Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lentil Chili

I know, chili again, so soon? Well, yeah. And this one is even easier than the last one. I've never had chili made with lentils before I tried this recipe. I was a little skeptical at first. I thought it might end up tasting just like lentil soup or something. But no!


I know there are a lot of haters out there when it comes to omni food magazines. I, however, am not one of those people. I've been subscribing to Bon Appetit for over 10 years. Continuously almost, too. And you know what? I've been vegetarian or vegan for the entire time (and then some. ;) ). I've gotten some really great recipes and ideas for different ways to prepare foods that I might not have thought of on my own. I absolutely love food. I love to try some of the trendy flavor groupings and make some really "gourmet" feeling food sometimes. My brain just automatically skips over the stuff that I find gross or just substitutes tofu or seitan in the place of meat in recipes.

But I digress. Why am I yammering on about food magazines? Because that's where I found this lentil chili recipe, that's why! Specifically from Bon Appetit's Green Issue (February 2008). It was even already vegan, I didn't have to substitute a thing. And that's pretty darn cool. (Though I must say, I'm unsure why they felt the need to add the "with Cumin" part to the recipe name. That's kinda weird since most chili has that in the first place.)

Don't be fooled by the minimal ingredients. I almost added a few more things as I was cooking, but then I was glad I didn't. I think the simplicity of the ingredients is what makes the flavors really shine.

Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (add more to make it hotter)
4 cups (or more) water
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed (I used green ones)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped green onions

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano leaves, and cayenne pepper; stir for 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups of water, lentils, and tomato puree. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam from the surface. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup green onions. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the chili among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and serve.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apples - Two Ways!

I'm a huge fan of baked apple desserts. Sometimes I just cut up some apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and stick them in the oven just like that. Sorta ghetto-style baked apples.


I have been loving the Apple Galettes from Veganomicon. I've made them bunches of times, though I didn't make them into hearts. Sorta little cracked-out ovals, actually. But they taste yummy! I tried using some different jam flavors one time even. The apricot is the best, plum jam is also pretty damn good. It adds a different bent to the flavor, which is nice if you want to make the same thing, but jazz it up a little bit. Did I mention they're really easy to make? Pretty quick, too.


Speaking of easy things that are yummy... I made a fantastic apple crisp last week. They had these huge local apples at the market, so I bought a ton of them for baking. Apple crisps are great because you don't have to deal with making any dough like pies and cobblers. The topping doesn't really get solidified until you bake it, so it's easy to spread it over the entire top of your apples. And - like you'd expect, the topping is crisp! It's a nice compliment to the softness of the apples.

Some things I want to mention about the apple part of the recipe in case you're wanting to substitute or just put naked apples under the topping: The flour has a cool purpose. I swear! I only just discovered this, so I wanted to make sure to share it. If you toss your fruit with flour before using it for a pie or cobbler or whatever, it'll start to mix with the fruit juices as it cooks. Suddenly you have a nice thick sauce hanging out. It's awesome - try it!

Apple Crisp of Awesomeness

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar or demerra sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine, like Earth Balance
1/3 cup rolled oats (not the instant kind)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
4 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Get a pie dish or one of those square baking dishes, lightly grease the bottom and sides. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is clumpy and there are pea-sized lumps. Stir in the rolled oats and pecans. Set that aside while you deal with the apples.

In a large bowl, stir together the apples and 1 Tablespoon flour until all of the apples are lightly coated. Put the apples into the baking dish. Now drizzle the lemon juice over the apples. Pour on the topping, trying to get it evenly over all of the apples. Don't worry that it's still pretty loose, it's supposed to be like that.

Bake for 35 minutes. Make sure to let it cool for 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. You want the sauce and topping to set a little and cool off a bit. Serve this with some Soyatoo or soy ice cream if you want. Enjoy!


Friday, March 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I know, I know. I'm a bad blogger. Things have been a little crazy inside my head lately, but I should be able to get back to a normal cycle of posting two or three times a week now. I have a ton of pictures and recipes in my arsenal ready to post. Some of the stuff I've been waiting to talk about. I got 3 new cookbooks in the past few months and I really wanted to review each one. The problem is that I've found some recipes that either came out terribly or I just don't like the results. I really want to like these particular cookbooks and I don't want to say anything bad, so I'm going to try another recipe or two from each of them before any reviews. So then maybe it won't be so bad if there are 3 recipes I made and I liked 2 of them.

Now here is a picture of a blueberry muffin from last weekend. (Recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes.)


So, Vegan Mother tagged me. I've never been tagged before, I feel so special! Not that I really have anything all that exciting to say, but here we go:

Here's how it works...I tell you 5 things about myself, then tag 5 other people via their blog. Sounds fun, right?? Here goes:

1. I have a pretty cool job - I'm a texture and shading artist for 3D animated films.
2. I didn't start college until I was 23. (though I'm into the next decade now. ;) )
3. 3 cats have me. They're all rescues, though they continually rescue me every day.
4. I'm from the US, but I live in Canada right now.
5. I am the walrus. Koo koo ka choo

I am tagging....

Bazu - Where's the Revolution
Kittee - Cake Maker to the Stars
Lindy Loo - Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit
Melisser - The Urban Housewife
Dynise - The Urban Vegan

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.