Cooking in Bushwick + Staten

My, how time has seriously flown by lately. Another VeganMoFo has come and gone in a blur, and real life commenced with J. Legume’s return to Portland. While the leaves begin to their thing, the rain drops fall, the air cools, tomatoes disappear and my favorite farmers market approaches its seasonal end. I’ve found myself balancing work and projects, with a revamp of the Vegan Iron Chef organization and planning its upcoming (!) Vegan Mac ShowCase (!!!). Breathing room and the call of pumpkin spice muffins also means polishing off a piece out of draft-land, which brings me here, reminiscing about ordering Beyond Sushi and NYC farmers markets, now months behind me.

Back in Bushwick….

For what ended up being an entire month’s worth of summertime, I found myself (and my requisite ingredients) traveling back and forth between my sister’s couch in Bushwick and J. Legume’s twin bed on Staten Island.  I always dig cooking at my sister’s because it means cooking from my damn heart: sharing a meal, showing her what I’ve been up to flavor-wise, visiting farmers markets, saving money and spending more time hanging out with Monkey and catching up Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen. We’re the type of human siblings that discuss what we’re cooking for dinner every few nights ⸺ with Jen’s post-work dinners usually falling after 9pm EST and my own overlapping the same window PST ⸺ and the rare times I get to cook for my little sis are a big treat for both of us. Plus, I can safely say that J. Legume’s meals were lacking on her own, which is an observation she’d probably throw whimpers and/or expletives into.

Aunt Monkey

Cooking did happen, but less than my typical Bushwick stays. My sister and her boyfriend were off birding in Costa Rica with my visit purposely overlapping some sweet catsitting, which inspired some shockingly bonus cleaning of her monstrous fridge and cabinets, which is really the only type of cleaning I’ll intentionally do.

We’re also talking about (Jess-dreaded) July and August in New York City, which means heavy humidity and an often cranky Jess, who prefers her trips with heavy snow. That reality, plus my desire for vacation-time, called for a bit more sushi, pizza, cold beer and a little less cooking than usual. That, and two Vegan Shop-Ups, The Seed (I’ll get to that!) and finding myself exploring & compiling Bushwick’s Vegan-Friendly Spots on this map. I was already working on one for VVCIII in Austin for May, and that’s how that story goes.

For shame, Miyoko’s Butternut Queso did not make the rounds this time. I’m sorry, sis.


Coming home to cupcakes after vacation has to be a good thing.

Mimosa Creamsicle cupcakes with Campari buttercream/chocolate agave ganache.

Shopping at Union Square’s Greenmarket



Oh, New York

Chickpea bowl night: smokey roasted chickpeas, chipotle roasted soy curls, fresh tomato, avocado, steamed kale & red quinoa

Plus, roasted corn with smoked paprika & sea salt

My sister seems to have a replenishing supply of soy curls. Huh.

Second to last night: Pizza by Jen & Aslan with homemade dough, tomato sauce, tofu ricotta, sliced jalapeño & fresh basil

Their pizzas blow me away.

Buffalo night: Crispy, baked buffalo cauliflower, mustard raab (ahhhhh) and mac & cheese

Let’s talk: The mac & cheese was based on Isa’s Sunflower Mac (yeah, that one, shucks) PLUS miso and way more carrots (to the point my sister was a little terrified that I was serving carrot cheese, but ate it).  The buffalo cauliflower was based on Joni’s total keeper Tofallo Wings, and while I was actually raised eating raab, this extreme mustard raab was the most bitter thing I have eaten a long time and gave us all trouble. Womp womp.

Grits night: Cheesy garlic grits, pan-fried sesame tofu, purple carrots roasted with coconut sugar and hottie black-eyed peas with collards

I love those hotties.

Saucey, saucey stir fry night: Beyond Chicken, green cabbage, purple carrots, brown jasmine rice & plenty of basil, garlic and ginger

Penne Arrabiata with steamed kale, fresh basil & homemade hemp-miso Parmesan

Thanks to Janessa for the hempseed parm idea! My go to has become raw hemp seeds + nutritional years + red miso + sea salt + Vita-Mix.

That time I learned my sister’s big container of white flour was actually unbleached flour + semolina

Someone misses Zelda

Fabulously buttered bagels in bed on Staten

Sorta Breakfast-for-Dinner Bagel plates

Bagel nostalgia, bagel reality.

Pizza bread in bed with elusive Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds, thanks to Tastebud’s

Staten Island stir-fry

(This is my shout out to Danny Castellano’s homeland)

And back and forth to Bushwick, with the fridge cleaning:

…..and the cabinets:

Mashed potato bowl with more hottie black-eyed peas and baked tofu & whatnot

To Staten

Riding the bus, iced coconut-cinnamon coffee

Graham Ave. Bushwick farmers market

All farmers markets make me happy. I did learn not to trust New York ones quite as much.

Stocking up at Sahadi’s and picking up goodies for home & catsitters:

Obligatory Life Thyme pop-in:

Ah, vegan lore. Remember those days I transported elusive blocks of Follow Your Heart, slices of strawberry-banana layer cake and raw lasagna across state lines via Fung Wah back to my Boston apartment? Somewhat.

Ugh, remember when these didn’t make my throat swell? Now I get them for my lady.

Dr.-Cow, you’re still tops, and the gal in question was charmed by your store.

Shopping at Eataly:

With a sister like mine, Eataly is now a regular stop. Perhaps some more on that another time, because Le Verdure = fantastico.

Jersey Produce-on-Staten.

Jersey Fresh, baby


Yes, please

Shiro plums

The excitement of finding actual fresh produce around J. Legume’s neighborhood was BIG

See ya next time, Bushwick. Standing in line at a coffee shop last night, living in slow motion, I felt the New York in my veins.



  1. New York is more exciting to me through yr eyes.
    Can’t believe you put those farmer’s market veggies on the ground in Union Square!!! Hope you washed them well.

  2. Like I wasn’t homesick for Philly & NY enough over here in dreary London! Bagels and grits and Dr. Cow and omg even a Danny Castellano shout-out! I love everything in this post except for the fact that I have none of it right now 🙂

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