Thursday, February 26, 2009

Death Proof Chili

While meat may be a treat for some, for others its just plain icky yuk gross. When making a more traditional tomato based chili, who needs meat when you've got all the beans and veggies and deliciousness to fill up the bowl. So all you cows and chicken out there can breath a sigh of relief cause you've earned another week on the farm. Today we're directing our butcher knives the poblano pepper way. Watch out veggies, you're about to get cooked.

Vegetarian Chili with TVP
  • 1 c. tvp
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1/4 raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 c. corn, fresh if possible, but frozen will do
  • 1-2 oz of dark chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredient notes: Tvp or textured vegetable protein and nutritional yeast can be bought in the bulk dried foods section at your local health food store or at Whole Paycheck ahem, I mean our evil friend, the Walmart of green living, Whole Foods. I like to use Tvp in my chili because its cheap, easy to make and adds just a bit more texture and protein (especially good for vegans). The only problem with Tvp is, it doesn't taste like anything, so we have to spice it up.
I use nutritional yeast as well as other spices to infuse some flavor into the tvp. Nutritional yeast , a staple for any vegan pantry, comes in handy for making a lot of dishes like vegan mac and cheese. If you don't have nutritional yeast, you can use salt, but the nutritional yeast also supplies a nice nutty flavor.

Rehydrate TVP with a ratio of 1 part hot/boiling water: 1 part tvp. In a bowl, mix dried tvp with nutritional yeast, chili powder and cumin. As we said above, adding spices to the tvp helps give flavor. Boil 1 cup water on stove top or in microwave. Pour boiling water into bowl and stir into tvp. Allow to sit for 15 - 30 minutes until tvp is hydrated.

Saute tvp. Mix hydrated tvp with chopped onion and diced jalapeno. Saute in 1 Tbs of olive oil until crispy. Add lime juice and continue to cook for another minute until lime juice is basically evaporated.

Roast poblano peppers on gas stove top or under broiler until skin is charred. Peel charred skin away and roughly chop into 1/2" squares.

Add tomatoes and cook down
. Combine tvp mixture with cans of tomato, chopped poblano peppers and raisins in a soup pot, bring to a boil and lower to simmer until tomatoes cook down about 20 minutes.

Quickly roast corn. If you are using frozen corn, char quickly under broiler while chili is cooking. Place frozen corn on a baking sheet and broil until charred and crispy about 15 minutes. You can skip this step if you want, but the corn will be mushy. Corn on the cob can be quickly roasted over gas burner.

Season chili to finish. Once tomatoes have cooked down, add corn, chocolate and remaining spices. Season to taste. I also add a bit of pomegranate syrup if I feel like the chili needs a bit more sweet.

I like to garnish with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and serve with corn bread. Fresh Jalapeno slices and cilantro make an excellent vegan garnish.

No animals where hurt during the making of this dish, except my dog who felt emotionally abused because I wouldn't let her chomp on the corn bread. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

White Chicken Chili with Coconut and Lime

Though I've heard of white chicken chili, I'd never had it before. It sounded like a good alternative to the tomato based kinds, so I decided to concoct something along these lines for my Chili Night. White chicken chili made me think of tom kha soup, a spicy Thai soup with a coconut lime broth. So instead of researching other recipes to find out what most people considered White Chicken Chili to be, I decided to Americanize tom kah into Tex-Mex. Here's what I came up with.

White Chicken Chili
  • 1 large chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced into wedges
  • 4-5 limes juiced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (depending on taste)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can white beans
  • 3/4 c. frozen corn
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Marinate sliced chicken breast in 1/8 - 1/4 c. fresh squeezed lime juice (2-4 Tbs). Sprinkle with salt, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably 2-3.

In a large bowl mix peppers with onions, 1-2 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt (not too much) and 1/4 tsp pepper.

On burner, heat cast iron grill over high heat until smoking. Grill vegetables until charred and onions are clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grill chicken until just cooked, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place frozen corn on a baking sheet under broiler until charred.

In a soup pot, place chicken with quart of chicken stock, 1 cup of uncooked rice, cumin and chili powder. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until rice is cooked, approx. 30 minutes.

