Chili Con Carne

ChiliThis recipe comes to us from the City Market Co-op’s archive of recipes, found on their website.  While the recipe calls for ground beef in addition to beans, we both agreed that beef was not necessary and that the amount of beans could be increased or decreased to your liking.  I definitely recommend investing in some good toppings (like vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, and avocado), as that really made the dish delicious!  Be prepared for plenty of leftovers for the week’s lunches.

For the recipe (and more recipes), click here.  Please note that the recipe calls for cooking the chili for about 60-90 minutes.  This is if you use dried beans.  I used canned beans and cooked it for about 20 minutes (to thoroughly heat the beans through).

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Purple Cabbage Rolls

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These cabbage rolls were made with purple cabbage from our Intervale Food Hub share. These folks support the local food system by creating a type of community supported agriculture (CSA) from a conglomeration of local, organic farms. I used a very basic recipe from About.com and modified the method for getting the cabbage off of the head. I also used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch (kudzu would also work).

To remove the leaves, use a large chef’s knife and cut around the core at about a 45 degree angle. Remove the core. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, place the head of cabbage in the pot. It should take about 3 minutes to soften up the outer leaf. I used chopsticks to remove the leaves one by one and set aside on a plate. The chopsticks are gentle on the leaves and avoid puncturing the leaves.

 

Marinated Kabobs

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The warm weather is here! In the interest of keeping the apartment cool, grilling is a great alternative. Getting a jump start on the marinade is the trick. A vacuum sealer can shorten the time needed for infusion of flavor. Since a fancy sealer isn’t in our bag of tricks yet, I tried and get an early start. I slightly changed the recipe by using less soy sauce, because we ran out, olive oil for veggie oil, Dijon mustard in a squeeze bottle and no meat tenderizer. I skewered the meats by type and the veggies separately to account for different cooking times, putting on the veggies on about halfway through cooking the meat.

Being limited for time, I used our little portable gas grill on medium heat. Before grilling, I prepared some white rice with a vegetable bouillon cube and a couple bay leaves. Next time, I’ll try out our charcoal grill and be sure to wipe an olive oil soaked paper towel over the grill for some nice grill marks. Happy outdoor cooking!

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Beef Stroganoff

This recipe comes from Russia by way of the Food Network. It tastes great! I made a couple changes:

  • Used Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles.
  • Used ground beef instead of the cut in the recipe (it’s cheaper).
  • Used arrowroot powder instead of flour, since the recipe reviews indicated the sauce was too runny (kudzu and cornstarch would have also worked).
  • Used soy yogurt instead of Greek yogurt.
  • Used crimini instead of white mushrooms, because they are more nutritious.
  • Used beef bouillon without msg instead of stock.

Thai Red Curry with Beef and Vegetables

This dish was very simple, easy and super tasty! I got the recipe from The Curry Book by Nancie McDermott. I didn’t have eggplant or red bell pepper on hand, like the book instructed, and so I just added what I had in the fridge (mushrooms, broccoli and carrots). I also didn’t have curry paste and so I substituted curry powder. This dish was great over jasmine rice. The vegetables and the meat could be substituted for anything else, such as tofu, chicken, chard, and so on. The curry and coconut milk are the base for the recipe.

Ingredients:
1 can coconut milk, divided (we just ordered this in bulk from our local coop to save some costs)
2 Tbsp. red curry paste or powder, divided
1 pound beef top sirloin (or whatever is cheapest) or venison, sliced thin in bite size peices
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (canola)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch cubes or 2 cups broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. fish sauce (the cheap stuff is tasty, but smells funny)
1/2 cup fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces or handful of mushrooms sliced thin and one carrot sliced

Process:

  1. Open the can of coconut milk and use a fork to stir the hard top layer into the rest of the can until creamy. Place next to stove. Put a medium saucepan or a wok over medium-high heat and bring about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk to a boil. Add 1 T of the curry paste or powder and stir fry for about 30 seconds (if paste, keep mashing while stirring).
  2. Add the beef and cook 1 to 2 minutes, just until it changes color. Remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much of the coconut milk and spice in the pan as possible.
  3. Add the oil and the remaining 1 T curry paste or powder to the pan and cook about 30 seconds using the same process as above. Add the onion and eggplant (or carrots) and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion and carrot begin to soften.
  4. Add the remaining coconute milk and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, 7 to 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked. If using broccoli and mushrooms, add these just after the coconut milk is added to the pan.
  5. Slice basil into shreds and set aside. When eggplant (or other veggies) are tender, return the beef to the saucepan and add the red pepper. Simmer until the beef is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and remove from the heat. Serve hot or warm over rice.

Beef Stew

For this dinner I used a recipe from For the Love of Cooking and combined it with one from the Food Network.  I mostly sourced the first link for the idea. This was a fairly easy meal to prepare. I did not cook the soup for nearly as long as called for in the instructions and it still came out great. My flare to the meal was adding a quart of tomatoes and putting brown rice below the stew when serving in a bowl (the rice was Sarah’s idea). I tried to thicken the soup with potato starch instead of corn starch, but the potato starch behaved strangely when adding it to hot liquid. Luckily this was in a separate bowl and so I just discarded the experiment. All in all, it was a tasty meal, especially served with a delicious salad!