Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: March 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Super Beany Chili

I have been a pretty bad blogger lately, I could make a bunch of excuses, but really, I don't have many good ones, and the good ones I do have aren't the reason for my lack of blogging, I've just been lazy. We have been cooking though, still mostly "tried and true" recipes, especially since I found some of the first season's local tomatoes! I went to the Root Cellar the other day to get some local salad greens and saw the table full of gorgeous red delights as soon as I walked in. I made a beeline to them and asked the woman there in disbelief, "Are these local?!?" Indeed they are, from somewhere south of Jefferson City, Missouri. I think they have to have been grown in a greenhouse, but it has been beyond wonderful having local tomatoes again. I was surprised at what a wonderful, rich, tomatoey flavor they have. I should have got a picture of them, but I didn't and we are down to just a couple now any way. And those we will be using very shortly. We also got the above mentioned local salad greens, local shiitake mushrooms, and St. Louis made Dijon-Garlic-Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette. It is a mouthful, but it is delicious.

Anyways, we made this chili :blush: a couple of weeks ago. It was seriously tasty and we've enjoyed in by itself, with tortilla chips, on baked potatoes, and even on waffle fries (I've been contemplating tater tots too). Since making chili is a process, I made a huge batch and froze a good portion of it for later use. We've been taking a container of it out of the freezer in the evening, and it'll be ready for dinner the next night, wahoo!

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Super Beany Chili
2 cups dark red kidney beans +, soaked overnight with a dried cayenne pepper *** and a dried New Mexican Chile
1/2 cup pinto beans ****, soaked overnight with a dried cayenne pepper *** and a dried New Mexican Chile
1/2 cup black beans ****, soaked overnight with a dried cayenne pepper *** and a dried New Mexican Chile
1/2 cup Anasazi beans ****, soaked overnight with a dried cayenne pepper *** and a dried New Mexican Chile
2 cans fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, chopped + (not local)
1 yellow onion, chopped + (not local)
6 cloves of garlic, minced + (not local)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped *** (frozen from last year)
3 Hot Hungarian Wax peppers, cut into rings *** (frozen from last year)
dried cilantro flakes +
ground cumin
chili powder
chipotle chili powder
1 cup green lentils, rinsed

Soak beans and dried peppers overnight. Drain and rinse the beans and remove the peppers.

Combine beans in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover about two inches. Boil over medium heat for about 2 1/2 hours, covered. Make sure to check the water level occasionally, you may have to add more.

Add the tomatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, peppers, and spices. Simmer covered on medium-low for another two hours. Check the doneness of the beans.

Once the beans are close to being fully cooked, check the spice level and add more if necessary. Add the lentils and simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked.

This was really yummy chili. I've mentioned before that I had "chili'd Brett out", but it turns out that my chili is generally too volcanically hot for anyone but me. So I don't overdo the spice and I add sriracha, cayenne pepper, dried habaneros, or hot chili garlic sauce to my dishes to achieve my desired spice level.

Well, I've been trying to jump start my pilates routine again. I used to do pilates at least three times a week, and that is saying something for someone who hates exercise. It really made me feel good, I had more energy, more stamina, and I looked, well, a little nicer. I've wanted to get back into it for awhile, so I figured summer and a wedding were pretty good motivation to get started. I also decided I would like to do some "booty exercises" (I am a size 2 girl with a size 4 behind), and get some upper body strength. I have damn strong legs and can carry quite a bit on my back, but the damn 5 lb. weights are almost too much for me. I started my "exercise regimen" yesterday and today I feel like someone ran over me. And I only worked out for about 30 minutes. :-( Now I am off to do pilates, and then probably take a hot bath and hide in my recliner the rest of the evening.

I'll tell you what, the pilates can stay around, but all this strength training, I don't think I will do this very long, I don't want to look all ripped and scary, I just don't want to be one of those bizarre "fat skinny people" anymore.

Oh, woe is me, am I right?

Have a good weekend everyone.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Eats of Late

I have been cooking lately - mostly variations on favorite tried and true recipes, but I have been lazy and too overwhelmed to blog - well not anymore! Not only will I share these variations of tried and true recipe, I hope to post the new chili recipe Brett and I made sometime this week. A new recipe! Wahoo!

