Vegetarian Chili

Fall has arrived here in Nova Scotia – it’s drizzly today and windy with a chill in the air. A perfect day to make a large pot of chili.

This time I decided to make it vegetarian. I guess that was because I had been listening to a CBC radio program “White Coat, Black Art” – today’s episode was a repeat of an earlier one on a plant based diet. I’m eating less meat than I used to, so I thought a vegetarian chili would be a good thing to have in my freezer.

A Pot Of Vegetarian Chili

Here is the recipe (see below) I sort of used – it calls for onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cans of tomatoes and corn, white and red kidney beans… In addition, I substituted a jar of flame roasted red peppers (Unico) for the bell peppers, added mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, leftover coleslaw cabbage, 1/3 can tomato paste, a good glug of tomato ketchup (French’s), a splash of HP sauce, and squeezed cilantro paste from a tube to liven the flavour.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

In other words, since I was making a vegetarian chili I simply emptied my fridge, tossing in whatever vegetables were there.

My final secret ingredient was a full teaspoon of Sambal Oelek which gives the chili a lovely “zip” – you have to be careful with the amount because a very little goes a l-o-n-g way. It gives you heat with a hint of garlic, but doesn’t  overpower the chili flavour.

The pot’s still simmering.I will leave it on low heat for another 10 minutes or so to give the carrots, cauliflower, cabbage time to soften more. Then I’ll set the pot aside to cool before putting single servings in containers and stashing them in my freezer.

Yum!

Dessert For Easter Dinner

I got assigned dessert for today’s Easter Sunday Dinner. I thought about it for a bit and decided the Hazelnut Torte recipe from my friend Marlene is an easy but tasty cake. Takes no time to whip up.

(click on the recipe and you’ll get a clear readable, printable single page copy)

Torte in the oven I decided to use the egg yokes (with a couple more eggs) to make a half (more or less) recipe of this delicious lemon curd:

Positively yummy! Tart, yet sweet (next time I’d go light on the sugar – I used 1 cup for a half recipe 3/4 c is more than enough)

Next I made a batch of no-churn vanilla ice cream to put on top of the torte:

Then to top it all off my sister Donna’s “Best Chocolate Sauce” (it really is!)

It’s overkill, I realize but each of these dessert elements is so decadent I couldn’t help but go overboard!

Sweet Kugel Time Again

It’s time to make my mother’s sweet kugel again – it’s a once a year thing which I bake around Christmas time. I’m a week early this year mostly because I’ve committed to making four and I wanted to get them done and in the freezer so I can cross them off my “to-do” list.

Sweet Kugel In The Oven

This year I had help – I was mentioning today would be kugel making day and Deb thought it would be interesting – I Invited her to help me make them. With two of us preparing the dough, slicing the apples, rolling dough… we were done the whole production in just over an hour including the clean up!

I took the kugels out of the baking dishes before they were fully cooled because the juices get very thick when cold and I wanted the pastry to fall out onto waxed paper when I inverted the dishes. They’re all wrapped and in the freezer and the dishes washed and put away.

A brief recap: this dish is made with a sticky stretchy dough – flour, a beaten egg, 1/4 c vegetable oil, 3/4 c water (pinch of salt). Once rolled out it’s covered with cinnamon/sugar, strawberry jam, cranberry sauce (with berries), finely sliced apples, raisins. Then you fold the dough edges over the filling, gingerly pick it up and plop it in to a greased baking dish bottom side up, sprinkle more cinnamon/sugar on top, bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes (until top starts to brown) then reduce heat to 325 and bake another hour, hour and a quarter, covered. The kitchen smells wonderful by the time the kugels are baked.

I described in detail how the kugels are made and provided the recipe two years ago. I made them the same way this time.

Wonderful with poultry.

I had one in my freezer from last year and when my friend Elayne was visiting late summer I was looking for a dessert and decided to defrost it and we had it with ice cream so while the dish is intended to be served as a savoury – it’s also a lovely dessert!

All Set To Bake

I’m all set to make and bake the Christmas cakes on the weekend. The fruit will have soaked in rum for a week (large white bowl with blue lid). I have the flour and sugar, baking soda and baking powder, molasses and semi-sweet chocolate, real vanilla and almond extract, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice and cinnamon (the seville orange marmalade has already been incorporated into the soaking fruit).

