This Thursday was the first Mastercraft Chili Cook Off put together by the crew at Big Ink. I made a chili on behalf of the What Cheer team, and Becca made corn bread. We didn’t win (Big Ink’s delicious chili did) but we were the best vegetarian chili! Also the only one.
I based my recipe off of the Ultimate Vegan Chili from Vegetarian Times, but made a few tweaks. Here is my rendition.
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 ½ tsp. chili powder
- ¾ tsp. celery salt
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. ancho pepper powder
- 2 chile de árbol, seeded and minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ~2 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
- 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 12-oz. pkgs. soy ground, chopped
- 3 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, partially drained
- 1 15-oz. can light red kidney beans, partially drained
- 1 15-oz. can dark red kidney beans, partially drained
- 1 15-oz. can pinto beans, partially drained
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add onion, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
Add garlic, chipotle chile, and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes until softened.
Add soy ground, tomato paste, spice mix and 1 cup water; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add beans, carrots, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer 1 hour, or until carrots are tender.
Serve with crumbled Queso Blanco on top.
What I will do differently next time.
My chili was too thick, so next time I will greatly reduce the amount I drain from my beans, and I may add stock at the end if it still looks to thick.
I’d like to increase the amount of ancho chili, I love that smoky flavor. I’d also like to try adding in a bit of dark chocolate and cinnamon, something that the Big Ink team did to great success.
I really enjoyed the toothiness of the carrots, so next time I might add in a stalk or two of celery as well. The Burns & McDonnell chili had celery in it, and I liked that.
Lastly, this chili needed more heat. I like the back end burn of cayenne, so I think I’ll add more of that. Another chile de árbol couldn’t hurt either.
Thirty-one days ago I decided to lose some weight.
I haven’t made any huge changes in my diet, just cutting down on how much I eat, when I eat it and what it is. Soda is nearly gone, as are sweet coffee drinks. I no longer graze, and if I do need a snack I lean towards something healthier. For example I started keeping trail mix at work instead of hitting up the vending machine for a candy bar or something.
A month later I’m down about six pounds. It’s not a super smooth curve, but it’s gradual and it’s easy. I’ll keep on trucking, and I need to add some exercise in there, so we’ll see what the next few months hold.
For a while, we’ve been slicing our own lunch meat and cheese. I got the slicer for Christmas a year or two ago, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I haven’t done the math on anything, but I’m pretty sure it is a decent amount cheaper than buying pre-sliced. It’s not as thin as you can get at a deli, but it’s still delicious.
We usually slice ham, but this time I bought a cheap Turkey ham to try out. It sliced well, and tastes good, but looks a little odd and not necessarily appetizing.
Slicing is super easy. My slicer doesn’t cut perfectly even, so I rotate the meat every once in a while to keep from having a lopsided hunk of meat.
Slicing The Ham
The Whole Ham, Sliced
We package our meats in little packets of wax paper. It’s about enough for a week or so of sandwiches. We then throw these in gallon freezer bags and thaw them out when we need more meat.
The Packaged Ham
Slicing cheese can be a bit more difficult. It tends to crumble if you freeze and thaw it before slicing, so be sure to buy your cheese right before slicing.
We Sliced Cheddar and Provolone
The Cheddar, Split For Slicing
One tip we picked up after our first cheese slicing was to place slips of wax paper between each slice of cheese. It takes less time than you think, and is highly advised unless you want five or six fused together slices on each sandwich.
Preparing Wax Paper Cheese Slips
The Wax Paper Between Slices
Here’s the result of our slicing, all told it probably took an hour or so and should keep us in sandwiches for several months. Add in some of Darcy’s excellent home made bread and you’ve got a delicious lunch.
The Results of Our Labor
If you ever want to try it out without the up front slicer investment, just let me know and I can loan you the machine.
Summer is here and I thought I’d post some recent photos from around the house.
Melvin The Toad Lives In Our Backyard
Garden Herbs Drying
Darcy Making Flour Torilla Chips
Home Fried Flour Tortilla Chips
For those concerned, the chips were immediately consumed with homemade salsa.
They were delicious.