First off, our Everything Granola Bars. We have worked with the ratios and nut/seed combinations and I think we have them how we want them. I highly recommend trying these and playing around with the recipe until you find the way you like 'em best. We found a combination so tasty that we have eaten these for breakfast (and even snacks) for a couple of months now. Oh, and check out our "newsed" new plates. A little brightly colored for my taste, but I love the swirly and Southwestern feel to the plates (cups, bowls, etc). My Dad and step-mom Stacey got some new dishes and split the set between Brett and I and my step-brother Zac. We certainly didn't need a whole set when half of the set included four place settings of each. Wahoo for hand-me-downs!

Next up: J. Finally. Baked. Bread. !!!!!

Check out these two gorgeous ciabattas! I followed the recipe provided by the super cool Jessy from Happy Vegan Face, I used all purpose flour for the "sponge" and local, Missouri-grown whole wheat pastry flour for the rest of the recipe.

Check out the air pockets! We had this delicious bread with some pasta and St. Louis-made Zia's pasta sauce.

The verdict on the breadmaking? Why the hell did I wait this long?! This wasn't hard at all and I don't even have a stand mixer, so I just used my hands. Brett and I have agreed that flour tortillas should be the next mission.

I do have to thank Selina (from Vegans Rock!!!) for helpfully dealing with my frantic text message inquiring as to whether my dough should have been as sticky as it was. Selina, you should change the name of your blog to Selina Rocks!!!

And now on to one of our favorite Asian meals in our "rotation", Veggie and Egg Fried Rice.

We originally got this recipe from Leng over at A Fat Cat Who Created A Vegetarian, and have since made it our own.

I love fried rice since you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand.

To make this version of Veggie Fried Rice, we sautéed about a third of a head of red cabbage (not local, but purchased from the Root Cellar), 2 carrots peeled and chopped, one yellow onion, sliced thick (not local, but purchased from the Root Cellar), 1 head of broccoli florets, chopped, edamame, and green peas in canola oil in a very large skillet over high heat until the veggies begin to char. Then whisk together 2-4 tbsp shoyu (or other soy sauce), 2 tbsp of hot or sweet chili sauce (we use sweet chili sauce), and a pinch of black pepper. Add half to the veggies and stir constantly for about one minute. Add about 3 cups of day old, cooked long grain brown rice and the remainder of the sauce. Mix well.

We also added 2 local eggs to our veggie fried rice for some extra protein and brain food. To add the egg, scooch the rice and veggies to one side of the pan. Crack the eggs and scramble. Cook thoroughly and then combine the eggs, rice, and veggies.

It is a quick, yummy, one pan dish!

This is my bowl with the requisite big 'ol squirt of sriracha.

And for our lunches, we have been digging on lots of homemade hummus and falafel.

My favorite plain old garlicky hummus. The only thing that makes this better is a good couple of dashes of cayenne on top. I would rather have sumac, but I haven't found any in CoMo yet.

A yummy plate of baked falafel. I experimented a little this time and used dried cilantro flakes in place of the ground coriander and added a tablespoon of raw sesame seeds to the mixture. They turned out really, really well this time.

Well, Brett and I are taking a much needed night off together to do something we rarely do - sit in front of the "boob tube" all night. Seriously, I don't think there is anything that Brett and I need more right now than some serious snuggle time. We picked up some "reinforcements" for our evening: a locally made Uprise Bakery baguette, some garlic and herb Boursin cheese for Brett, some local Goatsbeard Farm herbed goat cheese for Brett, some super spicy cracked chili hummus for yours truly, and some olive tapenade for us to share. We've also got massive quantities of fruit waiting to be washed and cut. No dinner for us, just a night of munching - though our choice in snacks wasn't too bad.

We'll probably also work on making newspaper pots while we watch. Nothing likely double-duty, eh?

Tomorrow? Wednesday night is for the worms! We will be starting another working tray for them. We'll also (hopefully) be planting our second round of seeds! We've gathered all the needed materials, what has been missing of late is the time to actually do it. When we start more seeds, we'll also take pictures so I can do a garden update.

I apologize for the sporadic nature of my blog posts and comments on others' blogs, I've been really lazy with the computer lately, it has been the last thing on my mind.

Song of the Day:
Golden Pond - Chris Thile

'Til next time.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What J Does While Scouting for the Mock Draft on Head Coach

Say hello to Stick Man (I hope nobody else already has a trademark on that or something).

Pretty impressive, eh?