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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mystery ingredient soup and other recipes from this week

I enjoy eating food.  Preparing it, not so much.  However, I do appreciate the accomplishment of a cooked meal.  Especially if it hasn't burned, spilled, smoked or basically sucked.  Recently in my household we dramatically increased the amounts and types of vegetables and other healthy foods being consumed.  As a result there are many more recipes available to me that my entire family will happily, or at least willingly eat.  Case in point are this week's recipes.

I found these mini omelet bakes on Pinterest.  I made ours with spinach, bell peppers, cheese (cheddar and parmesan) and ham.  I cooked them in ramekins (I think that's what they're called) because I didn't have big muffin tins.  They were a big hit by the way.

Remember the cilantro bouquet from earlier this week?  I used it in a couple recipes.  One day I put it on white fish with butter and salt.  We had kale for the first time for the same meal.  I sauteed the kale with olive oil and garlic then put some vinegar in at the end.  The fish was a hit, the kale was eaten but I think my 4 year old and perhaps my husband held their noses while swallowing it fast.  Ha!

One of my favorite dishes this week was a Mediterranean quinoa salad.  We've been eating quite a bit of quinoa around here the last couple of weeks.  I've made it plain (in the rice cooker), Spanish style (with beans, onions, tomatoes and chili pepper) and now Mediterranean.   This recipe wasn't a favorite for my family but I loved it!  

Now for the Pièce de résistance and the reason I bought the cilantro in the first place.
I made a black bean vegetable chili/soup with chocolate.  Yes that's right, bittersweet chocolate was the secret ingredient!  I found the recipe in the USA weekend and made a few adjustments.  Here's what I did.

1 quart chicken broth (it calls for vegetable but I only had chicken)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, cut into medium dice
1 bell pepper, color choice is yours (I used yellow) cut into medium dice
3 Tbs. chili powder (I used about 2 1/2)
1 tsp. each ground cumin and oregano
2 cans (15.5 oz each) drained black beans
1/2 cup of barley (I cooked it first though)
3 large garlic cloves, minced (we are big fans of garlic around here, it may have been more like 5-6)
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (I did 1/8th of a cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat broth and tomatoes in a small pan until steamy hot, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a  soup kettle over medium-high heat.  Add onions and peppers; saute until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin and oregano: saute until fragrant, a minute or so.  Add beans and barley along with hot broth mixture.  Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, partly covered, until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.  Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro and simmer a couple of minutes to blend flavors.  Turn off heat and let stand a few minutes if there's time (and is there ever?).  Adjust seasonings (we added salt) and serve.  

Makes 4-6 servings

It was pretty good and everyone (well maybe not the 4 year old) liked it and had seconds.  We added parmesan on top, but then again we add parmesan to almost everything around here.

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