Lentil Recipes – The First Mess

Attention readers: I take no credit for these recipes and I do not get compensated for highlighting this or any other blogger’s work on my site. This is another Giant Electronic Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to try these recipes because I love lentils.

Here’s the link: https://thefirstmess.com/2021/10/08/lentil-recipes/

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. She just posted a link to 25+ of her lentil recipes which can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. I have linked to Laura’s earlier collections 25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess and 25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes – The First Mess. Oops I almost forgot about 20 Sweet Potato Recipes – The First Mess too.

I’m at the age where I need more Giant Electronic Sticky Notes to remember stuff. I need reminders and other mental prompts to tell me I own Laura’s cookbook and need to fix some of her recipes. This post makes four Giant Electronic Sticky Note reminders to myself to expand my vegan and vegetarian meals beyond my world famous Wheat Germ Veggie Burgers.

Which reminds me. I should post my latest Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew experiment. (If my chickpea stew is not a link that means I’ve not posted it yet).

Attention Coffee Addicts

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Coffee bean prices have doubled in the past year and may double again – what’s going on?
September 30, 2021
Author: Jonathan Morris Professor of History, University of Hertfordshire

International Coffee Day feels very different this year. Introduced by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) on October 1 2015 to raise awareness of the product and the challenges faced by producers, the day has usually focused on how low prices paid for unroasted beans barely cover farmers’ costs – let alone support their families.

Not this year, though. In the past 12 months, the C price – the benchmark price for commodity-grade Arabica coffee on the New York International Commodity Exchange – has risen from US$1.07 (£0.80) per pound (454g) to around US$1.95. Back in July, it touched US$2.08.

Nearly all contracts for coffee delivery are benchmarked against the C price, with the result that prices for green Arabica (unroasted beans) have risen by over 80% during the past year. Those for Robusta coffee – a cheaper, less palatable alternative – have risen over 30%. And there is every chance that these prices will rise higher in the coming months. We may be on the verge of a major price correction that shifts the market upwards for years to come.
Why coffee got expensive

The principal reason for surging prices is a series of environmental events in Brazil. By far the world’s leading coffee producer, Brazil accounts for around 35% of global harvest. The volume of production regularly fluctuates between “on” and “off” years, and usually this is not sufficient to greatly affect prices because producers mitigate their risks through stock management and hedging prices using the coffee futures market.

However, yields in 2021 are likely to be dramatically lower. This is due to a combination of a severe drought earlier in the season, which reduced the numbers of coffee cherries, and recent intense frosts that might further damage the fruit and even the trees. The Brazilian authorities are projecting the lowest Arabica harvest for 12 years.

The history of coffee has been characterised by extreme price volatility. Periods of excessive supplies have progressively driven down prices until a catastrophic event – either environmental or political – results in a correction.

During the 1930s, a combination of bumper harvests and weak consumer demand in the depression era led to a massive supply glut. To reduce excess stock, Brazil resorted to dumping coffee at sea and also converting it into locomotive fuel. At the other extreme, many coffee trees were killed in 1975 when Brazil was struck by a series of “black” frosts. This led to a 60% fall in output in the following harvest, and prices trebling between 1975 and 1977.

In 1962, the ICO introduced producer quotas to try and keep prices buoyant in the face of such highs and lows. This was supported by the United States to avoid communism spreading from Cuba to mainland Latin America, but it was abandoned on American insistence after 1989. This led to an over-supply and ultimately a coffee crisis at the end of the century in which the C price remained under US$1.00 for four straight years. It had tended to trade between about US$1.00 and US$2.00 per pound, and the price crash saw many producers going hungry.

The price only recovered when a coffee leaf rust infected a significant portion of Central American and Colombian production. The bitter irony of the coffee market is that prices for producers only improve when many of them suffer unsustainable losses.

The Robusta problem

Coffee prices fell in the latter part of the 2010s primarily as a result of the expansion of global production. Most notable was Vietnam, which is now the world’s second largest coffee producer and accounts for around 18% of total global production. As much as 95% of Vietnamese output is Robusta.

Robusta was actually first used for coffee cultivation because of an environmental catastrophe, when east Asia’s coffee production was virtually wiped out by coffee leaf rust during the late 19th century. In more recent times, procedures for “cleaning” Robusta to reduce off-flavours have improved to the point that roasters increasingly resort to raising its proportion within a blend. This is particularly done when targeting markets which are primarily driven by price, such as instant coffee.

