Raspberry Crêpes

October 22, 2010

Folded crepes with raspberry filling and topped with powdered sugar on a white plate with maple syrup in a small stainless steel cup.

While nothing much can beat fluffy pancakes cooked to perfection in the morning, crêpes offer a delicious alternative for breakfast. Crêpes are tasty with so many different kinds of fillings such as sliced fruit, fruit spreads, Nutella or even drizzled chocolate for the sweet variety.

A great thing about these thin little foldable French treats is that they actually move well beyond breakfast and make delicious desserts as well as savory dishes for lunch or dinner. Just decrease the amount of sugar in the batter for savory crêpes and fill them with sliced chicken or deli meats and seasoned vegetables like steamed or grilled slices of bell peppers, for example.

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Filed Under Breakfast/Brunch | 7 Comments | Print This Post

Happy Hour for A Cause With FRESHFARM Markets in DC ~ Oct. 4

October 1, 2010

Last spring and summer (2009) I had the pleasure of working for FRESHFARM Markets at their Dupont Circle location in Washington, DC.  As a non-profit organization that organizes and manages 11 farmers’ markets in the D.C. area to support farmers and promote locally-grown produce, it’s a wonderful organization worthy of support and much continued success.

In addition to making the freshest, local produce available to communities, they also aim to make this healthy food more accessible to women, children, seniors and low-income families through accepting WIC, SNAP/FoodStamps and offering double-dollars for such programs. Come join the FRESHFARM Markets community on Monday, October 4th from 5pm – 8pm for a “happy hour for a cause” at Passenger Bar.

FRESHFARM Markets Happy Hour ~ Monday, October 4th 5pm - 8pm - The Passenger Bar in DC.

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Macaroni & Cheese

September 30, 2010

As quintessential American fare, especially for African-Americans and Southerners, how can I have a food blog and not cover macaroni and cheese? While the thick, creamy richness of mac and cheese doesn’t quite fit in with my attempts to eat, cook, and write about nutritious and nourishing food, I have a hard time banishing this dish out of my kitchen forever!

Yes, change can be good, but macaroni and cheese taps into that soft spot in my heart for tradition and nostalgia. Mac and cheese is like a cornerstone of family gatherings, church functions and potluck dinners with friends. I can’t deny its delicious place in my culture or culinary history.

Now does that mean I’m going to eat it every day? No, but on occasion, I will indulge in this comfort food favorite, preferably with a light side dish of green vegetables or a salad rather than a full spread of other heavy foods. I have no problem breaking from that tradition.

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Filed Under Grains, Rice & Pasta, Soul Classics Remixed | 8 Comments | Print This Post

A Sweet Visit to Babycakes NYC

August 20, 2010

Image 1: Two vegan cupcakes from Babycakes NYC (A vegan bakery). One is a vanilla cupcake with pink frosting and the 2nd is a chocolate cupcake with Chocolate icing both in a clear plastic container; Image 2: Closeup photo of Tesia in Babycakes NYC with a half bitten vanilla cupcake with pink frosting.

Anytime you’re in New York City, you can always find delicious specialty cafes, eateries and bakeries lining the busy streets. From the delicious artisanal ice cream truck that’s parked along the curb, like that of Van Leeuwen, to the popular vegan bakery Babycakes, I either stumble upon these tasty finds luckily or I hear about them from magazines or by word of mouth.

During a recent trip to New York, I made sure that I didn’t leave without stopping by Babycakes NYC. I found out about this bakery when their cookbook of the same name, by founder Erin McKenna, with its cover photo of enticing chocolate cupcakes caught my eye in the bookstore. I’m fascinated by vegan baking, because that’s one of the biggest things that would keep me from going vegan – delicious, flaky, moist, buttery baked goods!

Babycakes cookbook cover (a close up of chocolate on chocolate cupcakes)I mean, a flaky pie crust without butter? A cake without the flavorful soft moisture from milk and eggs? I could go on and on. Let’s face it, butter, milk, cream and eggs all play key pivotal roles in baking! But, those who’ve done away with animal-based products in their diet swear that vegan baking is oh, so delicious and healthier for you.  

So, I experiment every now and then with vegan baking to see if it’s really possible to get great baked goods without dairy and eggs, but I’m still not completely sold. Some things lend themselves well to vegan conversions (quick breads, some cookies and cupcakes) and some things you should just leave ‘well enough alone’ (biscuits, piecrusts).  However, I’ll admit that I can see why Babycakes has a large batch of fans, including loyal customers who reportedly eat everything under the sun, including dairy and eggs, but go to Babycakes simply for the flavor.

Image 1: A case in Babycakes NYC bakery of gluten free, vegan chocolate-chip and double chocolate cookies, and spelt biscuits; Image 2: Photo of a stack of paper Babycakes NYC hats (old-school diner style hats) and packaged vegan desserts all sittin gon a table in front of a window

Settling into my seat in the corner of the small bakery with pink walls hung with pictures of Babycakes’ celebrity fans, I sunk my teeth into a vanilla cupcake with naturally colored pink frosting. It was truly delicious — the texture soft; the frosting creamy. The gluten-free chocolate on chocolate cupcake that I tried was also tasty, although, I wasn’t crazy about the dense texture. 

Lastly, I indulged in one of their double chocolate chip cookies, which I had tried to make at home following the recipe from the cookbook. Mine didn’t turn out so well, but the ones from the bakery were good and just as the recipe described — crisp on the edges and soft in the center. I then realized that my problem when I made the cookies was just as Erin McKenna warned in the book, measure all ingredients exactly and melt the coconut oil (a butter substitute) completely before measuring. You can’t mess around with baking; it’s a science, especially with vegan baking.

Despite my reservations about vegan baking, I can attest that Babycakes NYC and the cookbook Babycakes are both worthy of your time, cash and taste buds.

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Community Farm Cooking:
Cucumber Tomato Salad;
Honey Glazed Carrots with Almonds

August 4, 2010

Clear glass bowl of cucumber tomato salad with vidalia oniona and homemade Italian dressing

Greetings! I hope everyone is having a great summer thus far. I’ve been on the go so much (note to self: practice what you preach), that I haven’t had nearly enough time to get out to the farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms to enjoy the bounty of summer. Although, several weeks ago, I did have the opportunity to share two delicious and easy recipes at Common Good City Farm during a cooking workshop that I taught. Both recipes are nutritious and make for great summer side dishes.

Honey Glazed carrots with sliced almonds on a small white square plate

The cucumber and tomato salad with sweet Vidalia onions and Italian dressing has a vibrant cool taste and crunchy texture. Making the Italian dressing from scratch guarantees that it’s only made from natural ingredients — no preservatives, and allows you to use high quality extra-virgin olive oil, which boosts flavor.

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Filed Under Light & Tasty, Quick & Easy, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian/Conversions | 4 Comments | Print This Post

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