February 1, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m probably stating the obvious here, but in case you didn’t know, it’s snowing again.
That’s all I have to say about that.
A certain kind of weather calls for a certain kind of food.
Hot, humid, summer days beg for fruity, icy popsicles.
And cold, snowy, winter days beg for nourishing, hot soup (and copious amounts of red wine. After 5:00 p.m., of course. Although today may be an exception. What time is it now? 9:30 a.m.? It’s 5:00 somewhere, right?).
Anyway, I love this soup. I’ve made it at least 4 times this winter. And despite its name, it’s not just for the holidays.
Thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows for yet another winner of a recipe.
This is hands down one of my all time favourite soups! Not only does it look festive just in time for the holidays, but it tastes incredible and warms the soul. It packs a wide array of seasonings and spices from cinnamon, nutmeg, and vegetable bouillon, to the saffron and curry. Somehow it just all works together magically!
Inspired by Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup red quinoa, uncooked (I used regular quinoa this time – pwa)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped*
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube (not low sodium)
- 6 cups water, boiled
- One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used 1 28 oz. can this time – pwa)
- 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (about one 15 oz can) (I used 1 25 oz. can this time – pwa)
- 1 tsp good-quality curry powder
- Pinch or two of cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, well rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Pinch of saffron threads (optional, but tasted amazing) (I didn’t use saffron this time – pwa)
Directions: Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the chopped sweet onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the chopped carrots, chopped zucchini, and minced garlic, and continue to sauté for about 5-7 minutes.
Place your bouillon cube into a medium sized bowl. Boil 6 cups of water and pour over the bouillon cube. Stir well to dissolve. Add bouillon mixture, tomatoes, red quinoa, black beans, and spices + seasonings. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the roughly chopped spinach, stir well, and cover. Simmer on low for about 15-35 minutes. The longer you cook it the more the flavours will develop. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary. I also have a feeling this soup will be even better the next day! Garnish with nuts of choice if preferred.
Makes about 8-10 cups.
*I usually don’t buy zucchini (or tomatoes) in the winter because it just doesn’t seem right to eat them in the winter. They grow in the SUMMER and should be eaten in the summer. However, I really do like the zucchini in this soup, so I made an exception to my rule.
I also used more diced tomatoes and black beans than called for in the original recipe because I had the larger cans on hand. I often follow a recipe to a T, which results in little Tupperware containers of leftover diced tomatoes or whatever taking up space in my refrigerator. I have the best intentions to use the leftovers, but of course they sit and sit and sit until they look like a mold-growing experiment.
Luckily, the extra ingredients did no harm. It’s still soupy, not stewy. I added a little more cinnamon and nutmeg at the end, but that’s it.
The result is a warming, feel-good soup that’s great mopped up with a piece of sourdough bread.
And accompanied by a glass of red wine.
Stay warm and safe if you’re weathering the storm somewhere.
Peter and I will be hanging out, pretending to drink Play-doh hot cocoa, and singing songs like “Cocoa-cabana” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Tuesday.”
October 10, 2010 § 7 Comments
If it seemed like I was weeping while I wrote recent posts about Peter, it’s because I was. And while I’m not crying now, I did shed a few tears after we turned his crib into a toddler bed yesterday morning:
It’s just that SO much is changing now, it’s a bit jarring. He’s changing every day and I can barely keep up with him, nevermind document all the ways he’s changing.
He was a pretty uneventful baby. He nursed like a champ. He rarely put things in his mouth. He didn’t start crawling until he was 11 months old. He didn’t walk until he was 16 months old. He stayed out of the kitchen cabinets. He never played in the toilet. His infant calendar is mostly blank because homeboy didn’t do anything until he was 6 months old, when he started growing some teeth. Even that was a little boring, frankly, since he didn’t have teething pain or anything.
I am not complaining. I think we’ve had it pretty easy with him and I’m so unbelievably grateful. There are definitely more good times than bad times with this kid.
I guess I’m feeling so weepy because I know now that my baby days are over. My baby is now–after a ridiculously quick 3 years–no longer a baby. And we’re not having another baby. Most of the time I’m ok with that fact, but sometimes I feel really sad when I realize that my body will never again produce another human being. Imagining my shriveled ovaries makes me feel old. Which I am, and that’s never fun to think about, right?
Ahhh, blah, blah, blah….enough with the mid-life crisis, Amy Anyway, after a wonderful day at the park, we came home and I made this Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili served in Pumpkin Bowls (thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows and Emily at The Front Burner for sharing this recipe).
