…and now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The Northern California Rennaissance Faire was fantastic. I have been spending all my weekends there since the end of August before the gates even opened to the enthusiastic throngs of patrons. In that time I was building the village of Willingtown, buffing up on my Elizabethan language skills and mostly shepherding children in and out of the Funny Farm petting zoo. Now, a week after our final days there, our apartment still hasn’t recovered, but I’m starting to get back into my normal routine, and that means recipes!
With holidays approaching and family visits already being planned, it’s important to load up on recipes that can feed a big group without breaking the bank or a sweat. This chili is an old standby that I learned to make from my mother when I was in elementary school. She never wrote down a recipe, but I learned to make it by feel and have since then taken down the recipe. It takes time when you start with dry beans, but the actual work involved in making it is minimal and the results are woth the wait. Just beware, the batch size is rather hefty. We often brought it to potlucks because it is vegan yet tastes as hearty as any classic meaty chili so its sure to please anyone. It’s also delicious, filling and incredibly cheap to make bucket-loads of!
Black Bean Chili
- 2 1/2 cups dry black beans soaked overnight
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups vegi broth
- 2 cans fire roasted tomatos
- 1 can corn with liquid
- 1 can tomato paste
- 2 onions
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 dried ancho chilis, chopped into 1cm squares
- 2 dried chipotle morita peppers, ground (sub chipotle meco for more heat)
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
The Cheddar Cornbread is a recipe I developed myself from the ones published by Alton Brown and Epicurious. It is the most tender and moist cornbread I have ever had! I have the bad habit of not following recipes, which drives Colin nuts, but produces amazing results. I look at around a dozen different recipes for the same thing and then narrow it to the two of three best looking ones. Then I play with the proportions(and the ingredients I have available) until I find exactly the product I want. It’s an artistic take on what is science side of cooking.
- 1 cups corn meal
- 1/2 cup corn flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon gluten
- 1/4 cup cream
- 3/4 cup full fat yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 can of corn, lightly drained
- 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar
- 3 green onions
- 1 tablespoon butter for greasing the pan
Sorry for the late post folks. I started classes a couple weeks ago and was studying for my first test when I realized that I had fallen behind on my blog. Luckily I have a delicious recipe that I’ve been wanting to share with you. The other night, I was walking through our Berkeley Bowl, the local independent grocery store when I got a craving for fish. The hot weather had me shying away from heavy foods, but I still wanted some protein, so I picked up some tilapia and fava beans to throw together a light and yet satisfying dinner. Though blood oranges are scarce this time of year, I had some in my fridge that needed to be used. You can easily substitute them with Valencia oranges, but avoid navel oranges as their uneven segments can be hard to supreme.
Citrus Fava Bean Salad
*Note: Make the salad first because it will take longer to prepare than the fish(done in under 20 minutes), which will get cold if you reverse the order.
1lb fava beans
3 large blood oranges
½ red onion
5 sprigs cilantro
1 head butter lettuce
1. Shell your fava beans, and par boil the beans. This only take a minute or two and you don’t want to overcook them. You just want to cook them long enough for the tough and bitter membrane around the beans to loosen and wrinkle. Remove the skins from the beans, and be careful not to crush them. Put the skinned beans into a salad bowl to cool and continue with the rest of the salad.
2. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the skin from the grapefruit, including all of the white pith and the outer membrane of the segments. Over the salad bowl with the fava beans, cup the fruit in your non-dominant hand and use the paring knife to cut the segments out of the membranes. drop the skinless segments into the bowl. Do this until you have nothing but the membrane in your hand. This method is called a supreme. Squeeze the remaining juice out of the membrane into a separate bowl and save it for the dressing. Repeat this step for the oranges as well.
3. Finely slice the red onion and mince the cilantro. Add these to the bowl. Serve the mixture over butter lettuce and drizzle generously with the dressing below.
Blood Orange Salad Dressing
½ c fresh blood orange juice
¼ c white vinegar
¼ c olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
zest of 1 orange
Wisk together ingredients in a bowl or put them all in a jar to be shaken. I prefer the latter method, because then I can conveniently store the extra.
Preheat oven to 400°F
1lb tilapia fillets (~4)
1 Meyer lemon
¼ tsp thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Cover two baking sheets in aluminum foil (to make clean up easier) spread olive oil evenly across both pans and lay out tilapia fillets evenly. Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper, and thyme. Be careful not to over-salt and remember you can always add more after its cooked.
2. Thinly slice garlic and lemon. Spread the slices across tilapia and try to cover as much of the fish as possible. Make sure the garlic is underneath the lemon slices otherwise it will burn. I also coarsely chopped the rest of the red onion from the salad and dropped it on the tray to bake. Just an idea!
3. Bake the tilapia until the edges start to brown and crisp (about 5-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish).
I hope you enjoy the recipe in the hot summer days we’ve been having. I’m certain I’ll be making it again before too long!
A few weeks ago I learned to pickle quail eggs from Kitty Sharkey of Havenscourt Homestead. They turned out so well that I thought I might just try to put together something of my own.
I developed a delicious recipe for sweet pickled pearl onions which go well in salad or as a zesty side to sandwiches, burgers and barbecue. Best of all, they are super easy to make and I’ll tell you how!
Peel and trim 2-3 cups of red pearl onions. White pearl onions will work too but won’t be quite as sweet. Though I haven’t tried it, you could also coarsely chop 2 large onions. In a bowl, cover the peeled onions with boiling water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Drain them and fill the onions into a jar or two.
In a non-reactive saucepan combine the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
- 1 c. white vinegar
- 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher or pickling salt
- 1 cracked bay leaf
- 2-3 large cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 tsp. cracked pepper corns
- 1/2 tsp. ground clove
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Pour the brine over your filled jar(s) of onions without filtering out any of the spices and allow them to soak up flavor for at least 5 days before serving. They will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.
If you would like to keep these for longer follow proper canning process as recommended by a reputable agency(USDA, FDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation, etc.) once you’ve filled the jars. If they are canned, they ought to keep for months and months.
Now, I’m going to go enjoy some of those onions!
*This entry also cross-posted to wildwoodyarn.blogspot.com