Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Big Dipper

Lately I've begun serving a plate of raw vegetables and dip along with meals, in yet another attempt to get us to eat our veggies. I've come up with two or three different dips, but would love more suggestions -- especially ones lower in fat. I know, I know, we should be eating the vegetables without dip, or at most a light drizzle of low-fat vinagrette, blah blah blah. Any progress is good, in my opinion.

-- SJ

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Vegetarian Cashew Chili

This can be used on a campout fairly easily. I have made it at home but made it on our recent church campout.

3 C chopped onion
2 & 1/2 C chopped red bell pepper
1 & 1/2 C chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 C red wine vinegar
1 T molasses
1 & 1/2 t dried basil
1 & 1/2 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t black pepper
1/8 t bay leaves (or 1 whole bay leaf)
2 T olive oil
2-15.5 oz cans red kidney beans, undrained
1-28 oz can diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained
1-15 oz can pinto beans, undrained
2/3 C cashews, coarsely chopped

Place first four ingredients together (in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag if camping). Combine the next 9 ingredients (vinegar through bay leaves) separately. (Also in a zip bag if camping.)
(At campsite): Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; saute 8 minutes or until tender. Add vinegar mixture, beans and tomatoes; cook 20 minutes, stirring often. Stir in cashews. Serve. Yield: 7 large servings.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Two Random Tips

Fresh Pineapple: I did not realize, until someone told me, that everybody else hurts their mouth eating fresh pineapple, too. I thought it was some peculiar biochemical reaction of my own, but worth the payoff in fresh pineapple. But, according to my informer, if you put salt on the pineapple, it won't burn. I haven't tested this yet, as there haven't been any sales on fresh pineapple around here lately. But I pass it on for what it's worth.

Whole wheat baked goods: I actually prefer whole wheat for flavor as well as nutrition, but I admit the frequently crumbly-sawdust texture of quick breads made with whole wheat doesn't do much for me. Then I heard that if you mix up the flour and the sour milk part of the recipe several hours in advance (the blender was recommended), the product will turn out much more tender and fluffy. I've tried it so far on waffles and banana bread (banana bread batter was too thick for a blender, I may have to use my Kitchenaid instead), and the results were outstanding. Except for the extra-hearty flavor, you could hardly tell it was whole wheat.

Next I'm going to try it on biscuits. I don't have much hope, since whole wheat biscuits are so very, very far from their white flour equivalents, but the results so far have been so good it's worth a shot.

Apparently it has to be a sour milk type of product (buttermilk, yogurt, milk with vinegar), so if your recipe calls for regular milk and baking powder you'll have to adapt it.