Cooking with Beer: Beer Bread and Vegetarian Chili

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So we had some nonalcoholic beer in the fridge that I purchased to recreate beer-battered squash flowers and beer-battered avocado fries and so, I used the magic powers of Google to find some uses for it (because just drinking it would be boring).

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I found two recipes — a beer bread recipe and a vegetarian chili recipe — that fit the bill. And both are easy as could be–essentially, you just throw everything together, let it cook or bake for a while, and sit back and enjoy an episode of Entourage or two on DVD. Simple.

 Lucky for me, the day I made these was uncharacteristically cold (around 75–it felt like a deep freezer after the >95 week we’d had earlier) and so having the oven and stove running was actually comforting instead of sweat-inducing.

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The bread came out delicious–subtly sweet from the brown sugar, with a delicious crust and tender inside. The chili was a bit of an experiment, and I’m happy to report it too hit the spot–three bean, tofu, spice-heavy. Just what the doctor ordered.

Chili and homemade bread. Perfecto comfort meal.

DSCN4411Without further ado:

Beer Bread

Adapted from this recipe

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

12 ounces beer

Oven: 350°F. Grease and flour a 9.5×13″ loaf pan.

Sift the flours and combine with sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add in the beer and stir to combine. Pour into loaf pan, smooth out, bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick is clean when inserted and removed from the bread.

Optional: before baking, pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter on top.

Vegetarian Chili

Adapted from this recipe

28 ounces of canned tomatoes (or fresh)

1 15-ounce can garbanzos

1 15-ounce can kidney beans

1 15-ounce can chickpeas

1 cup or half a block tofu, crumbled

1 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin seed

1 tablespoon turmeric

sprinkle of parsley

spices to your liking (ginger, etc)

1 12-ounce can of beer

plain greek yogurt, for serving

Combine everything but yogurt in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

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This was a really, really good meal. Satisfying. Vegan if you omit the yogurt. See the melty butter (er, earth balance)… mm. It’s melty because that bread is still warm from the oven–what a rare luxury to eat homemade crusty bread. No wonder it’s all gone (within two days). The beer bread goes deliciously with the chili… even if it’s not a cold winter night. Summer has some chilly days too. And the chilly days are perfect… for chili. See what I did there…?

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Addicting Quinoa Veggie Salad

Believe you me, I could eat this

all

day

long

Addicting Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Adapted from… me!

2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed

4 cups water

juice of 1/2 lemon

1-2 tablespoons evoo

1 tablespoon lemon zest

black pepper

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can corn, rinsed or package/0.5 bag frozen corn, thawed

1 avocado, cubed

1 tomato, cubed, with a pinch of salt sprinkled on it

Onion, chopped (I hate raw onion, so I didn’t use, but would probably a nice addition for those raw-onion fans out there)

1.5 cups edamame seeds (I had a frozen package that I steamed in the microwave)

10 leaves cilantro, torn up

10 leaves basil, torn up

Cook quinoa in 4 cups of water per package directions.

Combine lemon zest, juice, evoo, and pepper. Toss with black beans, corn, avocado, tomato, edamame, cilantro, and basil.

Once done, transfer quinoa to a large bowl and toss with veggie mix until combined.

Say who? C’est moi!

To photograph, I arranged the veggies on top of a quinoa bed for photogenicity. You can eat it this way too, but I prefer it combined.

Okay, I have made a similar salad before. But not with fresh herbs, and not with edamame! The possibilities are endless and I loved having more green yummies in the salad. Creamy avocado, sweet crunchy corn, satisfying black beans & quinoa, tangy lemon, savory tomato… It’s a total one-pot meal. Lovelovelove. And so easy to make! I swear you’ll want to eat the whole bowl.  Not to mention, full of plant protein, complex carbohydrates, good-for-you fats, antioxidants, the whole shebang!

Note: this tastes best the day it’s made; the lemon flavor diminishes when it sits for a while.

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

I am all about cooking on the breaks. And so on the lovely 4th of July weekend, I came home and cooked and cooked and cooked.

