Peanut Butter Chili (Vegan)

This recipe was made for Lent 2017 after I saw a good friend of mine rave about some peanut chili he had tried during Lent at an Indian restaurant.  The guts of this recipe came from AllRecipes, with some of my common changes.  Even my non-peanut butter liking son ate it without complaint.  The peanut butter really acts as a thickening agent, giving the chili good body and texture.  The spices blend well with it and keep the peanut butter side from overpowering the chili side.  Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel mild tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbs garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the diced tomatoes, water, garlic, and bay leaves into a saucepan, and bring to a simmer over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and season with the cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, pour in the black beans and kidney beans
  5. Return to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the peanut butter until dissolved, then remove and discard the bay leaves.
  7. If desired, season the chili with salt and pepper.  I did not add any salt or pepper.

 

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Shrimp Bisque

This evening we had a shrimp bisque, made with soy milk because it is a fasting period. Delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons onion, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons flour (all-purpose wheat flour or white rice flour)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (soy milk for fasting periods)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 3/4 pound raw shrimp (cut into pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt, or to taste
  • Optional garnish: fresh parsley, cilantro, or thyme leaves

Instructions:

1.Melt the butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook and stir 30 seconds. (this was very thick so after adding liquid below, I used an immersion blender to help it blend)
4, Immediately stir in the broth, milk, and wine (if using), and whisk until combined.
5. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil.
6. Reduce, simmering, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. 7. Add the shrimp or lobster pieces and cook until completely heated through, about 2 minutes.
8. Remove bay leaf. Stir in lemon juice and add salt to taste. (I also used the immersion blender to blend the shrimp into the bisque, this helped with texture, as the soy milk doesn’t thicken quite the same as regular milk).

Serve with optional garnish.

Mt. Athos Tahini Soup

If it is good enough for the monks on the Holy Mountain, then it’s good enough for me.  Honestly, this was a wonderful meal.  An immersion blender helps with the mixing.

Ingredients

  • 2 1⁄2 quarts water
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice
  • 7 -8 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 -2 lemon, juice of
  • 2 carrots, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Boil rice in water and salt until tender.
  2. Remove from flame and add half of lemon juice.
  3. In a medium bowl mix tahini with one cup of soup broth until creamy, adding more broth if necessary.
  4. Mix in remaining lemon juice.
  5. Pour mixture into soup stirring constantly until liquids blend.
  6. Stir in carrots, green onions, and parsley.
  7. Adjust seasoning.

Cream of Spinach Soup

I was tired of finding recipes that called for frozen spinach. This one has a nice fresh spinach. Thank you simplyrecipes.com Watch your salt on this one.  This soup can be served hot or chilled. Garnish with chopped chives, sprinkles of allspice, or a dollop of sour cream.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach – packed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for 3 minutes or until limp.
  2. Add potatoes, chicken broth, water, and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Add spinach and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer until spinach is tender.
  5. Working in batches, purée soup mixture in a blender. Return to saucepan.
  6. Whisk in half-and-half, salt and pepper.
  7. Over low heat, bring to just before simmering. Whisk in the sour cream. You may want to use an immersion blender to get the sour cream fully incorporated.

Locro de Papa

locrodepapaOn a recent visit to Ecuador, I had this homemade soup and couldn’t wait to get back and try to make it.  This recipe is simple and the soup easily serves 5, even if some of them are teenagers.  It was great and will be served again.  We served this with Colombian arepas.  Traditional Ecuadorian serving suggestions can be found online.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons aji amarillo paste (can order online)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pounds yellow potatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated
  • Diced avocado for garnish (optional)
  • Crumbled queso fresco cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. In advance of cooking, boil chicken thighs in water with green onion, celery, carrots and salt for 30 minutes.  Strain and reserve liquid to use as stock and set chicken aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy soup pot. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and optional aji amarillo paste. Sauté onions over low heat until soft, fragrant and translucent.
  3. While the onions are cooking, peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
  4. When the onions are soft and golden, add 1 cup of the chicken stock. Remove mixture to a blender and process until you have a smooth puree. Set aside.
  5. Add the potatos to the soup pot along with 1 tablespoon butter. Sauté until potatoes are fragrant and just start to turn golden.
  6. Add onion liquid back to the pot with the potatoes, along with another cup of chicken stock and 2 cups water. Bring liquid to a simmer, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook potatoes until they are very tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Mash the potatoes thoroughly in the pot with a potato masher.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with the cream and milk. Whisk a cup of the hot soup mixture into the milk and cream, then add it all to the soup, whisking to blend.
  9. Whisk in the grated cheese until melted. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve soup hot, place chicken in bottom of bowl, cover with soup and garnish with chopped avocado and crumbled queso fresco cheese.

Crock Pot Vegetarian Lentil Soup

This is a really easy recipe that is cribbed from about.com (See original).  The original recipe, I am sure comes out fine, but I wanted to get away from any cans and make this a pure fresh veggie soup.  It ended up great.  Remember the finished soup will need to be salted to taste.  We have such a wide variance in salt taste in the house, that I use a minimal amount and then let everyone adjust.

This soup is hearty and keeps well in the refrigerator where the flavors continue to blend.   I cooked it overnight and then took a bowl to the office for lunch.  Left the soup on the warm setting in the crock pot all day, so the kids ate it as they came home.  By dinner, it was still just as good.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Pre-soak the lentils in water for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight Drain, discarding soak water.
  2. Stir together lentils with all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low heat in the crockpot for 10 – 12 hours.

Gazpacho with Crab Meat and Avocado

This recipe is my attempt to recreate the best gazpacho I ever had.  It was served at Louie’s 106, a fine restaurant in downtown Austin that is unfortunately no longer with us.  No trip to Louie’s would be start without ordering this tasty gazpacho.  I’ve had other, but nothing like theirs.  This is my homage to Louie’s 106!  A final note, a real chef decided that canned tomatoes are OK for gazpacho – it beats the hell out of seeding and peeling fresh ones!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, roughly chopped, or one 28-ounce can (include the juices)
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 or 3 slices bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1 /4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado and lump crab meat for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bread, oil, vinegar, garlic and jalapeno with 3/4 cup water in a blender.
  2. Squeeze in lemon; process until smooth.  If the gazpacho seems too thick, thin with additional water.Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Serve immediately (or refrigerate and serve within a couple of hours), garnished with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped avocado and crab meat!