Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What's For Dinner? Why, Soup, Of Course!

Hi everyone,
With the opening of our new store this week I haven't had much time to cook and I have been going for a lot convenience food and take-out. It's finally my weekend and my husband is sick. I'm about to put on a big pot of chicken-rice-vegetable soup as a healing food for him.

You know how ecstatic I am about it being soup season again. And with this unseasonably super cold winter weather in Portland this week-soup sounds super delicious. Wondering what to have for dinner tonight? Here is some great inspiration from our friends at Bon Appetit 20 Cozy Warming Soups to Make This Fall. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

3 Bean-Quinoa Chipotle Chili with Herb Gluten-Free Cornbread

I love cooking with beans. They are a staple in our whole foods diet and we eat them multiple times a week. Beans are inexpensive, very nutritious, and can be cooked in a myriad of ways. When I was doing some online research recently I came across a website for the Bean Institute. The Bean Institute is a clearinghouse of information on the nutritional components and health benefits of dry edible beans. What a hoot! On the Bean Institute website I found lots of great information on cooking with dried beans and a handy bean reference chart including cooking times.

One of our favorite ways to enjoy beans is in a hearty vegetarian chili. For this recipe I added quinoa. The quinoa contributes a nice crunchy texture to the chili plus even more delicious nutrition in this gluten-free whole grain. I like to simmer the chili on the stove for many hours. So I save this recipe for a day off work I'm home working on other projects. I make a big pot that will feed us several meals during the work week. Extra servings also freeze really well. It is well worth the time!

Be sure to serve with a delicious cornbread. I've experimented a lot with gluten-free cornbread scratch recipes and mixes. I have happily found the Pamela's brand cornbread mix to the best! If you aren't lucky enough to have access to Pamela's product line at your local grocery store, you can also purchase off her website. I love cornbread add-in's! For this week's recipe I used a handful of fresh herbs from the garden-chives and sage. Minced and added to the mixed cornbread batter. Delicious!

1 cup dried black beans
1 cup dried small white beans
1 cup dried small red beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
48 oz can diced tomatoes
2 vegan sea salt & herb broth cubes
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp tomato paste
Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese

1. Rinse beans. Place in bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Next day, drain & rinse.
2. Put beans in a large stock pot and cover with water. Cook covered on medium-high for 2 hours.
3. In another pan sauté the onion and bell pepper in a splash of olive oil for about 8 minutes, until onions begin to soften and look translucent. Add the dried chipotle chili powered, cumin, and oregano-cook another minute until spices become very fragrant.
4. Add onion-pepper-spice mix, tomatoes, broth cubes to the bean pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours. Stir frequently, and add more water as needed to prevent sticking.
5. Add quinoa, sugar and tomato paste. Stir well and cook another 15 minutes.
6. Check flavor and add additional chili powder, cumin, oregano and sea salt as needed. If consistency is watery, add more tomato paste.
7. Serve warm with optional toppings: shredded cheese or sour cream. Always serve with a side of warm cornbread!
8. This recipe makes a big pot of chili-about 8-10 servings. Great for lunch the entire work week!