Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Black & Orange Cauldron Bubble

Happy Halloween!

Today's Splendid Table email newsletter was forwarded to me (shout out to the Moms & MJ), which included Robin Robertson's recipe for Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili. The recipe is excerpted from her book One-Dish Vegetarian Meals (I have had my eye on her Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker for a while), as well as Splendid Table Lynne's tips and ideas for buying, storing, cooking, and eating squash and pumpkins. It was a really nice email - not gimicky at all like most email newsletters - with lots of practical (okay, splendid) ideas. I think I'll subscribe.

The recipe was just right for today - tasty, quick, and festive (more and more, quick and easy is a prerequisite for my cooking, if you haven't noticed). For an ol' boring lady like me with exciting Halloween plans to catch the tail-end of the trick-or-treaters at home after class and hunker down with a big pile of homework . . . it worked great. Plus, I happened to have an excellent husband who had some free time this afternoon to hit up the grocery store and assist with some pumpkin-choppin' prep work. I was really impressed that he went so far as to carve up the pumpkin into chunks . . . back pain and all.

This was a really fantastic, savory chili - packed with flavor from the pumpkin, cider, and kale that we used. Although the added greens were one of Lynne's tips and not included in the original recipe, I highly recommend adding them. It brings a brightness to the chili, as well as a ton of nutrients that you don't come across every day. If you are not big on the flavor, don't add too much, but give it a shot.

Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili
adapted slightly from One-Dish Vegetarian Meals as presented by The Splendid Table

1 2-lb. pie pumpkin or butternut squash (we used a pumpkin & were quite pleased)
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 minced jalapeno chile, or 1-2 minced chipotle chiles in adobo
1 32-oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. apple cider
4 T. chili powder (or chili powder blend - go light on this and add more if you are not a spice fan)
1 t. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
3 15-oz. cans rinsed and drained black beans
1 head kale or other hearty green, rinsed and chopped (optional)

Suggested toppings: toasted pepitas, soy sour cream, chives or green onion

Cut the pumpkin into 1/2-inch dice and set aside. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno or chipotle. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add remaining ingredients except for beans and greens. Stir, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let cook for about 30 minutes or until pumpkin has softened. Add beans and greens, and more water if necessary. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until flavors have been incorporated. Serve with toppings, a small salad, and a slice of savory bread.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I ask you: WHY have I never made granola?

Reasons for asking why:
1. We go through copious amounts of granola/fancy organic no-HFCS cereal in my house.
2. It is expensive to buy boxed granola!
3. All of those boxes add up to a lot of waste, right? (although...all those bags you use to get stuff out of the bulk bins does, too...unless you save them like a good environmentalist would)
4. Making granola is SOOO easy!

A super-duper friend of mine gave me La Dolce Vegan! for my birthday this year, and I have been so happy and excited by all the new recipes at hand. I wanted to make something easy for this week's breakfasts...and then I came across a few tasty-sounding granola recipes. I've always thought about making granola, but I have just never done it..and now I suggest that you quickly whip up a batch. You can collect all the right amounts (or estimates of the right amounts) of the ingredients at the bulk bins - then go home and just dump all that shit into a bowl...and you are almost there! OK - enough with all of this granola praise...on to the recipe.

Cranberry Almond Pecan Granola
(altered from La Dolce Vegan!)

4 c. rolled oats
1 1/3 c. sliced almonds
1 1/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/3 c. pecans
1 scant c. unrefined sugar
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2/3 c. cranberry juice
1/4 c. oil
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine the oats through the spices, then add the juice and oil, and mix until well combined. Spread granola in a single layer on two large baking pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring and rotating the pans after 10 minutes. Let granola cool, untouched (no stirring! you will get better clusters that way), then add cranberries when cool. Store in an airtight container and enjoy all week long with delectable soy milk.
p.s. don't the pictures look better? (granted, the ones from the last post are cell phone pics) I bought a new camera with my birthday money - yay!