Just a little Farmhouse Zen...

Need a little zen? Grab a big pot and boil together the ordinary, the quirky, the simple, and the sweet. Reduce to a simmer and add a sprinkling of yoga and a dash of country charm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Veggie Chili and other things

I must confess that I wasn't much of a cook when my husband (Crawdad) and I married. As a matter of fact, the first time I turned on the stove in our small apartment, I blew a circuit breaker! I was trying to boil water. Our landlord, a dear friend, felt the need to leave me written instructions concerning the proper use of my stove, as well as how to boil water, once he had fixed the problem.

I learned to cook much in the same way I learned to sew...by screwing up! But, especially when it comes to vegetarian cooking, I've learned a thing or two: I've learned to think way outside the box, to trust my instincts, and not to fear rejection. I mean, not everything turns out the way I plan and, no matter how well I prepare cabbage, Crawdad still won't eat it.

Thankfully, I've been able to create a handful of recipes that I can count on when I need to please the crowd. One is my vegetarian chili. Much like my yoga practice, this recipe is ever changing. I've included the basics here, but every pot of my chili is truly unique, so feel free to add/subract flavors to reflect your own style.

Veggie Chili:

2 packages of veggie sausage
1 onion - chopped
1 cup of good vegetable stock
1 tblsp. flour
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary (or one sprig fresh, chopped rosemary)
1 tblsp. ground cumin
4 small cans (8 oz) tomato sauce
3 cans kidney beans (1 c an drained and rinsed)
2 packages chili seasoning (pick the brand you like)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup orange juice

In a skillet, saute the onions until they are clear and soft. Add the veggie sausage and really work the "meat" with a fork to break it up. Brown the "meat." Add the veggie stock to the heated pan then add the flour. Stir quickly to thicken the stock. Add the next 5 ingredients and let simmer for 10 minutes or so.

In a large stock pot, add the tomato sauce, 2 cans of beans, and 1 can of drained beans. When this mixture begins to simmer, add the "meat" and chili seasoning. Stir until it is all really blended. Finally, add the bread crumbs and orange juice. Stir it well and then crank up the heat until the pot is just about to boil. Turn the heat down and let your chili simmer for at least 20 minutes. You could let it simmer for hours, if you prefer.

Serve it hot!

This recipe should yeild several portions of chili. I am a firm believer in the magical properties of leftovers, so I hope you have some for lunch the next day, veggie hot-dogs, mexican pie...you get the idea! Adjust the quantities up or down for the amount that fits your needs.

Let me know what you think!

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