It All Comes Together Eventually Chili

Somethings I think I am doing too many things at once that seem in conflict.  It used to things like teamwork building and individual goals and now it’s finishing school while finding a job.  I just keep throwing things into my pot and hoping I turn out fine.  But I’ve found when given enough time and the proper motivation, everything does come together eventually and often in a new way.

When I make chili I try to use whatever I happen to have on hand.  Today I went to Mejier and found hominy and chipolte salsa on the bottom shelf of the vaguely “Mexican” section.  If I don’t use hominy I’ll add sweet potato chunks or roasted corn.  You need a balance of sweet and heat to give the earthy beans and acidic tomato sauce some interest.  It’s always the people who make you laugh or who make your blood boil that cause your day to change in one direction in the other.  Too much heat will make it hard to swallow and too much sweet will become boring after awhile.  Everything will come together when you cannot taste too much of either in the mix and are left with a gentle buzz of both.

chili one

it all comes together eventually chili

edible requirements
one large onion
3-4 small or 1-2 large sweet peppers; bells, hungarian, poblano, hatch are all good choices
1-2 hot peppers; add fresh jalapenos during cooking for extra heat or picked jalapenos as garish to control your spice
one can of crushed tomatoes
three cans of beans, black/pinto/red
one can of hominy or one sweet potato, or 2 cups roasted corn
one small can of chipolte salsa or chili paste/sauce of choice
more of cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt/pepper; less of nutmeg, honey, paprika
garnish options: avocado, sour cream, green onion, cilantro, lime
oil of choice

chili two

do these things
in your largest cauldron add chopped oil, chopped onions and peppers
once your peppers and onions are nutty and brown add your spices to toast

cumin and coriander are the main notes and are backed up with a little nutmeg and paprika; add as much honey as you need to add sweetness missing in your starch choice

rinse your canned beans and add them to the pot to mix with the veggies and spices
add in the can of crushed tomatoes, stir, and bring to a low simmer
allow the mix to sit in the heat with the occasional stir to keep the bottom from burning until desired thickness
recipe will yield many bowls with no two tasting exactly the same

chili three

you got time for that veggie stock

Time has been tricky lately. When I first found myself unemployed I embraced each moment with job search in mind. That transitioned quickly to the tasks that necessitated the move east such as planning, packing, and goodbye visiting. Now that we are here and mostly settled into our new space I am having to actively plan my day which seems to revolve around food and money.

Having reduced cash flow and plenty of time meant a lot of home cooked meals. Here I had the luxury of going to the farmers market in the middle of a week day and purchasing all veggies I could carry. Empowered with a sense of kitchen bravery by frugal vegan cooking blogs I resolved to save my veggie scraps in a freezer ziploc bag until I had enough to make a slow cooker stock. I too could  make more food from food I did not directly want to put in my mouth!

freezer veggie bits

I was actually surprised when only three days later I had enough veg waste for my first batch. I momentary considered how many rabbits or worms I could have been feeding all these years with my clippings even if my living situation could accomindate neither. Then again my regretful altruism rarely lives in reality. I prepared my stock base, set the cooker to low, and kinda forgot about it for the next five hours. I was relieved when nothing had boiled over and it appeared to have a nice light tea color. I had just brewed my first batch of plant matter and it was rather tasty

start stock

More so I felt a sense of accomplishment for using what I had on hand to create rather than relying on a purchased item. This was  habit I could have adopted much earlier but it wasn’t until I had to the time to consider the impact of my personal choices that I started to do so. I had been putting the decisions made outside of work on the back burner  and devalued their impact. I need to remember to hold on to the power of me even when my time isn’t being purchased.

finished stock

you got time for that veggie stock 

start by collecting the scraps you would normally toss when preparing your veggies such as pepper and carrot tops, potato eyes, roots, onion skins, herb stems; just don’t include anything that has gone off or has the consistency of green man boogers
i like to store up my odds and ends in the freezer using a ziploc bag, this will confuse your roommates or spouse at first – just tell them it’s for a soup summoning spell
once you have enough bits to fill your crock pot or slow cooker cauldron of choice just dump the frozen mess in and fill to the top with water
add a healthy dose of salt and any seasoning (basics include bay leaves, garlic, ginger) you are going to strain this so whole is better
set on low for five hours
strain to desired level of clarity, I use coffee filters for a second strain to achieve broth Pythia would be proud of
i tend to use all of mine within a week, freeze to store any longer