Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meatless Monday at the Hartman Household

Sorry folks... I know I promised Jess that I would be an active contributor to this wonderful blog back in January and now it is mid-March already and I have only one post to my name!

Like most resolutions, my intentions to make 2011 the year of "good food" were well-meaning and got off to a good start, but was then derailed. The first part of 2011 were tough for us as we had to say goodbye to our beloved yellow lab, Kili... pictured below at our wedding in 2006, where she was our ring bearer.

But even in sadness, comes joy; just as after every winter, comes spring.

To honor our match-maker dog and to try to do something for the countless dogs out there who aren't as fortunate as our Kili but no-less deserving, we've been getting involved with the Fairfax County Humane Society. First we donated a huge bag of food we optimistically bought for our girl after her brain tumor diagnosis but before we realized how bad it really was, along with a bunch of her toys and other dog paraphernalia. Richie is also going to volunteer on their farm, starting next weekend.

And we also attended a FCHS fundraising dinner at Whole Foods that was 100% vegan last week. To our great surprise, the food was delicious! Even my meat-eating, vegetable-avoiding Richie loved it. That leads me to the point of this post, which is that I am now going to focus my cooking skills on the area I'm not that skilled in, which is meatless entrees. We are going to start with Meatless Mondays, and yesterday was my first attempt.

Don't get me wrong... we are still confirmed omnivores (we had porterhouse steaks on the grill on Sunday and are having chicken enchiladas tonight!), but I really want to learn how to make tasty food that is better for our health and our world.

So, for our first Meatless Monday I made Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash (recipe from Bon Appetit) and Northern cornbread (recipe from the New Best Recipe cookbook). I forgot to take a picture before diving in, so here is the photo from Bon Appetit.

Mine looked pretty much the same, except I didn't make the fancy garnishes... just dumped some sour cream on top (I'll go meatless one day a week, but you'll have to pry the dairy products out of my cold, dead hands!). Richie also elected to cook up some spaghetti and eat his Cincinnati-style.

I made a few changes... I didn't have "fire roasted" tomatoes so I just used two cans of regular organic diced ones. And I used a couple dried peppers from our patio garden last year in place of the chipotles. All things considered, it wasn't bad. But I haven't mastered the art of cooking dried beans yet. I soaked them all day and cooked the beans for almost 3 hours, but they were still a bit al dente. Oh well. The taste was good and it is a step in the right direction.

Next week I will be on the road for work, so my next foray into Meatless Monday will be in two weeks. Looking for recipe ideas!!


Jess said...

Oh Jaime, I so sorry to hear about Kili. She certainly was a very special dog. I am happy that she has inspired a culinary revolution at your house! This is my favorite method for cooking beans: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/how-to-cook-beans-a-faster-foolproof-nosoak-method-102908. It works very well, especially if the beans are less than 6 months old. If they're older sometimes they never get past the al dente stage for me.

Jaime said...

The age of the beans is probably a problem... I just bought generic Safeway brand and who knows how old they are. Next time I will try that method and see what happens.

Or, I'll just go back to using canned!


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