Chile, Chilly, CHILI

>> Monday, December 28, 2009

Lookie what Santa brought me!!! And by Santa I of course mean Evan's parents. THANKS BARBARA AND DUSTY!!!

It is, after all, the ONLY thing I asked for this year. :) I am completely amazed how I managed to live for so long without one. I remember food processors being this scary contraption that my parents used to haul out on special occasions. My mom used to explain to me how complicated they were to put together, how awful they were to clean, and how DANGEROUS they were. Basically, she made me believe that if I so much as looked at the blade the wrong way, I would DIE. She was definitely just trying to keep my safe, as I've already nicked my finger on the S blade.

I LOVE this thing though. It's about 7 cups, a great size for just me and sometimes Evan, easy to clean, easy to put together, and comes with a dual sided grating/slicing blade (and of course, an S blade too). I've been dreaming up ways to use it, and got to on Xmas morning, grating Fontina cheese for Evan's mom. Yeah I know, not exactly a grand vegan christening.

I had chili on the brain today. I don't know what it is about that rich, thick, beany, wholesome goodness that chili evokes. Oh wait, it's because it's rich, thick, beany, and wholesome! I've never really cared for meat in my chili anyway, so it's very easy to veganize with great results. I HAD to use Sally (Yes, I name ALL my kitchen appliances) and was delighted to discover that I didn't even use a cutting board for this whole meal. I only used a single medium sized knife.

First the garlic and onion, then carrots:

Followed by celery and green bell pepper. Isn't it beautiful!?

After that the camera decided to act up, so no "in the process" pictures. But, here's the recipe. BEWARE: IT HAS A FLAVOR! So, if you want your chili less spicy I'd omit (or just use less) cayenne. On occasion this recipe has turned out watery, in which case I add either some TVP to soak up the goodness, or some arrowroot to thicken it up.

Vegan Chili
1/2 large onion, or 1 whole small one, sliced or chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
2~3 carrots, sliced or chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced or chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced or chopped
1 12oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (I used the no salt added)
1 12oz can kidney beans (I used the no salt added)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup broth of your choice
dash of ground ginger
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

1. In a heavy pot, sweat onions and garlic over medium heat with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt for 3 minutes.
2. Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper and all your spices. Stir thoroughly to incorporate spices, cook till celery is tender 3~4 minutes.
3. Drain and rinse beans, add to pot with a few grinds of pepper. Cook till there's no bean liquid at the bottom of the pot.
4. Strain diced tomatoes (reserving liquid for another time if you want) and add to pot along with the broth.
5. Add a dash of ground ginger and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust salt if needed.
6. Top with your favs, and devour.

My ALL TIME FAVORITE chili toppings are sour cream (tofutti), chocolate chips (IT'S AMAZING I SWEAR!!!), and cilantro. Here's my chili all dressed up, waiting for me to take it out for a night on the town.
I missed the cilantro! But recovered some before I hit the dining table. Delicious with a glass of sparkling berry water.

Alrighties, time for some dessert now! I've been waiting for Evan to come over so we can try the numbly-sounding Raw Gingerbread Men from Chocolate-Covered Katie. Now he's here, WOO!!!

What are some of your favorite chili toppings?


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