Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Little Chili Cook-Off

I use the phrase "cook-off" lightly here as I only made one kind of chili. This post has nothing to do with the god damned Super Bowl, unless we're talking about super sized bowls of slow-simmered soups. I keep hearing all about some giant snow storm that is about to hit Chicago, so far, not even so much as a flurry. Anyways, when the weather man starts talkin' crazy, I like to prepare myself for potential shut-in status. A crock-pot is an essential kitchen fixture for shut-ins and moms on a budget. I don't use mine as often as I should but ohhh baby when I do, the whole hall of my apartment building smells. I decided to go vegetarian on this one because I really liked the vegetarian chili at a cafe where I once waited tables. The cooks there put in all sorts of stuff like carrots and garbanzo beans. Carrots in chili? Now I've seen everything. Needless to say, I didn't put any in mine because carrots are a bitch to chop. 

Vegetarian Chili

Chilis are an inexact science, and since I like my food inedibly spicy, it's always a gamble. This one didn't wreck me, so I'll try to remember my method. It's best if you take all the seeds and fiber out of your jalapenos. Even if you think you can handle it, that shit has a way of sneaking up on you later. No bueno. Notice there are no beans in this, feel free to use them, not my style but you do you, girl. Also, the longer you let soups simmer, the better they taste. In fact, make it a day ahead and live off of it while confined to your wintery abode. Or invite friends over if you've got 'em. Ole. 

you will need the following: 

1 green bell pepper 
1 yellow or orange bell pepper
1 zucchini
2 jalapenos (hulled)
3 tomatoes 
1/2 white onion 
2-3 cloves garlic
16 oz tomato sauce
1 cup water 
1 can of corn 
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
Salt & pepper
a dash of cinnamon
fresh cilantro (optional)

Step 1: Begin warming water and tomato sauce in your crock pot on high if you want to eat sooner, low if you want to eat later. While that's going on, chop stuff up. 

Step 2: In a skillet, heat onions, zucchini, and peppers in a little oil with spices. Once tender, add garlic and heat for an additional minute. 

Step 3: Throw everything in the crock pot and stir. Adjust spices and seasonings to suit your palate. *Keep in mind, things like peppers and chili powder slowly release their heat, so just because it's not immediately spicy doesn't mean it won't light your ass up when it's done.*

Step 4: Chili is all about the extras. I like to serve mine with some chopped onion, grated cheddar, and if I'm feelin' really Midwestern maybe some seasoned oyster crackers. 

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