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spiced curiosity | healthy, vegetarian recipes in san francisco

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hearty Chicken Sausage Chili with wild rice

  • Just the Chili:
  • 2 jars of bottled salsa – Trader Joe’s has a great garlic lime option
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can of sweet corn – drained & rinsed
  • 1 (12 oz) package chicken sausages with jalapeños – can sub for vegetarian sausages
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • paprika
  • 1 bunch of cilantro – about 1 cup or 5 stalks
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 avocados – halved and pitted
  • Wild Rice:
  • 2 cups o’ wild long-grain rice
  • 2 large cloves of garlic — minced
  • 1 red onion — chopped into the 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup of powdered chicken broth – vegetarian optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Half an hour ago you received a message saying that you have the honor of cooking for three guys. Tonight. In three hours. There are no groceries at home, maybe some mustard and half a loaf of frozen bread. Freak out? Consider next-door delivery? No way. Meet chili.

the chili

This was the very first idea that sprang to mind. Hearty, warming, tasty, and decently healthy. Had to be extremely filling, for three bottomless stomachs; hot, especially when the temperature outside just started to really drop; and the last two go without saying (I mean really). I have confirmation from three honest men and one foodie lady that this grub is good!

diced, fresh onion

bell pepper and onions

While picking up ingredients, grab a few good beers for accompaniment.

best con cerveza

In the end, it was great just sitting around a table with my friends and catching up on our lives – we hadn’t seen each other or talked much since our winter vacations. I hope you have many laughs and good conversation over this chili too.

(Adapted from Cooking Light)

Let’s start with prep. In the ingredients, I divided the amounts of onion and garlic between each dish in case you cook one recipe without the other; otherwise, just buy two onions and four cloves of garlic, and call it good.

That said, mince all garlic cloves; chop the onions into 1/4 inch slices (so there’s something to bite into when they’re mixed with the cooked food later); dice the bell pepper into 1/2 inch pieces; and chop the cilantro. When you’re thoroughly done with that cutting board, bring out the sausages. Dice into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside. 

In a large pot, bring bay leaves, broth, and 6 cups of water to boil. Add rice; bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Keep lid on and cook for about 40-45 minutes.

While rice cooks, sauté the onion and garlic together in a saucepan with 1/3 cup of water for about 7 minutes. Lightly salt, and set aside (cover with lid, to remain heated). 

Onto the main course – hearty chili! In a large stove pot, pour the salsa, diced bell pepper, corn kernels, and sausages over medium-high heat. Evenly coat with cumin, chili powder, salt, and a dash of paprika. Stir in half of the sauteed onions & garlic. Slowly cook for half an hour, occasionally stirring.

Meanwhile, check on the rice. When the rice has absorbed all the water (or grain is al dente), add the remaining half of the onion and garlic, evenly mixing.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, set out tortilla chips with the fresh avocados, and enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cowboy Caviar – Lucky Black-Eyed-Peas

  • 1 can black-eyed-peas
  • 2 small ears of sweet corn — or about 1/2 can of corn
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 large, ripe tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • juice from 1/2 lime — about 1 tbsp
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh cilantro
  • granulated garlic
  • salt

Happy new year! I hope you welcomed it in the best way. This year I vowed many new things, which I’ve shockingly been keeping up with – more or less.

It’s easier to start anew when I feel genuinely refreshed. Before New Year’s, I actually ventured back home to the deep south, and brought back a classic recipe to share. As it happens, not only is it fresh and aligned with healthy goals, but it also brings in great luck. The main component, Black-eyed-peas, are esteemed to garner good fortune and health when eaten on New Year’s Day (or in the first week…or month…), so I couldn’t resist making this.

dip in!

While visiting home, I also ventured to Austin with my boyfriend. It was bizarre being back for the first time after six months, but it still has just as warm a glow. Literally. We sprawled on the grass in 70 degree weather, crazy!

