It feels like it's been a small eternity since I blogged last. You would think I would have some sort of witty anecdote to share with all of you, now that we have spent a week apart. I got nothin'. In fact I am so tired that there will not only be no witty banter, but also I feel I should warn you not to be alarmed if there is a sudden interruption of the text below by a row of Zzzzzs. The ridiculous heat has made it impossible to get a decent night's sleep these days so I'm a wee bit cranky after my 6am wakeup call today.
But this blog is not about complaining. No, it's about praising. Praising the all mighty Crock Pot and the magic that happens within it after 10-12 hours!
This stew is quite possibly the Working Twenty-Something's dream. Other than chopping vegetables there are no prep steps. Everything goes in the crockpot in the morning, raw and all at once, and coming home to that delicious scent after a long Monday at work is almost as nice as coming home to a warm puppy. (ALMOST).
It's also a vegan's dream because it is high in protein, iron and calcium all at once.
And did I mention that you do nothing to it but toss it into the crockpot, go to work, come home and then eat it? Worst case scenario: you decide to make a couple slices of garlic bread to go along with it.
Which I didn't, because I am trying to drop a couple pounds.
Which sucks, by the way.
The recipe for this stew comes from the CalciYum cookbook, a little known dairy-free relic of the pre-Skinny Bitch era, a time when "vegan" was still an underground term and vegetarian was considered extreme. The book was published in 1998 and doesn't even use the term vegan once, instead referring to the recipes as "dairy-free vegetarian". I have no idea how this book ended up on my bookshelf (in 1998 I was 15 and "eating healthy" consisted of having lettuce on my cheeseburger so I can say with some certainty that I myself did not purchase this book). I've never actually seen it in person in a store, although it does appear to be available through Amazon.
These days the bookstore shelves seem to be lined with more and more shiny new vegan cookbooks - which is great, don't get me wrong - but sometimes it's cool to jump in a cooking time machine and live like vegans did before tempeh bacon and Sweet & Sara marshmallows were in everyday supermarkets. Roughing it - vegan styles.
I have a policy of never posting other people's recipes in this blog, but it seems like I'm the only one that blogs about CalciYum these days. That makes me sad. I want to convince you cookbook shoppers out there to give this somewhat older but just as relevant book a try, so I am going to post the recipe for this stew in hopes that the Bronfmans will forgive me (or at least give me a chance to delete it before they sue me).
Four Season Savory Stew
1 cup dried black beans, navy beans or soy beans (I used black beans)
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups chopped rapini (broccoli rabe)
6 cups water
1 can (28 oz) whole plum tomatoes
4 plum tomatoes, quartered (I actually diced them up small instead)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1) If preparing stew for dinner the same day: Start early, since you'll need about 11 hours of cooking time. Add all the ingredients to a large crockpot and stir gently until well mixed. Turn crockpot on high and cook for 3 1/2 hours. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for remaining 7 1/2 hours, or until beans are soft. Serve hot.
2) If preparing stew the day before it is to be served: Add all ingredients to a large crockpot in the late afternoon or evening and gently mix together. Turn crockpot on high and cook for 2 1/2 hours. Reduce heat to low and cook overnight.
(Don't forget to toss the bay leaves before eating!)