Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sexy Vegie at the White House Farmers' Market

Farmers' markets have been popping back up all over the District with the arrival of Spring. And The White House Farmers' Market is one to seek out, located on Vermont Avenue, between H and I Streets, NW.

Once a Thursday evening market, the markets hours have been switched to 11:30am to 2pm, for the downtown lunch crowd. This means that there are less produce stands than in the past. (And sadly, my favorite pickle purveyors are no longer in attendance.) But what the market lacks in fresh-from-the-farm offerings, they are making up in food vendors. Including the DC debut of a 100% vegan food stand, Sexy Vegie!

Somehow Sexy Vegie, a Baltimore-based food truck operation, was off my radar. I've tried them twice now at the White House market, where they set up a table and portable grill sans truck. The food stand offers sandwiches, salads, herbal tea, and a hummus side.

My favorite so far has been the spicy vegan bahn mi (see below). I also tried their signature chickpea burger, the Sexy Vegie. Both were satisfying, albeit messy, hot meals for cool April days. I recommend the park benches of nearby McPherson Square to devour these vegan sandwiches.

Vegan Bahn Mi
Sexy Vegie Signature Chickpea Burger

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Green smoothies from Mayim's Vegan Table for April

Green smoothies
Mayim's Vegan Table is this month's VegCookbook Club selection. This celebrity cookbook, written by Mayim Bialik and Dr. Jay Gordon, may be another one that I experience virtually. My local libraries have copies of her parenting book but not this new culinary volume. (I might have to take up showrooming, if only we had some browsable bookstores remaining in DC.)

You can find the first chapter of the cookbook free on Bialik's website. And our VegCookbook Club leader Britt Bravo has sleuthed recipes around the Internet. That's how I came to try this green smoothie recipe. A whole avocado made these drinks super creamy and satisfying. I used spinach for the greens. This is the perfect smoothie to fuel blossom peeping, DC's current spring obsession.
April blossoms

Monday, March 31, 2014

The last recipes of March's VegCookbook

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup
Here are some final items that I made from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, the March VegCookbook Club pick. I never located a copy of the physical cookbook but the website of its author, Angela Liddon, offered me lots of recipes to sample. Based on these positive experiences, I think this cookbook would make a great Mother's Day gift or personal spring detox planner.

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup
The carrot apple ginger soup (above) was a colorful, zippy, and cleansing puree. And I finally used my new blender to make a soup! I concur with Liddon's Vitamix recommendation of working with hot liquids in small batches. Because my boyfriend dislikes anything remotely pumpkin pie-flavored, I did leave out the nutmeg pinch. But I increased the ginger to great results. 

Easy Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas
Easy Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas
This simple recipe really did taste like salt & vinegar potato chips without the greasy guilt. I used less vinegar than it called for in the recipe, just enough to fully submerge the chickpeas. The roasted chickpeas made enough for snacking and salad toppings.

The Hummus That Changed Everything
The Hummus That Changed Everything
Look out, Dreena Burton. Here's another great hummus recipe. Very well-proportioned and classy with the olive oil drizzle and paprika atop. Plus a hidden kick from the Tabasco. (I used their habanero blend.) This hummus moved quickly. It'd be a good fail-safe recipe for picnics, parties, and other hummus requisite events.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring into Color

I stole today's blog post title from a clothing shop window that I pass on my walk to work. Also on this route I noticed a coming soon sign for a raw, organic juice bar! That's a sure sign of spring.

The two colorful recipes below are from the Oh She Glows website and have provided me some much needed relief from dark, bleak March mornings. The Oh She Glows Cookbook is this month's VegCookbook Club selection.

I think I missed out on the overnight oats craze. This recipe is a marriage of that easy breakfast concept of soaking your rolled oats in the fridge overnight and the Green Monster smoothie that I enjoyed last post. Sadly, while I dig the Green Monster flavor (vegan milk + spinach + chia seeds + banana), I don't think gummy oats are my cup of tea. I found them cold and bland. The fresh blueberries were the bomb, of course. I think I'll stick to smoothies and the odd side of fresh fruit.

Neon Pink Smoothie "Juice"
This is a citrus juice meets whole fruit smoothie that you "juice" in your high-speed blender. Refreshing (thanks to the grapefruit, cucumber, and apple) and bright and beautiful to behold (thanks to the beet). I used a whole beet because it was wee. Next time I'd add ginger for even more morning kick.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Green monsters and ToB X

Classic green monsters
Yesterday was a snow day in DC, so I began March right with a recipe from the Oh She Glows website, the Classic Green Monster. This green smoothie was delicious--sweet and creamy. I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, as suggested. Also a mix of spinach and kale for the greens and peanut butter for the nut butter. The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon is the VegCookbook Club's March selection. This brand spanking new cookbook launched today and is sure to be the buzz all over social media.

