One of the easiest things to make for camping is vegetarian chili. You just chuck everything in a pot, let it simmer for a while and tah dah! It’s done. I’ve made this so many times that I don’t measure anymore. Who am I kidding a never measure! Ok so I’ve gotten better at measuring thanks to writing about what we cook. You can keep it vegetarian or add meat it’s all up to you. We usually are out for a couple days so keeping it meat free is best. I also freeze it so it becomes part of the ice we use to keep everything fresh. I like to add as many fresh ingredients as possible, like tomatoes, corn, carrots, onions, bell peppers and sometimes zucchini. This is a great dish to experiment with and have fun.
1-2 6oz cans of tomato paste( depending on how thick you want it)
1 med onion
1 med green bell pepper
1 med red or yellow or orange bell pepper(your choice)
2 carrots(3 if small)
1 med zucchini
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of oregano
¼ teaspoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of chili powder
¼ teaspoon of ancho chile powder
1 large or two medium bay leaves
½ tablespoon of salt
½ tablespoon of pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Peel and chop onion
Peel and chop carrots
Chop bell peppers and zucchini into cubes
Cut kernels off corn
Peel and rough chop garlic
In large sauce pan add some olive oil and onion
A sprinkle of salt and pepper
Sauté for a few minutes
Add tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes till tomatoes start falling apart
Add remaining vegetables, garlic and cans of tomatoes, sauce and paste
Rinse beans and add them to the pot
Add spices and herbs, salt and pepper
Simmer for about 20 minutes
let cool and put in freezer bags and freeze.
If you aren't a camper that's ok, this is a great meal anytime. They say to let chili sit overnight that way it incorporates all the flavors. I usually can't wait, but if you can, let the pot cool off, refrigerate and reheat the next day. Don't for get the hot sauce, cheese and sour cream for the ultimate bowl of chili!
Wow! It’s the last hot sauce of our hot sauce mania month! We can’t believe it. So we accidentally took a couple weeks off and our month turned into six weeks. We are human and needed to rest and enjoy the summer. But now it is back to work. And without further ado I give you:
Hot sauce of the week! We shared a new red pepper hot sauce last week and decided to feature a new one every week! We will start out with an easy one. It’s not spicy, just smokey and delicious. Perfect for that person who can’t handle the heat but wants a great sauce for their tacos or eggs in the morning. Or if you just want to easy into the heat.
Soak dried peppers in a bowl of hot water for 30 minutes.
Make sure peppers are completely submerged.
I use a heavier smaller blow for this
Or you can use a ziplock bag.
Just make sure it is on a flat surface and you flip it half way through .
Once peppers have soaked pull off stems and discard them.
Some seeds and veins will come with the stems and that's fine.
Not all your peppers will be completely soft, that is ok.
Take the chili's, garlic, vinegar and blend, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Once done put sauce through a sieve to remove excess solids
Take sauce and put in your favorite jar or container.
Discard leftover solids*
* if your anything like us chances are you don't like to waste things. As we kept making hot sauces, one thing was bothering us. What to do with the left over solids? We think we are coming up with some great ideas. And if you stay tuned we will share our discoveries.
It’s hot sauce mania here at The Lab. We have been obsessed you could say. It all started with Christmas and has spilled over. Our latest sauces have been gobbled up by everyone and it seems there is not stopping us or them. I can’t believe it started with just wanting to make something nice for Christmas that wouldn’t break my bank account. We are really honing our skills, and what we want out of the sauces. From mild and smokey, to oh my god get me a bucket of water! Our latest is a smoked red pepper hot sauce that has that sweetness of peppers and heat from some red Jalapeño’s. It was inspired by a restaurant in LA that makes the most amazing yellow pepper dipping sauce. One day I will crack that recipe! Here is one of the new ones, enjoy! Oh and don’t forget the homemade corn chips!!!
Tataki de carnard, enoki marine, oeuf de Caille , aoli d'ail noir
Gravlax de salmon, Chutney a la mangue, granite concombre
Profiteroles de chèvre au meil, joue de veau braisee, mousse de betterave
Onglet de boeuf marine, oeuf poche sauce au vin rouge
Ris de veau, purée de pommes de terre sauce a l'erable et bacon
Croustillant au chocolat noir et glance a la lime
Back of the George-Étienne Cartier statue
Back of the angel on the George-Étienne Cartier statue
Relaxing at Mount Royal park
Panarama of park and tam tam area
This way to the top!
