Tag Archives: Soup

Chili for Justice

Today was the annual Equal Justice Foundation Chili Cook-off at my home-away-from-home, the Boyd Law Building.  Because I am an ardent supporter of law students doing public interest work, as well as any event that allows me to bring a kitchen appliance to school, I made a batch of chili.

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Alas, it was not the winning entry, but it’s still good, I promise!  See—these ladies thought so:

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There was some excellent competition–check out this line-up:

When looking for a recipe to start from, I went straight to the ultimate online emporium of deliciousness, the Whole Foods website.  I used one of their veggie chili recipes for inspiration, but modified it because it involved eggplant, and I thought eggplant in chili sounded a little sketchy.  I used acorn squash instead—roasted at 400 for about 30 minutes.

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I drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, put a bit of water in the bottom of the pan, and covered with foil before roasting.  Because that’s what my mom does, and that’s a good enough reason for anything, I think.

Saute  the onion, garlic, corn kernels, and jalapeno in a tablespoon or so of olive oil for about 5 minutes, and then add the spices.

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Then add the beans, tomatoes, and veggie stock and simmer until your chili intuition tells you you’re on the home stretch.  (I’d say I let it go for about 20 minutes.)  Add the acorn squash (just scrape it out of the skin and break it up in the chili as you stir) for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.  Finally, add the lime zest and juice just before serving and stir.

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Acorn Chili

  • 1 c. frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds scraped out, and roasted until tender
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced (or one small)
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced (seeds and ribs included for spice)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can tomatoes (the fire-roasted kind are the best, I think)
  • 2 cups veggie stock/broth (add more towards the end if you’d like thinner chili)
  • zest and juice of one lime

Saute the onion, corn kernels, minced garlic, and jalapeno until softened and fragrant (5 minutes or so).  Add the spices and stir.  Next, add the beans, tomatoes, and veggie stock and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Scoop the flesh of the roasted acorn squash into the chili and simmer for another 10 minutes, breaking up the squash as you stir.  Add the lime zest and juice just before serving.

Soup for the snowpocalypse

As you probably know, Mother Nature had a giant snow-tantrum recently that resulted in some class cancellations (WOO!).  Consequently, I had a little staycation at my apartment.  I got some reading done, cleaned, de-cluttered, and worked out.  But, of course, it wasn’t all business.  I also figured out how to make a stylish toga out of a twin bed sheet (for an upcoming social event) and made a mess in my kitchen!

Snow events call for soup, obviously.  I have a newfound love for parsnips, and a friend of mine recently shared a recipe for parsnip soup on my facebook wall.  I don’t have internet access at home, so I couldn’t check the exact ingredients and measurements, but I did have a bag of the aforementioned root vegetables, a Dutch oven, and my lively imagination.

Chopping first: I diced half an onion, minced some garlic, peeled and diced the parsnips, and diced some carrots.  It’s good to get all the ingredients ready to party before you turn on the heat.

I sautéed the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until softened and almost translucent, and then added curry powder, pepper, and a little salt.  (Careful with the salt when you’re going to be using boxed stock/broth—they can be salty, so go easy to start and taste as you go.)  Then I added vegetable stock, brought it to a boil, and dropped in the parsnips and carrots.

Reduce the heat as needed so the veggies are simmering, not boiling like crazy, and stir occasionally until they’re tender.  Mine took 8-10 minutes, but it’ll just depend on how large or small your pieces are.  Next up: puree-ing.  (Is that a verb?  I just made it one.)  I had never pureed a soup before, so I consulted the almighty Bittman Bible of Vegetarianism:

This is a wonderful book that I got as a gift from a wonderful friend, and I look stuff up in it all the time.  I don’t use it for the recipes so much as for the charts, ideas, and exhaustive explanations of everything you need to know about cooking veggie-ful feasts.  The tofu tutorial is a tour de force, let me tell you.  Anyway, Mr. Bittman had some words about pureed veggie soups…

I took his warning to heart and let the soup cool down a bit.  In the meantime, I went outside to attempt to remove my car from its snowy parking lot prison.  Never one for winter-weather preparedness, I don’t actually own a shovel.  Luckily, a nice fellow saw me trying to move a knee-high pile of snow with a cookie sheet and let me borrow his.  After some serious shoveling, I come back inside and put a few ladles of soup into my retro-fab blender.

I think the towel on top is a good idea.  I pureed the soup in 3 batches—here’s what it looked like:

Rave, rave, rave reviews on this stuff!  I loved it.  It looks kind of like baby food, which I suppose might turn some people off, but it tastes like a big potholder hug in a bowl and it’s super-duper nutritious to boot.  I had a bowl (with some chickpeas and scallions on top) while watching Singin’ in the Rain and basking in my spontaneous day of vacation, and it was just the best.  Picture and recipe below…farewell for now and happy shoveling!

Curried Parsnip and Carrot Soup

  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • About 5 medium to large parsnips, peeled and diced
  • About 2 cups baby carrots, diced the same size as the parsnips
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 cups vegetable stock

Sautee the onion and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven in about 1 tbsp of your preferred oil.  Cook until softened and nearly translucent.  Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder, plus salt and pepper to taste.  Stir into the onions and garlic, and then add the vegetable stock.  Bring the stock to a boil, add the carrots and parsnips, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender (test them with a fork or taste one).  Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool a bit.  Puree the soup in several batches in a blender* and then return it to the pot to heat it through again if you’re going to serve it right away.  If needed, add a bit more stock to thin it out.  Taste and add more seasoning if you wish.

*If you have a fancy-schmancy immersion blender, you can certainly use that and puree the soup right in the pot you cooked it in.

P.S. Here’s the link to the recipe that inspired my little soup project.

She studies/slow-cooks at the table

This will be fast, and I’m not gonna proofread, OK?  It’s finals time and my brain is slowly melting, so there’ll probably be lots of typos and you can just DEAL WITH IT.  (Sorry, finals rage.)  Anyway, I know I should be bookin’ all the time, but a girl has got to maintain her sanity to perform at her peak, and cooking is a serious component of my sanity.

Also, yesterday I ate nothing but bread, almond butter, and freezer pops, and I did not feel so hot.  And the day before that I ate a microwaveable meal.  WHO AM I?  So, say hello to the working woman’s best friend:

Crockpots are brilliant.  You just drop everything in and go about your business, and it knows what to do.  When you come back from the library, bleary-eyed and over-caffeinated, your apartment smells all homey.

I did a super-market sweep on my way home from class, inspired by this recipe for “Spicy African Peanut Stew,” and came home to throw the following ingredients into my kitchen-appliance-stay-at-home-spouse:

  • 1/2 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 cubed sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • about a 1″ piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 diced yellow squash
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c. vegetable stock
  • golf-ball sized blob of peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. quinoa

Then I turned it on low and got to studyin’.

Does that look like a party or what?

I let it cook for about 6 hours.  (No stirring!  Just let it happen.)  And it was delish!

OK, that’s it.  See you all again when I am full of Christmas cheer and covered in flour from CHRISTMAS BAKING and wearing the holiday cardigan that I have draped over my couch as a beacon of hope!