I always get a little twitchy when someone asks me for a recipe. I am not one of those “This is my secret recipe and if I tell you then I have to kill you” sorts, not by a long shot. I’m the person who brings a dish somewhere and if someone says, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing!” I’ve barely said “thank you” before I’m telling them how easy it is to make, let me tell you. So it’s not a secrecy thing.
It’s a… slob thing. I am not an exacting person when it comes to cooking. I love to cook; I love to eat; I can follow a recipe with no problem. But the reality is that once I’ve made something two or three times, I’ve internalized the nuts and bolts and then I cook it by feel. So when you wanted the veggie chili recipe, yesterday, it struck terror into my heart. Because… I’m pretty sure I had a recipe for it? Once upon a time? But now it’s just… whatever. I just make it. And it’s good.
But because I love you, I will attempt to give you the recipe, and also explain what food looks like around here. IT WILL BE THRILLING.
So yesterday I made this enormous vat of veggie chili early in the morning. I have a friend who is somewhat laid up at the moment and she’d confided that all the sweet little southern ladies keep bringing them casseroles piled high with cheese, so I’d said NO PROBLEM, I will bring you something healthy.
Bear in mind that chili is very forgiving; you can customize to your taste, halve the recipe, add things and leave things out. But this is what I crammed into my crock pot yesterday morning:
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Vidalia onions, rough-chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 bell peppers, rough-chopped (any color; I had green and red)
3 cups black beans (I cook/freeze my own beans, but that’s roughly equivalent to 2 drained cans)
1.5 cups kidney beans (I had a can handy) (this is one of those “whatever” parts—I’ve made this with garbanzos, pintos, even lentils)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
orange juice (ummm… somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup?)
chili powder (a lot!)
cumin (a lot!)
coriander (just a little)
oregano (a bunch!) (totally different from “a lot!”)
kosher salt (start with a teaspoon, go up as needed)
black pepper (some!)
Now, if you want to throw it all in your crock and forget it for the day, you can. It’ll work. I was due to deliver this well before dinner time, though, so I put the first four ingredients in on high for a few hours before adding the rest; the sweet potatoes need the most time to cook, and had I put the corn and beans and stuff in there, too, they would’ve ended up mushy. So it had maybe 3 hours on high with just that, then I added everything else and did another 3 hours on low. But I have absolutely just dumped it all in and set it on low and left it all day. Just size the sweet potato pieces accordingly (smaller pieces will cook faster, obviously).
I made cornbread, too, but I used a new recipe and Otto did not approve. (It had sour cream in it! WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE??)
Okay, so. I made that, I delivered half of it to my friend, we had the other half for dinner. After dinner, I pestered my daughter that she should make some fruit salad (this is her thing, now, she makes these gargantuan batches of fruit salad and I don’t know WHY it makes choosing to eat fruit a much easier/yummier experience, but it does), and she said she was tired, and I continued to pester, and finally she agreed if I would help her.
We stationed ourselves next to each other in the kitchen, each with a cutting board, the giant metal bowl between us. She sliced grapefruit while I scooped cantaloupe. She picked grapes off the stem while I scooped watermelon. She whined she was tired as I dumped a pint of blueberries in the bowl and told her to buck up. I watched a video on the proper cutting of mangoes and then sliced them as directed while Chickadee insisted this was child abuse. “Yes,” I agreed. “Making you cut up some fresh fruit while children all over the world starve or have rickets or scurvy is SO VERY MEAN, you are correct.”
Finally, we raced to cut up apples, and no one lost a finger. So that was successful, I think. And again, the recipe? “Cut up fruit and throw it in the bowl until your teen’s whining becomes unbearable and the salad looks good.” Put it all in a giant container in the fridge, and eat it every day. (Don’t forget to share with the dog! Mangoes are her new favorite.)
Later I went out and trimmed my basil and then made basil-lime sorbet (hey, a real recipe!), because the only thing better than a bowl of fruit salad is a bowl of fruit salad with a scoop of basil lime sorbet melting in the center. Yum.
Now, as an added bonus (if you haven’t fallen asleep yet…) I’m going to give you the recipe for what we’re having for dinner tonight. This is actually in recipe format because this is the recipe I submitted for the Zatarains Jambalaya contest they had as part of Mom 2.0, and no, I didn’t win the Williams-Sonoma giftcard I was lusting after. I believe both winning recipes heavily featured meat (*coughvegetariandiscriminationcough*), but this is something I invented hoping to win the contest, yes, but also to feed my vegetarian kid. And we now eat this regularly, because it is delicious. SO THERE.
Here you go, this is Casa Mir’s Moroccan Veggie Jambalaya recipe:
8 oz. Zatarains® Original Jambalaya Mix
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
3 T canola oil, divided
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin
1.5 T fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces Nasoya Cubed Super Firm Tofu (drained on paper towels)
8 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 large or 2 small honey mangos, peeled and diced
3/4 pint tricolor sweet mini peppers, cored, cut into thin rings
1.5 cup shelled frozen edamame
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Lime wedges and chopped cilantro (for garnish)
Prepare rice according to package directions, but substituting in the can of coconut milk for an equal amount of water, and using only one tablespoon of oil.
While rice cooks, heat remaining 2 T oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the ginger and garlic and heat until they become fragrant. Add tofu and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and tofu give up their liquid. Add garam masala, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper; toss to coat ingredients. Add edamame and mangos and stir to combine. Once pan is back up to temperature again, add peppers and cook uncovered, stirring, for only a couple of minutes more, until the rice is ready.
Once the rice is done, add to veggie mixture and stir it all up. Serve topped with cilantro and with a lime wedge or two on the side.
Sometimes the heavy-duty carnivores in the house (those with Y chromosomes, natch) have this as a side dish with something else, but I think it stands up pretty well on its own.
Anyway. Now that I’ve totally outed myself as a sloppy chef, I suspect no one will ask me for a recipe again. Heh.