Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hot and Cold Chili and Cornbread

I get inspiration for meals from seeing what other people are cooking, making my own version up. That's the fun part of cooking. I saw a couple of recipes for CHILI, so decided to make one myself.

Saute two large chopped onions and about seven chopped garlic cloves in two tablespoons of olive oil. Start with the onion first, later adding the garlic, as it cooks faster. Throw in a teaspoon of cumin seeds and if you like hot foods, a chopped dry hot red pepper, or some red pepper flakes.

Add three cans of kidney beans and a can of diced tomatoes. Of course you could soak and cook dried kidney beans, and use your own frozen or fresh tomatoes if you have the time and inclination. Add about one and a half cups of water to the pot, which is what a 15 ounce empty diced tomato can would hold. Add two cups of frozen corn, or a can or two. All of my ingredients were organic, and I hope yours are, too.

Throw in a tablespoon of dried oregano and two tablespoons of chili powder. My chili powder is called deluxe, and is from Frontier Herbs. It is a complex flavor, a mixture of several spices, and is brown in color. I like to buy organic herbs and spices, because they are never irradiated. Singular herbs or spices must be labeled with the universal symbol of irradiation (a friendly looking flower-like shape inside a broken circle), but herbs and spices used in other products are not. I have ordered Frontier herbs and spices for over twenty-five years, and trust that when they say something is organic, it is.

Cook the chili at a simmer until you are ready to serve it. If you have an hour to cook it down, it will improve the consistency and flavor. At the end you could add some chopped fresh basil, if you have it, and a dash or two of tamari—more, if your beans have no added salt.

I have a steamer basket which fits in the top of the pot I used to make the chili, so I washed, chopped, and steamed a bunch of lacinata kale over the chili so we could have some dark green leafy greens with our meal.

Then I got creative and decided to cool off the hot chili with some CORNBREAD WITH PEPPERMINT. Of course, you could make plain cornbread, but then you couldn't call the meal Hot and Cold, could you?

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil and heat a cast iron frying pan.

Stir together two cups whole wheat pastry flour and two cups corn flour or cornmeal, if you have it. For some reason, I don't right now. Add and mix in a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt, along with a tablespoon of organic sugar, although that last ingredient is optional.

Mix in a half cup of sunflower oil. Mix in half a cup of soy milk and one and a half cups of water. This should make a thick batter. Mix in a tablespoon of peppermint leaves if you want to. I have also used chili powder in the past, as a different seasoning.

Take the hot oiled pan out of the oven and spoon in the batter. Carefully return to the oven and bake for thirty minutes, if the oven is fully preheated. When you take it out, it should be slightly browned and the edges will be crispy.

The family seemed to like their meal tonight. It is colorful and filling, as well as tasty.

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