Words by Susan Able with photographs by Hannah Hudson and styling by Raisa Aziz. If you’ve been smitten by the flavorful vegetarian tacos served up by Chaia at FRESHFARM’s Dupont Circle market, then you’ve joined the throngs who waited patiently in line and then plopped down on the nearest curb or bench to devour them. Chaia’s first retail space will be opening later this spring in Georgetown. Here, Chaia founders Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon share some of their early spring recipes with Edible DC, highlighting the season’s freshest vegetables loaded in their handmade corn tortillas. Try the taco mavens’ spring salsa and roasted carrot tacos, recipes below.
Sorrel and Jalapeño Salsa
Sour and lemony, this bright green sauce really stands out when paired with our potato and kale taco, or the sweet roasted carrots below. This seasonal sauce can only be found occasionally on our menu in the spring, and it has a wonderful lightness. Besides topping tacos, this versatile salsa can also be served alongside eggs, roasted vegetables, fish and meats. Makes about 1½ cups.
3 cups sorrel leaves, washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove
¼ cup warm water
1 jalapeño, seeds and pith removed
5 sprigs cilantro
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until blended and bright green. Taste for seasonings; add more salt if needed and perhaps a little water to obtain the desired consistency. If the taste of sorrel is too acidic for your liking, it can be tempered by adding about ½ cup of Greek yogurt to make a creamier version. Refrigerate in a glass jar.
Roasted Moroccan Carrots, Chevre and Mint
This is a simple and delicious way to prepare roasted carrots. We like to use a rainbow mix of colors—orange, purple and white. Serves 4–6.
2 pounds carrots cut into ½-inch sticks
Extra-virgin olive oil
Cilantro and mint and pea shoots
Crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400° F. Toss carrots with olive oil to coat. Season with salt. Roast in an even layer on a baking sheet until soft, about 15 minutes. Combine dressing ingredients. Toss, to taste, with cooked carrots. Place on a platter and serve with crumbled goat cheese, a mix of chopped cilantro, mint, and pea shoots scattered on top, with warm corn tortillas on the side.
Recipes courtesy of Chaia, chaiadc.com. Opening in late spring 2015 at 3207 Grace St., NW in Georgetown. Kitchenware provided by Salt & Sundry.