Monthly Archives: October 2011

Vegetarian Chili with Smoky Adobos and Acorn Squash

Fall is a great time of year for tons of reasons…my favorite one being that my culinary habits get shaken up and I get to break out of the summertime ways of eating.

No more avoiding the oven for fear of the half day it takes to cool down in the heat of summer!  Big families of produce come back into play: apples, squash, pumpkins, and of course the whole potato clan are welcomed back into my kitchen.  Hearty and filling meals come back to the table, warming us up from the chilly, windy weather outside.

The biggest bag of apples ever seen.

Creativity is needed to get through all those bags of apples (I’m still trying to make it through this gigantic one that was gifted to me from a friend’s backyard apple tree!).

I love all of it.  Not to mention that I get to layer my clothes again.

And so, with all this fall love going around, it is only natural to want to make a big batch of chili to fill our tummies while we are out there enjoying it all.  This year I have cut out eating a lot of meat, so I knew that this chili would be vegetarian.  But nothing is more disappointing than a chili that loses its depth and heartiness when you take out the meat…it starts to feel more like a soup or veggie stew (which is also good, but not when you want thick chili!).  So in order to combat this problem, I decided I needed to add a veggie that could stand up to hot temps and not get mushy or disintegrate, one that would add some depth and take us out of the standard pepper/tomato combo, and of course one that would be amazing with strong Mexican flavors.  And that vegetable is the squash. Continue reading Vegetarian Chili with Smoky Adobos and Acorn Squash

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cornbread

I woke up this morning knowing that I was going to make chili.

I’ve been having this bug to make chili using adobo chipotle peppers, veggies and squash…but that’s a different post.  The point of this post is: where there’s chili, there should be some cornbread!  And as an extra plus for me, cornbread is one of those things that is pretty easily converted into a GF version.  I sign up for blog email updates just like everyone else, and as I was checking my email this morning I saw an update from Jules Gluten Free blog about all of her great recipes using pumpkin as the main ingredient.  Having just taken the whole family to our favorite pumpkin patch recently, I was in a cooking-with-pumpkin state of mind, and I checked out her email.  There were all sorts of recipes she had worked out for using pumpkin, from pumpkin muffins to pumpkin pancakes, and there at the bottom of her list was pumpkin cornbread.  I knew right away that I had found the match for my spicy, smoky chipotle chili. Continue reading Gluten Free Pumpkin Cornbread

Southwest Hash with Baked Eggs and Spicy Chipotle Hollandaise

Last night was the October meetup of the cooking group (find out more about our group here!), and this month’s theme was Breakfast for Dinner.

The hubby and I were the hosts, which meant that we had the main course.  I was a little torn on what to make…there’s always the old standard quiche/strata mash-ups with veggies and stuff, but it wasn’t exactly new territory for me.  Crepes seemed too fussy, making a big chunk of meat was out (since the hubby and I are cutting it out of our diets), and all then there was the whole gluten-free restrictions – I could find carbs to sub in, but it all seemed like more than I wanted to get into.

So I narrowed it down by figuring out what sounded good to me: I knew I wanted to use eggs, I wanted it to be vegetarian and filling, and I wanted it to be pretty easy to put together at serving time so that I could actually enjoy having people over.  Combine all that with my love of big Mexican flavors, and this is where I ended up – a southwest flavored veggie hash blending yellow and sweet potato, a hollandaise with smoky adobo chilis, and eggs baked right on top. Continue reading Southwest Hash with Baked Eggs and Spicy Chipotle Hollandaise

Veggie Stuffed Tomatoes

I would love to have a really bountiful garden in a spacious backyard at some point in my life.  Vines growing up stakes, butterflies flitting around pink coneflowers, barefoot kids learning to love the land…all that stuff.  unfortunately, I live in a place that doesn’t allow me to fulfill this dream, and so I make do by enjoying the fruits of other people’s homegrown labor.  My co-worker recently unloaded a huge bag full of tomatoes on me, because it was the end of the season and, as he put it, “We’re swimmin’ in the suckers”.

Some of those tomatoes had found their way into some pretty tasty soup (click here to check it out), but I still had a few more.  I had just finished making a pot of brown rice to keep on hand for the week, and I thought Yes! Those tomatoes…some rice…what else can I put in there?  Continue reading Veggie Stuffed Tomatoes

Spaghetti Squash with Garden Ragu

I really like using squash in my dishes, but the time it takes to roast them in the oven can become really tedious.  Today for example, I was famished and had a hankering for something with tomato sauce.  What I saw in my head was something like this:

…and I really wanted to make it happen.  I knew that I had a spaghetti squash that I wanted to use, but the thought of waiting 60 minutes to roast it and eat was too much to bear.  So, I decided that I would microwave it and get the show on the road.  I’m not a big microwaver, but after the success I had with using it today, I think it has become my go-to method of cooking squash! Continue reading Spaghetti Squash with Garden Ragu

Making your own Veggie Stock!

It’s that time of year when soups are made, rich sauces come out to play, and risotto begins to call to me.  All of these things have something in common:  they all start with good stock.  For me, that means vegetable stock!

What reason is there to spend $3.75 on one quart of decent vegetable stock at the grocery store when you can make a gallon of homemade stock from the veggies you were using anyway?  There’s no reason, I say.  If you have a large pan, a strainer, a couple of bowls and access to some water, you’re ready to go!

Here’s some easy guidelines:

1.  When you have done your shopping and your veggie drawer is bursting with all kinds of freshly purchased goodness, get yourself a container that you can use to store your veggie scraps in the fridge.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a gallon-sized baggie or a covered tupperware, just make sure it’s going to be big enough to hold a decent amount.

Don't throw those onion scraps away!

Continue reading Making your own Veggie Stock!

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Banana bread has always been one of those all-time homey comfort foods for me (as it is, I’m sure, for most people).  Give me a fresh cup of coffee and a still-warm slice, and I’m in a happy place.  But there came a time, about a year ago, when banana bread became something more sinister…a treat that was only to be eaten if I felt like I was due for some massive tummy pain and nausea, resulting in me cursing the day I ever let a crumb of it pass over my lips. Continue reading Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips