Cooking With Gallagher…I mean Isa Chandra at the D.C. VegFest

At this past weekend’s D.C. VegFest, there were many treats. One of my personal highlights came late in the afternoon and I’m so happy I stuck around for it.

Just after 4pm, veg*n darling, Isa Chandra Moskowitz took the stage for a cooking demo/comedy show. Moskowitz is the well-known author/co-author of Vegan With A Vengeance, Veganomicon, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

A Brooklyn gal, Moskowitz commented on how she brings the cultural influences of NYC and her Jewish roots together in everything she does.

On this day, she showed the crowd how to make gumbo and pumpkin cheesecake and shared some tips. When there were some technical difficulties with her cooking set up, Moskowitz made the best of it and a few jokes: “I also tap dance.”

Some of her tips:

1)    Learn basic techniques, like how to make a roux.

2)    ‘Fresh is best pretty much whenever you can.’

3)    Plants really do their jobs if you let them and learn what they do.

4)    Don’t use a rubber spatula for hot dishes. (I found that out already when making Vegan Rice Krispy Treats…but it probably should have been a no brainer.)

5)    Garlic burns easily so put it in at the end, but if she put that in a cookbook, “I‘d get like 20 bad Amazon reviews.”

6)    Bring your spices back to life by toasting them a little.

7)    Soak your cashews to soften them.

8)    Cornstarch just helpd keep everything together.

9)    ‘A vitamix will destroy anything in its path,’ but you don’t have to have one to get things done…she doesn’t.

In addition to passing out gumbo and pumpkin cheesecake samples, Isa gave out preview copies of her new book with Terry Hope Romero: Vegan Pie in the Sky. Considering everything I’ve baked from this series has been amazing, I can’t wait to try my hand at the Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Tart.

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