Archive for July, 2008

Vegetable Chili

I probably should not call this chili. I have a “vegetarian chili” recipe, and this is not it, though it does happen to be vegan. This is more of vegetable stew that happens to use chili powder. I created it to make use of all my wonderful farmer’s market vegetables, and it turned out quite well. The only things in it that didn’t come from the market were the spices, onion, beans, mustard and beer.

You can substitute anything you like in this recipe. It is mostly an exercise in timing. Things like sugar snap peas hardly need any time, while my farm-fresh carrots needed a while. One of the best things in this stew was the earthy, floral quality of the fresh oregano. Fresh herbs need very little heat to release their essence.

Vegetable Chili

Vegetable Chili

Servings: 4 large

Cooking time: 40 minutes or so

Ingredients:

  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (white or yellow)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp+ chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tomatoes (I used yellow)
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 15 oz can of beans (I used kidney)
  • 3-4 oz good beer
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ear of fresh corn
  • 1/2 cup+ sugar snap peas
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. Mince the garlic and chop the onion and carrots (if the carrots are fresh, they only need to be scrubbed well, not peeled). Begin heating the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli, keeping the stems separate from the florets. Try to make the pieces as evenly sized as possible.
  2. When the oil sizzles when you put a drop of water in it, add the onions. Saute for 5 minutes or so, until almost clear. Add the carrots and garlic. Saute 4 minutes or so, until the carrots begin to soften. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute one minute. Add the water.
  3. Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off of the corn. Snap the peas and cut them in half if they’re longer than 2 inches. Rinse the beans. Dice the tomatoes (do not seed them).
  4. When the water begins to simmer, add the beans and dried oregano. When the water returns to a simmer, add the tomatoes with juices, broccoli stems, mustard and the beer. Simmer about three minutes. Add the broccoli florets and corn. Simmer two minutes. Stir in half of the fresh oregano leaves and the sugar snap peas. Simmer one minute. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese and the rest of the fresh oregano.

Note: When reheating leftovers, do so on medium heat, or you’ll overcook the vegetables.

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Mint Iced Tea

There’s nothing like a cold beverage to refresh you on a hot summer day. One of my favorite is mint iced tea. I recently found mint leaf in bulk for about a dollar for two dry cups. I find the mint leaf by itself doesn’t have quite enough body for my liking, so I add in a little loose black tea. Sometimes I also use a little honey if I’m in the mood for something sweet. Iced tea is easy to make ahead of time, particularly for picnics. In fact, I think I’ll make some more for my July 4th festivities.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp mint leaf
  • 1 tbsp loose black tea
  • 32 oz water
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • ice

Tools:

  • kettle for boiling water
  • tea pot
  • enough jars for 1 quart of water
  • a fine mesh strainer or other sieve
  1. Boil the water. While the water is boiling, put the mint leaf and black tea in the tea pot.
  2. Pour the water over the tea and cover. Let it steep for at least ten minutes. You want strong tea since it will be diluted with water.
  3. If you want sweet tea, put about a teaspoon or so of honey in the bottom of your jar(s). The hot water will make it easier to dissolve the honey. When the tea has steeped, pour the tea slowly through the strainer and into the jar(s). If you added honey, be sure to give the tea a stir.
  4. Put the lid on the jar(s) and stick it in the fridge for later. Serve over ice. If you want to drink it immediately, I recommend putting it in the fridge for a least a few minutes with the lid off the jar to let out some of the heat.

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