Emily’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili in Pumpkin Bowls
- 3 mini [sugar] pumpkins *
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed *
- 2 cups black beans (1 lg can), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Sea salt, Spicy Herbamare, and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take mini pumpkin and slice the top off about 3/4 of the way up. Scoop out insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. This part takes a long time- about 10 minutes per pumpkin so budget your time wisely. Save and rinse the pumpkin seeds to roast them with some olive oil and salt if desired. When your pumpkins are empty and cleaned out, brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt and ground pepper to your heart’s content. You will be eating the pumpkin flesh so you want it to taste delicious! Now pop your pumpkins onto a baking pan and into the oven for 30 minutes. While they are roasting in the oven, make the chili. In a large pot, add the oil and turn heat to medium. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning. Now add the chopped pepper and butternut squash. Cook for about 12-15 minutes. Now add in the drained and rinsed beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, vegetable broth, and S & P and stir well. Simmer on low-medium for another 5 minutes. Now remove your pumpkins from the oven and fill the bowls 3/4 of the way full. Place pumpkins carefully back into the oven (again without top) and bake for another 30 minutes. Once they are cooked, turn oven off and leave pumpkins in the oven with lid on to stay warm. They will stay hot in the oven for another hour if necessary.
*A tip for preparing squash/pumpkins: Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and put it in the oven while it’s preheating (about 10 minutes). This will soften the squash a bit to make cutting through the beautiful monster easier. I’ve used this method on acorn squash, mini pumpkins and a medium-sized butternut squash and I found that cutting is much, much easier.
I followed this recipe exactly to serve 3 people, but I had a bunch of chili that wouldn’t fit into my pumpkins! I must have bought super-mini pumpkins. I’m fine with the leftovers, though, as I plan on serving them over quinoa and topping the dish with roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m psyched for lunch!
So, I mentioned in the title of this post that the chili was beautiful, but potent. Yeah, about that. I was fine and Peter was fine, but my poor husband, well, let’s just say that he was primed for a colonoscopy when all was said and done. I felt so bad. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t that spicy. I blame the combination of Alka Seltzer (he took it earlier in the night for his allergies), a pumpkin beer and chili powder. He does have a history of reacting badly to spicy food. I’m sharing this just to warn you that if you or your loved one is a wuss has a sensitive belly, you may want to dial back the spices. (But it really wasn’t that spicy. I’m just sayin’.)
June 28, 2010 § Leave a Comment
As I mentioned in the previous post, I had two sick boys on my hands last night. Neither of whom was in the mood to eat dinner. But, dagnabit, I was in the mood for dinner and I had a hankering for a little Mexican! (No, not you Miguel! Food! A little Mexican FOOD!) And if there’s one thing I go out of my way to do, it’s satisfy my hankerings. I considered delivery or take out, but then I started looking through the kitchen and found that I had the fixings for a Mexican mix-in bowl, aka “burrito bowl” or a “naked burrito.” Just the guts, hold the skin. (That reminds me of Dexter. I really miss that show. My husband won’t let me watch next season. He says it’s “evil.”) So, anyway, I cooked up some brown rice, heated up some jarred salsa and a combination of chickpeas and black beans, threw it all in a bowl and topped it with a few dollops of plain yogurt and some diced avocado. I just realized that I had corn in the freezer that I could’ve added, too. That would’ve been good. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Of course chicken or beef could be added, as well as some shredded cheese, lettuce…whatever floats your barca.
Mexican Mix-in Bowl
Serves 2, more or less
1 cup brown rice
1 cup bean of your choice (black, chickpeas, kidney, or a combination), drained and rinsed.
1/2 jar salsa (or make your own)
1/2 cup frozen organic corn kernels, defrosted
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 avocado, diced
1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. When there’s 10 or so minutes left until the rice is done, heat the beans, corn, and salsa in a skillet, stirring occasionally until hot.
3. When rice is done, place some in a bowl and top with bean mixture, yogurt, and avocado. Mix it up and dig in. Or, if you have tortillas, you could wrap it all up to make one big honkin’ burrito.
It hit the spot! All that was missing was a margarita–believe me, after spending 4 days and nights with a sick 2 1/2 year old, my soul is crying out for a margarita. My poor little buddy. Keep your fingers crossed that he feels better tomorrow. I hope my big buddy is feeling better, too.