Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chana Masala

This is a quick and easy recipe from Emily von Euw's new cookbook, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook. It won't blow your socks off, but you'll be amazed at how much flavor a little ginger and garlic can add to a very simple recipe. We're talking chickpeas in a tomato sauce with ginger and garlic in no time. Mmmm.

Chana Masala
Serves 2

  • 3 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp chunk peeled ginger
  • 1/3 cup water, or more as needed
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  •  2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
Finely chop the garlic and ginger. In a frying or saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1/4 cup of the water and all of the lemon juice and heat until it begins to steam and lightly bubble. Add the chopped garlic and ginger and saute for 3 minutes, adding more water in 1 tablespoon amounts as needed for moisture if the pan starts getting dry. Throw on the garam masala powder and add more water if needed, stirring everything together. Next add the chickpeas and the tomato sauce and stir gently for 10 to 15 minutes on medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened up.

Serve with rice and garnish with basil.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cosi, DC

In search of a quick and easy lunch, it's impossible to ignore the amount of Cosi's there are in DC. Cosi is a chain cafe that offers quick, fresh meals.  Although not much on their menu looks vegan and they don't label anything as such, it appeared that their Thai Curry dish might actually be vegan. So, I tweeted them and at first they stated it was, then corrected and said it wasn't. I didn't see that there was any milk in it as indicated by their allergen list so I asked why it wasn't vegan. They then stated that it actually is when you get it with tofu, but since it is served with their bread, which isn't vegan, they state the meal isn't vegan.  Well, that's not helpful. Just state that it is vegan without the bread.

In any case, I ordered the meal. They put a lot of rice in the bowl and topped it with grilled tofu, cauliflower and curry sauce and topped it with cilantro.  The dish was pretty good although there wasn't nearly enough curry sauce for the amount of food in the bowl. I ordered it a second time and got the same thing. I wish they loaded it with more cauliflower and sauce to make it a more balanced meal. Brown rice would be a nice touch too. The second time around, they told me I could get chips instead of bread as it comes with it -- that works!

So, although it could have been better, but I liked the flavors a lot and will order it again. I just wish Cosi would get their act together and start labeling items as vegan or not on their website. It shouldn't be this hard to find out whether an item is vegan or not.

1333 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-5888

Cosi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fully Loaded Yams

Holy easy to make, but deliciously good recipe!  From Emily von Euw's new cookbook, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook, comes Fully Loaded Yams. All you do is cook the yams for an hour, then top them with black beans, green onions, and purple cabbage, then drizzle on tahini miso gravy. They are loaded with delicious flavor and very filling. I think this will become one of my go-to meals.

Fully Loaded Yams
Serves 4

  • 2 large yams
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped purple cabbage
Tahini Miso Gravy
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping Tbsp miso paste (I used brown rice miso)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 peeled garlic clove
  • 1 tsp chunk peeled ginger
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Wash and scrub the yams, then slice them in half lengthwise and bake with the cut-side down for 45 to 60 minutes, or until they are bubbling and tender all the way through (test with a fork). Mash a little space into each of them so you have a place to put the toppings.

To make the gravy, blend all the ingredients until smooth. If it's too thin, add more tahini. If it's too thick, add more water or apple cider vinegar.

Top off yams with the beans, green onions, and cabbage, then drizzle with gravy. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ghibellina, DC #2

The last time I ate at Ghibellina on 14th Street, I had the same thing I always had -- not even thinking to explore other items because I love the Marinara pizza so much. Well, the server I had this time was not having that. She insisted I try other items that could be made vegan of which there are a-plenty!

We started with the Rapini Saltati -- a vegetable dish made with rapini (broccoli rabe), a vegetable that has a bitterness to it, but which was tempered by garlic, lemon oil, and chili flakes. I just held the cheese. It was perfectly prepared!

Then we tried the Cavoletto Di Bruxelles -- a Brussels sprouts dish with confit onion, sweet peppers, and chestnuts. It was a wonderful mix and the sweet peppers gave it so much flavor.

For my entree, I couldn't resist their amazing pizzas. I went with one I'd never tried before -- the Olive E Carciofi.  They just left off the cheese and it was marvelous. The thick wood-fired crust was topped with olive oil, nostralina olives, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, garlic, and peperoncino and I added Calabrian Chiles as well.