If prices keep spiking now, using more Robusta in blends could prevent coffee from becoming too expensive for consumers. But this will be difficult to do, at least short-term, because of severe COVID restrictions in Vietnam. This has caused considerable disruptions both to transporting coffee from the central highlands to the export hub of Ho Chi Minh city, and then managing the onward shipping logistics. The same issues have arisen in many coffee-producing nations.

Consequently we have brokers battling to secure sufficient stocks, roasters contemplating how to pass on price rises to their business customers, and consumers facing the prospect of paying higher prices for household coffee products.

But will producers be the winners in this latest price surge? Those Brazilian agribusinesses that survive the immediate impact of the frosts surely will, as too the well-capitalised, medium-sized farms of Latin America.

What, though, of the smallholders and subsistence farmers who make up 95% of coffee farmers? For years, the ICO and its member states have presented these farmers as the victims of global market forces; now we will find out if these players are capable of delivering back to farmers the increased value their coffee is generating. If so, then International Coffee Day will indeed be something to celebrate.

25 Vegan Appetizer Recipes – The First Mess

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. Her most recent post is 25 Vegan Appetizer Recipes and can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. Y’all might remember my earlier posts 25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess and 25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes – The First Mess. To repeat, I take no credit for these recipes and Laura isn’t paying me any royalties for advancing her brand. This is merely another Giant Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to Self to try these recipes. And before I forget…

Here’s the link https://thefirstmess.com/2021/07/14/vegan-appetizer-recipes/

Enjoy! I constantly remind myself I own Laura’s cookbook.

Try more new recipes. Check.

25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes – The First Mess

Laura Wright is a vegan cookbook author and blogger based in the Niagara region of southern Ontario, Canada. Her most recent post is 25 Vegan Chickpea Recipes and can be accessed at https://thefirstmess.com/. Y’all might remember my earlier post 25 Vegan Soup Recipes – the First Mess. Again I take no credit for these recipes and Laura isn’t paying me any royalties for advancing her brand. This is merely another Giant Sticky Note that serves as a reminder to Self to try these recipes. And before I forget…

Here’s the link https://thefirstmess.com/2021/05/19/vegan-chickpea-recipes/

Enjoy! Let me know which recipes are your favorites. Better yet, let Laura know.

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

A few weeks ago I cooked too many chickpeas. Some got roasted with this Veggie Burrito Spice Blend. The rest got tossed into this concoction. The problem I have saving a recipe to revise at a later time is I tend to forget to revise and post. Then I can’t remember what stopped me from posting earlier. Like this recipe which I thought needed revisions but actually didn’t. I think.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked chickpea
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 15oz. can no salt diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups MOL vegetable broth and bean cooking liquid (MOL= more or less)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat
  • After a few minutes toss in the curry powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Keep sautéing for another few minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and chickpeas to the pot. Pour enough vegetable broth and/or bean cooking liquid to cover the ingredients by an inch.
  • Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about an hour, lid on partially covered. Stir occasionally. Add more broth/cooking liquid as the stew thickens.
  • After an hour taste and adjust your seasonings. The amounts of seasonings I used results in a very mild stew that allows all of the flavors to shine.
  • Serve over rice (or not).

Veggie Burrito Spice Blend

Spice Blend for Veggie Burritos

2 tsp chili powder – 1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp smoked paprika – 1/2 tsp coriander 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp garlic powder

Chickpea and Broccoli Burrito — https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito

This blend of spices is literally stolen from the chefs at https://www.badmanners.com/. The last time I took a theme on a spice blend the author tracked me down and threatened something close to legal action if I didn’t give her credit and a link to her website. So this time around I’m giving credit AND three links. I’m also not going to write down any instructions for making a roasted vegetable and chickpea filling for burritos. I suggest you go to the original recipe at https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito if you need detailed instructions.

My Tips, Hints, and not too Secret Secrets

A really good tortilla makes all the difference. But today I’m going to wrap this filling in a Greek style whole wheat pita for lunch. I tend to roast vegetables for at least 40 minutes with a good stir midway through to prevent sticking. You can also add more olive oil at this point too. I hope I have a lime in the fridge. The last time I made this filling The Boss used it as a topping for a Taco Salad. She liked it. I hope she was telling the truth because when you cook up a pound of dried chickpeas it is a LOT of chickpeas. One cup dried will produce between 6 and 7 cups of beans. I used about 4 cups for today’s mix. The other 3 cups went into a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew (no link yet, recipe is still in draft form).

