“Cold” Weather Cooking

13 Dec

So it’s that time of year where those of us who live in the desert pretend that it is actually cold enough to break out the scarves and bubble jackets (the blood thins…I swear!).  I’d say Phoenix qualifies as “chilly” at best, but it is still a good excuse to prepare cold weather favorites like soups and stews.  After finishing one of my finals yesterday I decided to drop by Green: New American Vegetarian restaurant to celebrate yet another small victory!  For all you veggies and wannabe veggies, this is an excellent place to go if you just want something that reminds you of meatier times.  The fake meat abounds at Green, and it tastes so close to the real thing that you almost feel guilty eating it.  I was also happy to learn that the “meat” is not made from wheat gluten as so many of them are.  They have an entire gluten free menu that doesn’t make you feel limited at all.  I’m not 100% gluten free, but experimenting 🙂  They do use a LOT of soy however which I will discuss in a later post.

Anyhow…the reason I bring Green up is because I had a cup of soup there that absolutely Rocked my FACE OFF!!!  and it inspired me to find a cold weather recipe that I could prepare at home.  I made this one last year and have been waiting for it to be chilly enough to prepare again.  Initially I made it in the crock pot, which I do recommend as the flavors are really able to shine after slow cooking.  However, my lack of foresight yesterday forced me to prepare it on the stove.  It was still delicious, but a little less delicious than the crock version.  It’s a dairy free, gluten-free, easy to prepare and easy to customize recipe.  The spices are warming on a cold winter’s evening and the sweet and savory flavors really satisfy…Enjoy!!

I pulled the recipe off the internet forever ago and I’m not sure where I found it…below is the original I copied to my archives with commentary on last nights preparation 🙂

Jamaican Red Bean Stew

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil ( I used coconut oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced baby carrots (I only had about 1 cup and it’s all good)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, diced (used a yam because that’s what I had)
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp curry powder ( I used curry powder, but I bet a Thai curry paste would also be delicious!!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (16 oz) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed* (definitely buy organic canned goods…read the labels on conventional and you will know why 🙂
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 – 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water ( I used water this time, but veg broth makes for a better stew)
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

1. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until they become aromatic…this is if you are opting for stovetop preparation.  If using a crock then turn it up to high, add oil, garlic and scallions and cover while you prepare everything else.

2. add carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes

3. throw in the spices

4. add broth, coconut milk and kidney beans

5. for stovetop prep, turn heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes until potatoes are tender (it never hurts to check ’em at 30 min…I know they cooked faster than I expected!)

6. for crock prep- turn to low and let cook for 6-8 hours.

Serve over rice or quinoa or with a hearty bread.

*****P.S.  I also added fresh spinach during the last 10 minutes of cooking for some added greenery…delish!!)*****

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