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Brazilian Black Bean Stew

Reviewed: May 2, 2010
This recipe was excellent! I made a modified version with the following substitutions: 1. Omitted ham and chorizo, used 2 links of smoked turkey sausage. 2. Subbed a 15 oz. can of pumpkin for the sweet potato 3. Used a large can of diced tomatoes and a small can of diced chiles. 4. Used stock instead of water. 5. Added paprika, cumin, and black pepper. 6. Garnished with lime. While I agree with a previous reviewer that it needed more spice, I suspect that had I used the chorizo from the original recipe, I probably wouldn't have felt that way. If you're expecting to have leftovers, I would not add the cilantro to the pot of chili, but rather would use it as a garnish (with lime... yum!). That way, when you reheat the leftovers, you still get that fresh cilantro taste. As good as this was, I think next time I will be adding the chorizo and ham in, though maybe in lesser quantities. As good as this is, I can see how the spice from the chorizo and the smokiness from the ham would really give this dish much more depth and complexity. If you're avoiding these ingredients to make the dish "healthier," I think you'll still find it very satisfying, but adding it a small amount of the meats is worth it to take this dish from GREAT to WOW. This pot is going to be my lunch at work for the week. Thinking I'm going to make a pot of brown rice to serve it over. Delicious! This one's a keeper!!
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Vegan Red Lentil Soup

Reviewed: Apr. 24, 2010
I made this tonight and it was delicious! I've made the committment to only eat organic and locally produced meats, but intend to do so without drastically increasing my food budget. So I've been on the lookout for good vegetarian dishes that I can use to stretch my budget and help me stay healthy. This recipe is incredible! I did make a few changes: 1. subbed sweet potatoes for the squash (was what I had) and doubled the amount. 2. I found this needed a lot more liquid while simmering... perhaps the size of my pan was the problem. I used 2 cups of concentrated veggie stock (homemade) and then 4 cups of water. 3. Used 3/4 can of coconut milk. 4. To up the nutritional punch and give the dish some color variation, I added a small bunch of loosely torn kale. 5. Instead of using cilantro leaves in the cooking, I threw in a tied bunch of cilantro stems. This imparted the flavor without the leaves getting all wilty in the soup. I then garnished with fresh cilantro and lime juice. The curry taste is very mild, and I may use more spices in the future. But the flavors of this dish are really divine, and this makes for a lovely meal year-round.
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Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup

Reviewed: Oct. 26, 2009
I thought this recipe was excellent! My family even liked it, and they loathe anything that doesn't have meat in it. Changes I made included replacing the powdered garlic for fresh, adding mushrooms, taking a more liberal hand with the spices, and only using 1/2 cup of barley. This will definitely become a staple of mine this winter!
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