Chilly Enough for Chili

Well, I am home in NJ for a week to celebrate M’s high school graduation (which takes place tomorrow night!) and to see my grandmother, who flew in from England for the occasion.  This means several things for the next few days: 1) alot of cooking, 2) alot of food in general (especially on Saturday when we’re having a party); 3) alot of fun (I believe Yahtzee is on the agenda for later this evening!).

Since moving to Boston, I’ve only been home a handful of times, and only twice in the past semester.  This is a pretty big change for me and for my family, because during college, as well as for the two years I worked afterward, I could come home from NYC whenever I wanted.  Anyway, a look at my old posts will show anyone how much I enjoy being home and cooking with my dad, and tonight was the first time in a while that we were able to get back into the kitchen together.   So we were pretty pumped, and this morning we spent some time standing in front of the refrigerator trying to decide what we wanted to make.  Then Mom made it easy for us by suggesting (read: demanding) that we make a vat of veg chili.  Normally in June, chili wouldn’t come to mind, but since it is raining and in the 60’s here, it seemed totally logical.  Sigh.  But anyways!


A big bowl of awesome


Close-up

Chili is one of the easiest and most common vegan dishes around, and I think part of its appeal is that you don’t even need a recipe to make it!  This evening’s concoction included pinto beans, black beans, crushed tomotoes, veg broth, roasted poblano peppers, corn, mushrooms, zucchini, and of course onions (one white and two small red) and garlic.  And topped with cilantro, obviously.

I also made my favorite vegan cornbread from Post Punk Kitchen to go with the chili.

Funny enough, this cornbread was one of the first vegan recipes I ever made, way before I knew of PPK or its writers, or really anything at all!  Every time I’ve made it, it was delicious.  This time, it was slightly different, as I used white vinegar with a pinch of sugar in place of the cider vinegar, and I also used some masa that Dad had on hand instead of regular old cornmeal.  The result was delicious, soft, and slightly creamy cornbread.  The biggest difference was that I had to bake it for about 55 minutes (rather than the 30-35 the recipe calls for).  But it was really good!!

Lastly, Dad and I whipped up a salsa from some green tomatillos we picked up at a local grocery store today. 


Displayed with Gran’s garnishes!


Closeup

The salsa also includes some fresh tomato, red onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice (and a bit of zest too!), and a drizzle of agave.  We ate it on crackers, but we’re going to make it again for M’s party on Saturday and probably serve it with tortilla chips.

And as a bonus, here are some extra pics of my fun family time from today:


Farley waiting patiently for dinner to begin


Me and my pup (with scary eyes!!)


Bailey observing us all (with some disdain…?)


Dad and his mum, and Farley of course!

I haven’t made any definite plans yet, but I’m sure that I’ll end up whipping up a few dishes for Saturday, so I’ll probably have some more stuff to post then!

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Summer Bummer

It is June 11th, and my one-year blog anniversary was June 2nd, which I somehow missed, and that is sad.  😦  Also, I managed to lose another digital camera to a bad fall last weekend, which doesn’t really help me in the blogging department, and is depressing because now that school has ended I’ve been doing alot of cooking and baking.  Tomorrow a big group of my friends is going down to Cape Cod to spend the weekend there, and I have this whole long summery menu of things to cook up for them while we’re there, which I’m really excited about because I love cooking in the summertime!  Of course, it is currently 56 degrees in Boston so maybe not so much.

Alright, enough bad humor.  Until my camera is fixed (or I bite the bullet and buy my third one in the last 13 months) I have a few pictures in my Photobucket that I can post for the sake of keeping up the blog…

First up is a series of photos of Dad and me making Happy Herbivore’s Chickpea Piccata


Here we have the patties, getting ready to go into the oven.


And there is the sauce, simmering away.


Some steamed spinach for a side dish.


The finished chickpea patties.


The finished sauce.

Overall, I enjoyed this recipe but we had to modify it a little.  The chickpea mixture that forms the patties was very dry (maybe because we used dried beans that had been soaked and cooked rather than canned?), and we had such a hard time keeping the mixture together that we ended up using an ice cream scoop to form the patties (as seen above), as well as putting lots (probably too much) of flour on them so they didn’t stick to our hands or the scoop. We did not flatten them before baking (as the recipe directs) for fear they would fall apart.  We also added a significant amount of olive oil (not HH’s style, certainly) to try to moisten the mixture and keep it together.  Also, I thought the sauce was pretty good but Dad thought it was slightly too acidic (with the bulk of the liquid being white wine and the lemon juice), and so next time we decided we’d use a little more water (in addition to that used for the cornstarch) and maybe even a dash of soymilk to even out the pH a little (while avoiding making it too creamy). 

This second pic is an old one, from last fall I believe, and it is Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tofu


Served up with brown rice and a plate of pita chips and roasted red pepper hummus

I can’t for the life of me remember where I got this tofu recipe.  If anyone has seen it before, can you please leave a comment or email me so I can give the author proper credit?  Thanks!  I usually wouldn’t post something if I didn’t know where it came from (since that is kind of the point of this blog) but they’re really pretty pictures and I’m kinda short on material at the moment. Overall this was a pretty yummy spread, nothing exceptional though.  Looking at the picture now, of course, I’m chiding myself on serving too much rice and no actual vegetables!

To wrap up, I just want to say that now that the semester has ended, I feel like a real person again, and not only am I thrilled to be back into the kitchen and back into my healthy eating and exercise habits, but I am thrilled to once again have the time to catch up on all of your wonderful blogs, from which I have been long absent. I’ll be back to commenting soon!!