I used some metal pie pans as roasting pans because I didn’t want to use the big pan which is a pain in the ass to clean because of its size. Preheat your pan(s) before roasting. I leave the mixing bowl uncleaned and use it again once the veggies are roasted and done. Let the mixture cool for a bit, toss everything back into this bowl, mix well again to capture the spices that have stuck to the bowl and then adjust your seasonings.

Postscript

No lime. I used lemon instead.

I wasn’t kidding about using pie pans.

Three Bean Chili Super Bowl LV

chili madness

Before we get to this year’s chili recipe I’ve decided my Three Bean Chili Madness was a pain in the rump to make because I cooked the beans and meat/veggie mixture separately. This year’s version is more of “everyone in the pool” which truly becomes less of a pain in the rump. So here we go.

  • This chili cooks all day long but I didn’t use a slow cooker.  I was hunkered down in the house and the chili got the stove top treatment. You could easily use a slow cooker but you would still need to brown the meat and veggies before everyone goes in the pool
  • The beans get an overnight soak and a quick rinse before adding to the pot. Don’t make the same mistake I made. I soaked six cups of dried beans and had way too much beans. So approximately 3-4 cups of soaked beans went into the chili while the remainder is being turned into Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal – Updated 11.10.20
  •  This is a mild chili and you can add heat to your liking. Always easier to add the spice than to put too much in and figure out later how to tame the flame.

So now that you know this is not a pain in the rump recipe…

1 T extra virgin olive and 1 T grape seed oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 tsp garlic powder or several cloves fresh garlic, chopped (or both)
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) no sodium chicken broth1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 C each dry Mayocoba beans, pinto beans, and cranberry beans
1 lb ground turkey 85/15
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a bowl large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the bowl with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then rinse beans.  Drain again and set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot heat the oils and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper until softened. Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the meat and brown.
  5. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, paste, chilies, broth, beans.
  6. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water or broth if the chili gets too thick. Adjust your seasonings.
  7. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  8. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the end.  The Mayocobo beans will break apart and make this chili creamy and thick (unless you add more broth or water).  The recipe will make approximately eight servings.  I used chicken broth and as the chili cooked down and got too thick I added vegetable broth.  Note you can use either fresh or dried garlic. I used both. You can never have too much garlic.

Don’t forget to make Texas Corn Bread because if you forget it, you’ll regret it.

Black Eyed Peas – Pandemic Version 2021

Aliens wearing headlamps skinning up a mountain somewhere Aspen CO

I make black eyed peas once a year for New Year’s Day.  For good luck and good leftovers. 

I was at the grocery store yesterday and a lot of the shelves were bare. New Years plus an upcoming Oklahoma ice storm with predictions of up to 8 inches of snow sent a lot of people to the stores to clean out the shelves. I didn’t realize at the time that this year there would be no Badass Black Eyed Peas for the New Year. Not a single package of ground turkey. The only ground beef in the meat section were 10 pound rolls. I was fortunate to find some 80/20 in the butcher case. This too was almost gone. I forgot the bacon. The celery looked bad (but I knew I had one stalk left at the house). This year’s black eyed peas was definitely a Pandemic Pantry version.

Before we get to this year’s throw together recipe here are a few odd tips and tricks for this year’s version.

  • The beans still need to simmer for several hours.
  • The beans get an overnight soak in filtered water and you will change the water several times before preparation
  • Everyone in the pool? No, not this year.
  • Unlike other chili recipes this recipe has hints of chili.  But due to limited ingredients this year’s black eyed peas will be more chili-like.

So now that you know this isn’t Badass here’s what I had to do.

