Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vegetable Recycle

Since I'm pretty much down to my last container of my frozen homemade tomatoes I wanted to try a version of my pumpkin chili without tomatoes......so what is making my latest batch of chili red?  Mostly the red stems of the chard bunch I bought today!  For some reason I feel really good "recycling" the stems of chard and some varieties of kale, always have, always will!  I've been posting about it for years;
Although I'm not nearly obsessive as I used to be, I do take to mind a bigger picture when purchasing kale and chard.  If what I plan on making leans towards yellow/orange I will buy regular white chard, or
yellow chard, but for red stews/chilis I will always buy red.  Kale can be a bit funny.  The super curly kale, and collard greens have stems much to fibrous to recycle and I have to throw them out (I currently do not compost), so unless I'm really wanting collards (yum) I tend to buy chard and Lacinato kale so I can make use of the stems.

When I use stems for stews and chilis I first saute the onion/celery and add them after about 5 minutes.  I then add any diced peppers, if I'm using them (red bell, jalapeno, pablano, etc.).

I've also been digging bar-b-que flavor!  What's not to like about barbecue?  Sweet, sour (vinegar), spicy!  Homerun...unless you are one of those people afraid of sugar (sweetness)....which I am not, so I'm good!  The basic barbecue sauce combination does indeed include tomatoes OR tomato paste, which I happen to have a couple of tablespoons in my freezer....viola!  Tomato paste, vinegar (thanks to Jeff Behrend's HOT dilly beans!), brown sugar and chili spices (chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic).

Tonight's chili started with diced:

red chard stems
red bell
green bell

chili spices (smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano)
garlic (pressed)

1/4-1/2 c vinegar to deglaze the pan (I used homemade dilly/chili vinegar)
6 c. water (total)
1/4 brown sugar
2 tbl tomato paste

1 1/2 c lentils (normally I use 1 c brown, 1/2 c red, but I only had brown tonight)
1/2 Kabocha squash (pumpkin) cut into 1 inch chunks

Pressure cook for 20 min, OR cook for 45 min on stovetop.  (more details by request)

I also roasted some eggplant, mushrooms and butternut squash for lunch tomorrow.  I'm completely
sold on roasted eggplant these days and only look in my fridge for an accompaniment if I have anything.  Tonight I had mushrooms and a half of a butternut squash, so all of it went into a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

One last thing....I'm soaking some garbanzo beans for hummus tomorrow morning.  Goodness....I used to make hummus every week, but it's been at least a year, maybe two, since I made my last batch!  First thing in the morning I'll finish it.

Life is so good lately....I'm loving it!