For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to make chili on a day when it was supposed to be 45 degrees out with the humidity. Fortunately, a huge storm came in and cooled things down a bit. However, I did lose a tomato plant which fell down the stairs on my balcony, but that is another tale. Another sad, sad tale. :(
Moving on to tastier things, I made a pretty comforting meal tonight.
My chili is never made by following a recipe, but I usually always have my three must-have ingredients to start: onions, carrots and celery. Here you can see them cooking away in the pot. There is also a generous amount of chopped garlic thrown in.
Next up, I added the rest of my ingredients. They are always approximate, and always what I end up having on hand. I threw in half of a yellow pepper, a yellow zucchini, some black beans from the freezer, a can of kidney beans, a jalapeno pepper and a can of tomatoes. My seasonings also depend on what I'm feeling like at the time. This time I used lots of chili powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle hot sauce. At the end I put in some herbs from the garden - parsley, oregano, thyme and basil.
Grilled Polenta Wedges:
I was also craving some polenta, so I made some of that, too. My recipe is approximate, but I used approximately 3/4 of a cup to 1 cup of cornmeal and 3 cups of water.
First, bring the water to a boil, throw in a pinch of salt and a spoonful of Earth Balance (optional). Whisk in the polenta and stir until it gets so thick that it's splattering at you. Then you can turn down the heat to medium and eventually medium-low if you find it is sticking or burning. You are free to add whatever seasonings you might like. I added a couple of pinches of saffron, some cumin and a bit of garlic powder in mine. Cook the polenta while stirring for about 10-15 minutes.
Next, pour the polenta into a pie plate and cool until firm. Mine took about an hour or so. Flip out the polenta and cut into wedges. It doesn't look too pretty just yet, but once it is cut and grilled, it will look and taste delicious, I promise! Brush the wedges with oil and grill until crisp on the outside. I used my electric grill, but you could also use a barbecue or even a frying pan.
Dill Sour Cream:
The recipe I used for the sour cream came from one of my favourite cookbooks, Vegan Planet by Robin Robinson. I added about half a tablespoon of chopped dill at the end to mine.
Here is the recipe:
6 ounces of silken tofu, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil of other neutral-tasting oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of sugar or natural sweetener (optional)
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy.
2. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 to 4 days.
That's it! It doesn't taste like real sour cream exactly, but it is creamy and the perfect accompaniment to a spicy chili.
Put it all together and you have a delicious comforting and pretty economical meal:
Chili: It's What We Makin'!