1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp each smoked paprika, chili powder
1 T Mexican oregano
1 T cumin

1 14 oz can tomatoes with chilies
1 qt no sodium chicken broth (or more, see odd tips)
2 T tomato paste
1 lb black eyed peas
1 lb ground beef 80/20
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning drain then add fresh water to the beans. Change the soaking water at least twice.
  3. Turn burner up to high and heat up a large stock pot. When the pot is hot brown the beef and break up well. Don’t add any oil to the pot because you’ll have plenty of fat in the 80/20.
  4. When the meat is browned take off the burner and drain well.
  5. Bring the pot back to the burner and turn heat up to medium. Add the onion, celery, green pepper, garlic and saute until softened about five minutes. 
  6. Add the spices and saute another five minutes.
  7. Drain the beans (it’s OK if there’s a little water left).
  8. Now toss everything else into the pool.  Tomato paste, broth, tomatoes with chilies and the beans.
  9. The chicken broth needs to barely cover all of the ingredients.
  10. Bring to a boil then simmer for several hours with the pot partially covered.
  11. Check the pot and stir occasionally.  Add more broth as the peas cook and the dish thickens.
  12. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  13. Yum.  Makes about 10-12 servings.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  There is plenty of salt in the chili powder and broth so salt last.  As you adjust the seasonings you may want to add more chili powder and/or oregano.  I tend to use garlic powder (my less than top secret favorite flavor enhancer). I also added dried cilantro. I would have used beef broth but I didn’t have any. As the dish thickens add more broth (I had an open container of organic vegetable broth so this is what I used).

This dish might taste better on day two but I haven’t even tasted it on day one yet.

Texas Corn Bread of course.

Pandemic Pantry One Bean Chili

chili madness

See Three Bean Chili Madness for my odd tips and tricks for making chili. Or not. Up to you.

It’s snowing today so clearly chili had to be made. I made a trip to the grocery store yesterday but didn’t have chili on the brain so I was missing some ingredients. I know I had two green peppers in the fridge but somehow I used them both yesterday. No worries because part of the Pandemic Pantry mindset is to use whatever is on hand, improvise, and try not to waste any food. So if you don’t have two cups of leftover sauteed onions and peppers sitting in the fridge, it’s OK. Use a fresh pepper. No stewed tomatoes? No problem, use what you have on the shelf. Sub ground beef for ground turkey. Let your provisions and imagination be your guide.

1 T extra virgin olive or grapeseed oil
1 /2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups leftover sauteed onions and green pepper from last night’s dinner of faux fajitas OR 1 large green pepper
2 tsp garlic powder OR 2 cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 tsp each oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin
1 can (15 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 cup low sodium beef broth

1 small can mild green chilies
3 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 pound dried pinto beans
1 lb ground turkey
Salt & pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

  1. Place the dried beans into a stock pot large enough to hold the beans when fully plumped up.  Rinse the beans with water several times.  Fill the pot with fresh water and soak overnight OR use the quick soak method of bringing to a boil, cover and let sit for one hour.
  2. Drain then add fresh water to the beans.  Bring to a boil, add your soup recipe seasonings, then lower the heat down to a simmer.  The seasoning for the beans is based off my Sopa de Frijol con Vegetal soup recipe.  Leave out the tomatoes until later.  (No salt and no chili powder yet).
  3. Allow the beans to simmer for several hours.
  4. In a different large stock pot heat the oil and saute the onion, celery, and green pepper (if using fresh) until softened. Add the garlic (fresh or powder) and saute for another minute.
  5. Add the meat and brown.
  6. Add red wine and cook off the alcohol.
  7. Add the stewed tomatoes and break up the tomato chunks into smaller chunks. Add tomato paste, stir well and simmer until mixture thickens.
  8. Time to toss everyone else into the pool.  Spices, tomatoes, chilies, broth, cooked beans.
  9. Simmer for several hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more broth if the chili gets too thick.
  10. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, and your favorite hot sauce.
  11. Yum.

More odd tips

Don’t add salt until the beans are cooked through and soft.  If your chili powder has salt in it I would add after the beans have softened. The recipe will make approximately eight servings. You need Texas Corn Bread with this or ANY chili. I’m not kidding. As always this chili is mild because you can always add the heat but if you make the chili too spicy to begin with…good luck. I had some kidney beans but decided not to put them in this chili.

This recipe is not in the book pictured.  But I always flip through the book to see what other cooks put in their chili. Besides, I love the cover.

Mid-afternoon seasoning adjustments

You’ll need more than one cup of broth. I’ll end up using between one and two cups to get the consistency where I want it to be. I might change the OR for garlic powder and fresh garlic to AND. Added more onion powder, chili power, dried cilantro, salt and pepper. The beans are soft and will get softer because I’m letting the chili go another two hours on the stove.