Avocado Banana Chaat


I have wanted to try Rasika, an Indian restaurant in DC, for a while now. Friend after friend has told me how exquisite the food is, but it seemed that the timing was never right and somehow five years had flown by. So, for Mother’s Day I chose to have dinner there with my family and a dear friend.

We ordered several dishes to share, marveling at each one. One of our favorites was one of the appetizers, the avocado banana chaat, which had an incredible blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and cool tastes. I swore that I would go home and try to replicate it.

After a couple of tries, here is my take on the delightfully different dish. I added some crumbled tangy tomato banana chips that we found at our local Indian grocery store.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 banana
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind chutney
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • tangy tomato banana chips for garnish (optional)
  • paprika (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork and squeeze the juice from half the lemon over it. In a smaller bowl, mix the tamarind chutney, cumin and cayenne pepper until well blended. Stir the tamarind chutney blend into the mashed banana. Cut the avocado into 1/2″ cubes and squeeze the juice from the remaining half lemon over it to preserve the color. Add the avocado to the banana-chutney mixture, tossing gently, making sure not to squish the avocado. Chill.

To serve, dish onto a plate and crumble some banana chips to give it crunch. You can also sprinkle some cayenne pepper or paprika on an around the chaat for color. Bon appetit!

Found Art in NYC


I spent the weekend in SoHo. I was there for the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair, which was held on May 21st. I spent most my Saturday surrounded by awesome artists and crafters, taking in their amazingly creative works. On Sunday, my husband and I walked around checking out the various boutiques. I took note of the use of fabrics, shapes and textures displayed throughout the neighborhood, inspired with ideas for new designs and packaging for my products.

But what surprised and delighted me the most was the art I found on the streets. My favorite was the discovery of a bicycle that had been ambushed overnight with a cover of pastel crochet in a camouflage pattern. I marveled at the beauty and awesomeness of the work, while also sympathizing with the owner who would have to do quite a bit of snipping to be able to actually use it.

On one wall, I saw a magnificent graffiti mural, which I didn’t photograph (I didn’t think I could do it justice with my iPhone). But I did capture this sweet piece that I found on a door. I love the simplicity of the lines, and it sparked my imagination to think of things the girl and her rabbit might be looking at.

Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Central Park to check out Japan Day. There were several things to see, but what caught my eye was this collection of origami cranes that people were folding and donating, with the goal of sending 1000 paper cranes to Japan to show solidarity with the victims of the earthquake/tsunami.

Strawberry Jam Made with Port Wine


It’s strawberry season at the farmers markets in my area. I look forward to this time of year, and always take full advantage of the abundance of this wonderful fruit. While we eat a lot of them fresh, I like to use them in a variety of recipes, including salads, soups, smoothies and more. This year, I decided to make jam, and since I love cooking with wine, I thought I would substitute port for the water in this super simple recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cleaned, hulled, coarsely chopped strawberries (organic or local)
  • 1 cup of port wine
  • 1 cup of sugar (I used organic fair trade)
  • juice of 1 lemon

Place all of the ingredients in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to keep it from burning, and frequently scraping it from the sides of the pan.

Cook until thickened (about 30-40 minutes).

Pour into a clean container, and store in the refrigerator. Eat within 2 weeks (this should be absolutely no problem). Enjoy on toast, or as a glaze for meat dishes.

Please Join Us in NYC for the BUST Magazine Craftacular on May 21st!

We have figured out how to be in two places at one time! So we are super happy to announce that we will be part of the BUST Magazine Craftcular and Food Fair in SoHo on May 21st! It will be held from 11am – 8pm at 82 Mercer Street (between Broome and Spring), in NYC.

There will be over 100 spectacular vendors and food artisans. Offerings will include handmade jewelry, specialty foods, cards, clothes, posters, housewares, plus raffles, DJs, book signings, and a free goodie bag for the first 300 people! To give you an idea of how amazing the goodie bags are, at the Holiday show last December, customers were lined up around the block two hours before the show in the freezing rain for a chance to score one!

So, if you’ll be in the neighborhood, please stop by! We’ll be at Booth #39. You won’t be disappointed with the quality and variety of the offerings of these talented crafters.

Join Us at DC Craft Mafia’s Spring Thing May 21st!


Herban Lifestyle is thrilled to be vending at the DC Craft Mafia’s Spring Thing on May 21, from 11am-5pm. The show will be held in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at the corner of P Street & 15th Street, NW in Washington, DC.

Over 40 amazing artisans will be exhibiting, including several of my crafty faves, including: Craftgasm, Namoo, Lil’ Fishy, This Little Piggy, Bette’s Bags, EHL Creations and Blugrn Design!

There will also be music, food, and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will be there from 11am-4pm with information and dogs available for adoption. There will also be an artist raffle with all proceeds going Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. It should be a great show. So please stop by and say hi! We’ll be at Booth #7.

For more info on the DC Craft Mafia and the Spring Thing, check out this great Washingtonian article!

Meatless Monday: Vegan Mac and “Cheese”

I was craving the ridiculously delicious mac and “cheese” from my favorite DC vegan restaurant, but didn’t have time to go there, so I decided to whip up my own version using ingredients I had in my cupboard. I have tried it before, using various recipes I had found on the Internet, but have never been very happy with the results (in one case, I was actually disgusted by it!). This version is vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic rice flour
  • 1 cup organic almond milk
  • 2 tablespoon organic cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon organic garlic powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • Pasta, cooked (I used brown rice pasta)
Make a roux by blending the olive oil and flour in a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk for just a few minutes until the oil and flour are evenly mixed together and start to froth. You want to cook out the raw taste of the flour, but don’t let it brown. Next, add the milk a little at a time to the oil and flour mixture, while continuing to whisk. Once all the milk is completely integrated, continue to whisk over the medium heat for another minute, then remove the pan from the heat. You now have a white sauce base.
Next, add the cashew butter, whisking until it is thoroughly blended. Then mix in the nutritional yeast, again whisking until it is well-blended. Season with mustard powder, garlic powder, and salt.
Pour the mixture over the cooked pasta and toss until well-coated. Enjoy!

Ballston Arts & Crafts Market May 14th!

We are happy to announce that we will once again be participating in the 2011 Ballston Arts & Crafts Market on May 14 from 10:00am to 4:00pm! It is held every Second Saturday from April through October, and is Arlington’s premier 100% handmade indie art market.

We will be vending along with many other amazing DC-area crafters (many of whom are Etsians), including: Bette’s Bags, BoxBoy Demented Decoupage, Brighter Day Beads,Fuzzy Ink, Grumpy Haters, Jen-A-Fusion Fashion Accessories, lolojane, Mary Ellen Larkins, Melissa Lew, The BumbleBee Studio, Warped & Morewarped and Yinibini Baby.

The kind folks at ArlingtonVirginia.com, Arlington’s Social Media Community, will be handing out FREE eco-friendly tote bags for the first 50 visitors. An from 12:00 – 2:00 pm, there will be live music by J-Guden and FREE yoga classes for the whole family will be offered in the square. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.

The market is super-conveniently located in Welburn Square (between North Stuart and North 9th Streets) across the street from the Ballston Metro.