Sunday, May 20, 2007

Chili. In May?

This year, yes. Until last week, it had still been cool most days, and one night I had a hankering for chili.

Off-topic: Speaking of hankering, does anyone remember THIS ridiculous jingle on kids' tv programming years ago?... "I hanker for a hunk-a, hanker for a hunk of cheese!" I can't believe I even found this clip. Man, when I see this again, it is startling how much we are indeed 'programmed' to eat meat, cheese and milk from wee ages. I'm just a kiddo, watchin' some Saturday cartoons and out comes this odd little character in cowboy boots and a hat singing this cheesy jingle. And we wonder why it's so hard for people to understand that we shouldn't be eating animal products?! Yeah.

Back to the chili. I threw together a small batch with what was on hand in my fridge and pantry. Pulled out crushed tomatoes, a can each of black beans and kidney beans. I sauteed chopped onion, celery, fennel (yeah, fennel! it worked nicely, softening and mellowing through cooking, adding some natural sweetness to the chili), and garlic in a touch of oil, along with some salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and dried oregano. Let the lot cook on medium-low heat (covered), then when the onions were softened up some, I added in the crushed tomatoes, beans (rinsed and drained). I really wanted the cumin flavor to be pronounced, so I added more throughout the cooking to taste. During the last 5 or so minutes of cooking, I also added some frozen peas and cooked through until just nicely tender. Served, as you can see with avocado and cilantro, and also some lime wedges to squeeze over the chili and 'brighten' the flavors. Paired with a small salad and bread, the meal was complete.

Chili is one of those foods that is easy to make, easy to customize, and most easy to veganize. Even in warmer days, you can reheat leftovers just enough to tuck in a taco shell and top with lots of fresh, cooling toppings like guacamole, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and grated jicama.

Chili is probably one of the first foods most of us make as 'new vegans'. For any new(er) vegans out there, you should check out Erik Marcus' amazon links. He recommends several essential vegan books (Vive is one of them - thanks, Erik!), and also gives tips and advice on making that vegan transition. When you click through these links, please click the "helpful" rating link (on the right hand side of screen). Rating these lists as "helpful" will increase the exposure of these lists to other people. This is important, so please exercise that clicking finger!

We could have used some chocolate cake that day. Michelle would have shared some. Check out it out!! Awesome! After coaxing you guys to make that cake, Michelle finally caved! I'll have to post this recipe soon for everyone to try it out.

Wiped! post-note... reading further I'm amused to learn that the author has almost broken her nose from walking into a wall in the middle of the night - even with daily assistance of a nanny, and not breastfeeding. All I can think at this point is "I'm flipping lucky I didn't break a leg"! Many of us moms and dads don't have the extra help of a nanny (or extended family) and breastfeeding means you cannot pass the baby off for feedings. I wouldn't have wanted to anyhow. Breastfeeding is well worth the time involved... for many reasons. I talk a little about breastfeeding in Vive, as well as give a food introduction guide for babes and newborns, for those of you that are interested. Wiped! is still a funny read, and I'm not minimizing the author's exhausted state. At all. I't just odd reading those nanny-feeding-her baby (um, what?) references.

Last note on the book cover for Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. We are making some changes, and as soon as we have a cover that will be publicized, I'll post it!


maybepigscanfly said...

Avocadoes finally went on sale by me, and I've been planning on using it tonight for chili because it's finally ripe. I was thinking that I'd make your soul-ful chili from TEV. When I begame vegetarian chili was for sure something I ate a lot at first.

Oh yes, we are definitely programed to eat dairy and meat from a young age. But what's always surprising to me is how many people have never even heard the word vegan before. I get people pronouncing it with a a "j" sound instead of a "g" sound, all the time.

Glad you're enjoying the book.

... I have a question- Have you ever made your fudgy brownies with carob chips and not chocolate chips?

3veggies said...

Those fudgy brownies are to die for! (Carob, I might give that a try)My husband even said they are the best and that is a GREAT compliment. I have never been able to get vegan brownies right. I had left over ground up chips and put them in the homestyle cc cookies. They looked really neat, speckley.
I do have a problem with VIVE, good one maybe. hehe Everytime I make something I end up making what is on the other page as well. Everything looks so good and well tastes just as great!!!
Thank You!!!

aimee said...

