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What does THIS vegan eat? Part 1.

February 24, 2010

I was going to name this segment, “What do vegans eat?” but then I decided that I didn’t like how it sounded like I was speaking for all vegans everywhere. So I figured I’d just name it what it was. A description of what *I* eat. Melissa Conrad.

My pictures are going to be no prettier than the last time I shared pics of food. Still using the same flashless iPhone. Still using the same talentless eye. But pictures of food are usually exciting nonetheless. That is three times I used the suffix “-less” in this paragraph.

Last night’s dinner came courtesy of my friend, Eagle (real name: Rosie – well, real REAL name: Rosalia). But I call her Eagle. She decided to give up meat for Lent, yay! And she also shared with me (and her entire Twitter audience) that she had made a lovely vegan chili. This one, to be exact: Emeril Lagasse’s Vegetarian Chili.

I actually have a love-hate relationship with chili. I love the idea of it, almost always hate the execution. Now I have a love-love relationship with white bean chili, but that’s because I never put anything remotely tomato-like in my white bean chili. So I think it really is the tomatoes that cause me to not enjoy regular chili so much. And no, it’s not just that I miss the meat in regular chili. Because I didn’t like that execution any better. Back in the day.

But I am continually drawn to chili recipes. I’ve tried chili with TVP, chili with chocolate and coffee, chili with fresh tomatoes, chili with canned tomatoes. And it all tastes like chili, and I say again each time, “I’m not really a fan of chili.”

So when Eagle mentioned she made vegan chili, I of course had to ask for the recipe, and I of course had to make it. In Eagle’s honor. Ha. Sounds like I’m a Boy Scout.

But I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Didn’t put sour cream of course. I suppose I could’ve gone out of my way to purchase some Tofutti sour cream had it meant anything to me, or to even make my own from one of the many recipes on the web, but…I didn’t. I also didn’t use avocado, though I will next time. I need to start purchasing avocado in bulk is what I need to do. (I know that isn’t grammatically correct, but it’s so how I wanted to say it. You know, for emphasis.) And finally, I didn’t bother with all of that Essence seasoning creation. I just used the spices that would’ve gone in the Essence and figured it was good enough. Oh, and I can’t find canned black beans anywhere, and sure I could’ve used dried, but instead I used 2 cans of kidney and one of garbanzo. To keep things interesting.

Oh! And the best part. I forwent the rice and instead added sweet potato to the chili. YUM. SWEET POTATO.

I wish I had taken a picture of the During. There was a moment, before the beans and tomato sauce went in, in which my massive soup pot was 3/4 full of ONLY vegetables. Sure, one of the vegetables was corn, and another was that sweet potato, so those were starchy, and I’m not sure mushrooms really count as vegetables, since they are a fungus, but they all still have stuff that benefit us! So it was still a beautiful picture.

Alas, I have no During. Only an After. And here it is:
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I feel like it looks a little bulky for chili, and when I reheated leftovers for today’s lunch, I decided it looked a bit more authentic – the liquid had higher viscosity and jut completed the look a bit better. But I didn’t take a picture of it then. And that’s not the point!

The point is that this is the best chili I’ve made in recent memory.

And as long as this is the chili that I’m going to be making, I can finally say that I am a fan of chili.

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