I still remember the house that was our home when we lived in DC. It was made of red brick and had a tiny patch of grass to the left of the doorway. A small white carving of an angel adorned that little bit of green, and I liked to think that the angel was welcoming and protecting us all at once.
We lived in the Foggy Bottom/West End neighborhood along L street, just a 10-minute walk away from the quaint and lovely Georgetown from one side and another 10-minute stroll to Dupont Circle from the other. In retrospect, we were fortunate to be so centrally located, which made the steep rent worth it in the end.
Just across the street from our place was a massive ongoing construction project, and at 7am every morning except for Sundays, the sound of drilling would wake us up as the workers started their day.
When the drilling started, Juan would pull the comforter up to cover his ears; frustrated to be woken up half an hour earlier than he needed to, and a few futile minutes later, he would groggily get out of bed.
His morning routine was always the same: shower, suit up, and sit down to a quick breakfast granola with blueberries and almond milk which he’d eat while scrolling through the news on his phone.
Once he was finished with breakfast, he’d slip on his navy blue trenchcoat and walk some twenty-five blocks to his office building at the intersection of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue.
I’d often snooze in bed for a couple of hours more after he would leave for work, and only got up when I was ready to start my day.
Despite being the capital city of one of the world’s most important countries, D.C. is calm and serene. There are hardly any traffic jams and the large, imposing governmental buildings tend to leave you in awe. They also tend to make you realize how small we are in comparison.
Fall in DC is absolutely beautiful – think large, wide roads scattered with red, auburn leaves that crunch under your feet and cool, crisp air that fill your lungs with rich, fresh oxygen.
That fall in D.C. was lovely, mostly because I’d taken a leave of absence from my job in Buenos Aires and was now free to dedicate time and energy to what I loved doing most.
As the trees turned from yellow-green to reddish-brown over those few months, I learned to give in to my passions and made space for honing my crafts.
In those four months in D.C., I usually spent my weekdays cooking and photographing, and then writing.
The former was often done in the early morning and finished in time for lunch; after which I’d pack my laptop in my bag and head off to a cafe of my choosing.
I often ended up at the Starbucks along M and 25th, where I’d order a tall steeping mug of green tea, my energy booster for the afternoon.
The taste of scalding hot green tea intertwined with the fragrance of brewing coffee was my trigger to begin writing.
I’d sit at a corner table – from which I had a view of the street outside – and switch on my laptop, where I’d write for the next few hours, or for as long as inspiration had me.
Taking sips of tea in between typing out sentences, paragraphs and posts, I’d get so caught up in writing that time would pass quicker than I’d like. When I was eventually done for the day, I’d close my laptop, pack up and head home.
When I think back on D.C., that’s what comes first to my mind – being immersed in what I enjoy doing most. The other thing that reminds me of D.C. is pumpkin.
As I mentioned before, in the US, fall isn’t fall unless there’s pumpkin involved. And that fall in D.C. was filled with pumpkins everywhere – on our neighbors’ porches; piled in front of our neighborhood Trader Joe’s; or on any restaurant menu. I experimented with cooking with pumpkin for the first time back then, and I’ve got to say that pumpkin has its charm. I’m pretty much hooked.
Today, as I think back on those fall days in D.C., I’m sharing a recipe for a gluten-free vegan pumpkin bread I made last week.
This pumpkin bread is simple to make and has a moist and firm crumb that I absolutely love. The flavors of fresh pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg take me right back to fall in D.C., and the toasted pumpkin seeds add a rich contrast in flavor and texture. I know you’ll absolutely love it too.
Here’s how you can make a loaf of this gluten-free vegan pumpkin bread today.
Start off by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), then grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl combine the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, xantham gum, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and whisk well.
In a smaller bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, vanilla, milk, maple syrup and oil until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well until you get a thick but homogeneous batter.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a wet spoon, before topping the batter generously with pumpkin seeds. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the pumpkin bread to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes in the loaf pan, then transfer it to a wire rack to finish cooling for another 30 minutes before slicing.
I hope you’ll enjoy this beautiful pumpkin bread!
How about you go to your kitchen and bake a loaf right now? Then once you’re done, come back and let me know how much you love it.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
- ¾ cup brown rice flour
- ¾ cup sorghum flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon xantham gum
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree (I used fresh pumpkin puree, but canned is fine as well)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and grease and flour a 9x5" loaf pan.
- Whisk the brown rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, xantham gum, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix pumpkin puree, vanilla, milk, maple syrup and oil until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well until you get a thick but homogeneous batter.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth it out with the back of a wet spoon. Top the batter generously with pumpkin seeds.
- Bake the batter for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the pumpkin bread to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before removing it from the loaf pan, and then let it cool for at least 30 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing.