More Chili

chili_with_dumplings

We make a lot of chili around here. It’s easy to throw together in the slow cooker and it’s something healthy that we know the big kid will eat. Books by Robin Robertson will make many appearances in our 52 cookbooks list and she always has great chili recipes. The Smoky Red Bean Chili with Chipotle-Cornbread Dumplings from Vegan on the Cheap was one we hadn’t tried before but it sure was delicious. And it was easier than making a batch of cornbread separately, though that’s always good too.

blog_signature_chris

Advertisements

Happy New Year 2016

new_years_tacos

We hope everyone had a great holiday season and we wish you well for 2016. Yesterday we continued our tradition of having black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day. This year we had some friends over for New Year’s dinner so we made a lot of food. It was two years ago when we first made the Black-Eyed Pea and Collard tacos from Isa Does It, and again they were a great twist on our New Year’s Day tradition. We also made a variation of the Happy New Year Chili from Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker. In addition to the black-eyed peas called for in the recipe we also added of collards and corn, so this chili was the embodiment of the phrase “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and corn for gold”.

One fun idea we have for 2016 is to make at least one recipe from a different cookbook every week all year. Since there will likely be times we don’t keep up with this goal we’re starting with two cookbooks here. Some weeks we may miss and other weeks we may do more than one but by the end of the year we hope to have posted about 52 cookbooks. Check out the 52 cookbooks tag to see how we’re progressing!

Happy New Year!

new_years_chili


Black Bean Chili and More

black_bean_chili_cook_the_pantry

It’s been a while since we’ve posted but we’ve got a good excuse – we’ve been spending a lot of time testing recipes for Robin Robertson’s next cookbook. Meanwhile we just picked up a copy of her newest release, Cook the Pantry, and are looking forward to trying many of the quick and easy recipes there. Tonight we made Everyone’s Favorite Black Bean Chili and it was indeed a favorite. It was so quick to make I also took the time to make guacamole and corn bread. The recipe is here. We didn’t use soy curls but did add lentils. The addition of barbecue sauce gave it a subtle sweetness that was quite nice. Our 7-year-old loved it.

And we’re already anticipating Robin’s next book because the recipes we’ve tested so far have all been fabulous. To wit:

Clockwise from top left: Breakfast Nachos, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Cheesy Crackers, Chocolate Truffles

Clockwise from top left: Breakfast Nachos, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Cheesy Crackers, Chocolate Truffles

blog_signature_chris


Southwest Lentil Stew

southwest_lentil_stew

Our seven-year-old loves chili so I make some version of it quite often. I love using our Instant Pot for this type of stew but if you don’t have a pressure cooker this can easily be done on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It’s tomato season and we’re getting lots of fresh tomatoes (along with onions and peppers) from our CSA but you could use a medium can of tomatoes as well. I pureed the tomatoes in a blender before adding them but it’s not necessary.

What you need:

1 Tbs. olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large bell pepper, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

6 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 cup diced seitan

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. dried marjoram

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. lime juice

1 cup brown rice

1 cup brown lentils

3 cups water

What you do:

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add onion and bell pepper. Cook for a few minutes then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add remaining ingredients, mix well then cover and bring up to pressure. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes and allow for a natural release. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, simmer over low heat on the stove top, covered, for about an hour. We garnished ours with avocado slices and fresh oregano. Also note that we make these types of meals mild for the kids but feel free to add as much hot sauce as you want either during cooking or when serving.

blog_signature_darlene


Mitch’s Vegetarian Chili

mitchs_chili

Here’s a recipe that goes back a very long time but we still make it on occasion – vegetarian chili from Mitch’s Tavern in Raleigh, NC. Tonight I experimented with making it in the pressure cooker. Check out our post on our previous blog for the original recipe (or get it straight from the Mitch’s Tavern site). If you have a pressure cooker it’s even easier. Here’s the variation I made tonight. I just put all these ingredients into our Instant Pot and cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes.

1/4 c. split peas
1/4 c. brown lentils
1 1/2 c. dried red beans, soaked for several hours and drained
4 c. chopped green cabbage
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2″ dice
4 c. water
4 medium carrots, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp. dried basil
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes

The chili was fabulous and so was the appetizer. We just got a good deal on a big bunch of plantains and I made tostones for the first time. I’ve fried ripe plantains many times before but I’ve never used them green. They’re less sweet this way but equally delicious. I used the recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World, but if you don’t have that one just Google tostones and you’ll find many recipes.

tostones


Winter Solstice

First, apologies for letting this blog languish for five months. We stopped our last blog not long after having our first kid; I’m not sure what made us think we’d have time to keep up with this one after having our second kid. But this one will not come to an end – at least not now. We’re determined to keep this one going and furthermore to make it a resource for busy parents like us who are trying to make healthy meals for their families – healthy meals that just happen to be vegan.

Since today was the winter solstice we wanted to make something to celebrate the gradual return of the sun and the longer days ahead. We settled on “sun cakes”, a.k.a., cornbread baked in a ring mold. And since that’s not a meal by itself we also made chili with lentils and seitan. We’ve been making chili quite a bit lately, in large part because we discovered that the 6-year-old will eat almost anything we put into chili form. It’s also easy to throw into the slow cooker when we have a few spare minutes and then not worry about until dinner time. The chili recipe was mostly from the newest cookbook in our collection, Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker. This was an early Christmas present to ourselves, as was our Instant Pot, which we’ve really been enjoying so far and using a lot. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it in future posts. There’s no shortage of chili recipes out there and you can find any number of vegan cornbread recipes as well but I’ll leave you with our go-to cornbread recipe, which is adapted from Peter Berley.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. flour (we use either unbleached white flour or a mix of that and white whole wheat)

3/4 c. cornmeal

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. + 2 Tbs. water

1/4 c. canola oil

3 Tbs. maple syrup

What  you do:

It’s pretty simple really. Mix together the dry ingredients then gently stir in the water, oil and maple syrup. We typically bake this in a 9 inch cast iron skillet that’s been pre-heated in a 350 degree oven with a little Earth Balance on the bottom. 25 minutes should do it. You could easily bake it in an 8-inch square baking dish too. Tonight I got fancy and baked it in the cast iron skillet inside several ring molds and with the batter that was left I made corn muffins.

winter_solstice_chili