Douche Chilllllli!

Fall is here!

With the weather, it’s more like winter.  52 degrees in early October is unheard of in Austin.  It’s absolutely glorious.

Sundays are for yoga, cooking, and football.  Unfortunately, the Cowboys didn’t play today.  And I didn’t go to yoga, either; given my idiotic decision to take grad school classes on Saturdays, I haven’t given Ollie enough attention, so we went on a super long hike at the Greenbelt.

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Glorious

I decided to try some vegetarian chili for the first time.  I can’t know when the next cold snap is coming and I need to take advantage.

I have a few criteria when cooking: it has to have few ingredients, it has to be easy, and it has to be delicious.  Being healthy is an added bonus.  I coopted this recipe from Two Peas and a Pod and tweaked it a bit.  It came out gloriously, and I now have leftovers for the upcoming (shortened, due to Columbus Day and ACL) week.  It’s hearty and filling, and chock full of proteins and veggies.  It also makes good use of quinoa.  It yields a ton of food… my pot ended up being too full, and I had to cook some of the dish in a cooking pan.  Enjoy!

Quick note: This recipe calls for a ton of chopped/diced veggies.  My absolute favorite knife for chopping (and everything else) is the Inupiat Style Ulu and Bowl (pictured below).  It is super sharp, and the bowl is perfect for chopping anything, from carrots to butternut squash (ooo.. maybe I should add some butternut squash next time).  Find it at http://www.ulu.com/.

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Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Salt and black pepper, to taste

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1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

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3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

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DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the quinoa and water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, carrot, celery, peppers, and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Add in nutritional yeast. Serve warm.

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Garnished with Daiya vegan cheddar cheese, scallions, and avocado.

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What’s Beethoven’s Favorite Fruit? Ba-na-na-naaaaaaa

I heard that gem of a joke when I was a sophomore in high school and found it a riot.  I went around all day screaming it at people until I realized that I was saying “Shakespeare” instead of “Beethoven” and therefore the joke made absolutely no sense.  I expect my comedy career to take off at any moment with this hilarious comedic sensibility.

As I said in my previous post, today was a day for rest, yoga, and cooking.  I decided to use up my mushy bananers to try my hand at banana bread.

I don’t like using eggs, but I haven’t found an egg substitute that maintains good texture and taste, so I usually just use homegrown eggs in recipes that call for them (last year I had a student bring me eggs from his backyard).  I found the egg substitute in this recipe to be perfect.  I had never heard of using flaxseeds before, but I understood the rationale when I was trying to clean them out of my food processor- they expand and get sticky, and when coupled with a few tablespoons of water they make the perfect egg replacement.  The batter for this bread was so good that Ollie and I both took advantage- he of the bowl, me of the spoon.  The bread came out soft, moist, and supremely tasty- the perfect complement to my risotto.

(Vegan) butter and sugar make everything better

Ingredients

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter substitute (Earth Balance)
egg substitute for 2 eggs (2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and 6 tablespoons
of water)
2 bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Cooking

Put all of the above ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a mixer until smooth. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for roughly 45 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Perfect golden brown

That’s it. Ridiculously simple and Ollie-approved.  Go forth and bake, my little lovelies.  Fall is here.

YOFO (You Only Farro Once)

I consider fall to have arrived when the temperature drops below 85 during the day.  I take what I can get.  I walked out of my door this morning to a hearty breeze with just a wisp of a chill.  It made for a lovely bike ride to the gym for yoga.

I think it’s somewhat dangerous for my gym to be so close to the grocery store, because I seem to go there almost always after I’m done working out.  And, to be fair, I eat much more healthily when I do my own cooking.  But my purchases aren’t always sound… champagne and guacamole rather than fruits and veggies.

Today I decided would be a good day to cook.  I had nothing to do except go to yoga and pick up some Party Holsters for friends.  My friend Kevin started a company that makes Party Holsters- holsters that hold your drink and keep it cold.  They’re beautifully designed and make awesome gifts, especially for punks who have decided to abandon Texas and its legions of conservative anti-intellectuals.  I bought one for Will, whose birthday is today, so he could look as obnoxious as possible at the Sydney bars, and one for Serena, who I’m going to visit in San Fran in a few weeks.  I met Kevin to pick them up amid the madness of the Pecan Street Festival, and felt vaguely as though I was participating in some shady business, especially when he knocked on my window.  But they came out beautifully and are great gifts.  Visit partyholster.com to get some.

Makes for one badass beer drinker

After a few days of drooling over Punchfork and FoodGawker, I decided to steal this pumpkin risotto recipe from Girl Makes Food.  I love recipes that are super easy and super healthy, and this was both.  It utilizes farro, a little-known Italian grain that’s slowly gaining ground in foodie circles.  After cooking with it for the first time today, it definitely will make its way into my normal wheats/grains rotation.  It is sort of like risotto or brown rice, but it maintains a lovely, strong, chewy texture when its cooked.  Farro is rich in fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, B, C and E, and, because it is so low-gluten, it can be consumed by glutenphobes and glutenphiles alike.  It’s also easy to cook.

This risotto is both delicious and healthy- it utilizes only a little bit of olive oil and veggies.  The pumpkin adds a yummy creamy taste and texture, and the dish is extremely rich.  This recipe will yield enough for lunch leftovers for a few days (which I’m looking forward to).

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons EV Olive Oil
3 ribs Celery (diced)
Onion (diced) (I would use a big onion if you can to add more flavor)
1 ½ cups Farro
3 cups Water
1 1/4 cup Pumpkin
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
Salt and Pepper (to taste): I am a salt junkie and I didn’t add any to this dish, which is saying something.  It’s fantastic on its own.

Instructions:

  • In a medium/large pot add the oil, onions, and celery

Celery, onion, and EVOO. I used a food proceessor for half the onion and the celery, but it came out too pulpy… next time I’ll use a knife and some elbow grease

  • Cook until the veggies soften, about 3 mins
  • Add the farro and water and crank the heat up to high

I love the farro because you can just stick it in the pan. Over time it will soak up the water and become firm, but chewy (sorry for the bad picture quality… I need to invest in a good camera)

  • Bring to a boil then turn to low and add a lid
  • Cook the farro until tender but chewy, about 40 minutes
  • Stir in the pumpkin, and nutritional yeast

The pumpkin adds nutrients and wonderful taste; the nutritional yeast adds a bit of nutty, cheesy flavor.

I served up a bowl, made myself a drink, and settled down to watch some football.  The risotto, with the banana bread for dessert (see upcoming post) made for a glorious introduction to fall.  I’ll end with what my lovely yoga instructor bid us goodbye with today: “Be strong, be good, and go change the world.”