Here is a family favorite we like to make when fresh corn is in season. The Vidalia onion is grated instead of chopped so it melts into the grits. It’s a really good southern recipe adapted from Virginia Willis.
1 Tbls. canola oil
1 Vidalia onion
2 ears fresh sweet corn
2 c. whole milk
2 c. water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. stone-ground or coarse-ground grits (We prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tbls. butter
¾ c. parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 Tbls. parsley
1 Tbls. chopped chives
Grate the entire onion on a box grater. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 2 minutes. Add corn and stir. Add milk, water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer until creamy and thick about 30 minutes. Stir in butter, cheese, parsley and chives. Taste and add more salt and freshly ground pepper. Virginia Willis suggests serving the grits with sautéed greens, a popular combination in southern cuisine.
At Union Kitchen where we rent commercial kitchen space to cook for Chaya, pastry chef Meredith Tomason, creates seasonally inspired cakes, ice creams, and confections, using as many local ingredients as possible. She has a website called RareSweets that we have passed along to many friends. One of our favorite cakes that she makes is her fresh berry and maple cake. It is so moist and delicious. Inspired by the combination of these ingredients, we tried this recipe for Maple Berry Muffins at home this morning. We used raspberries, but any type of seasonal berry would probably work.
Recipe: Maple Berry Breakfast Muffins
Makes about 8 muffins
1 ¾ c. all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbls. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
1/3 c. cane sugar
½ c. plain yogurt
4 Tbls. maple syrup
1 c. fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with non-stick spray or rub with butter. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, zest until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix again. Add flour to butter mixture by slowly sifting. Fold in yogurt and maple syrup and raspberries. Scoop butter into muffin tins and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooking rack to completely cool.
(adapted from The Washington Post Cookbook, by Bonnie S. Benwick)
2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
¼ c. sesame oil
Heat oven to 350. Place trimmed and cleaned asparagus on a roasting pan and toss in a small amount of olive oil. Roast in the oven until they just turn bright green about 8 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor. When asparagus has cooled just a bit, pour over dressing, toss and serve.
Note: This dish can be saved, stored in the refrigerator and served cold for lunch.
We are very excited to announce that we have taken our online world to the streets! Operating under the name Chaya, every Thursday from 11-2:30 we pop-up at the White House Farmers Market (801 Vermont Avenue) to sell a selection of seasonal tacos (made with handmade corn tortillas) for lunch. Chaya is a restaurant idea we are working on with a focus on mostly plants. Each week we work with local farmers to create a menu based on what is available. Inspired by our travels and work with farmers markets for Loulies, the food is a mix of rustic farm-to-table cooking combined with flavors from Mexico. Our philosophy is to create thoughtful, sustainable and healthy food with intense flavor. Our menu last week and this week will include:
Garlicky Kale and Chevre + Spring Onion Green Sauce
Creamy Asparagus + Roasted Potatoes with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
Sautéed Mushrooms + Feta and Cilantro with a Red Sauce
(all topped with microgreens)
and to quench your thirst: Homemade Honey Lemon Soda made with local honey, lemon juice and seltzer.
The tacos are three for $9 and the menu will continue to evolve and change as more summer foods begin to grow. We will be there from now until October so please, please, please come for lunch and introduce yourself. We are having so much fun!
Finally, as we move forward with both Chaya and Loulies, we will continue to post on Loulies when we have good content to pass along. So, here is a link to a quick and delicious seasonal recipe we tried this weekend from Bonnie Benwick’s new Washington Post Cookbook – Readers Favorite Recipes.
Recipe: Asparagus with Sesame Oil Vinaigrette
We made this Beet and Yogurt Salad recipe the other day. It is from the cookbook This is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life by Eli Sussman and Max Sussman, which was recently passed on to Bettina. With small ingredient lists and interesting ideas, it is the type of cooking we are looking for right now. Compared to the Canal House Cookbook we suggested a couple of weeks ago, this book is just more fun, creative and inspiring. If you are cooking for Memorial Day, consider making this recipe as an added side. We found it really delicious (and super easy!).
About 2 -3 lbs. beets
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. Greek yogurt
1/4 c. minced fresh dill
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, toss beets with olive oil and salt. Arrange beets in a glass baking dish and pour in 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook for about 1 hour. Let cool and then cut the beets into small pieces. Note: If the skin is thick, you may need to peel the beets before cutting.
