Monday, November 4, 2013

Sisu Kind Food

What's that? Another food entrepreneur makes her way into the DC market?!  Awesome. I love that there are so many inspiring people in DC making their dreams a reality. I met Tessa Hale of Sisu Kind Food at VegFest this year.  Tessa became a junk food vegetarian as a kid subsisting on products like Cheetos and chocolate malts. Then when she recently went vegan, she found that all of a sudden everyone questioned her about nutrition only to find out that her diet was very much nutritionally sound. She decided to change careers and obtain a certificate in plant-based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and Cornell University, a graduate certificate in Nutrition Education from American University, and become certified as a Holistic Health Coach through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. After all of that, she decided she wanted to share good, wholesome food with others so Sisu Kind Food was born.

Sisu is a Finnish word that loosely translates to strength of will, determination, and perseverance. Tessa grew up hearing a lot about "sisu" from her Finnish mother.  She feels it best describes the quality people to tap into their strength to live their lives with compassion for animals and change the path this world is on with industrialized farming and its horrendous impact on animals and the earth.

So she brought me four of her seasonal items. I really enjoyed the Artisanal Almond "Cheese" the best. It is difficult to find great tasting spreadable vegan cheese in DC. This one is really good. It is made with just almonds, lemon juice, spring water, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. I first thought of using it on crackers, but then she suggested I try it as a grilled cheese sandwich. So, I did. It didn't really melt, but it heated up and tasted great. It has a rich taste yet a soft texture. It is versatile enough to use on a bagel, in a sandwich, or as an appetizer on crackers.

I also enjoyed the Curried Carrot Soup though I thought Lemon Carrot Soup more accurately described it. It was definitely a lemony carrot soup, but I liked that!  Made with just carrots, onions, veggie broth, spring water, olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice, and black pepper, there are no nasty preservatives in there.

She also gave me a beautiful Southwestern Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing. This salad was loaded with lettuce, rice, black beans, carrots, and pepitas. I loved the look and idea, but thought a few components could be modified to make it better. When I plated it, I realized that the lettuce was romaine, which isn't my favorite, and there was too much rice and too little lettuce. What I liked was that it really was a complete meal with veggies, grains, and beans. I would have preferred mixed greens instead of romaine and more of the greens. I also think there could be a lot less rice.  In terms of the dressing, it was awesome -- spicy Chipotle Ranch had a great adobo sauce kick and was super creamy.  Her salads vary based on what is seasonally available and I hear there is an amazing kale salad available right now as well!

She also makes a Mushroom and Walnut Pate, which I had on crackers.

Tessa tries to use organic ingredients when possible. All of her items can be found at Each Peach Market in Mt. Pleasant in DC. The almond cheese retails for $6.95, soup for $6, pate for $8.25, and salads for $8.95 (including a $1 deposit for the jar that gets refunded if they return the jar). I suggest going to try the almond cheese and seeing what other seasonal items she is adding to her menu. Support local!

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion. 

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