Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chili Sin Carne

If you haven't noticed, up until now I haven't had a classic chili recipe in my collection. I just hadn't found one that I liked yet. I've tried tons out on my crew, but they (and I) were left dissatisfied. I challenged my Bro to find a good recipe - since he lives near Kansas City, the capital of BBQ, maybe there is some great recipe that minus the meat would surely satisfy. He out did my expectations. And for this I will ever be grateful. He brought the excitement back into vegan chili for me.

There are a few key "secret ingredients" that I'm sure you will find interesting, including my latest obsession: wheat berries. In my previous post I wrote about pilaf and it's many uses - well, wheat berries by themselves, have a variety of uses as well. I cook them in a rice cooker the same way as the pilaf. You can freeze them as well (infact, they separate easily when frozen, so you can pull out a cup at a time) The addition of wheat berries to this chili gives a chewy texture that resembles meat - and quite frankly has fooled some meat-eaters already. That's the fun part for me!

Chili Sin Carne

2 onions chopped (1 1/4 Cup cooked in at beginning. ¾ cup added for crunch at end)

4 cloves garlic minced

2 cans pinto or chili beans, drained

2 cans black beans, drained

2 small cans tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes (I pulsed mine in processor, you decide)

¾ cup fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 tsp cumin

1 Tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon cayenne (I had to omit this, too spicy for me)

1 teaspoon coriander

1 cup strong decaf coffee (I used Postum or Pero - just add 1 Tablespoon per cup of water)

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups cooked wheat berries

Saute the onion in a medium pan until lightly browned. Then add the garlic for a few minutes. Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Serve and Enjoy!

This chili is so rich in flavor, you will not notice anything missing.

I left the cilantro out because I didn't have any on hand. My bro told me not to leave it out, as cilantro is a main player, and should always be invited to the party. Next time I will put it in.

I just have to end by telling you how I ate my chili. I made a batch of fries using my favorite method from Susan Voisin. Then I put this chili over the fries and garnished with some homemade lower fat hummus. It was so yummy!! I got the idea from eating out at the Native Foods restaurant, this is how they serve their chili fries. (But theirs are way higher in fat with actual fried potatoes!) This was a close second and very satisfying. What's your favorite way to enjoy your chili?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

5 Whole Grain Pilaf

My big bro has a new favorite love and her name is Kashi. She makes his favorite cereal, and now his favorite grain pilaf. Called: 7 Whole Grain Pilaf. Which my bro had to buy online after discovering his store no longer carried it. (They live in the boonies...) He payed $27 for about 36 cups of cooked grains. That's 75 cents a cup. I ran out to the store last night and picked me up some to try ( I can't resist a recommendation.) My verdict is that it was tasty, but for the price, I could make my own. I love a challenge, so when I woke up this morning, after a night of dreaming about pilaf, I threw a bunch of grains into the rice cooker, and Voila! 5 Whole Grain Pilaf....or Six, or Seven, depending on how many varieties you have laying around. Here is the basic recipe:

5 Whole Grain Pilaf

3 parts short grain brown rice (short grain is chewy, long is not - use short!)
1 part quinoa
1 part spelt berries
1/2 part wild rice
1/2 part bulgher wheat
For my "part" I use the little clear cup that came with my rice cooker, it's almost 1 cup.

Place grains in rice cooker. Fill water to the top of your middle knuckle (called Mt. Fugi- I learned this on a cooking show) when you lay your hand on top of the rice. Makes about 8 cups. Store in fridge or divide up and store in freezer until needed. Reheat by adding a few tablespoons of water, if needed.

The result was a chewy consistency, nutty flavor, and overall yummy mouth sensation! I am going to do some experimenting using this pilaf in place of meat substitutes (cheaper and healthier) - because the chewiness mimics meat. I estimate it cost me maybe $1.oo to make 8 cups, which is about 13 cents a cup.

Some ideas for uses are: Top with soups or stews, add to salads, use as a meat substitute in tacos or enchiladas, top with Marinara sauce, the list goes on. Tell me your favorite use!

Use your imagination, you don't have to use the same grains I did. I can't wait to try: lentils, kamut, Israeli couscous etc. I'll probably make it different every time.

Oh, and thanks big bro for getting my brain going...

Nearly Instant Thai Coconut Corn Soup

So my brother has been "McDougalling" for 5 weeks now, and has lost 19 lbs! He has basically been eating brown rice & beans, cereal, more rice topped with assorted soups/sauces and some limited amounts of fruits and veggies (he's not a big produce fan.) All in all he LOVES this way of eating over his traditional "Atkins-type" plan of loosing weight he always resorted to. He says he feels great eating like this. Improved energy, digestion and satisfying meals are amongst his list of pros. Problem is, he is staring to get a little bored. (Which can happen if you don't get creative in the kitchen) So my brother enlisted the help of his sweet wife (who started McDougalling yesterday) and the two of them created their very first (although I'm sure the first of many) "Big Bro Modification" recipes. They took this recipe for Nearly Instant Thai Coconut Soup, from my website, that I took from Nava Atlas' cookbook Vegan Express - and made a few delicious changes.

Morgan Modification to Nearly Instant Thai Coconut Corn Soup - mmm...this is sooo good!!

First off, only add 2 cups of rice milk (I used soy) - this makes it thicker, more chowder-like, then add 1 large or 2 small diced pre-cooked potatoes (I put mine in the micro, removed the skins, then diced), and garnish with chopped jalapenos (and cilantro as noted in original recipe)
Serve over Kashi 7-grain Pilaf, or your favorite grains.


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