05 May


Basic Boba (Fett) Tea

May 4: Star Wars Day

Not only is Islander a fan of Star Wars, but she is a fan of boba tea (specifically jasmine green milk tea with golden tapioca pearls)—so much so that she gave it up for Lent one year, which was a challenge because there are several boba tea places around town! Her Taiwanese ESL student taught her how to make boba tea at home, which is cheaper, and we can control how much ice and sweetness levels to put in our boba beverage.

Boba in the tea sounds like “bubble” because of the bubble-like tapioca pearls. Boba Fett, a bounty hunter, is the name of one of the favorite characters in the Star Wars film franchises. He was the muse for our traditional Taiwanese drink recipe for today. Add a few drops of grayish-green food coloring to match Boba Fett’s outfit and it becomes a more festive food for Star Wars Day!

Recipe

(From YaJu Y.)

Ingredients

  • 6-8 tea bags (jasmine, green, black, oolong, chair tea—any strong tea)
  • 1 cup quick cooking golden tapioca pearls
  • Water (to steep the tea and to boil the boba)
  • Sweetener (sugar, honey or simple syrup-see Notes), to taste
  • ½ cup milk (half-and-half, cream, soy, nut or non-dairy creamer)
  • Ice (optional)

Directions

Boil 4 cups water for the tea. Steep the tea in a large bowl for 10-20 minutes (depending on personal desired strength and taste of the tea). Remove and discard the tea bags and cool to room temperature. In a large pot, boil the water and cook the tapioca pearls according to the package directions. Drain and rinse in a colander.

Add sweetener to the tea bowl to taste (more or less a tablespoon). Stir in the milk. In two tall glasses, add ice and tapioca pearls. Pour in the milk tea. Serve with tall spoon or fat straw.

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, boil equal parts water and sugar until dissolved. Let cool completely. May be stored in a bottle in the refrigerator until ready to sweeten the boba tea.
  • Avoid cooking the tapioca pearls too early or they will harden and dry out when cool and not be chewy. Always use freshly cooked boba for the tea recipe.
  • Be careful not to choke on your aspirations when slurping up the pearls in the straw.
  • Hunt for a bounty of other Star Wars-inspired recipes under our Theme Menus page. May the 4th be with you—and with your spirit!

Salata

(Afghani Salad)

May: National Salad Month

As the weather begins to get warmer, we like to have a refreshing, cooling salad as a side dish to our main meal. This Afghani salata is simple and so quick to make with ingredients we frequently have on hand already: tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cilantro and lemon. It reminds us of a lighter tabbouleh and a milder pico de gallo. During National Salad Month, make this Afghani style salata.

Recipe

(Adapted from Yep Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • Handful of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Diced the tomatoes. Peel and dice the cucumber. Chop the onions and cilantro leaves. Place in a bowl.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the bowl. Mix everything well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or within 12 hours to retain its freshness. Refrigerate if desired.

Sallatë

(Albanian Salad)

May: National Salad Month

Islander and Entela C., her graduate school classmate from Albania, were only two of three students chosen by Dr. MN, their international mass communications professor, to participate in conferences and projects under her direction. It was an honor and a good experience to work together. We had never met anyone from Albania before, so it was a good opportunity to learn more about her country and culture.

Albania is located in the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe. Its geographic borders include Greece, Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.  Across the Adriatic Sea is Italy, its former protectorate. Italy and Greece have strong influences in Albanian culture and cuisine.

The Albanian meat pie (lakror) that we made before featured flaky phyllo dough layers—which are very popular in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Since that was very time consuming to make for our Albanian dinner (especially since our ballokume cornmeal cookies were a Food Flop), we wanted a side dish that was simple—this sallatë. It was refreshing with the cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers, and the olives and feta cheese added flavor and texture as our toppings.

For an international flavor on National Salad Month, try this simple sallatë from Albania.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ – ½ red onion, sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons Kalamata/black olives, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

Peel the cucumber and slice half inch thick then quarter them. Place in a bowl. Chop the tomatoes, dice the green bell pepper and chop the onions. Add them to the bowl.

Slice and olives. Add to the bowl. Mix in the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Search for more salad recipes in our blog.

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