Add coconut milk, white beans, grilled vegetables and corn. Add 1/4 c. fresh squeezed lime juice and 1 Tbs honey. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Many guests commented that although they were initially drawn to the lamb chili, the chicken was their favorite. Light and tart, the creamy coconut flavor compliments the acidic lime and a sweetness is brought out of grilled vegetables from the salty chicken base. The white beans and rice qualify this dish for official chili status.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lamb and Black Bean Chili In Red WIne

As a kid, I always hated Chili. Until my Mom went on a diet. While reading through Cooking Light she came across a low fat recipe of stewing lamb and black beans in red wine and chili powder. My Mom's regular chili was always stuffed with huge gross mealy kidney beans, which I could not stomach. Kidney beans remain one of the few foods I never grew out of disliking. When she served us the new chili recipe, I LOVED it. I guess as a kid I thought kidney beans were what all beans tasted like, and I was surprised by how good the black beans were. This new chili had a thin tart broth with a rich lamb flavor so different from the thick gooey beany chili I hated.

When planning the courses for my supper club events, I always try to pick dishes which fit within the Forkable mindset of dressed up comfort food, made fast and cheap. Because in the cold winter weather, a bowl of hot chili is so relaxing, I thought chili would be a good theme for the next event. The lamb chili immediately popped into my head first because the of the more sophisticated ingredients, the simple and easy recipe and the total comfort and pleasure given from eating this dish.

Lamb and Black Bean Chili
  • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
  • salt to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
In cooking pot, saute lamb, onion and garlic.

Add tomatoes, red wine, and seasonings up to sugar and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 2 hours.

Add black beans and allow to simmer for 30 more minutes.

Season with salt and hot sauce to taste. Done! Garnish with cilantro and fresh jalapenos.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 293 (22% from fat)
Fat: 7.2g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.8g)
Protein: 28.5g
Carbohydrate: 29.9g
Fiber: 4.6g
Cholesterol: 61mg
Iron: 4.3mg
Sodium: 400mg
Calcium: 90mg

Courtesy of: Cooking Light, APRIL 1997

**Murphy's Law of event planning is something always goes wrong. After preparing my lamb stew, I realized the lamb I had gotten was not particularly flavorful enough. The chili lacked the depth of flavor I wanted. I had some lamb bones in the freezer from a leg of lamb. I drained some liquid out of the chili and boiled it for an hour or two with the bones, to increase the flavor. This is the first time I've ever had to augment the flavor to the recipe, but it was a relatively painless fix.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taste the Rainbow: Skittles Vodka

Photo courtesy of Instructables author Applesticker.

I never realized Skittles vodka was so popular. I guess that's because its so easy, or so says this Instructable. There's only one way to find out.

To be continued...

Oh wait, that's like $75.00 of Vodka. Shit. It will be continued when I have the money to waste. You can do it though. Use pints it'll be cheaper. Let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Busy Week, Quick Dinner. Chicken Salad Sandwhich.

I feel so tired right now. On weeks when I have events, I am always very busy planning and prepping. The idea of coming home and cooking dinner is too much. Tonight, I decided to do something quick and easy: chicken salad sandwiches.

I made chicken stock this weekend for my white chicken chili. I usually use chicken bones and scraps for my stock, but I had some chicken thighs which had been frozen for a bit too long I needed to use up. When making stock, most of the flavor in the meat has been infused into the stock leaving bland stringy chicken, which works great for chicken salad because the dressing and filling helps cover the bland chicken taste. Its quick, easy and nummy.

Chicken Salad
  • 2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 - 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/8 c. spicy mustard
  • 1/8 c. honey mustard
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil chopped or 1 Tbs dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbs lime juice
Mix all the ingredients together and bam! Chicken salad done. I like to mix mine in a food processor, but if you like yours super chunky, you can just whip it up in a bowl.

Slap that salad on a bun with Swiss cheese, side with some kettle chips. I like salt and vinegar.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chili Night Appetizers: Jalapeno Poppers and Roquemole!

I"m super excited about my appetizers for chili night: Jalapeno Poppers and Roquamole! Its guacamole with blue cheese. Come on! Awesome right?

