holy basil leaves (optional)

Method

1. Dry roast all the whole spices until well roasted and fragrant.

2. Grind the roasted spices to a fine powder along with ginger pieces or powder. This powder can be stored in the freezer for several months.

3. To make 1 cup of dry ginger coffee, place a cup of water in a saucepan. Add a teaspoon of the ground ginger-spice powder, basil and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Mix well.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil and strain the contents into a glass and serve hot.

Lemon Soda

Lemon soda is a guilt free, refreshing drink that screams summer. In South India almost every street corner has a small store selling freshly made lemon soda and snacks. Club soda is combined with fresh lime-lemon juice, salt and sugar to make this incredibly satisfying thirst quencher. You can add ginger and mint for a variation. If you feel adventurous, you can even add a splash of gin.

lemon soda

Ingredients

Juice from 3 big lemons

Juice from 1 big lime

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

Chilled club soda/carbonated water

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)

2inch piece ginger, grated (optional)

mint leaves (optional)

Method

1. Combine sugar, water, salt, ginger(if using) and lemon-lime juices in a saucepan on medium heat till the sugar dissolves completely. Cool and strain through a fine sieve, discarding any ginger solids. Once completely cooled, this syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

2. When ready to serve, place 3 tablespoons of syrup from step 1 in a large glass.

3. Add cumin powder( optional) and mix well.

4. Top with club soda and ice.

5. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves (optional)

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Blueberry And Pomegranate Green Tea

When I read about pure green tea brewed from water and green tea leaves, natural pomegranate and blueberry flavor on the ingredient list of this bottled tea in Trader Joe’s fearless flyer, I knew I had to try it. Other than 10mg of sodium and 30mg of Vitamin C, everything else in the nutrition facts column was zero. How often do you come across a beverage like that? Well, there are the diet drinks but that’s a whole different story. Most bottled teas are loaded with sugar and you almost feel like you are downing a  glasss of the sugary drink they give you at a doctor’s office before testing your blood-glucose levels.

green tea

Everything about this product is great, except that bottled teas almost have no antioxidants, which defeats the purpose of drinking tea. So to get the most out of your tea, brew a big batch of green tea in the morning and let it steep along with some berries for added flavor. But this could be a great alternative to other sweetened bottled teas. The fruit infusion is not for the sweetness, just for flavor. So its a little tangy with a hint of sweetness. It requires a bit of an acquired taste to like this drink especially if you are used to the sugary counterparts in the market. Priced at $1.49 for a 1litre bottle, it can be found in the beverages aisle of the store.

Mango Agua Fresca

Hola!  Here’s a Mexican favorite for you all today. Agua fresca means fresh water in Spanish. Fresh water is infused with a fruit essence in this popular Mexican drink. Any pulpy fruit like cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, orange or water melon will work well for this drink. It shouldn’t taste like a smoothie, so strain the blended fruit pulp and mix it with water to give it a fruity taste. This is a  perfect, light and refreshing thirst quencher on a warm summer afternoon. Drink up amigos, after all its summer somewhere in the world.

mango agua fresca

Ingredients

1 ripe mango, pitted, peeled and cut into chunks

1.5 cups cold water

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon honey or sugar ( I used honey)

lime wedge for garnish

Method

1. Combine mango and water and blend until smooth.

2. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher.

3. Stir in the lime juice and honey.

4. Garnish with lime wedges.

Lychee Lemonade

We had bright, sunny, beautiful weather last weekend. This is a rare thing in Seattle in March and therefore it called for celebration with lychee lemonade. Fresh lemonade is a great thirst quencher on a warm afternoon. When you combine tangy lemons with sweet lychees, you have a perfect summer drink . Lychees are a member of soapberry family and have a hard scaly reddish outer covering and sweet whitish edible flesh that surrounds a single large seed. Fresh lychees can be found in Asian grocery stores during summer. I used canned lychees for this recipe. You can also make this with lychee juice available in Asian or Indian grocery stores.

lychee lemonade

Ingredients

15 lycheees

juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups water or sparkling water

1/4 cup ice cubes

handful of mint leaves

Method

1. Take the lychees, lemon juice, sugar, 1cup of water and ice cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth.

2. Pour through a strainer into glasses and add more water and ice cubes if needed.

3. Add crushed mint leaves and garnish with a wedge of lime or lemon.

4. If you use canned lychee non-carbonated juice, just add lemon juice, ice cubes and sugar to the juice and mix well.