Here’s a little secret. I don’t always cook from scratch. Really! Sometimes I use a few carefully selected products — mostly from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Costco. For example, here’s how I made the Turkey Chorizo Chili we had for dinner the other night.
Start with some Turkey Chili with White Beans from Whole Foods.
Pour some Kirkland Organic Chicken Stock into the mix — just enough to get the consistency you want.
Mix in some sautéed peppers, like these slightly hot peppers I bought at the farmers market. Sorry, I don’t know the name for these peppers, but you can use any slightly hot peppers, including poblanos which are easy to find.
Stir the mixture and heat to serving temperature in the microwave.
On top of each serving, add some chopped avocado.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.
BTW, to keep chopped cilantro fresh longer, I store it in a plastic container in the veggie drawer of my refrigerator. Notice the paper towel lining the container. The purpose of the towel is to collect moisture. And there are a few slits in the lid of the container (as you can see below) to allow the chopped leaves to respire. These two tricks help keep the cilantro fresh longer. And having chopped cilantro on hand encourages me to use more of it. 🙂
And that’s all it takes to make a fantastic Turkey Chorizo Chili! Less time and effort than getting in the car and eating out. And healthier too!
The beautiful organic reddish colored kale that I bought at the Reston Farm Market ended up in my wok together with the chorizo sausage I bought at Red Apron in the Mosaic District (Merrifield, VA). To make this dish:
Sauté the sliced sausage in some avocado oil.
Remove the cooked sausage and set it aside.
Drain some of the fat from the pan.
Sauté the chopped kale in the remaining fat in the pan.
Add the cooked sausage back to the pan and stir to mix.
And if you are vegetarian, or just want a veggie-only dish, here’s a wonderful veggie version — thanks to my friend Adelayda who served it for lunch yesterday.
Saute the kale and chopped garlic in avocado oil.
Toward the end of cooking, add a Southwest seasoning spice blend like this one from Basiks, available at the Reston Farm Market and online.
This past weekend my husband and I went to our first mushroom tasting. It was great fun!
We filled our dinner plates and soup bowls with at least 20 delicious dishes, each containing a single variety of wild mushrooms (some of which came from local forests) or cultivated mushrooms (from local stores). This event was sponsored by the Meetup for MAWDC (Mycological Association of Washington DC) whose members are a lively group of local mushroom enthusiasts and certified experts.
For this tasting, I cooked two dishes with the shiitake mushrooms from Philips Mushroom Farms that were donated to MAWDC and delivered to my door by one of the group’s board members.
My first contribution was a simple sauté: shiitake mushrooms, garlic, smoked chorizo sausage, and Jimmy Nardello Peppers. With ingredients like these, it was not hard to create something delicious!
But not everyone eats sausage, so I challenged myself to create a vegan dish with the flavor of sausage — a dish I could name, “Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage.” After some experimenting, I came up with a dish that the tasters at my house loved. And at the tasting, it was a big hit! In fact, several people came up to me and asked for the recipe.
So here’s the recipe for Looks Like Mushrooms, Tastes Like Sausage, which is suitable for vegans and and non-vegans, including those following a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet.
Ingredients 1 large clove of fresh garlic 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 12 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms (just the caps) 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Press the garlic through a garlic press. Set aside.
In a 14-inch non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms have shrunken in size and taken on a darker hue. They do not have to be fully cooked. Set the sautéed shiitake aside.
In a very small (5-6 inch diameter) heavy sauce pan with a lip (if possible), heat 1 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the reserved garlic, and then shake the pan for a few seconds or until the garlic is just beginning to change color. Immediately add the Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning and using a spoon, mix the seasoning until it’s coated with the hot oil mixture. Pour the hot oil mixture over the reserved mushrooms in the pan and mix to evenly distribute the seasoned oil.
Toss with chopped pecans right before serving.
This is a high (good) fat dish. It is very suitable as a topping for other foods – for example scrambled eggs, roast chicken, hamburgers, or sautéed fish.
Garlic – Research shows that to get the health benefits from garlic, you should to chop or press the garlic and let it stand for 10 minutes before cooking. For information about the best ways to prepare and store garlic, see this page from the website, The World’s Healthiest Foods.
Shiitake mushrooms – Like all mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms have amazing health benefits. For details, see this page from the website, The World’s Healthiest Foods.
So as to get as much benefit from the mushrooms as possible, use the stems as well as the caps. After separating the caps from the stems, I wash and trim the stems and then put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I am making stock, I throw the stems into the pot. They add wonderful flavor (umami)!
Penzeys Northwoods Seasoning – This is one of Penzeys most popular herb and spice mixes. It contains: coarse flake salt, Hungarian sweet paprika, Tellicharry black pepper, thyme, cracked rosemary, granulated garlic, and chipotle.
Pecans– The pecans I bought at Fresh Fields we so fresh and crisp that I did not even want to toast them. But if you want to crisp the pecans and bring out their flavor, you can certainly toast them. Here are directions for toasting pecans.