As much as I now can't stand the "slab-or-slice-or-chunk-of...cheese" I did always enjoy "conjuction, junction what's your function..."! We've had a cold snap of weather as well and guess what I cooked? Yep, chili! So easy to just throw stuff in a pot (especially those fire-roasted tomatoes!). I haven't tried fennel, though which sounds like an interesting addition. Thanks for the tip!

Dreena said...

Hi Teresa, I adore avocadoes with chili - well with anything spicy really! There's also a chili recipe in Vive - might be a tad quicker than TEV's (not by much though), but TEV's has more different veggies!! Yes, I often hear "ve'j'an". Vegan freaks had a clip on their #70 podcast where an interviewer asked people if they knew what the word 'vegan' meant. So few knew!! Someone said "is it a kind of bug?" Funny, but wow, we've got a lot of work to do! On the brownies, I've never made them with carob, but I think you could do so - and also use carob powder in place of the cocoa powder. Are you making them for someone with cocoa sensitivities, or just curious to change them up with carob? If you give them a go, let me know how they turn out. Wow, I've rambled!

3veggies, thanks, that's sweet. Lovin' the brownies - awesome!! Love the idea of the chopped chips in the cookies too - great idea. I keep extras in a covered container - like a ziploc, but you can use any recycled container like soy yogurt, etc. Anyhow, sometimes I'll crush up a bigger batch and have it in the container for next time round. (when the brownie 'hankering' is calling!)

Aimee, yeah, yeah! I had to look that one up on You Tube to remember it. My favorite was "Yuck Mouth"... "how's about a little kiss"!! At least there were *some* useful messages in those commercials!

Anonymous said...

help! what we do we do about this?? this is the #4 most emailed story in the New York Times, and it's titled "Death by Veganism"

Anonymous said...

I'll take Chili anytime! I'm back blogging and blogging a LOT btw...lost a lot of my lurkers during my hiatus. bummer. Miss you and your comments! I hope to visit more from now on! I will also be closing Veggin Out at the end of the

Chat with ya soon!

Veg-a-Nut said...

You are so right about chili. It is a vegan's heaven. We can make it so many ways and it healthy, tasty, and fun to experiment with.

I am with you on the whole programming issue of meat and dairy. They make all the milk commercials so they attract our children. They have movies stars and sports heros drinking the milk and our children look up to them. I have to tell you, my favorite commercial is the one with the cows drinking "Silk Soymilk" That is the one I love!! Go Silk!

Can't wait to see the cover and then we all know we are one step closer to the finished product. "Yeepee!"

Carrie™ said...

Darnitall!! I was working so much, I missed the preview covers.
I vaguely remember that cheese commercial. When it started, I thought, "oh, not this guy again". I didn't like them when they originally aired.
I sometimes make chili in the summer! If I'm craving it, what's the difference?
I'm all for breast feeding. I was a breast fed baby and have heard my mom telling some funny stories about what she went through. I thank her for it though - today I'm strong & healthy because I got started off right!

Dreena said...

Anonymous, you can write a letter to the editor. Go to for Erik's tips on getting your letter printed - he just did a short podcast about this article.

Hi Harmonia! :) I'll check in with you and catch up on some of your posts... nice to see you back!

Veg-A-Nut, oh yeah, I've seen that one too. Anything that might make people stop and think about what they are eating/drinking - even for a minute - is a good thing. Your book is in the mail, btw. Went early last week - you should have it soon. :)

Hi Carrie, well hopefully you'll see the new cover soon enough! It was a whirlwind of comment activity, I tell you!! You're lucky to have been breastfed in that time. We are close in age, and I know that many women didn't breastfeed then. We didn't even have formula either. Carnation milk + water!! Can you believe that? Amazing how women were informed not to breastfeed for so long. Thank goodness there is so much solid support and evidence for breastfeeding now.

Michelle said...

i wasn't breastfed either :( neither was my husband. i had regular fomula, and kurt was on soy formula.. and he started solids at 6 weeks old! ack!!!

thankfully, my kids and my niece and nephew are all fed on momma milk! hopefully this next generation will do better than we did!

3veggies said...

If man kind would just back up and look at what nature intended. A womans breasts give milk for a reason, to feed their baby. A mother cow has milk to feed her baby not humans. Sadly most never even get their mothers milk. People shouldn't need evidence, seems like the world we live in has blinders on. It is so sad :(

BTW- we are now having chili tonight, lol corn bread and corn on the cob. its just over cast and rainy, perfect day for it