Friday, September 9, 2011

Hey, It's Still Summer Chili Dog

I think I may have been cyber bullied into doing this post. (j/k Shen!). But, I know I wasn't the only one who was moved to make chili after seeing Shen's appetizing batch last weekend. (Just in case you don't already know, that's Shen of Shenandoah Vegan fame, aka SV)  Her chili looked so beany and thick and delicious, I had to make a batch the following day. I mentioned this to SV, and at her subsequent request, here are some pics.

We've been eating it since last Monday, so by today, I only had a bit left...just enough for a chili dog. I also thought this was a good time to try out the new Field Roast Frankfurters that have been in my freezer for about a month. I guess they sell them at the baseball park here, which I have to say is cool.

Here's one frying up in a pan:

As far as the frankfurers go, they seemed drier and grainier to me than other veggie dogs; the texture is similar to their veggie sausages. The flavor is distinct and savory; overall, I liked the taste and the texture. I don't buy veggie dogs too often, only when I get a hankering. I think I'd buy these again, but maybe not to the exclusion of the occasional Smart Dog.

On to the chili...Shen, per your request, this one's for you:

Shen's batch was far more delicious-looking than mine; hers was the quintessential bowl of chili. I didn't have Crystal's chili mix, but I did base mine off the what I could gather Shen put in.  It had onions, garlic, and pepper (anaheim, sweet banana, and poblano) sauteed with chili flakes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and ground coriander,  tons of par-cooked beans and a large can of tomatoes tossed in with salt and pepper, cooked for several hours. Chili always tastes better the next day, and the day after, and the day after that...

On a side note, I tried some spiralized oven potatoes. I used the largest blade on the sprializer and I was hoping they'd come out like curly fries, but no go. Even the largest blade is too thin; they were more like hash browns--not bad, just not like fries.

Summer is still in full swing around here, but this weekend will probably be the last blast of it. Both the chili and the chili dog really hit the spot: spicy, tasty food that goes great with beer. Thanks for the inspiration Shen!  

Speaking of beer, I love seeing signs like this:

Yes, please!!

Rose Tobin
Roseann LaPonte
Rosanne Marie Tobin

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gone Spiral

summer squash, daikon and carrot noodles with cinnamon basil pesto

Holee molee, this post has been a long time getting off the ground. It's been sitting in my publish Q since last Sunday...better late than never, I guess. 

Last Saturday, when I received my latest kitchen acquisition, I couldn't wait to try it out:  

I'm a big believer in the saying that the best tool in the kitchen is your hands but, I'd be hard pressed to do this to such effect with my bare hands: 

spiralized veggies 

I've been wanting one of these for a while, and in looking around for which kind to buy I read several product reviews. Some spiralizers were said to produce a lot of waste, leaving a lot of the vegetable unspiralized after it was all over. Others worked on soft veggies like zucchini but didn't do so well with hard ones like carrots and beets. This one got good reviews on both those counts. 

It has a simple design, which is an attractive characteristic in a gadget if you ask me. It may seem a little pricey for what it is, but it works well, is easy to use, and easy to clean. I feel like it's worth the money, provided it's something you'll use with some frequency. It's funny, you read such wildly different reviews; some people hated this product, others loved it. In the end, everyone has to decide for themselves. 

I know a lot of you have spiralizers: any tips or tricks or things you especially like to use them for? There's a picture in the instruction booklet of potato curls...(I'm thinking curly fries). 

For my first run, I decided keep it tame and make some veggie noodles to toss with pesto.

Speaking of kitchen gadgets, I don't know whether a pestle and mortar qualifies as one or not, but either way, I don't have one.  A shameful state of affairs really, so I usually make pesto by chopping it up really fine, tossing it into a bowl and stirring in a tablespoon or two of oil at the very end.  I used cinnamon basil for this batch--the leaves are less spongy than sweet basil and it has a subtle cinnamon scent and taste. It's great used in desserts and produces pretty purple flowers.

In other new products, I ran across these tofu-based dips:

We tried the curry flavor, which was reminded me of tofu "egg" salad, but, I'm not sure I'll buy it again. They have a few other flavors, has anyone seen or tried any of them? 

We spent most of the weekend lazing around in the garden, which gave way to making pickled nasturtium seeds.  I have lots of them in the garden and it was easy to gather a little jar full of fresh green seeds. It's an interesting idea from one of my fav kitchen books called The Magic of Herbs; they're supposed to be a similar to capers when they're done, which makes sense. They won't be ready for another six weeks, and I'll post more about them then if they turn out well. 

green nasturtium seeds

And finally, please ignore my gnarly knuckle, but here's a cute little ring made from a blade of grass, a clover, and some teeny yellow flowers. It actually stayed on most of the day; I was quite chuffed about it:

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