Downtown Montreal from top of Mount Royal
Cross on top of Mount Royal
When Jason’s Mum came to NYC for a visit we wanted to take her some where different. She’s been to Washington, D.C., and Provincetown, so we had to think of somewhere new. Jason came up with Montreal. It’s just far enough for a quick weekend getaway. To maximize our time together and in Montreal we took the train up and flew back.
The train was a wonderful way to spend the day together. We probably packed way too much food(oops!), but the scenery was just breath taking and we relaxed our way into our weekend. With a recommendation from a friend we stayed at the Chateau De Argoat Hotel. It is perfectly situated near everything and a block and a half from the nearest subway and the bus depot that you can take to the airport.
Once we were all settled we headed out for dinner. You think with all the food we had on the train we wouldn’t be hungry. Wrong! We decided to keep it simple and went to a delicatessen called The Main and had smoked meat and poutine(fries with gravy and cheese curds). Perfect for weary travelers.
The next day we headed for old Montreal and soaked in the history. Walked along the canal where all kinds of new construction is happening . It reminded us of what is happening to Brooklyn back home. We even got Jason’s mum on a bike! After a very valiant effort, we let her off the hook and we walked for rest of our journey. Which included finding an oasis beer garden/indoor beach volleyball club. It was nice to sit relax some more and watch a little bit of sport. We finally made it to our destination the Atwater open market. Unfortunately we were a little late and only managed to procure some fromage, crackers and olives for our efforts. But all was not lost. That just made dinner all the better! We ended up at Cafe Cherrier, not your typical cafe. I had pistachio encrusted salmon, Jason had steak and his mum had veal ravioli. Amazing! So far Montreal is winning in all categories, architecture, historic sights, weather and food!
The next day was Mothers Day and Jason planned a nice dinner, but we changed our minds and made it a brunch date instead. We were so glad we did. Le Pegase did not disappoint. They had a special pre fix menu for Mother’s Day brunch and luckily for us we had three choices for the appetizers and main course. So we all got to try a little of everyone’s meal. To say it was amazing is an understatement. We left floating on air with very satisfied full bellies.
After our heavenly experience we wandered around and made our way to Mount Royal to see the tam tams, aka, a drum circle. Also to climb to the top and see the view of the city. It was another beautiful day and everyone was out just lapping up the sun and music. After a little rest we headed to our final destination, the top of Mount Royal. We lazed around on the lawn chairs took in the scenic view, walked over to the very large cross and then made our descent back down and to our hotel for the night.
Sadly our last day was a short one. We just took it easy, had a picnic at La Fountaine Park, played our ukuleles and soaked in the sun. We then hoped on the bus, checked ourselves through airport security and flew home. Another adventure down and many more to come!
It was time to make our annual trip to D.C. for the blossom festival and it did not disappoint. We took the Bolt Bus as usual and stayed in our hostel that we like. One day we might stay in a hotel, but the hostel is in a central location and the price is great.
After we unloaded our gear we headed out for a quick drink. We normally don’t go out on the first night, we’re usually too tired and want to get an early start. But this year there was only one exhibit that we really wanted to see, so we figured we had a long week, lets get out and have fun. Well fun found us. We stopped at a local bar we go to sometimes and this night they were having a Robyn themed night. After 3 drag performances and a few Absolut drink specials we made our way back to our beds that were waiting for us.
The next day we hopped on bikes and made it to the festival to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It was a glorious day. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. We rode and walked around the basin taking in all the amazing trees and colors. We stopped to get some refreshments but the line was long and we had our exhibit to see. So we high tailed it out of there and went to the Hirshhorn Museum. They had a great exhibit on disasters throughout history. We did wonder if the Smithsonian planned such an exhibit of destruction while life was blooming outside it’s very walls.
After the exhibit we went to The Garden Cafe, in the National Gallery of Art. One of our favorite places to sit, relax and enjoy a meal. We strolled around and saw the amazing photography of Garry Winogrand and the Civic Pride: Group Portraits from Amsterdam, that are considered a rarity at that time. We made another wonderful pit stop at one of the atriums before heading out to see more works of art.
Jason waiting at parade
The Second Time Around Marching Band
Blossoms at the tidal basin
Sculpture outside Space Museum
Lisa Tomlins rocking it!
