Slow Food Sunday: Chili

Nomad makes great chili, I love it and all our friends love it. Today he made a batch and I wrote down how he made it. This time he used only bell peppers as vegetables, but sometimes he has used other vegetables too, like eggplant or zucchini. You can use beans of your choice, for example combination of kidney beans and white beans are great. Long simmering time smooths the burning of the chili peppers and makes the chili perfect. Also plain soy yogurt or Oatly creme fraiche cuts down the heat, serve the yogurt plain or season it with salt, pepper and lime juice.

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Vegan Chili

1,5 tbsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
3 Scotch Bonnets or other hot peppers
4-5 garlic cloves
2-3 onions
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4-5 tbsp oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
few pieces of dark chocolate (about 25 g)
2,5 dl dark beer (make sure it’s vegan, for example Guiness isn’t)
10-12 dl cooked beans (or 3 cans)
2 cans crushed tomatoes

Grind cumin seeds and black pepper. Finely chop chili peppers, garlic and onions. Chop the bell peppers in little bigger chunks. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté cumin, black pepper and chili pepper for a minute. Add onion, garlic and liquid smoke and continue sautéing until onions are soft. Add bell peppers and few minutes later the chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, add beer and simmer until the sauce gets thicker. Add beans and tomatoes and simmer a few hours.

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Trinidad Corn Soup

Soup is often served as a starter, but in Finland it’s usually the main course. According to what I’ve read recently, in Trinidad soup is served as a main course too. Trinidad Corn Soup is filled with peas and vegetables, and you won’t miss a main dish after eating this. I read many recipes and made my version based on them. They all included corn, split peas, corn dumplings, chili pepper and carrots. Potatoes and coconut milk also seem to be popular ingredients. Sweet potatoes and chickpeas can be used too.

The soup is usually made with sliced corn ears, but barbecue season is over and whole corns weren’t available anymore, so we used canned baby corn instead. If you have fresh corn ears, slice them and add to the pot at the same time with dumplings.

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Trinidad Corn Soup

2,5 dl split peas
water
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
1 tbsp oil
1 bell pepper
1 carrot
2-3 dl pumpkin cubes
1 scotch bonnet or other hot chili pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp lovage
1,5 dl frozen corn
1 can baby corn

dumplings:
0,75 dl cornmeal
0,5 dl water

Soak the split peas overnight. Rinse.
Peel and chop the onion and garlic, chop celery. Heat the oil in pot and sauté onion, garlic and celery until onion is soft. Add 1,5 l water and bring to boil. Meanwhile peel and dice the carrot, and chop both peppers. When water is boiling, add peas, chopped vegetables and herbs. Simmer about an hour or until peas are soft. Use a handheld blender to puree the soup. You can puree it completely smooth or leave it chunky.

Make the dumplings: Mix cornmeal and water together to get a thick dough. Add bit more either ingredient if needed. Form into small balls. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add dumplings. Simmer 10-15 minutes and add both corns. Simmer 10 more minutes, adjust seasoning and enjoy.

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Advent Calendar

Some years ago my sister made me an advent calendar, I think it was 2005 or 2007. The calendar is made of two green ribbons and there are 12 small bags on each. Each bag contained a recipe and a small surprise (stickers, candy etc.). Next year I filled the calendar and sent it bag to my sister and we’ve been sending it to each other every year since.

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This year it was my turn to fill the calendar. I won’t tell you what I filled it with, because she’ll probably read this post. But I think it’s safe to tell that on 5th day she got dried chili (grown by us) and a recipe for a soup.

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Sunny Sweet Potato Soup

1 onion (or piece of leek)
2-3 garlic cloves
1-2 mild chili peppers
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp thyme
200 g passata
1 l water
juice of 1 large orange and 1 tsp grated peel
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 sweet potato (400 g)
200 g frozen peas
salt and pepper

plain soy yogurt for serving (optional)

Chop or thinly slice the onion. Mince the garlic cloves and chili peppers. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the onion and thyme couple of minutes. Add garlic and chili and continue sautéing until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the passata, water, orange juice & peel, cinnamon and bay leaf. Bring to boil and add peeled and diced sweet potato. Simmer until the sweet potato is soft, add the peas in the end of simmering. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaf. Serve with or without a spoonful of plain soy yogurt.

Yet another Slowfood Sunday

Here we go again with another take on the Slowfood Sunday. Minimal effort, maximum results, just like a Sunday should be. The original recipe calls for a crockpot and labels this as a soup. Well, our version is a stew made in our cast-iron magic pot.

The recipe of the stew is sourced from this recipe at Savvy Vegetarian. Our version substitutes sweet potato with ordinary potato, scallions with onion, and the red pepper flakes with chili. For the chili part we used maybe 1/4 tsp of Blair’s Ultra Death 20/20 and 1 tsp of extra hot chili powder. Since we were out of curry powder, we quickly made some ourselves by using this recipe from Allrecipes.com. A nice basic curry.

The stew took some five hours in 175°C and the results were absolutely fantastic. A nice curried taste complemented by a very subtle sting from the chili. We had to add some water during the cooking process to avoid the food from becoming too dry, so if you’re going to try this out, keep this in mind.

Restaurant Day on Feb. 4, 2012

Restaurant day on Saturday went well. We served chili, Caribbean lentil soup, Mexican chocolate cake, pumpkin muffins, coffee and tea. All the food was ready when we opened our restaurant, and they tasted good. More customers would have been welcome, we had quite a lot of leftovers. One reason for lack of customers could have been the freezing weather, and some people may not feel comfortable about going to strangers’ homes to eat. Next Restaurant Day will be in May, and maybe then we’ll have an outdoor restaurant again.

Even if we didn’t have many customers, I don’t have a reason to complain. We got enough money to cover the expenses and we got plenty of food for ourselves. We didn’t have to cook for ourselves on the weekend and we still have some soup and chili in the freezer. It was also nice to eat muffins on Sunday while we played Ticket to Ride board game with our friends, and my coworkers were very pleased, because I served the leftover cake on coffee break at work. Couple of them also asked for the recipe, and if you’re interested, check here. It’s delicious and very easy to make.

Once again, we were too busy with cooking and serving and forgot to take photos.

Thursday Stir-Fry

I haven’t cooked much with tempeh, because it’s rather hard to find here in Finland. Last week I was visiting my sister in Helsinki and brought home two packaged of tempeh. One is in the freezer for later use and one was used for noodle stir-fry today with vegetables we had in fridge and freezer.

Tempeh and Noodle Stir-fry

3 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 habanero
400 g tempeh (1 package)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp ginger powder
1-2 onions
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
piece of rutabaga
florets of 1 broccoli
1 bell pepper
2-3 handfuls snow peas (frozen)

100-150 g whole wheat noodles

soy sauce and/or hot sauce for serving (optional)

You can first boil your tempeh 10-20 minutes to remove bitterness. Cube the tempeh and mince the habanero. Slice the onion and garlic. Cut carrots, rutabaga and bell pepper into sticks.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok and fry cumin, paprika and habanero about 30 seconds. Add tempeh and stir to cover with spicy oil. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and stir again. Fry, stirring often, until tempeh is nicely browned. Remove from the wok.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in the wok and fry ginger and mustard seeds about a minute. Add onion and garlic. Fry couple of minutes, add carrot and rutabaga, then bell pepper and broccoli. Boil the noodles 2-3 minutes or according the instructions on the package while you stir-fry the veggies. When the vegetables are almost done, add snow peas. When they’ve thawed, add noodles and tempeh.