Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nature sure knows how to trick...

After spending a long weekend in Disney World, with warm, sunny, 80 degree weather each day, I was rather reluctant to return to the chilly New Jersey air. Arriving back at our school at 10 pm, still wearing shorts and a sombrero from Epcot
s Mexico, I was surprised to find the weather was rather tolerable.
Only a few days later, it picked up to the 70's- which was quite delightful, to say the least.
A few more days spent in the 60's, wildflowers begin to sprout, I begin to anticipate Spring even more than I had been, and then... I wake up to see snow on the ground... What an awful trick Mother Nature has played.
And now we're getting a Winter Storm Warning?? In Spring!?
I thought I would be done with sweatshirts, warming foods, snow boots...that soon, the farmer's market would return, and I could focus on eating more raw. That I would be able to get back into the garden, but no... It's still only March after all.

So I spent today making chili, to prepare for the dreaded Spring-snowstorm.
This recipe is one my uncle taught me how to make. I love it, and it has become one of my favorite meals. It does take a while to make, but it is definitely worth it.
One thing I love about it (and soups and stews too), is that you can change it so easily. Everything is to preferance- whether you want cayenne in it or not, how big you want your chopped peppers to be, the type of beans or grain you want in it, hwo spicy it will be...
It's hard to go wrong with chili, since you can change it up however you want! :)

Yummy Vegetarian Chili:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3-4 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Large Onions, chopped
4 Bell peppers, any color, de-seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
2 Carrots, chopped
1/2 C shredded carrots
4 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 C pearled barley
1/2 C rice
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
4-5 C water
3 cans of kidney, pinto, or black beans, or a combination
1 14 oz can Plum Tomatoes
1 can non-GMO (organic) Corn
1 14 oz can diced Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper to taste
Dash cayenne (optional)

1.) In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-low. Add the garlic and onions, and let simmer for a minute or so. Add the peppers, chopped and grated carrots, barley, rice, crushed tomatoes, cumin, parsley, cilantro, bay leaves, and 4 cups of water.
Cover and let simmer for 2 hours, stirring every so often.
(2) Add in the extra water if it gets too thick.
3.) Rinse the beans, and add them, the plum tomatoes, diced tomatoes, corn, salt, pepper, and cayenne (if adding) to the pot. Stir them in, and cover the pot and let it cook for another 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionaly.
4.) Let cool before storing in the fridge, and taste test it to make sure you don't need to add any more spices. And you're done! :)

This recipe will make A LOT, so it should last for a little while... ^.^