Photograph by Jason Hornick for Washington Post Express
This week, the Washington Post selected Chaya, our pop-up restaurant, by designating us as one of nine up-and-coming DC “Tastemakers”.
We are not classically trained chefs but were honored this designation based on our innovative “plant-based” tacos sold on a weekly basis at various markets throughout DC. The Post reported: “Trying to find the Chaya taco stand at the farmers market? Just look for the longest line.”
We’ve searched and searched and no one else is preparing tacos like we are. We use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create a meal that you would never find in Mexico or anywhere else. Some of Chaya’s offerings include Creamy Braised Chard + Potato with Green Sauce, Market Mushroom, Feta + Red Sauce, and Garlicky Greens, Goat Cheese + Pickled Red Onion. As one of the White House Pastry Chef’s tweeted after a meal from Chaya “these tacos are life changing and healthy too”.
Chaya will be at the FreshFarm Market by the White House through the end of October and at other FFM locations through the winter. We will also be at the District Flea on intermittent Saturdays through mid November. We will continue to pop up at area locations in the upcoming months; for more information, please go to: ChayaDC.com
Dark green, red and orange are not only the colors to have in your closet they are also to have on your plate. If you want to load up on healthy superfoods, then you should know that the natural color of foods represent the phytochemicals that are beneficial and important to your health. For example, important antioxidants that keep our hearts pumping and our brains functioning can be found in blue, purple and deep red foods such as eggplants and cranberries. But pay attention to these other colors too:
DARK GREEN: Spinach, chard, kale, and other rich, leafy greens help clear toxins from our bodies.
RED and ORANGE: Beets, pomegranates, winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots all help to keep your immune system strong.
Five Recipe Favorites We Make Again and Again:
Lemony Kale Salad with Pignoli, Raisins & Shaved Parmesan
Carrot Salad with Seeds
Warm Sunshine Squash Salad
Easy Energy Bars
The founders of Brooklyn Flea are popping-up shop here in Washington starting this Saturday (and every Saturday through October) in the lot just behind the 9:30 Club at 815 V St, NW.
District Flea, inspired by the overwhelming success of New York’s largest venue for artisans, small shopkeepers, vintage aficionados and such – selling a mix of new and used goods. Our Chaya was hand-picked to help represent the unique local food scene. We’ll be selling our handmade corn tortillas filled with delicious and seasonally inspired fillings this Saturday. We’ll have a trio of tacos to choose from: Garlicky Lacinato Kale with Tomatillo Sauce + Pepper Jack, White Corn & Chives in a Creamy Poblano Sauce, and – our standard bearer – Market Mushroom with Red Sauce + Feta.
A shout-out as well to fellow Union Kitchen members who will be at the Flea too: Capitol Kombucha, Milk Cult and Cherry Blossom Creative. Please come and visit!
photo is from inthelittleredhouse, recipe below
A curated list of links is always helpful, especially when it comes to finding recipes on the Internet. We thought we would share with you some recipes we have bookmarked and tested in our kitchens. Nothing too complicated, but all relevant to what’s in season now. Enjoy!
Zucchini Rice Gratin – This is a delicious dish made with brown rice that can be served as a meal. We have no adaptations, except that you may want to double the recipe because it is so good.
Pantry Curried Quinoa Garbanzo Beans and Roasted Pepper – The title of this recipe uses the word pantry because you may already have all of the ingredients on hand. Adaptation: We prefer to use water instead of vegetable broth and if you do not have all the ingredients, an adapted version of this (i.e., we did not use raisins) is still be delicious.
Smoky Eggplant Puree – This is a quick recipe that is similar to baba ganoush, but without the tahini or sesame oil. We used red pepper flakes instead of urfa pepper, which we have yet to find. Serve it as an appetizer or side to a meal.
Beet Avocado Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Fennel – So many favorite things in this dish!
Warm Zucchini, Corn and Black Bean Salad – Easy as a side, and our kids love it.
We adore the satisfying complexities of Mexican cooking and the full palette of seasonal flavors that are used. The tomatillo, one of the primary flavors of this favorite cuisine, is a nightshade fruit often called the tomate verde or “Mexican green tomato”. We love to use it in-season, harvested from our local farms. It closely resembles a small, green tomato in size, shape and color but it is covered in a thin, papery, parchment-like husk. Its flavor has hints of lemon, apple and herbs. We like to use tomatillos both raw and cooked as the taste varies with different uses. Cooking enhances its flavor and softens the skin while using them raw adds a subtle acidic taste to salsas and salads.
Choose firm fruit whose husks are dry and tight-fitting – if the tomatillos have not grown to fill their husks, they’re not fully mature. Store in a paper bag in the fridge for up to one month. Remove husk and wash fruit before using.
Green Enchilada served with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce and Homemade Crema
The key to this sauce is to buy the best sesame tahini sauce you can find. If you are shopping at a regular supermarket, look for Joyva brand. The sauce can be made in minutes.
1/2 cup tahini
about 3 Tbls. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
Drizzle on grilled meat – filet, pork chops, or chicken- or serve with grilled/roasted eggplant or squash, with greens, or as a dressing for salad.
A popular item at farmers markets is a colorful mixture of cherry tomato varieties. Who can resist? And beyond simply slicing them for salad or eating them straight from the bowl, we like to oven-dry them. In our opinion, the texture and taste are much better than sun-dried – they are not too chewy, overly oily or bitter. We prepared a batch for homemade grilled pizza over the weekend, but if you don’t plan to use them right away, cover them with a little olive oil and keep them stored in the fridge as a favorite summer condiment.
And, for those of you in DC, if you are looking for a fun and unique laid- back event, come out for the Edible Urban Garden Tour on Friday, July 26th in Bloomingdale. Neighbors will open their gardens and share tips and advice on how to grow your own food at home and within a school and community garden. Always one of our favorite summer events!
Recipe: Oven-dried Tomatoes
cherry tomatoes halved
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 275. Slice the tomatoes in halves and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange oregano sprigs within and drizzle over olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and some salt. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until semi-dried. Store in a glass jar covered with a little olive oil.
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.