Happy 4th of July!

Hope all my fellow American readers had a great and safe Independence Day! I celebrated with my friends and family the U.S.’ freedom with style.

Petrossian Classic Transmontanus Caviar
Seared scallops topped with Petrossian Transmontanus caviar

We started off with a luxe note with Petrossian Caviar. Petrossian started in the 1920s by two Armenian brothers – Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian – to Parisians. The brand has dominated this luxurious trade and continued to strive for the best of the fresh, high quality caviar produced.

I’ve seared up fresh, large scallops and topped them off with the deliciously nutty Classic Transmontanus Caviar. This farm-raised white sturgeon, native to California, produce this elegant caviar that evokes the taste of the finest Ossetra.

Aiya Roobios Tea with blueberries and mint

For a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, I’ve made batches of Aiya Tea Rooibos Zen Café Blends with blueberries and topped with fresh mint from my garden. This particular Rooibos tea is lightly sweetened has this vanilla, fruity, red berries flavor. The distinctive sweetness of the blueberries work with tea and the mint gives it a refreshing note.

Stripling's General Store Stuffed Pork Chops

For our main course, we oven roast the Stripling’s General Store sausage stuffed pork chops with a touch of fresh thyme from my garden. What I like about Stripling’s is how fresh their meat is and the thyme just enhanced the pork’s flavor.

Stripling’s is based in Georgia and they are a family enterprise, with third- or fourth-generation descendants in the butchery business. (They have fantastic beef and pork jerky, by the way.)

Matcha green tea cakes with adzuki bean frosting

For one of our desserts were homemade mini matcha green tea cakes with adzuki red bean frosting. Knowing my guests love traditional Asian flavors and this can’t get any more classic than this cake.

Matcha Cake Adzuki Bean Cake

Matcha Cake
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Aiya cooking grade matcha
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup flavorless oil, like canola
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup water, boiled

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For an 8-inch cake, grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment. For medium or mini cakes, grease a half sheet pan (18″ x 13″) and line the bottom with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients except for the boiling water. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and then stir in the boiling water. It will be a thin batter. Pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes for a sheet pan and 28 minutes for round cakes.

If you’re making a standard round cake, let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack. make your frosting (recipe below) and decorate as desired.

If you’re making medium or mini cakes, it is easiest to let the large sheet cake cool fully in the pan. Once it’s cool, wrap it in plastic wrap and then freeze it for about 3 hours or overnight, until firm. Cut out your circles and then decorate as desired.

Adzuki Red Bean Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup smooth/fine red bean paste (made my own red bean paste but you can buy it)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, place the butter and red bean paste in a large bowl and cream until it’s light and fluffy. Add the kosher salt and powder sugar into the mixture and start on low speed on the mixer and mix until it’s blended. Frost your cakes as desired.

Rooibos with Blueberries and Mint

Makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons Aiya Rooibos Zen Café Blend tea
1 1/2 cups cold filtered water
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Sprig of fresh mint
Ice cubes

Bring the filtered water to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Add the rooibos tea and stir until blended. Add the blueberries and lightly mash the berries to release its flavors and juice to the tea. Strain the tea between two glasses filled with ice and garnish with a few fresh blueberries and mint.

To view photos of this meal, please CLICK HERE for the full photo set or view the gallery below: