What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

November 29, 2010

Magical Mushrooms & “Meaty” Vegetarian Chili

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian,Veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 7:27 pm

Mushrooms are magical.  No, not those kind of mushrooms.  I’m talking about the regular ones.

Minced and cooked, these gems can stand in for meat, bringing an earthy, almost meaty flavor and texture that is way more authentic tasting than any processed soy granules.  Healthier, too!

When I set out to make Chili last weekend, I searched the web and found numerous Vegetarian Chili recipes, and a few called for mushrooms.  It was one of those “Aha Moments”.  I knew that instead of the bag of TVP in my cupboard that I’d had in mind, I’d be using the giant package of fresh mushrooms in my refrigerator. 

Another component of many of the vegetarian chilis were vegetables not traditionally used for chili, like zuchinni and corn.  But I wanted a chili that looked and tasted like real chili.   So, I did what I do best…I adapted.

This recipe is loosely based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe for Vegetarian Chili, which can be found here.

You’ll need:

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 large Onion

2 medium Bell Peppers – Red or Green

4-5 cloves Garlic

2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers

20 ounces fresh Mushrooms

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cayenne

1/4 tsp Pepper

3 large Tomatoes

2 – 15 oz cans beans – I used Red Kidney and Black

1 – 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1 cup Water

What to do:

Prepare vegetables.  First, chop onion.

Chop Bell Peppers.

Mince Serrano Pepper (remove seeds if you don’t like it very spicy) and Garlic.  I used a food processor to get them very fine.

Chop Mushrooms into very small pieces (think burger meat size).  Again, I used my food processor to make this job easy. 

Chop Tomato.

(Oops!  No photo – sorry!)

Rinse and drain beans.

In a large stockpot, heat Canola Oil.  Add Onions, Peppers, Serrano and Garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent.

Add Mushrooms to pot. 

Cook for a few minutes, then add spices and stir for 30 seconds before adding tomato, beans, tomato sauce, and water.

Cook chili over medium heat, stirring often for about 20  30 minutes before serving.

Serve garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), beside a hunk of Cornbread or Tortilla Chips. 

This was so Yummy!  The mushrooms really did a great job standing in for the burger meat.  I never would have known the difference, except maybe for the lack of grease!

While were on the subject of mushrooms, have you ever seen a Fairy Ring?  I had always been told that when you found a ring of mushrooms in the grass, you knew the fairies has been dancing there the night before.  

 See?  Mushrooms really are magical.

We were out playing tennis at a nearby park one day last summer and as happens frequently with unskilled players like us, the ball kept going over the fence (never mind that the fence reaches practically to the sky, we somehow managed to still hit it out of bounds over and over again).   During one ball retrieval trip, I spotted this ring of mushrooms and called everyone over to take a look.  My friend snapped this photo, which I just love.

To learn more about fairy rings and their true cause, check it out here.  I, however, am going to hang onto my belief that it really is a mark of the fairies’ recent visit.

October 3, 2010

Layered Fiesta Dip and a “Falloween” Party

Filed under: Appetizers & Dips,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 7:34 pm

It practically seems insulting to post this, since it is so ridiculous easy and has been around such a long, long time.  There are a few different versions circulating though, and I am asked for this recipe from time to time, so I am going to go ahead and share it, in the hopes that some of you out there might appreciate it and – hopefully – not be insulted.

We attended a “Falloween” party last evening, and I brought along this dip, along with my Gluten Free Brownies.  We went home with a couple Brownies leftover, but this dip was wiped right out. 

My husband tells me that this Layered Mexican Dip recipe actually originally came from the Hostess whose party we attended last night.  It was passed on to his mother back in the 70’s and then to me many years after, and it has changed through the years I have made it so that I no longer even remember the original incarnation. 

Before I share the recipe, let me share a few snapshots from the party, will you?

This party is an annual shindig and it is always so much fun, especially for the kiddos.  Each year, there is a different theme and different activities.  This year, there was a bounce house.

And pumpkin decorating.

My baby decided to keep it pretty simple.

There were more elaborate decorations on display, though.

Last year, professional face-painters were on hand to adorn the faces of the wee ones…

…and the not so wee ones.

The “I’ve Just Been Run Over” design was a big hit with both the big and the little boys.

This gathering is one of the highlights of our Autumn each year, and my boys are looking forward to the next year’s event before we even pull into our driveway on the way home from  the current year’s party!

They talked about the party tonight over Layered Fiesta Dip.  Yes, I did say that the dip I took was wiped out last night.  But I have learned through the years that nobody is really satisfied unless I make two dishes: One to take along, and one to keep at home for the next day! 

Here are the recipe proportions for a single 9 x 12 dish or a single large round platter or pie plate.  Double everything if you are making two dishes like I did.

What you need:

1 – 15 ounce can Refried Beans

4 oz block Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 packet Taco Seasoning Mix (about 2 Tbsp if you buy it in bulk like I do)

1/2 -12 ounce package Shredded Mexican Cheese (or Colby or Mild Cheddar)

1/4 cup Chopped Green Onion

1 medium Diced Tomato

What to do:

First, spread Refried Beans in bottom of serving dish.

Combine Cream Cheese, Sour Cream and Taco Seasoning with mixer until fairly smooth.

Spread Cream Cheese mixture atop Beans in dish.

I like to leave a little of the Beans on the edge uncovered if I’m using a round plate.

Sprinkle with Shredded Cheese.

Top with Green Onions and Tomatoes. 

You can also add chopped black olives, and as much as I would love to,  my family begs me not to so I don’t.

Serve with Tortilla Chips.

This really is so simple, and so yummy!  Try it for your next party or potluck, but be sure to make an extra dish that you don’t have to share! :-)

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