Barton Springs

bird's eye view

shocking color

my tree monkey

SoCo sidewalk


So here’s a healthy, simple recipe, that gets a nod from Southerners and regular crazy people alike.



corn scrapin'

the whole bowl

Drain and rinse the peas (gets rid



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Artichoke Olive Spread or Failproof-Party-Food

  • 2 garlic cloves — peeled ‘n’ sliced
  • 1 cup garlic-stuffed green pitted olives
  • 1 14-ounce can of artichoke hearts — drained
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

If you think about it, Artichokes are pretty funky. They are harvested as weeds, and each thistly floret must be plucked off so you can really get cooking with them.

For whatever reason, my mother raised me to esteem these thistles a rare treat. I remember leaning back in the kitchen chair like a “big girl” with my mom, dipping prickly artichoke leaves in sweet melted butter. We’d laugh and make ridiculous faces as we sucked the juices off each piece. When we’d finally eaten our way to the heart (the best part: soft and chewy with no thorny resistance), we would close our eyes and savor each piece in loud Mmhmm’s.

Well, I’m a little too impatient to suck on artichoke leaves now, but any dish related to artichoke reminds me of my mom. Here’s a delicious recipe that combines two other tasty foods that remind me of this Italian lady: green olives and garlic. I’ve heard the Mediterranean diet is key for living long…Cheers to eating this the rest of my life.

Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process for a few minutes, until the consistency is thick but with a few morsels intact.
Serve over fresh bread! Can also be made up to two days in advance. (Amazing.)

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Friday, December 16, 2011

maple gingerbread pots de creme

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 C half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • dash of salt
  • drop of vanilla extract
  • 4 teaspoons of white sugar

Packing up my bags (all two of them) and sprinting hundreds of miles to the big city was an adventure. In the past year I’ve met and seen more than I could imagine, and I’m thankful.

But sometimes it got lonely; my heart ached a little bit for the comforting companionship of my family.

But here in the Big Apple, hundreds of miles away from true home, I find just as warm and welcoming a family – my friends. I honestly can’t think of any better people. This is the real “Cheers” where “everybody knows your name.” I can’t help grinning when any one of these people is around; when we’re all bunched together, the conversation is golden and melts away hours. I’ve never laughed so hard at such stupid, small things in my life.

So this warm recipe that’s meant to be shared seems to fit the mood just fine: Maple Gingerbread Pots de Creme.

*Next time I’ll try a tbsp of dark rum, too. High spirit via spirits. (Just when you thought it was over! I snuck this pun into the company Christmas card. Oh baby.)

Preheat your lovely oven to 300° F.

Combine first three ingredients in a *large* bowl, stirring evenly with a whisk. (I say large, because the more excited you are about this recipe the more you WILL spill all over the counter.)

Throughout the rest of the cooking, constantly stir with the whisk. Mix the half-and-half and the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. While whisking, cook just until bubbles appear on the edges; don’t boil it. (Constant stirring! Mad-Eye Moody style.) Pour the milk mix into the egg mix.

Bring the mix back to the saucepan, and lower the temperature to medium-high. Cook until it thickens slightly (mine took about 4 minutes), still stirring. (The trick is not to scramble the mix, just slowly and evenly mix the entire time.) Remove from the heat!

Strain the mixture through a sieve; save the liquid, get rid of the solids.

Now comes the fun part: divide the mix into four ramekins. (I did large 4-inch ones, but honestly smaller ones would have been better. Mine were delicious but too thin.)

Now move the ramekins to a 13in x 9in metal baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan ’til it reaches one inch. (Careful not to splash into the ramekins!)

Bake at 300° for one hour (or until the centers barely jiggle when you move the pan).
Cover and chill for about four hours. And try not to sneak a bite.

For added goodness, sprinkle 1 tsp of white sugar over the top of each, and broil the tops. (Makes a nice crunchy contrast.) Inconsistency makes this more beautiful, thank goodness. As does most things.

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