Neil Finn and band
Jesse Sheehan blur of sexuality
It's beer o clock somewhere!
Mmmmm.....beer and blossom's
Beer in the Mall
Beer's eye view of the Mall
Jefferson through the blossoms's
Thomas Jefferson quote
Blossom's on the peninsula
After a little more running around, it was about time to go back to the hostel and freshen up for our evening plans. As usual I didn’t know what they were. Well, they always involve a play or a concert or a musical. This time much to my delight and genuine surprise it was the final show of Neil Finn’s American tour. We were lucky and got some great seats and were treated to some rare songs that he usually doesn’t play.
We tried to eat before the show but we were running a little late. After a few failed attempts I finally secured some chili cheese fries from Ben’s Chili Bowl, but unfortunately I was too late and we were ushered into the theater and our food disposed of. But our saving grace was Oohh’s and Aahh’s Soul Food. Amazing roast chicken and mac n’ cheese. Can’t wait to go back and try more.
Our final day was mostly spent cruising around looking at blossoms. We stopped for a quick libation and headed to our new find. The peninsula across for the main blossom festival. Talk about night and day! The festival is nice and there are many more blossoms to look at, but what we found was just as beautiful. The peninsula is lined with blossoms and even has picnic area’s with tables and BBQ’s. It was a great bike ride and discovery. Next year it’s all about a picnic at the other side of the festival.
We had just a few more small exhibits to see but our hot dog and beer on the mall lawn was our next destination and it did not disappoint. It’s always nice to take a moment, sit and watch everyone enjoying there day, while we enjoy ours. The Portrait Gallery was our last destination, an exhibition on dance in American history from ballet to movies and music. Then it was off to collect our belongings, with a quick stop at Full Kee to get dinner for the long bus ride home. As we sat comfortably in our seats, or as comfortable one can get, we settled into our movie and dinner, already planing next years adventure.
Our first camping trip of the season was amazing and cold!
The day started out fine, a little cloudy but not too bad. We hit the subway, then train to Tuxedo, grabbed the last of the supplies and hit the trail. We made it to camp with plenty of time to gather wood, pitch the tent, get water and start our fire. It was a lazy afternoon. Well as lazy as that can be. We took our time and enjoyed the spring day. We did notice along the way that there was still snow in random spots and when we arrived at our usual camp site, the lake was still frozen in parts. Jason dubbed this trip, winter camping! We were still delighted, the sun had come out and we just lapping up the quiet and slow pace we were settling into.
Lake Skenonto and tent panorama
Lake Skenonto panorama
Baby island at Lake Skenonto panorama
The still iced over Lake Skenonto
Lake Skenonto panorama 2
Bushmills and campsite selfie
Swamp across from Lake Skenonto
Lake Skenonto and swamp panorama
Steak, onions and mushroom stems
Dinner is served!
Final rays of the sun
With our fire in full swing and whiskey in our cups we started dinner. We kept it simple. Dry rubbed ribs, steak, asparagus and baked potatoes. One of the best things about camping is you can wrap everything in foil, chuck it in the fire and leg it go. Of course we love cooking a more elaborate meal, but our first outing we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. After dinner we put more wood on the fire and watched the sunset. So far so good, right? Then the sun went down and the wind and cold went up! We usually hangout by the fire for a while but not that night. We headed into the tent and watched a movie I had downloaded. All snuggled up with hot water bottles, snacks and our movie we settled in for the night.
The next morning was bright and sunny. The wind was still whipping around a little and we thought we might have to take the early train home. But thankfully it went away and a beautiful spring day took over. We made breakfast, eggs, potatoes and bacon, and just relaxed. By lunch time we were sufficiently hungry and found our leftover ribs and butter were missing. These were to be added to our egg drop ramen soup. We couldn’t find them anywhere. After a little more searching, I found the empty foil I had wrapped the butter in, and a fork! Jason had heard something in the night like an animal walking through our camp but thought nothing of it. There are deer, geese, hawks, ducks and we usually camp next to a beaver and his dam. I guess one of them got hungry in the night!
We still enjoyed our lunch, finished our movie and made our way back to civilization. It’s always a bitter sweet walk. As we get closer to the train station you realize it’s almost over. But our reward for making this trip and back in one piece is Chinese food across the street from the platform. With our delicious snack in our bellies we drink our travel beer on the train and make the long ride home. Already dreaming of our next camping adventure.