Speaking of bookish things, I enjoyed my Green Monster with the opening of The Tournament of Books X. It's March Madness for books and this year I've read 10 of the contenders. I was pulling for Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, which won its prelim match yesterday. However for the win, I'm madly in love with Long Division by Kiese Laymon. It's an underdog and could be this year's Skippy Dies for me. Aka, the beloved book that dies in its first round and doesn't even come back as a zombie. (Yes, there are zombie books. This tourney is too fun.) Here's the full list of contenders with links to my Goodreads reviews.

Finalists for the The Morning News' 2014 Tournament of Books:

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Hill William by Scott McClanahan
The Son by Philipp Meyer
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel

Tourney time

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tea and cornbread from The Joy of Vegan Baking in February

Ginger Tea and Cookbooks

February has been a full month, as I moved to a new apartment in wintry weather conditions. Then promptly got sick with a nasty cold. When I finally unpacked my VegCookbook Club books, the cookbooks of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, all I could manage in my sickly state was tea. Luckily The Joy of Vegan Baking has two excellent and medicinal tea recipes that I brewed up repeatedly.

Pictured above is the Ginger Tea, which uses fresh ginger root. I made it hot and strong, sweetening with agave nectar, as suggested. I think this tea healed me. Below is the spicy Chai. This recipe let me dig out lots of spices, like I was cooking. (Man, I need more spice in my life!) This richly-flavored brew calls for cardamom, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla.


Eventually I did manage to bake, after much drooling over Patrick-Goudreau's lovely cookbooks. The cornbread recipe below is also from The Joy of Vegan Baking. (I never cracked my copy of The Vegan Table but will cook from it come spring.) To me this cornbread was perfect, not overly sweet or oily. I swapped white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose. And I left out the whole corn kernels but might try blueberries as an addition next time. The cornbread was served with hot soup but it would be great at any meal, any time of day. 

Meanwhile, the oven at my new apartment bakes like a champ! However the oven light doesn't work. (I wonder if I can replace it?) This kitchen is smaller than my last one, but I'm sure it'll produce lots of good vegan food. The March VegCookbook Club has been announced. It's The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, from the popular and beautifully designed blog, Oh She Glows.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cooking with Lindsay S. Nixon for January

This month's VegCookbook Club featured author is Lindsay S. Nixon, aka the "Happy Herbivore." I don't own any of her cookbooks but was able to borrow The Happy Herbivore Cookbook through my public library on Overdrive. I find the Overdrive app a little cumbersome for cookbooks. It's hard to navigate to a specific recipe; I usually start in the index but am plunged into random locations from there. However Lindsay Nixon has a number of well-designed print books and many recipes available on her user-friendly blog.

Here's what I've made so far this month. I'm not sure how much more I'll cook up, as I'm moving to a new apartment in February and my energy is shifting to those non-foodie preparations. All of these recipes are highly recommend for fast, uncomplicated, and healthy eats.

Baked Onion Rings
I never thought I'd be able to make healthy onion rings at home but these oil-free versions--made with whole-wheat bread crumbs, cornmeal, garbanzo flour, vegan milk, and spices--are the bomb. You get all the fun of onion rings without feeling gross from deep frying. I served these with a trio of condiments: ketchup, mustard, and Sriracha vegan mayo.

Quick Queso Sauce
This is a nutritional yeast sauce more than a "queso" or cheese-flavored spread. That said, it is a cinch to make and really livened up my leftover burritos this week. It calls for whole wheat flour, vegan milk, spices, and "nooch." You heat it on the stove top, taking care not to burn the bottom. Maybe next time I'll add tomatoes and green chilies.

Single-Serving Brownie
Another quick and easy recipe, this time it's a dessert. This single-serving brownie is a cinch to throw together. I cooked it in a metal measuring cup in my toaster oven, one of the suggested methods. An intense chocolate fix in 15 minutes without firing up the oven; how cool is that?

Tofu Ricotta Cheese and Low-Country Cucumbers
I made these two recipes on a Sunday to use on salads throughout the week. The tofu ricotta cheese recipe tastes less like cheese than herby tofu, which is fine by me. The cucumbers were simple and spicy. They disappeared faster than the tofu.