All the while I was drinking one of their fantastic cocktails: the Leoncino made with bourbon, allspice dram, lime, simple syrup, and angostura.

For dessert, I had a scrumptious chocolate sorbet though they did put a non-vegan cookie on it so minus a couple of points for that little oversight, but the sorbet was great.

Although not cheap, Ghibellina has fantastic food, good service, and a lively atmosphere. The vegetable dishes were $8 while the pizza was $18 -- not too bad, but our drink selection upped the price quite a bit. One of my favorite things about Ghibellina is that they now take reservations! Thank goodness! Not waiting for an hour makes the experience that much better. So go and try something new as they can make many of the items on their current menu vegan and they are fantastic!

Previous review
August 21, 2013

1610 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 803-2389

Ghibellina on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Raw Garden Burritos

In Emily von Euw's new cookbook, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook, I found a delicious recipe for raw garden burritos made with spicy mushroom nut meat, guacamole, and broccolini all wrapped up in collard leaves. It is surprisingly filling and tasty. Just be sure your collard leaves are fresh! You'll love the marinated broccolini the most.

Garden Burritos

Spicy Mushroom Nut Meat
  • 1 cup almonds, soaked for 8 hours
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups broccolini
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 4 huge collard leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage

To make the nut meat: put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until it forms a chunky paste. Adjust according to taste, adding more spice or salt, if desired.

To make the guacamole, mash the avocado meat with the lime juice and salt until it reaches the desired consistency.

Toss the broccolini with the tamari and let it sit in the oven at 200-degrees Farenheit for 10-15 minutes to soften, or use a dehydrator at 115-degrees for 40 minutes. If your oven doesn't go that low, just use the lowest temperature and keep an eye on the food as you may need to take it out a few minutes early.

Spread your mushroom nut meat onto the collard leaves, and add the guac, cilantro, cabbage, and broccolini. Wrap up and enjoy!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Commissary, DC

In search of a new place to go, I stumbled upon Commissary in Logan Circle across from Whole Foods. This restaurant is not new, but I never really noticed it before. It's unassuming exterior is just a simple awning with the name of the restaurant in a very generic font complete with some outdoor seating.

Inside though, this place has a funky feel with lots of armchairs and cushy seating. Me and my friend were seated at a table in the back.

There aren't too many vegan options on the menu, but there were just enough for us. We started with the Hummus Platter, which had garlic hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, and grilled pita. It was very satisfying and we loved having cucumbers and artichoke hearts in addition to the pita bread, but it was very expensive for what it was at $15.50 for the platter.

I also had a cocktail -- the Midnight in Pearis. This was really good -- like a lemonade with a kick. It had Espolon tequila, pear, ginger, lime, and habanero bitters. Yum!

For our meals, my friend ordered the Vegan Lentil Soup, which she enjoyed.

I ordered the Coconut Curry Stir Fry. This curry dish had thick yellow curry wrapped around soft, fried tofu, cabbage, carrots, peppers, and onions. This one was a winner.

Other vegan options include the Big Veggie Salad, Quinoa and Kale Salad, Spinach Salad, Steamed Edamame, Guacamole, and a bunch of sides. I was disappointed when we were offered the special that included dessert, but there was no vegan dessert available, so we had to respectfully decline.

We liked the food, but thought it was pretty expensive for a place that prides itself on being inexpensive. The appetizer was $15 and my main dish was $16. The service was pretty good and the atmosphere was okay. It just didn't have the fun feel of the popular restaurants in DC -- something was definitely lacking. That said, I'd probably drop by for that curry dish as a take-out order if they allow it.

1443 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 299-0018

Commissary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, May 6, 2016

Macrobar - Ellie Goulding Sweepstakes

One of my favorite bars is the Macrobar by GoMacro and they recently contacted me to tell me about their new partnership with Ellie Goulding, English singer, songwriter, and pop sensation.

What I love most about the protein bars are that they are [obvisouly] high in protein, vegan, organic, and non-GMO. Everything in these bars is completely natural and they taste amazing! I could seriously eat these every day -- I almost already do. You don't get that gritty aftertaste that you get with many protein bars.

For example, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bars are made of brown rice syrup, peanut butter, brown rice protein, pea protein, puffed brown rice, chocolate chips, and peanuts. All good stuff!

