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Cookbook Report: Crazy Sexy Kitchen

Cookbook Report: Crazy Sexy Kitchen

During autumn, Sundays are for cooking and Ravens games in the Bowen household. Last weekend, a gathering at our small Baltimore row house grew from the usual suspects—my husband and toddler—to 10 very hungry guests. And whether you like football or not, fall is always the perfect season for a big bowl of vegetarian chili.

Full disclosure: over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of working on Crazy Sexy Kitchen with New York Times best-selling author and wellness activist Kris Carr and Whole Foods chef Chad Sarno. One of the perks of my job is having an advance copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen on hand, which meant Crazy Sexy Bean Chili was on the menu that day (see recipe, below). I decided to make two batches and save one for later in the week, but by the end of the party there were no leftovers!

Crazy Sexy Kitchen emphasizes fresh herbs and spices, plus lots of veggies and plant-based protein. After cooking my way through this book, I’ve learned that using quality ingredients brings a dish from so-so to spectacular. And once you’ve tasted the difference, chopping fresh herbs and grinding spices is a joy, not a drag.

The game started at 1 p.m., and I had a kiddo and a house to get ready before kickoff. That meant cooking quick and smart. So instead of cutting and measuring my veggies, herbs, and spices step-by-step, I decided to prep all the ingredients first. It took some patience and extra time in the beginning, but the work was well worth it.

I used large bowls to group the ingredients in the order they’d be added to the pot, so that when it came time to cook, I could set the timer and allow the chili to simmer while getting ready for our guests. Each time the timer went off, I’d add the next group of ingredients and be on my way again. By 1 p.m., a big pot of hot chili was ready on the stove.

Crazy Sexy Bean Chili fills your house with irresistible, comforting, mouthwatering aromas (toasting the cumin seeds is a must). And I love adding chopped kale and fresh cilantro at the very end to give this dish some leafy green goodness and a punch of fresh herb flavor. The touch of maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness, and the tempeh (you could also use seitan or mushrooms) and beans make this meal hearty and super-satisfying. Needless to say, my guests were singing its praises. Even my toddler wanted seconds!

Crazy Sexy Bean Chili
Serves 8

This chili has a spicy kick. For less heat, remove seeds from the jalapeño and feel free to use only half the chile.

1 1/2 Tbs. cumin seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile, finely diced
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 1/2 cups ground seitan, crumbled tempeh, or finely diced mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup diced potato
2 15-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed
2 15-oz. can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 14-oz. can of crushed tomatoes, such as San Marzano
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 cup kale, chopped
Diced avocado, for garnish, optional

1. Toast cumin seeds in dry soup pot over medium heat for 2 minutes or until aromatic.

2. Add oil, onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Stir until onion is golden and translucent. Add chili powder, seitan, zucchini, and potato, and stir well. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, 2 cups water, maple syrup, sea salt, and cilantro. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3. Remove from heat;  stir in kale. Garnish with diced avocado and sprigs of fresh cilantro, if using.

Recipe courtesy Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr with Chad Sarno


Comments on this Blog

Dear Kris: Thank you for this recipe. I will try it tonight. I put some red beans out to soak last night. I first encountered you in a film I saw on the OWN network over a year ago. I loved watching the story and seeing how your life's work was revealed through the cancer. Most recently I've listen to you on Hay House Radio. It's my version of the morning news. I didn't realize you in lived in Baltimore. Baltimore is my hometown. I am so glad to know someone like you lives there. The next time I am home maybe there will be an opportunity to meet you. I just wanted to reach out and say hello. Go Well, Shiree

This recipe looks AWESOME! I love tempeh and all these flavors...thank you!!!

Best vegetarian chili recipe I have ever made! Even my carnivore son and husband loved it. Left out the kale, jalapeno, and cumin (didn't have on hand) and the flavor remained rich and savory. Added some shredded cheese to top it off and it was amazing. Ordered the book based on the results of this recipe. Thanks for a great meal!

Excellent dish - left out the jalapeno as my family doesn't do spicy. Very flavorful, very hearty and my family LOVED it including my husband who's a meat and potatoes guy.