Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mushroom Chili

I started to write the next few entries back in late January, but life interfered with them getting fully written and posted.

(initiate whine sequence - can easily be skipped)

We had my husband's busy, stressful job, doctors' appointments, emergency eye surgery (hubby) for a retinal tear, blizzards, ice storms, and today an inspection of the multi-family house we live in by the city's health & safety inspectors. While preparing for that, the landlord has been in and out doing minor repairs, getting ready. Then the hot water heater burst within 24 hours of the inspection. Then I start showing symptoms of the same retina problems my husband did (Mine first started 10 years ago) but it turned out to be another false alarm. Good, because a few days before my husband needed him, our opthalmologist slipped on on the ice and broke his arm and we had to see another doctor an hour's cab ride away. Why a cab? Because during all this, our cars are trapped in the ice, above, below, front and back, thanks to multiple storms, multiple passes of the plows (pushing snow behind, under and over the top at the rear) and snow blowers (pushing snow above, below and on top at the front) and the owners of the cars to either side of ours shoveling and tossing their snow all around our cars because there just isn't any other place to put it.

The home inspection is in 2 hours, hubby's follow up appointment with the eye surgeon is in one week (and he's panicking because his vision didn't magically go back to normal although the surgeon told him it'll take months), and we're slated for 2 more snow storms before this week is out, and temps will remain in the upper teens and low 20's for at least the next 10 days, so the cars will remain in the icebergs until Spring thaw.


I have a few minutes to kill before the next panic-inducing event, so let me get get this post done, at least.

I've been making a lot of Chef AJ's recipes lately. One batch makes multiple meals, which is good when we have to walk a half mile and back to a local mom & pop grocery store. Less meals to cook mean less groceries to carry at one time. The first one I'll talk about is the Mushroom Chili.

Mushroom Chili

Recipe from The Low Fat Herbivore
Jocelyn Graef

2 pounds mushrooms (cremini is nice)
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can each pinto, black, kidney - salt-free (use the liquid, too, or add 1 1/2 cups water)
1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano  (not listed in 30 Day booklet)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil (not listed in original recipe but IS in 30 Day booklet)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 pound bag frozen corn
(Bragg's and marjoram in original recipe by Jocelyn - skipped here)

Place all ingredients in an electric pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Release pressure. Stir in 1 lb. organic frozen corn. Delicious over brown rice or baked Yukon gold potato.

Notice I mentioned the "30 Day" booklet. This is in reference to the recipe booklet that accompanies the 30 Day Unprocessed Challenge DVD set that she and John Pierre have out. Most of the recipes in that handout had already made their way on-line, either as Chef and the Dietician shows or in the video Easy Meals to Make You Thin.

This set is well worth the money, unlike the new set, Ultimate Weight Loss, which even refers back to this set a number of times. At least the 30 Day set has recipes and demonstrates not only them but JP's exercises.

The first time I made it I was still out driving and had access to the chain grocery store I usually shop. I've complained about their produce in the past, but after the past month I made a vow to never bad-mouth them again! That store is nirvana compared to the local mom & pop store within walking distance of our house! The first time I had nice cremini/baby bella mushrooms that were fresh and tasty. The second time I was stuck with what the other store had, which was a choice between limp creminis or discolored getting-old buttons. I told my husband I'll find something else to make, that the mushrooms didn't look too swift, but he insisted they looked fine and tossed 2 boxes of each into the wagon.

Like Chef AJ in the videos of her making this, I used frozen diced onions.

Nobody here sells low/no-salt fire roasted tomatoes, but I have a load of diced, Pomi chopped, and diced petite, all low salt, in my pantry. I knew winter weather was coming and loaded up on these and other staples before the first storm hit.

The garlic I've been using in recent years has been the Dorot frozen minced. I used 8 cubes of it in this dish. It could have used a few more.

Although I have a Fagor pressure cooker and not an Instant Pot electric one (yet), I chose to make this on the stove, first bringing it to a boil then letting it simmer a few hours for the rest of the afternoon, nice and slow.

The first time, this photo, it tasted fantastic! We each had a big bowl with rice and still had so much leftover it almost filled a 12-cup Pyrex container!

The second time, not so hot. I do NOT blame the recipe, just the mushrooms. In fact, I hated those mushrooms so much that the very next day when my husband first started seeing blobs in his vision I feared some weird parasite was ingested from those mushrooms! Of course, once he spoke to our opthalmologist on the phone and he sent us to the retina specialist who made the correct diagnosis I still wasn't convinced it wasn't the mushrooms that brought it on somehow, especially since my own eyes did a few flashes and I got a few new floaters in my own left eye the same day. I've been living with flashes and floater for 10 years now and knew what I had was normal, unlike what hubby had.

As soon as I can get one of the cars out of the ice (Maybe this weekend - Sunday is supposed to hit 45 degrees before it goes back into the teens that night) and I can get to a real grocery store again, I'll be grabbing another 2 pounds of cremini mushrooms and will be making this that night.

There are still a lot of recipes from Chef AJ I would like to try, like the Enchilada Strata and Lentil Tostadas with Chili Lime Slaw, but they have to wait until I can do real shopping. You'll have to be satisfied with the upcoming handful of recipes.

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