January 30, 2011

Vegetarian chili

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to books. All I really want in terms of material things in life is a library just like in "Beauty and the Beast," and since I have a second bedroom in my apartment, that is currently my home office/library. I love going to thrift stores and buying the books I feel should be in a home library - classic literature, odds and ends, and more old cookbooks than I know what to do with. I'm pretty obsessed with stuff from the 1960s and 70s, especially since so much of it is pretty bizarre. Cases in point:

ughh love this
Completely brilliant advice from the woman behind Cosmo as we know it. Recipes for how to use the pieces of leftover steak you bring home from your dinner date, and an entire chapter called "What a friend we have in cheeses." Just brilliant.

not all salads are as salad-looking as this one on the cover
I was expecting different leafy greens and maybe some tuna and chicken salads. Alas - so much Jello, so little time.

salami pinwheels, i'm yours
The recipes are, surprisingly, not the strangest part of this one - there's a whole section on how to prepare fancy party sandwiches, and the presentation gets extremely inventive. There may be clowns and lollipops involved.

i didn't know cheek was a meat
Because why limit yourself to steaks and chops? If anyone needs a recipe for brain fritters or pig's feet in aspic, I'm your go-to girl.

One time, my sister Katie and I went shopping and she told me I was forbidden from getting any books, and I returned with a 12-volume encyclopedia of cookery. I'm absolutely incorrigible. But really, I mean, how could a person *not* buy these things? It's just all so fascinating! Am I right?!

While on the subject of meat, though, I'll add that I'm not a huge fan of red meat, and I very rarely eat pork. (I did a report on pigs in tenth grade biology. I will not go further with this story.) When I do eat meat, it's either poultry or fish, and while there are a lot of delicious options there, sometimes, you just need a break. This past week was like that - so I went in search of some new vegetarian recipes. I'm going to make a goal of trying to use my awkward and fascinating cookbooks more, because my default for finding new recipes is either Google or word-of-mouth from bloggers. For example, I've heard great things about Mama Pea's blog, and they're all totally well-deserved - she's a great source for vegetarian and vegan recipes. The only problem is that a lot of her stuff feeds families, and if I am making bigger quantities, it needs to be easily freezable.

So for this week, I have a great recipe for vegetarian chili that I found on VegWeb and adapted a little, but starting next week, I am going to try using some of my "real" cookbooks. It should be interesting, if nothing else!

chunky chili deliciousness

It was very hearty and delicious, and had a surprising ingredient: chocolate. Well, unsweetened cocoa powder. But still! I was unsure about it, but it gave the chili a really interesting edge. I loved it, and froze quite a few containers of it for the next few weeks when work starts to get busy and I don't quite feel like cooking.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 medium peppers, chopped (I used green)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
1 can (15 ounce) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup barley
In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and spices in oil. Add peppers and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cocoa, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil. Add kidney beans, black beans, and barley. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. or until barley is cooked. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 8 servings; each serving has approximately 160 calories, 7.5 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 21.2 g fiber, and 27 g protein

The original recipe called for bulgur, but some original commenters said barley was a good substitution - since I had barley and not bulgur, I went for it. I roughly chopped everything since I like chunky chili, but you can go smaller if you want - just be sure not to overcook it!


Shannon said...

Oooo, that chili looks so good!! I'm, definitely, going to give it a try - thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see what you come up with out of the old cookbooks!! Have a great Sunday!

Rainbowchild said...

I eat meat but prefer veggie chilli, I use lots of peppers and beans, also a bit of chilli chocolate makes such a difference. yummm

Amy said...

I definitely have a dream of a Beauty and the Beast library - I love going into Professor's offices because they are always the closest thing to it.

Cookbooks tend to be a waste of money for me because I'm SO picky, and can usually find one or two recipes that I would like in an entire book (obviously I only look at the picture recipes haha). I was in Chapters the other day looking at them and decided that if I was a chef I would make a recipe series called the "No Series" that was made for picky eaters and people with allergies - each book would have nothing in it of that thing. For example "No mushrooms" or "No meat" (a playful name for a vegetarian cookbook. Never going to happen since my cooking skills are very limited! haha

Ellie said...

I love cook books. Especially now that I am trying to pay more attention to my food intake. I love to find nice healthy recipes to try out.

Love the recipe for veggie chill, sounds great. I'll have to try it out.

lv2 said...

Thanks for the idea. We are starting to get very cold weather this week....wind chill for tues is supposed to be -10 which is very cold for okla. So after looking at your picture i just went and started my veg-black bean chili. I use cinnamon in mine rather than chocolate... and i tend to like mine cooked down and sometimes served over some brown rice. So many ways to make chili and most of them are good. I used to have a large collection of cookbooks but one year i decided just to copy out a few recipes and get rid of them as i wasn't using them...now wish i still had them.

Anonymous said...

"What a friend we have in cheeses" - OMG, love it! I think I must own a copy of this book.

Your vegetarian chili looks good! I always wondered what went into vegetarian chili since every time I've ever had chili, it's basically been "meat soup." And hardly anyone puts beans in chili down here - I dunno, it's weird.

Ashley said...

Aspic... the thought makes me cringe!

Jessica said...

We have a used bookstore in my library that you would LOVE! Lots of old crazy cookbooks :)