Remove the zest of the lemons and the juice from one. In a small bowl, combine the zest, juice, yogurt and half the dill. Stir and combine with beets. Add salt and pepper and remaining dill.
“I had the supreme pleasure of having one of your potato-and-chard tacos at the DC farmer’s market yesterday. It was so delicious I tried my best to visualize those tacos as being available for purchase whenever I wanted them. Unfortunately, though I have a vivid imagination, my positive visualization didn’t work as planned. So I come to you, imaginary hat in hand, to beg for (or purchase) the recipe for those wonderful tacos. In lieu of that, I’d be equally happy with being put on a mailing list so that I’m notified as soon as you open a brick-and-mortar place, to which I may travel at will and purchase all the tacos my belly can hold at one time.
And may I end here by saying I can’t wait for next Thursday. Thanks for making plant food yummier than the meat kind.
Come join us every Thursday from 11:00 – 2:30 for seasonally-inpired market tacos at FreshFarm Market by the White House.
White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Assistant Pastry Chef Susie Morrison join us at market. They returned to work and email-blasted WH staff and alerted them to “hurry over” to try our “life changing food”. The following week they returned early and brought two more chefs with them for lunch.
1. To do: If you are local in DC, attend at least one of the Do Good Summit events hosted by Think Local First. You will be inspired by the speakers, love the good energy and learn so much about creating a successful and sustainable business.
2. To Make: Stir Fry of Green Beans, Bok Choy and Noodles – This is always devoured and can be made quickly during the week. We like it with tofu, but you could add a little chicken too, if you like.
3. To Get: We decided to feature a book for spring cooking and use it as a guide in our kitchens. Our pick is Canal House Cooks every day. The pictures are beautiful and the recipes look simple enough that you will be inspired to cook. Add it to your list of possible birthday or Mother’s Day gift ideas.
Microgreens seem to be “the thing” these days. We have noticed them in grocery stores, at farmers markets and on the menu at many restaurants – “topped with microgreens”. But, don’t confuse them with sprouts. Sprouts are seeds germinated in water just long enough to grow roots and underdeveloped leaves. Microgreens are tiny, baby, leaf seedlings that are less than 14 days old that are grown in soil and sunlight from a variety of vegetable seeds such as spinach, pea, beet, greens, etc. Beyond being delicate and beautiful, scientists have found that that they are packed with even more nutrients compared to their adult version of the vegetable. But, they are expensive, which is probably why they are used as a topping and not to replace a big salad. If you are interested:
Recipe: Simple Potato and Onion Frittata topped with microgreens.
Book: Microgreens – To learn more.
DIY: Microgreens on your patio.
Winter and spring are the best time for radishes. At our local farmer’s market, there were lots of varieties for sale this week. Beyond slicing and eating raw (wonderful on baguette with good butter and salt), we like to make quick pickles with them. This recipe for Kale Salad with Quick-Pickled Radish from Tree and Leaf Farm caught our eye. It was very easy to make and was delicious served with a simple roasted chicken for a dinner. Tip: Radishes are also really good when they are coated with olive oil and salt, and then grilled – with the greens on top. This is beautiful with grilled spring rockfish.
Kale Salad with Quick-Pickled Radish
(Adapted from Tree and Leaf Farm)
½ c. white wine vinegar
¼ c. sugar
1 or 2 watermelon radish
1 bunch kale
3-4 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ c. toasted pumpkin seeds
In a bowl, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Thinly slice radish and add to the bowl. Let stand on the counter for at least 30 minutes.
Wash kale. Remove stems if it is not tender enough to eat. Slice leaves crosswise into wide ribbons. In a salad bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add kale and massage. Drain radish and toss with kale and pumpkin seeds
This week at our local Whole Foods, mangoes are on sale – 10 for $10. No, they are not grown locally nor are they domestic, but they do have a harvest season – which is why they are in such abundance now. Perfectly ripe and ready to eat, they are a refreshing change from cold-weather apples and pears. Here are some ideas for how to eat them:
Mango Lassi – cool and focused.
Quick Mango and Ginger Pickle – a favorite.
Ottolenghi Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango – delicious.
Coconut Milk Sticky Rice with Mango – A Thai classic loved by our children.
Note: There are dozens of cultivated varieties of mangoes. The majority of them found in U.S. grocery stores are from Central America. They are at the bottom of the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, indicating that they are a good “non-organic” choice.