The new official Ellie Goulding Macrobar is the Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips and it is divine. Try it for yourself.

They are running a Goulding Sweepstakes on specially marked Macrobars that have a "Goulding Ticket" inserted inside for a chance to win VIP tickets to Ellie's concert this summer or a one-on-one workout with Ellie in LA. One winner from the U.S. will win VIP tickets to Ellie's concert in Madison Square Garden on June 21 and one winner in Canada will win VIP tickets to her performance in Toronto on June 19.  For a chance to win, pick up a Macrobar at your grocery store today.

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kapnos, DC #4

Once again, I found myself at Mike Isabella's Greek restaurant, Kapnos, eager to try new items on the menu. Located in the bustling U Street Corridor right on 14th Street, this place is always bumpin'.

We took a seat inside the main dining area and perused the menu. There are always lots of vegan items to choose from, which keeps it fun and exciting. We ordered a couple of cocktails including my favorite, the Angry Elf, then placed our orders.

We started with the Favosalata, an incredibly good spread made of yellow lentils, scallions, black garlic, and pine nuts. I have to say that it was the black garlic that made it so good. And that fire-roasted bread is always fantastic.

Next, we tried the Grilled Maitake mushrooms in a rich sauce served with fresnos peppers and celeriac. Again, fantastic.

Then, we tried the Falafel. Falafels can be really good or really bad. This one was excellent and was served with roasted eggplant, tahini, and romaine lettuce. If we had a bit more tahini, it would have been perfect as the falafel needs tahini!

Lastly, we tried their latest cauliflower dish -- Roasted Cauliflower. Cauliflower is roasted with baharat spice and served with pisachios and raisins. We loved this dish.

But wait, there's more! On another visit, we had the Marinated olives with red chili and marcona olives. So good!

Our favorite dish of all was the Gigandes! It was so good, I forgot to take a pic when it arrived as we started digging in right away! These giant beans were served with spring onion and ramps. The tomatoes that thickened the sauce were great as they've definitely improved this dish over time.

We also had a Brussels Sprouts dish, which may already be off the menu. Served with sweet potato puree, these Brussels sprouts were fantastic!

All in all, the food and drinks were excellent, the service was good on both occasions, and the atmosphere was fun. At $8 - $12 per small dish, they certainly won't be on a bargain list any time soon, but I do think it is worth it. Kapnos remains one of my favorite restaurants in DC.

Previous reviews
March 21, 2014
January 16, 2014
August 13, 2013

2201 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 234-5000

Kapnos on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 2, 2016

Rawsome Vegan Cookbook by Emily von Euw

As many of you know, I love raw and cooked food. I like a balance of both in my life and now there's a cookbook that supports that. Emily von Euw's The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook does exactly that -- provides you with a balance of raw and cooked meals with an emphasis on healthy. Just my cup of tea! It is truly a cookbook without a lot of fluff and the pictures are amazing. It's a glossy cookbook with pictures for almost EVERY recipe.

The first recipe I tried was the Garden Burritos. Picture collard green leaves filled with spicy mushroom nut meat, guacamole, and broccolini drizzled with tahini. It was surprisingly filling and tasty. The marinated broccolini in tamari was the best part -- very flavorful.

Another recipe I tried was the Chana Masala. Now this was not your typical chana masala -- instead, it is a quick and easy version that you could make on a school night. I'm talking chickpeas in a tomato sauce with ginger and garlic that can be prepared in no time! It won't knock your socks off, but you'll be amazed at how much flavor a little ginger and garlic can add to a very simple recipe.

Last, but not least, was my favorite recipe -- Fully Loaded Yams. Oh. My. Gosh. All you do is cook yams for an hour, then top them with black beans, green onions, and purple cabbage and drizzle on tahini miso gravy. They are loaded with delicious flavor and very filling. This has become one of my go-to meals.

Some other raw recipes that look incredible are the Epic Portabello Yam Burgers, King Oyster Mushrooms, Green Coconut Curry, Lasagna, and Spicy Noodle Bowl. Of the cooked recipes, there is the I Love Yu Choy, Tricolor Quinoa, One Pot Veggie Noodle Soup, and Penne Pesto.

The best thing about this book is that most of the dishes are simple and tasty. Some of them are just a few ingredients as well. You can find this book on Amazon here for approximately $12. Well worth it in my opinion!