Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vegan Chili

Serves four.

1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, fresh or canned, finely chopped
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 cup cooked pinto beans
28-oz can tomatoes, chopped (w/ their juice)
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a large saucepan or soup kettle, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic and peppers. Cover and cook until vegetables are very soft, at least 10 minutes.

Add chili powder and cumin and cook and additional 2 to 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Add beans, tomatoes and their juice.

Simmer 20 minutes. Add pepper.

Garnish with parsley, if desired.

This is how I like it... with brown rice :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spicy Black Beans and Tomatoes

Serves eight.

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
15-oz can chopped stewed tomatoes or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
4-oz can diced green chiles
15-oz can black beans, drained or 2 cups home-cooked beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender.

Add tomatoes and green chiles. Reduce heat and cook covered for 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in beans and remaining ingredients.

Before stirring it all up.

Cover and heat 5 minutes more.

My family likes this served over steamed brown rice. A non-vegan serving option is to top with cheese.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simple Black Bean Salad

Serves four.

2 c. cooked black beans
1 c. cherry tomatoes
1/4 c. red onion, chopped
1/2 c. red and/or yellow pepper, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp cumin

Combine in a bowl and chill before serving.

Monday, January 9, 2012

White Beans

Serves 4 not-extremely-hungry people.

1-2 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 tbs dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
15-oz. can of  white beans (Great Northern, navy, pea...)
15-oz. can of diced or chopped, peeled tomatoes   note: amounts close to 15-oz. will also work
1-2 tsp salt

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a heavy casserole dish or medium-to-large saucepan.

Add onions, carrots, oregano, and basil. Stir and cook covered on med/low heat until onions are translucent...about 10 minutes...stirring occasionally.

Drain bean liquid into the cooking mixture. Do not add the beans yet, just the liquid.

Add the tomatoes.

Add the salt, and add pepper to taste.

Stir and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.

Add the beans. Cover and simmer another 10 minutes.

I serve this over pasta...

 ...or brown rice.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Roasting a Chicken for Beginners

Yields enough to feed 4 people and have some leftovers (4-1/2 lb. chicken)

1 whole (3-1/2 to 5 lb.) chicken
1 to 2 tbs sea salt
1/4 to 1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. dried oregano  
1 tsp. dried basil
4 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
4 medium carrots, washed and scrubbed or peeled, cut into ~1/2" chunks
2 large celery stalks, diced (~1/2" cubes)

Note:  the veggie pieces can be as big or small as you wish. Bigger, fatter root veggie pieces may take a good bit longer to cook. Cut-up potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips (probably want to peel these...except maybe the regular potatoes depending on the type) also roast well without adversely affecting the flavor of the meal.

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Pull excess fat off of chicken, rinse and rub thoroughly in cold water, both inside and out, and then pat dry with paper towels (remember to remove any guts or neck from body cavity).

Rub sea salt all over the chicken skin...ALL OVER. There shouldn't be so much salt that you can necessarily see or feel it on the entire surface but enough that you can see and feel some.

Using about 2 tbs of the olive oil, rub it gently over entire chicken surface.

Chicken is now prepped for roasting –– set aside.

Put remainder of the olive oil into the roasting pan so that pan bottom is well-coated.

Add chopped veggies to the oil and sprinkle on the oregano and basil "to taste." Stir it all up or shake the pan so that all the veggie pieces are somewhat coated with oil and spices.

Clear a space in the middle of the pan (it is also okay to put the chicken on some of the veggies if you wish) and place chicken breast down. Put in oven. (I usually set the rack in my gas oven to the one below the middle level so the skin browns without burning).

After 20 minutes roasting breast down, take out and flip chicken over so that it is now breast up (if you do it really fast, you can do it with your bare hands without burning yourself...otherwise, try using a towel). Stir the veggies a little and then put it all back into the oven.

After another 20 minutes (chicken has now been cooking 40 minutes), stir veggies again. Chicken is probably (though not necessarily) starting to brown at this point. If browning looks uneven, turn pan in an attempt to even things out. Chicken to remain breast up.

After 10 more minutes, reduce heat to 425ºF and stir veggies again.

10 minutes after that, reduce heat again, this time to 375ºF and veggie-stir.

Roast for 15 more minutes. Veggies should be tender and chicken should be done.

When you cut into a thigh, the juices should run clear, not pink or red. If they do not run clear, roast for another 5-10 minutes and check again. You never want to undercook chicken. Ever. If browning looks good and you're worried about burning, loosely place a sheet of foil over the bird (you can do this if, at any time in the roasting process, the chicken looks browned enough but still needs cooking).

When done, remove from oven and let 'rest' for 5 minutes before serving.

To improve presentation, you can transfer it onto a platter. I am lazy and usually skip that step.

As with most of my creations, not a whole lot to look at but, boy, was it yummy!
We had it for dinner tonight, and it was so awesome that I had to share the recipe...
but I didn't realize what a great idea it would be until we had already been served :P