Hunkering Down in a Hurricane

I live in New York and we’ve experienced the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy this past week. I have been fortunate to live in a part of the city where we were not affected by flooding and power shortages, but many of my friends have not been so lucky and my thoughts are with them at this time.

Of course one of my first dilemmas during the hurricane was: what should we be eating? Our favorite food coop was shut, I had some food in the fridge and freezer – but not too much – and so we spent the first couple of days eating stodgy comfort food. Yes, in times of crisis, you just want lasagna or apple pie to feel good again. And lots of lots of cake.

After eating like this for two days, my body couldn’t take it any more. I felt lethargic, cranky and bloated (all my hard work during my detox had come undone!) and knew something had to stop. I opened up my fridge and kitchen cupboards and decided to make the delicious three bean vegetable chili that you can find below. If you find yourself stuck inside during hurricane like weather conditions, please remember that you don’t need to ditch your diet, your detox or healthy lifestyle. Try your best to eat healthily with whatever you have in your kitchen and enjoy the extra time at home to dust off your cook books and be adventurous in the kitchen.

I first tasted this wonderful fall chili at our local Health and Harvest Fair in Brooklyn. Here is my interpretation of it and what I cooked this week in my slow cooker. It should last a few days so you can eat it with rice, quinoa or some fresh greens such as sautéed kale or broccoli. This would also be a wonderful dish to share with your friends and neighbors who don’t have power as it’s warming and nutritious. Be creative, mix it up and bon appetit!

Delicious, nutritious vegetable chili

Fall Vegetable Three Bean Chili

This chili is amazing when cooked over a low heat on your stove top for a couple of hours, or all day in your slow cooker – your kitchen will smell fabulous! You can choose your bean combination – either buy canned or I personally prefer soaking and cooking beans overnight. You could also add tempeh or ground soy mince to this recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 small piece of ginger, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1 small acorn squash, diced
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can adzuki beans, rinsed and drained
1 large 24oz can tomatoes, diced or crushed
1 box vegetable or chicken stock
1 spicy hot chili, seeded and minced (optional)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste

Stovetop Method:

  • Sautee all vegetables except garlic in a large pot until tender (15 minutes) stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic, ginger, chili and spices.
  • Add 1/2 box of vegetable or chicken stock and then the beans and tomatoes.
  • Simmer and cover for 20 minutes. Cook uncovered for another 30-60 minutes (or longer!). Add water if the chili gets too thick.
  • Serve with greek yogurt and chopped chives or scallions.

Slow cooker method:

  • Put all chopped vegetables in slow cooker and then add beans and tomatoes.
  • Turn to high heat for at least 6 hours and go and have fun.
  • Add spices in final hour of cooking. Reduce to low heat for final hour or when the vegetables are soft and the chili is bubbling away.
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