Why I >heart< the interwebs

(Like the new banner? That's what happens when I'm stuck at my desk with a paint program on my computer and no real work to do.)

How did I ever manage to cook before the interwebs were invented? I constantly scour my favorite food blogs and websites for recipes. I keep track of them in a blog that I use as a virtual shoebox. I write them up here so I can find them when I lose the scribbled-up printout in the pile that is my hard-copy recipe collection.

BTW, do people even say 'printout' any more?

The interwebs came to my rescue again, when I was trying to figure out what to cook for my first dinner post-freakout, I went into an absolute search frenzy and ended staring at a wonderfully simple veggie chili recipe on Chow.com. Even though I already have many vegetarian recipes, I felt the need for something new, and it fit the bill perfectly.

Of course I had to fuss with it so it's not quite so basic any more. Here's what I got.

Post-Freakout Bean & Veggie Chili
Adapted from The Basics: Veggie Chili on Chow.com

1 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
6-8 oz mushrooms, finely diced (opt.)
1 bell pepper, seeded & diced (I prefer non-green)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1-2 Tablespoons ground cumin (to taste)
1-3 teaspoons chili powder (commercial mix or otherwise, to taste)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (opt.)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (opt.)
1 med. zucchini, diced
1 - 16 ounce jar salsa, you choice of heat
3/4 cup water (more if needed)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 - 15 ounce cans of any kind of beans, drained & rinsed
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pot over med. high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrot, season with a little salt & pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown.

Add garlic, mushrooms, corn, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms start to brown. If the corn starts to brown, that's even better.

Add spices, stir until spices are warmed and fragrant.

Add the zucchini, salsa, water, tomato paste, and beans. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and simmer for 10-15 minutes (minimum) until veggies are all cooked and chili reaches desired consistency. Adjust seasonings.

Serve with avocado, grated cheese, sour cream/yogurt, whatever floats your boat. I often serve chili over rice.
  • The longer you simmer, it the better it will be.

  • I used a can of pintos and a can of black beans, but just about anything will work. Well, I'm not so sure I'd use chickpeas, but that's just me.

  • The original recipe calls for canned tomatoes but they are usually too tart for my guys. My new trick is to use salsa + water + tomato paste and seems to do the trick.

  • I added diced mushrooms for a fake ground beef feel. You can leave them out if your audience objects.

  • I like to add smoked paprika for that smoky flavor without the heat of chipotle, but YMMV.

  • I have been known to thicken chili with a little masa harina/water slurry right at the end. Didn't do it this time, but I might next time.
So there. It's a fair amount of chopping, but it did get done in time to qualify as Project Weeknight.

Everyone ate it. And that's why I >heart< the interwebs.

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