Over the course of writing this blog, I’ve made it pretty evident that I like to experiment in the kitchen. From my forays into vegan baking to my quest to cook around the world, I’m not afraid to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. So when Cinco de Mayo came up, I knew I needed to up my game from beef tacos or an enchilada casserole. Continue reading
Regular readers of the blog are probably starting to notice some trends in the food I make. One, I like food with a Mexican flair, as evidenced by my taco casserole, quinoa enchilada soup, and lentil tacos. Two, I favor meals that can be prepped in one pot and serve as a stand alone dish, like my bean and lentil chili and sweet potato and chickpea curry. This week, I decided to combine these concepts: I give you taco chili.
I’ve spoken before about how my husband likes curry. It may not be expected, given his previous love of all things familiar and plain, but I’m not complaining. It’s one of the few vegan meals I can always make without any sort of push back. For whatever reason, he doesn’t miss the meat or dairy in his curry, and he eats it voraciously every time. We both do, honestly. It’s slowly becoming a staple on our dinner table, and I’m not looking back.
Cooking Around the World is officially winding down. We only have four countries left!! I have to say, though, we were absolutely thrilled with Venezuela. I hadn’t had a country from the Americas since Ecuador, and while I’d been enjoying my string of Middle Eastern cuisine, it was nice to have something completely different.
Today is the type of holiday I can get behind: National Homemade Soup Day. As regular readers of this blog will know, I love making soups and stews. They tend to be pretty simple to put together, and they are so satisfying. Especially in the cold weather we’ve been having, I love having something simmering away on the stove. It makes my whole apartment smell comforting! And there is something unparalleled about sitting down with a bowl of soup fresh from the stove and breathing in the steam. Just thinking about it makes me happy!
In discussions of football foot, one dish tends to be particularly important to me: chili. Sure, it may not be as quintessential as buffalo chicken, but I maintain that it is equally important. First, it’s one of the few football foods that you can actually make a meal out of without hating yourself after (I mean, I adore nachos but will inevitably feel ill if that’s all I eat). Plus, the best football weather is when it is freaking freezing out. Even when it’s in the single digits outside, a hot bowl of chili will always work to warm me up. Besides, with a chili bar, dinner is totally customizable; people can add as much spice or cheese or whatever so it ends up to everyone’s liking.
Recently, I was watching the Rachael Ray show, and they were making chicken noodle soup. Only instead of noodles, they used quinoa. As a girl who loves quinoa, I thought this was a brilliant idea! Only to me, it seemed a tad redundant. One of the beauties of quinoa is the fact that it’s a complete protein all on it’s own. No need for meat! So, I knew from the get-go that I was going to take this quinoa-based soup idea and revamp it. And, boy am I glad I did.
Confession time: I love Panera. One weekend in grad school when my internet was out and a paper was due, I essentially lived at the Panera around the corner. I sat for hours and hours at my little table, working on a grade-A citation analysis. The staff was awesome; after figuring out what was going on, they made sure to keep my coffee cup full for me, and didn’t make me abide by the 15 minute internet rule. As far as a weekend without internet could have gone, it was pretty good.
I’m a menu planner. Every week, when the grocery circular comes in the mail, I’ll sit down with it, my coupons, the weather forecast, and our calendars, and figure out what we’re having each night for the upcoming week. What started as a necessity when I was in grad school (free time for food shopping was at a premium; if I wanted to eat, I needed a plan), has become a comfortable habit. I know some people find this ridiculous and tedious: “How am I supposed to know what I’ll want to eat next Tuesday?” I’ve been asked. But I like knowing. It eliminates the 6:30 hangry and frustrated raid through my fridge. And, it informs my other meal choices (for instance, if I’m making risotto for dinner, I won’t have oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve been told this is weird, but to me risotto and oatmeal are, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, gastronomically redundant).
Last night, as happens most nights, my husband called me on his way home from work. And, as happens most nights, he asked what was for dinner. “Tuscan bean soup!” I responded. I then followed up quickly, “And salad. And garlic bread.” Because as much as a steaming bowl of soup filled with beans and tomatoes sounds like a fantastic dinner to me, I have to admit that I was a bit concerned about how this meal would go over. I’ve mentioned before that my husband hasn’t always been the most adventurous eater. But if he’s living with me, some nights he is just going to get vegan deliciousness.