Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Chili!

I am currently watching the USA team choke against Switzerland in curling.

Today is Ash Wednesday and in addition to Catholics getting ashes on their forehead it is a time for fasting - i.e., one meal, and no meat. Obviously, the meat part is not a problem! Also, now that meatless Friday's are in effect during Lent I am cruising during this time. And, with alcohol out of my diet, what should I give up until Easter?

I had a client lunch and ate at Cafe Luggo. I had the salad and a side of brussel sprouts. All very good, but too much oil.

Walking home I started to feel light headed, even dizzy. I had never felt this before. I was quite dizzy and walked in a daze somewhat. I was craving sugar and salt. Very odd. I honestly felt that the only thing that would make me feel better was a soda, salty chips (or crisps) and chocolate. I never had this desire before and have no idea why. Impulsively, and semi-desperately, I grabbed a soda, a small bag of chips and two soy chocolate milks. Certainly not the healthiest thing in the world, and in fact a soda and chips are not healthy at all. Even before this quest I did not drink that much soda at all, and during this quest, never - water makes up at least 95% of my liquid intake with the other being either soy milk, tomato juice, or a non-dairy smoothie. I felt guilty drinking my soda and munching on the chips, but I did feel better afterwards. Why so deep into this quest did I get such a queer physical reaction?

I ate a very small bowl of chili too.

Last night I made two pots of chili. One recipe I got off the internet, and I posted the recipe on my Super Bowl post a couple weeks ago. I added kidney beans and tomatoes. It was very good, and when you forget that no meat is being used you would swear that this was a bowl of chili at some cook-off in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Taste is also influenced by your mind - if you concentrate on the fact that you are using fake meat you begin to focus exclusively on the fact that it is not real meat and it tastes different. Not bad, but different, and it takes away from the experience. If you forget the ingredients and enjoy the meal in its totality, then the fake meat tastes like real meat. I used the VBites crumbled fake meat and it was a great substitute. I also added the VBites White Cheddar fake cheese - it actually melted similar to real cheese.

The other recipe was from the book "La Dolce Vegan," called Sherri's Black Bean Chili.

Making two pots of chili in my minuscule kitchen (one photo is of the aligned ingredients on my tiny workspace - the pineapple, for you sharp-eyed readers, was for desert) was actually quite fun. I don't use a timer, and prefer to wing it, furiously throwing my ingredients around, while remaining relatively faithful to the recipe.

I had "La Dolce Vegan" opened to Sherri's Black Bean Chili resting on my dish rack, and my laptop perched on top of my refrigerator (a benefit of being 6'4") so I can follow along with my Super Bowl recipe.

At first taste the Black Bean Chili was OK, but as the tangy, spiced-up tomato sauce kicked in it complimented the black beans and rice beautifully. I really enjoyed it!

One thing I have not done in this quest is use my blender. With just some ice cubes, frozen blueberries, soy milk, mango sorbet, strawberries and bananas I made a great smoothie -- awesome!

I have a terrible habit of going to bed around midnight, and it has caught up to me, so I am going to bed early tonight - 9:30! I think I am turning into my parents!

Black Bean Chili

1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of water "or" vegetable stock (I used the vegetable stock)
1 cup of apple juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (3.8 oz can) pickled green chilies
1 (19 oz can) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (5.5 oz can) tomato paste
1/4 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 cup vegan "cheese", grated

In large saucepan on medium heat, saute the onions in oil until translucent. Add the red peppers and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add water (or veg. stock), juice, oregano, cumin, salt, cayenne, and green chilies. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomato paste, and rice. Cover with lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until rice is cooked; stir occasionally to prevent from sticking. Stir in cilantro just before serving and top each bowl of chili with "cheese" garnish. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.


Anonymous said...

Instead of beans from a can, you should boil beans your self - they taste so much better and probably healthier too. Boil a big portion and put them in the freezer.

Terrence said...

Great suggestion, thank you!