Maybe inspired by the many toppings of the customized burgers at The Counter, I had an itch to make quinoa and black bean burgers with different topping combinations; I asked everyone (um… my mom and dad) what their favorite burger toppings would be.

It was so much fun preparing all of the “condiments” and the burgers themselves, which although a bit crumbly (live and learn), were very delish.

Red Quinoa Black Bean Burgers

Adapted from this recipe

3 cups canned black beans, drained and smooshed a little

1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/4 cup green bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice

1/2 small white onion, 1/4-inch dice

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Sea salt

Olive oil

Add olive oil to a skillet and sautee the onion until caramelized. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the smushed black beans, cooked quinoa, oatmeal, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, and sea salt to the onions and mix with your hands. Try to get the black beans integrated so that the patties stay together. Make 6 patties and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This will help the patties set up a bit.

Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 20-30 minutes until warmed through and crispy on the outside.

Burger #1 – Me

Burger atop garden lettuce with goat cheese and mango chutney.

Burger #2 – Dad

Whole wheat hamburger bun; burger + lettuce, bleu cheese, avocado, red onion, sautéed mushrooms, jalepeno peppers and a side salad.

Burger #3 Mom

Burger atop garden lettuce with hummus, tomato, avocado and red onion.

We all devoured the burgers and ate seconds… and of course we all tried the various toppings. So yummy!

To sauté mushrooms, I sliced up some cremini mushrooms from a farmer’s market in my town and cooked them in olive oil for about 4 minutes, in a single layer to brown rather than steam them, with some dried thyme. They were super good!

All in all, a delicious dinner that I had a lot of fun making!


Quinoa + Avocado, Tomato, Black Beans, Corn, and Lemon/Lime Vinaigrette

After three weeks of living here in NYC, I finally cooked!

An oldie, but a goodie.

I figure, in my ovenless, toasterless, food-processor-less apartment, start off with something I know that’s relatively easy. However, there are so many things at home that I just take for granted! Including big bowls, big pots, counter space…

But, made it work! Borrowed my roommate’s little pot to cook the quinoa in, which ended up being the perfect size. Rave reviews from said roomie as well!

And, okay, there’s more to this sudden motivation to cook… Lab barbecue coming up… “Everyone’s bringing something!” Hmm…

Quinoa + Avocado, Tomato, Black Beans, Corn, and Lemon/Lime Vinaigrette

Serves a lot of people as a side dish

Adapted from a couple of recipes

1.5 cups uncooked quinoa

3 cups water

Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

Two 15-ounce cans whole kernel corn

2 avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lime

Zest and juice of 1 + 1/2 a lemon

Cook quinoa with the water according to package directions. Let cool to room temperature.

Combine beans, corn, avocado, and tomatoes. Toss with cooled quinoa.

Whisk together olive oil, citrus juice and zest. Toss with quinoa. Refrigerate several hours or overnight to let the dressing soak into the quinoa.

This was as delicious as always, especially when eaten out of my personalized bowl that my college roommate made me for my birthday (I love cows). I love the flavor/texture combination of … everything in this salad! The creamy avocado, acidity of tomatoes, lemons, and limes, slightly crunchy quinoa, sweet corn, and substantial-feeling black beans. It’s also a powerhouse of antioxidants, protein, healthy fats… you can’t go wrong.

Truthfully, I only juiced 1.5 lemons because my hands got tired of squeezing the lemons and limes. The recipe is pretty versatile. Go ahead and juice the rest if you have strong hands or better yet, a lemon juicer.

Also, this is a double recipe… so, halve as desired. Also, onion was used in the original recipe, but I hate the aftertaste of raw onion, so I just left it out. Cumin would be excellent, but, spices are expensive… Props to the fruit stand guys that line the streets of Manhattan for my cheap(er) avocados and tomatoes. Don’t worry, I scrubbed those suckers down until they sparkled.

6/28/2011: Update – my roommate “confessed” to me that she had been sneaking bowls of this salad–it is that good.