Jalapeno Poppers getting ready to be baked.

I was trying to find something to go along with the Poppers. I was afraid the poppers by themselves weren't enough and I wanted to add something which would make the vegetarians not feel excluded from the fattening decadence. I was asking my sister, who came up with Jalapeno Poppers recipe, for suggestions when she hit with this link.

Image by DC Digitial Photography

Bam. I was sold. Roquamole fits perfectly in with the theme, dressed up comfort food. The Blue cheese will be fancy and fattening with a musky flavor to compliment the smokey flavor of the bacon. (Or be an adequate substitute for the veggies).

My sister kneels at the alter of Nigella Lawson; a signed copy of Domestic Goddess is one of her prized possessions. I haven't made many of her recipes, but I can definitely appreciate her straightforward approach of using a few simple ingredients without a lot of pomp and frill.

Image by Dewet

I love blue cheese of any variety, Roquefort, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Maytag. Its got such a deep salty musky flavor and great color and texture, I think its going to add an interesting dimension to a standard dish.

I can hardly wait to roq out! Can you?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shortcut of the Week: A Quick Rise For Yeast Dough

Slow Food for Fast Living is our mantra. What can be more slow then making a yeast dough and needing to let it rise. There are many nights when I've got the ingredients for pizza, but I don't want to wait the hour or so it would take let the dough do its thing.

Here's a quick trick which gets you homemade dough in half the time!
  • While making your dough, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. When you dough is kneaded, turn the oven off. Cover the dough in an oven safe bowl with a towel and place in the oven. Your dough should rise in 30 minutes or so.
A homemade pizza in half the time and you'll be everybody's favorite friend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This Is Why You're Fat, Regurgitated

I thought I was all hip and cool when I stumbled upon This Is Why You're Fat the day it was launched. I wrote it up and scheduled it to post today because I had the Reuben Loaf ready for yesterday. Well in that one day, this blog has been posted about so much, I'm totally behind the times. I could take a lesson from these guys in self promotion though, mos def!

I'm not gonna feel bad regurgitating the same info since many of these pictures inspire this same feeling in my tummy when it thinks about processing these food products.

Looks like a fatty ash tray; gross! Made of bacon and sausages; yum. I am so torn.

Who can't see a picture of a meat ship more then once? Give me names.

One way or the other, we're talking about us American fatties. And as everyone knows, there's nothing hip or cool about being a fatty.**

What?? I take that back. A Tombstone vending machine is the coolest thing I have ever seen!!

AHHH, a 60 lb rice crispie treatie. So sweet, I think I am going to puke.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Reuben Loaf

The Reuben has to be one of the most popular sandwiches of all time. I love it too. But, I hate the way it has so many layers, always falling apart. I want my sandwiches to be like an awesome jumpsuit, an all in one kind of deal. That's why I love the Reuben loaf. Its all enclosed in a loaf of bread. One stop eating is the way of the future!

Reuben Loaf
makes two loaves
  • 3 1/4 c flour
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c. luke warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast or 1 package
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 2-3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 c. thousand island dressing or mayo, ketchup and chopped pickles
  • 1/2 - 1 lb corned beef
  • 1/2 - 1 lb Swiss cheese sliced
  • 1 pint jar saur kraut
  • 1 egg
  • spices for topping
Make your bread dough: Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in center. Pour water into the well and add yeast and olive oil. The luke warm water will help the yeast to react faster. Allow the yeast to sit in the water for 15 minutes until dissolved and puffy. Add butter and mix ingredients together using the dough hook on a stand mixer or just using a wooden spoon.

Knead bread dough: Kneed on a floured surface until well mixed and the dough feels smooth and soft (not chunky). Every time I make dough, it comes out a little differently. Sometimes it feels light and fluffy, in which case, I can move on to making the loaves. Sometimes it feels hard and very solid feeling, in which case, I'll allow the dough to rise a bit before I roll the loaves out. You want the dough to be very pliable. If the dough can't easily be stretched multiple inches without breaking, you should allow the dough to sit for a while in a warm area to rise before rolling out.

