september 1, 2017
Brain food is anything that delivers mental clarity, won’t cause you to crash after eating and is a better overall choice. Notice I avoid categorizing brain food as healthy or “good for you”. Nothing preachy here. Guilt associated with eating is not my thing. All things in moderation. For powering up the old Thinker, picture lentils, beans, grilled fish and anything under the banner of Mediterranean cuisine. For breakfast, I’m loving chia seed pudding made with coconut milk and the anti-oxidant power of green tea. Add local stone fruits and you have an entire meal of brain-boosting tastiness.
It used to be difficult to find green tea powder, or matcha, even in Asian markets. Now matcha powder can be found at your local Trader Joe’s markets and in some neighborhood grocery stores. Frothing matcha in a hot or cold beverage gives the power of anti-oxidants without too much jitter and, oh, that pretty green color! You do eat with your eyes first, and these Green Tea Chia Parfaits deliver. I used local stone fruits —tiny donut peaches , aromatic yellow peaches and white nectarines. Imagine the rainbow effect with vivid berries and other seasonal fruits.
Chia seeds, with their omega 3 power, need an overnight soak to expand and thicken their liquid bath. You either love or loathe their slippery texture, and if you don’t like them, I could see using ground nuts or hemp seeds in their place, but you’ll need to heat the mixture and add corn starch or similar starches to thicken. For sweetness, I add a couple tablespoons maple syrup (agave or honey would work well, too) and only that much to avoid a dessert vibe. The fruit layer, if you get beautifully ripe stone fruits, will triumph if not overwhelmed with sweetener.
This dish takes minimal time and effort. After whisking together the chia seeds and coconut milk, you’ll need to whisk again at intervals to avoid having the seeds clump together. An overnight set, and then you’re ready the next day to layer chopped fruits in a clear glass so you can see the colorful bands and begin the eye-pleasing part of your meal.
Green Tea Chia Parfaits
makes four servings
3 tablespoons green tea matcha powder
13.5 ounce can coconut milk (full fat best)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (honey or agave also work well)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 cups diced stone fruit : peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, pluots – any combination
- Place matcha powder in medium nonreactive mixing bowl (glass or metal) and whisk in a few tablespoons coconut milk until well blended.
- Whisk in maple syrup or other sweetener, vanilla and remainder of coconut milk, blending well.
- Whisk in chia seeds and whisk this mixture every 10-15 minutes for the next 30-45 minutes to ensure chia seeds don’t clump.
- Refrigerate pudding overnight to allow thickening.
- In four small glasses or parfait dishes, place half the chia seed pudding, followed by the diced fruit, then the remainder of the pudding.
- Serve immediately or chill up to one day.