My Favorite Grocery Store

Trader Joe’s, hands down. At least for awesome vegetarian options. They don’t always have everything I want for baking, but they never let me down for dinner.

A little while ago I picked up a package of TJ’s Soy Chorizo to try. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it, and then I found this amazing website, Cooking with Trader Joe’s. I’ve seen Trader Joe’s cookbooks before, but as a vegetarian I found most of the recipes useless to me. But a website, where you can search for recipes with specific TJ’s products? This is the greatest thing on the internet, my friends. Besides this gif I made of myself morphing into Beyonce for my computational photography class.

This recipe is super easy. Like, 10 min prep time, 15 min cook time, eat leftovers for days easy. And it calls for no spices. What?! WHAT?! I know. Because the soyrizo is just that delicious enough on its own.

Soyrizo Chili
Vegan. Serves 3-4. Adapted from Cook TJ.

Ingredients
half package Trader Joe’s soy chorizo
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can corn, drained
14oz canned diced tomatoes
1/4 red onion, diced
~1/3 C carrots, diced
olive oil

Instructions
1.
In a medium saucepan, saute onions and carrots in olive oil until softened.
2. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 min.
4. Serve hot, topped with cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, etc.

Look at how chunky that chili is! Just how I like it. I wish I had thought ahead and bought Frito’s to make Frito Pie!

Aloha

Double recipe post hooray!

It’s almost spring break and I am unbelievably excited. I get an entire week to lay on the beach and get spoiled rotten by my grandparents. Honolulu, here I come! These next two days of classes can’t get over with fast enough.

I did quite a bit of cooking this past Sunday, hence the double recipes. Weekend Breakfast came first, of course. Now, if you know me, you know that I love coffee. As for pancakes, well, any sane human being loves pancakes. So a marriage of the two is only appropriate.

Cappuccino Pancakes with Mocha Syrup

We followed the recipe exactly, so instead of being redundant I’ll just send you on over to The Pastry Affair.

The mocha syrup was amazing. A little too thick to really be syrup though; I ended up spreading it over the pancakes with a knife.

I’m getting pretty good at flipping pancakes/crepes/eggs/other foods you flip. I used to be terrible – I’d always ruin it! But look at this perfectly round pancake I made. So proud.

Of course, I still needed to eat dinner! I found a recipe for enchilada cupcakes, which I thought was an awesome idea. I love cupcakes and I love enchiladas – another wonderful marriage. The original recipe uses chicken, so since I’m a vegetarian I made up a new recipe.

Warning: since I made up the recipe, I sort of eyeballed everything, so now I’m guessing on the amounts. I actually only made 10 cupcakes because that’s how many tortillas I had, and used about 2/3 and 1/2 cans of beans and corn, respectively, so I’m trying to scale everything to use whole cans.

Enchilada Cupcakes
Original recipe can be found here. Makes ~15 cupcakes.

Ingredients
15 small corn tortillas
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/4 C red or white onion, chopped
1/4 C green onion, chopped
1/2 C your favorite salsa
shredded cheese

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Cut out a circle the size of the cupcake pans from each tortilla, then cut the remaining ring into wedges (I found 6 wedges worked best). Arrange each tortilla into a ‘crust’ into a well of the pan. (If this doesn’t make sense, check out the original post for a nice picture.)
3. In a large bowl, mix together the beans, corn, onions, and salsa.
4. Scoop filling into each cupcake and top with cheese.
5. Bake for 20-30 min.

A word of advice: wait for them to cool a little bit before you eat them. I was so eager/hungry that I immediately took them out of the pans and onto my plate, where they fell apart. They tasted delicious, but weren’t as pretty. The ones I ate as leftovers yesterday and today held up much better.

What Month Is It?

I’ve been back in sunny Southern California for about two weeks now, loving this weather and absolutely dreading my return to Pittsburgh and the snow. It’s “cooled off” a bit here, down to about 75 everyday, but it was high 80s last week. Feels like summer. I hate snow.

I’ve got a couple recipes for you. It’s been so hot that I’ve been making smoothies almost everyday for lunch. This one has hidden veggies in it, but unlike my Tropical Green Monster it doesn’t have a scary color.

Berry Green Smoothie

Ingredients
1 C frozen mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
1/4 – 1/3 C milk, as needed (I used soy but any milk would be fine)
1 Tbsp chia seed
1 Tbsp flax meal
soy protein powder
1 large handful fresh spinach leaves
agave nectar, to taste

Instructions
Blend until smooth and serve.

Then the other day, my mom and I tried out a new recipe for vegetarian chili. It was really delicious but it took a lot of work. It wasn’t difficult but just cutting the vegetables took forever because there was so much. I must say, though, this is a pretty substantial chili. Some of my meat-eating friends seem to think there’s no such thing as vegetarian chili – I think they should try a bowl of this. It’s got some really interesting ingredients – coffee and chocolate – that give it a really unique flavor.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili
Original recipe from Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large bell peppers (1 red, 1 green), chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp adobo seasoning
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 C brewed coffee
1 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes, crushed
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cauliflower, grated
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, onions, corn, etc. for topping

Instructions
1.
 In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots, and salt, stirring frequently for 8 minutes or until carrots are soft.
2. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
3. Stir in chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, adobo, tomato paste, and tortillas. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick.
4. Add coffee and let simmer 30 seconds until almost completely reduced.
5. Reduce to low heat. Add tomatoes, cocoa powder, beans, and 2 1/2 C water, and let simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in cauliflower and let cook an additional 10 minutes.
7. Dig in!

How do you eat chili? Just in a bowl? My mom puts it over rice, or sometimes we put it on baked potatoes, but my first choice will always be the Frito Pie. How do you make a Frito Pie, you ask?

Just like that. Asian noodle bowl is optional.