The foil baking pans and parchment paper are on hand, butter and eggs still in the refrigerator but I’ll bring them out Friday night so they can come to room temperature before I start to mix ingredients.

The Ingredients Ready To Go

I’ll start by prepping the foil load pans by adding a wee bit of vegetable oil to the bottom and sides of each (to stick the parchment in place), fitting in parchment paper (so I can lift out the cake more easily after they’ve cooled). Then I need to retrieve my lobster pot (an old 21 litre blue/white enamel canning pot I mostly use for mixing the Christmas cakes), wipe it out, find a sturdy mixing spoon because the fruit is heavy to mix.

21 litre Canning Pot

It’ll take me close to an hour to mix the batter, add and blend it with the fruit. Finally, I’ll partially fill the lined loaf pans (too full and they’ll overflow into the oven), then bake them in a slow oven until a skewer comes out clean.

If you’re interested here’s the recipe. Trust me, it’s a delicious dark fruit cake if you like dark fruit cake.

I haven’t mentioned the Christmas shortbread bars yet. It’s the only other Christmas baking I do. I make one cookie sheet, cut it into eighths and give 7 away! They’re too rich to keep around. They’ll get made closer to Christmas and this year I will try to remember to take a picture to share.

Sweet Kugel – 2016

Sweet Kugel

Sweet Kugel

That time of year again.Two days before Christmas – making the sweet kugel for Christmas dinner at Marlene’s. Can’t make just one, my sister Donna loves this kugel so one for her (for her freezer); and one for a friend also in time for Christmas dinner.

I described in detail last year how I make it – Sweet Kugel – so I won’t go into the details again. If you want to learn how it’s done click on the link.

They’ve been in the oven about 20 minutes and already the apartment is smelling wonderful!

Death By Chocolate Brownies (Gluten Free!)

brownies

This is what they look like – VERY chocolatey and moist.

Here’s the recipe from Delicious Obsessions (click on recipe to see an enlarged image you can print):

brownie-recipe

Here’s how I make them:

In blender put: cut up banana, vanilla, 2 eggs, maple syrup and 3 tbsp of coconut (or almond) milk and blend thoroughly

In a medium size bowl: measure out the cocoa powder and baking soda (I use 1 tsp).

Add wet to dry and mix well. I add raisins, sometimes coconut, ground pecans. (You could also add candied ginger bits if you weren’t worried about cane sugar…)

Pour into a parchment lined 8×8 or 9×9 cake pan, bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

This is important: let brownies cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.

The brownies freeze well. I get 16 servings from one pan – they’re so rich that I quarter the brownies, then quarter them again.

I serve with Hagen Das Limoncello Gelato (which contains, of course, diary):

lemon-gelato

Yum! The tanginess of the lemon with the intense chocolate is very satisfying. You can even go further and splash some Bailey’s Irish Cream over the whole thing but then, of course you’re adding more sugar and diary! But who really cares, right?

The recipe (without the additions) can be gluten, dairy, and grain free!

Our Traditional Sweet Kugel

My mother used to make this dish to accompany a savoury meal – not just for Christmas, she made it on other holiday occasions. I make it only at Christmas if I’m asked to – otherwise I’d simply eat the whole thing myself….

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to make the sweet kugel for Christmas dinner. The dish used to be my youngest sister’s favourite, I asked if she wanted one for her freezer. So, I was making two. Last night a friend was discussing her modest Christmas dinner with her husband and her mother – I offered to make one for her, too.

Over the last few days I have been collecting the ingredients – this afternoon I made the kugels.  


It’s a tricky dough – flour, egg, water, small amount of oil, pinch of salt. It’s very stretchy and sticky. Once rolled out (on a heavily floured board) it gets covered with cranberry sauce, strawberry jam, sliced apples, raisins, a drizzle of vegetable oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. THEN you try rolling it (like a strudel – which is what this kugel sort of is). I flop the edges toward the centre, then finally get my hands underneath, turn it over, and drop it into an oiled round baking dish.

Small kugels like these bake for about an hour and a half at a 325 oven. If the top starts getting too dark, I cover them with foil.

I let them cool – while still a bit warm I removed them from the baking dish (if I put them in the fridge in the original dish everything sticks and it takes a long soak to clean things up.)

Ready to be put in an oven proof dish to reheat covered with foil for about 30 minutes and then served with the turkey!

Yum!

(I put a spoon in the one for my sister – it’s definitely good.)