The long, cold winter is finally winding down. Mostly this is a time for jubilation. For celebration because spring is finally on our way (the tomato plants are started for the urban farm)! However it’s also a chance to enjoy that classic winter warmer: chili. This vegetarian chili is a great option on a meatless meal day, or if you’re a vegetarian. For us, it wouldn’t be the same without cornmeal muffins – a classic cornbread taste in an easy-to make format. If you have leftovers, they freeze beautifully – but good luck getting them to the freezer before the snackers get to them!
Want to save on sodium? Use beans you’ve cooked yourself, and frozen, without salt. The kidney beans, black beans, and chickpeas in this recipe all started their journey to our house from Better Bulk (see our blogroll!)
If you really want to save money and eat healthier foods, make your own stock! Most bouillon cubes or even organic pre-packaged stocks contain a lot of salt, as a preservative. If you use the rule-of-thumb that a packaged food shouldn’t have more milligrams of sodium than it does calories, you might be disappointed when you read the label of your favourite prepared stock.
Stock-making is simple. One trick I learned from Ken Kostick. He suggested that as you peel carrots, onions, take the stems off aromatic herbs, and so on, that you should put them in a zipper bag in the freezer. (Give them a rinse first!) When the bag is full, it’s time to make stock. Sometimes I roast this mixture, other times I just use it “as is”. I like to use one of those pasta pots with the strainer-type liner, just to make it extra easy.
Put the vegetables in the bottom of the pot. Cover with cold water. If you haven’t used too many herbs during the week (really?) add some dried herbs – tarragon is nice, or savory, bay leaves…or some minced ginger is good, too. Bring this mixture to the boil on top of the stove and then turn down to a simmer, so it’s just slowly bubbling along. Let it simmer while you watch a favourite television show, or do a load of laundry, whatever. Check now and then so it doesn’t boil over.
Let it cool, and strain or if you use a pot like I do, lift out the liner. Package it up in convenient sized containers and store in the freezer. If you make some up in ice-cube trays, you can use those for times when you just need a tiny amount.
More on meat and fish stocks, another day. If you don’t feel like using this stock today…save it til tomorrow, throw in some cooked beans or chickpeas, onions, and whatever vegetables take your fancy. Simmer for half an hour or so, add a handful of whole-wheat pasta and simmer til tender and voila…delicious vegetable soup!
So we had good intentions of posting last night’s dinner, Black-eyed Peas with Pasta, but we got wrapped up in Earth Hour, playing SCRABBLE by candlelight, and other goings-on, and we forgot. Usually we spend the Hour on a walk around our neighbourhood, with candle lanterns. When we get home, we sit on the porch and make some (acoustic!) music. But this year it was unseasonably cold…not good for the guitars or the people. Hence the SCRABBLE!
So in lieu of that, today we’ll share the recipe for Megann’s Artichoke Pizza, featured on our first post. It’s a classic “Weekend Special” around our house.
Whether you’re abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, or just looking for an easy fish recipe for a busy night, this chowder is simple to make. Whenever we cook a large whole fish we use the bones to make a batch of fish broth, but if you don’t have fish broth on hand, use vegetable broth, it’ll still taste great.
This soup is a family staple for us – it’s great on a cold night, and it’s a go-to recipe made from ingredients that we always have around the house.