Assemble your loaves: Cut the dough ball in half. Roll out each dough ball into a rectangle ~9" x 14" to fit the base of a large baking sheet. Pour 1/4 c. of thousand island dressing down center of dough rectangle. Split your amount of saur kraut, Swiss cheese slices and corned beef slices into two sections for each loaf. Layer the saur kraut over the dressing along the center followed by the corned beef and topped with the slices of cheese.

Do you like my fancy "kitchen sheers" also known as plain scissors? Used only for food of course.

Weave the loaves: Using a knife or kitchen sheers, cut slits along the long edge of the dough approx. 1" apart up to the base of the stacked filling. Starting at one end, fold the cut edges over on top of the filling alternating each side, to create a woven top.

Allow loaves to rise: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. When each loaf is assembled and woven, cover with a towel. Turn oven off, and place trays covered with a towel in warm oven and allow to rise for 30 minutes. By placing in a preheated oven, this will speed up the rising of the dough. When dough has risen, remove loaves from the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

This loave was sprinkled with black carraway.

Bake loaves: Before putting in the oven, brush each loave with egg and drizzle top with your choice of seeds. Carraway, dill, cumin seed, or whatever you prefer. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown.

This loaf was sprinkled with cumin seed.

Slice and Serve. Eat 'em up.

I often make a double batch and then freeze two of the loaves for a quick night dinner.

When freezing, I only bake the loaves for about 10-15 minutes and then finish baking when I reheat them. Label the loaves so you know when the went in the freezer.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Official Chili Night Menu

Here's the official menu for our next upcoming event on February 22. I totally forgot this night was the same night as the academy awards. No worries, in true Forkable fashion, we're serving comfort food, fancy enough for any red carpet event. We'll have our own Oscar pre-party! You can't get more high falutin' party food then guacamole with blue cheese!

Reserve your spot today!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Our Next Underground Supper Club Event: Chili Night

Chili courtesy of The Greasy Spoon

Its Oscar night, and we're rolling out the Red Carpet in true Forkable fashion with comfort food made fancy. Come drown away the winter blues with warm bowls of chili, interesting conversation and plenty of other fancy snacks. Check out the official menu.

Image by photographer Jim Hejl, Jr, via Allen Boot Blog

Forkable's Red Carpet Chili Night
Sunday, February 22. 6 p.m.

Chili night will include:
3 course prefix meal served family style.
This event is BYOB: Bring your own BOWL!
BYOB: alcohol as well.

Vegetarian Chili Option available.

Reserve your spot today!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Warm Drinks In Review

When I got home from work, I really wanted a hot cocoa. I looked back to the hot cocoa post I wrote in November and had to laugh.

Perhaps this blog is too young to be "rerunning" posts, but I don't feel that hardcore anymore, so lets have all these drinks together in one easy to read form.

Three Hot Drinks To Warm Your Toes and Cloud Your Brain

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Cure I Can Handle: Hot Toddy

I woke up this morning with a sore throat. Its cold outside and I feel crappy. There's only one thing which help me now. I need a hot toddy!

This drink has it all, the comfort of hot steamy tea, the curative numbing power of whiskey, set off with the tart lemon which goes down smooth as can be thanks to the sweet honey. This drink coats your throat, warms your tummy and takes away all your aches and pains. What are we waiting for?

Hot Toddy
  • 1 cup of tea (whatever kind you prefer)
  • whiskey
  • 1-2 slices of lemon
  • 1-2 Tbs honey

Make a pot of tea. I always make a pot because one toddy is never enough. You can make your tea if one is enough. Because this was early afternoon, I used a black tea for the caffeine. Before bed, I always go for an herbal tea like chamomile.

Fill your mug 2/3 the way full with tea. You have to save room for the whiskey!

Add 1 shot of whiskey. You can add more or less depending on your preference for strength. I usually err on the side of more is better.

Add honey. I add one Tbs, stir and taste. I never hesitate to add more if I need it.

Add lemon slices. Breathe in the lemony steam. If I wasn't too stuffed up to smell, I know I would be enjoying this part the best.

Now drink up and feel better!

*Not a suggested drink before work.