Monday, March 8, 2010

Smokey Quinoa Chili

Last week SSSal's laptop got sick.

Really sick.

She started getting warning messages about the XPAntivirus2010 virus. The warning about the virus was actually the virus itself. This particular virus is something called scare-ware; it's designed to scare you into buying the alleged Microsoft anti-virus fix. The software has nothing to do with Microsoft and buying it only shuts off the virus that they just gave you. In it's own way it's an elegant scam.

Of course we didn't buy the "fix" but set out trying to purge it ourselves. I gave it a shot, no luck; CrabCake2 gave it a try to no avail. We tried calling Geek Squad, their answer: "Bring it in; it'll be at least 7 days and at least $200."

Really, 7 days and $200 from the supposed leaders of on-demand computer help.

"Look, we're really busy, maybe I can look at in 5 days."

No thanks.

The next place we called said 3 days and $300 or 7 days and $200. Ah, pay extra for faster service, what a concept! We live in Ann Arbor Michigan, home to the University of Michigan; there are kids roaming the streets who can build a nuclear reactor out of 2 burritos, 6 Gummi Bears and a case of Red Bull and we had to wait 5 - 10 days to fix a computer?!? It didn't make any sense.

And then light dawned on Marblehead.

"Call the University Computer Store" said I.

"But you need to be a student or an employee to use them" said she.

"No, no, we're not going to use them per se. We're going to ask them if they know someone who might be able to help us" said he, "and make sure you act a little frantic and close to tears when you talk to them".

A five minute phone call, a few conspiratorially whispers and a brusque, "Call Beagle Brain in Nickels", CLICK, and we were saved. Seven hours and $90 later the machine is running like never before; after they were done I swear we were picking up a live feed from a secret Russian Cabinet meeting.

Nickels Arcade
Ann Arbor, MI
Ask for Joel

Well when you're sick you need something hearty to bring you back to life. Chili I say. Smokey Quinoa Chili is a vegetarian recipe that can be easily saved by introducing some sauteed ground beef. Today I'm going to present the recipe as is and then let you folks adjust. Quinoa (pronounced: what the hell is that), is a seed that looks like a cereal that is packed with fiber and protein; it makes for a great base to this chili. So, take a risk and enjoy...

Smokey Quinoa Chili
from Peggy Lampman, adjusted by Crabby & SSSal

2 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 3 cloves
2 celery stalks, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 TBSP chili powder, smoked if available
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15-ounce can kidney beans*
1 15-ounce can pinto or black beans*
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup quinoa, (red, black or white) rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable, beef or chicken stock (have more available to thin the chili if necessary)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

Sour cream, avocado slices and lime wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy-duty pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, garlic, jalapeno, celery, chili powder, cumin and a pinch of salt for 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables are limp and slightly browned.

Add all the beans, tomatoes, stock and quinoa; bring to a boil. Stir.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes. Have additional stock available if the chili becomes too thick.

Stir in the corn and simmer until heated.

Serve with sour cream, avocado slices and lime wedge garnish.

*Note that Peggy touted Eden Foods organic beans from Michigan which are fabulous. If you use organic beans, you don't need to drain or rinse the canned beans.

There. Pretty hearty if you remember to throw in some sauteed ground beef. The best part about this recipe is that no beagles were harmed during its preparation.

OK crablings, I'm outta here. Always use protection with your computer and remember, you can do it, you can cook.


Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

I got such a kick out of "there are kids roaming the streets who can build a nuclear reactor out of 2 burritos, 6 Gummi Bears and a case of Red Bull and we had to wait 5 - 10 days to fix a computer?!?" LOL!

Great chili recipe, and I'm always looking for new ways to use quinoa. I'm definitely trying this one.

WineWizardBob said...

I'm ba-ack!

Old puter died and well, and, well,
Time to play ketchup, er, catch up.

Smokey earthy flavors go wonderful with all red wines. Easy, and cop out.

The flavors of Spanish reds are lovely with this dish. The classic red grape Tempranillo will work and you can find them in all price ranges. 2007 is a nice vintage. And a couple of little birdies have told me the 2009 is BETTER than 2001, only the best barrel samples I ever tried. Look for the word CRIANZA on the label.

Other Spanish red to try is Garnacha for a floral contrast, or Monastrell for a smokey enhancement.

For a fruit but hard to find Spanish grape look for Mencia.

Shawnee said...

Yum! I've already printed this...thank you!