simplelittlespaces

Keeping things simple in a not so simple world


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not an ordinary chili

Over the years, I have tried a variety of chili recipes. I make a great vegan chili – dumping all sorts of veggies in. We tried a new coconut butternut squash chili for a Holiday party this past December. A killer meat chili with organic ground beef and lots of ancho chili pepper…

The types of beans, veggies, meats – it varies every time. I’m sure yours does to.

Today, I have a chili recipe that is about flavor. Forget the veggies and meat. This is about savoring the balanced blend of smokey and sweet and bitter. The mellow with the fresh and robust.

I hope you try this. It is VERY simple. But certainly does not taste so…

not an ordinary chili

1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
sunflower oil
2 15 ounce cans of black beans (3 cups black beans)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
30 ounce can tomato puree
3 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces good quality organic dark chocolate, in smallish pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder (ancho is preferred)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and add the onion and celery, cooking until just soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden.
Add the tomato paste, stirring until incorporated.
Add the beans and puree, mix well.
Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
Add the chocolate, stirring frequently until melted.
The consistency should be thick and saucy. The color should be a deep brown-red.
Add more chocolate if desired.

Leave to simmer…

In the meantime, make the cilantro pesto…

1 bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup walnuts
olive oil

In a food processor, add all the ingredients, drizzling with the olive oil. Pulse, adding more olive oil as needed.

Serve the chili with a dollop of pesto on top.

My kids inhaled this. It was a real hit!

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things i’m loving lately

My six-year old and I are going back to camp with these beauties.

This was a huge hit!

Love to try this new craft project after I finish this one for my partner.

Thinking about this for my daughter’s birthday.

Our most recent book club read. It was phenomenal!

As always, loving the earthy smell of Vetiver in the house!

Or, some Sweet Basil in an oil burner! (Not for use on body!)

Just a few!


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a tasty treat

I may have shared before, that we like bean popcorn.

Here is a new version to try!

italian style roasted chickpeas

3 cans chickpeas or 4 cups homemade, washed and dried
3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil (I use Spanish – I love its fruity flavor!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper
dried oregano

Add all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Mix well and let sit to marinate for a minimum of 3 hours.
Heat oven to 300*
Place chickpeas on a baking sheet.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so. They should be dark and crispy; basically dried.
Add to salads or eat like popcorn.


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spring in the air

Yes, I realize that we are having a spring snow. But I am in denial. Sometimes, mother nature is too much.

This lovely spring soup has brought us lovely spring goodness to our home and comfort to a dear friends. Our community gardener, someone who has become family to us, whose daughter is our sitter, sister and friend, passed away suddenly Monday. This soup was a small token in a time of hurt.

To spring and happier times…

carrot dill soup

4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 quarts vegetable broth
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely minced

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering and add the vegetables, saute for 4 minutes or until onion is soft and golden.
Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Using a hand-blender, food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the dill.

Serve.


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special soup

Every so often I want a special soup. Something to serve for guests. Or to have something extra special for comfort.

This soup is based on a native american soup recipe. It may sound like a bizarre combination, but trust me, it is quite good.

toasted pecan soup with cheddar cheese

4 cups pecans
olive oil
1 onions chopped
1-2 quarts vegetable broth
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed (may use dry)
salt and pepper
good quality yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400*. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and put cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the pecans don’t burn. You want them just golden and hot. Let cool.

Crush the pecans into smallish chunks.
In a soup pot, heat some olive oil and add the chopped onion. Once soft, add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pecans and thyme leaves.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until pecans are somewhat soft.
Using a blender, food processor or a hand-blender, puree the soup. Season to taste.

Serve warm with the shredded cheddar cheese. Or room temp without the cheese.