Indian chili – no fail, tasty and a bit different

IndianChili

This is one of the easiest and fastest recipes ever and pretty much no-fail. The taste is familiar but with an eastern twist that’s flavourful and fun. As with most chilis and tomato-based dishes, this dish is even better the next day and freezes well. Serve it over rice or naan bread.

Ingredients

3 cups of beans (that’s two 15-ounce cans). DO NOT DRAIN. If you’re using freshly cooked beans, then you’ll want to add about ½ cup water to the chili pot.

I used red kidney beans and great northern beans, because that’s what was in the pantry. You could go all white kidney bean, navy bean, black bean, all red kidney bean or even a mixed bean. Whatever suits you.

398 ml (10 ounces) can tomato sauce

1 tomato diced. I used one red and one yellow “cocktail” tomato – they are sized somewhere between a regular tomato and a cherry tomato. You want about ½ cup of diced tomato.

1 onion diced

1 jalapeno pepper minced

2-3 cloves garlic

1 thumb size piece of ginger root, peeled and grated. You’ll have a heaping tablespoon of grated ginger

1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil

1 cup of chopped spinach or kale – optional but nice for greenery

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp cayenne

Directions

Put the oil, onion, garlic, jalapeno and ginger in a pot and sauté the ingredients over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, salt and spices and cook for about another 3 minutes or so. Add the beans (and water if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and let simmer for about 10 minutes uncovered. Stir in the kale or spinach, if using.

Serve with rice or naan. Enjoy!

Lemon-garlic soup with lentils and rice

LemonGarlicSoup

Are you feeling a little less than spectacular after a holiday season of indulgences? Here’s the perfect bowl to perk you up. The garlic, lemon, turmeric and parsley are all ready to give you a detox and boost your immune system. This is also a bright, refreshing soup full of great flavour and textures, and you can whip it up in just 30 minutes. Mmmmm.

Ingredients

4-6 cups vegetable broth

The juice from 2-3 lemons (about ½ cup juice)

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tsp turmeric

4-5 cloves garlic. Mince half the cloves and slice the other half.

1 bay leaf

1 piece star anise (optional, but I love the tang it gives)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (see TIP below)

1 cup cooked lentils. II used ½ cup dried beluga lentils (also called black lentils) because they taste great and cook in 15 minutes.

1 cup cooked brown rice (about ½ cup before it’s cooked)

2 carrots sliced

salt to taste (You probably will need none, but depends on your broth.)

Directions

Put all the ingredients except the rice, lentils and parsley in a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 10 minutes so the carrots cook. Remove the bay leaf and the star anise. Add the lentils, rice and parsley. Heat through and serve. Enjoy!

TIP: You can freeze your fresh parsley to use in cooking. Make sure it’s clean and dry and place the whole bunch in a zippered freezer bag. When you need fresh parsley for a recipe, simply break off however much you need and crumble it into your dish. No chopping required. Frozen parsley will lose some of its brightness and firmness so I don’t recommend using frozen parsley for garnishes or in dishes such as tabouli.

Seize her salad….and eat it yourself

SeizeHerSalad

If you like creamy, garlicky Caesar salad dressing, pay attention.

This recipe comes from Esther’s Kitchen Esther being the wonder pig. My embellishments are the kale, chickpea croutons and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Get out your blender and let’s get started.

Ingredients

One head romaine lettuce – washed and torn into bite sized pieces

TIP – check prices. It’s December in Canada and a big head of local, organic kale costs less than the imported romaine so this salad is got the nutrition boost of kale. Mmm.

½ cup water

1/3 cup tahini

1/3 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds

Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)

1 tsp miso

2-3 cloves garlic

1 medjool date, stone removed

Salt and pepper to taste. I used about ¼ teaspoon each.

Directions

Put everything but your salad greens into the blender and blend until creamy. You will have a thick dressing, but it should not be a paste. If it is, add a bit more water and keep blending.

Put your greens in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss well. I added roasted chickpeas (see recipe below) and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Roasted chickpeas

½ cup cooked chickpeas patted dry

1 tsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp each of black pepper, smoky paprika, garlic powder

Toss all the ingredients together in a cup or small bowl. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool before eating. When they are done the chickpeas will be almost melt-in-your-mouth crunchy; they won’t have any chewiness/moisture to them. If they don’t have that texture, roast the chickpeas for another 5-10 minutes.

Ratatouille – the savoury stewed flavours of the early harvest

Ratatouille

My organic farmers’ box arrived this week with an eggplant, a yellow zucchini and a red pepper. Looked like ratatouille waiting to happen to me!

Ratatouille is a vegetable stew that’s satisfying and rustic. Rustic is cooking talk for “easy and carelessly chopped.” When I eat ratatouille, I envision sturdy French peasants eating from wooden bowls by the warm glow of the fireplace.

Ingredients

1 zucchini – cut in half lengthwise and then sliced

1 medium eggplant – with ½ the skin peeled off and then cut in cubes. There’s no magic in peeling off half the skin. I just like having some pieces with skin on and some skinless. Leave all the skin on, or take it all off. Your ratatouille, your rules.

1 red pepper – seeded and roughly diced (rustically diced)

3-4 cremini mushrooms – stems removed and sliced

½ large white onion diced

4 cloves garlic minced

19 oz can diced tomatoes

¼ cup fresh basil chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley chopped

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 sprigs dried thyme (roughly 1 tsp dried thyme)

1 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

2 tsp olive oil

Directions

In a large pot, sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add all the other ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and keep simmering for 30-60 minutes. The longer you simmer this dish, the more the veggies will break down. I preferred a chunkier stew and only simmered mine for 40 minutes.

TIP: Add a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar to most tomato dishes – spaghetti, minestrone soup, ratatouille or even cream pasta sauces. The vinegar adds depth and roundness to the flavours.

I had some leftover lentils in the freezer – about ¾ cup – so I threw them in the pot, but that is NOT classic ratatouille.

Ratatouille is usually served with crusty bread and might have cheese, particularly goat cheese, melted on top.

Since I am not a sturdy French peasant and am vegan, I will have my ratatouille over brown rice and with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.