New inspiration, and chili season

This post will be quick, but I had two tidbits I just had to share.

First, this time of year is the perfect time for chili what with football and changing leaves and the chill in the air after the sun sets. Coincidentally, the key ingredients of my favorite chili–tomatoes, corn, peppers, and zucchini–have just a week or so left in season at the market. I’ve shared the recipe for this chili here once before but it’s worth sharing again. Plus I recently entered it in a cooking contest that ends Tuesday, and you can vote for it by just clicking like!

Peak summer chili

Second, I have to quickly rave about the fantastic event I went to yesterday, the  first Chicago Food Bloggers get-together. I’ve mentioned the group before, and I’m sure I’ll talk about the event in more detail soon, but it was a perfect opportunity to put faces to names (and URLs), meet some new like-minded folks, and learn about their great blogs and other projects. I absolutely adore cooking for and feeding my supremely appreciative and patient friends and family (this blog wouldn’t exist without them!), but when I start blabbering about the finer points of pie crust testing, spice shopping, my latest recipe trials, or cry about daylight waning before I can take my pictures, I know it’s only a matter of time before their eyes start glazing over.

Yesterday it was exciting and inspiring to be able to talk about all this and more for 2+ hours with a community of people who are or have been or will be going through the same things. One of the best connections I made is with Kerry, the owner of the beautiful blog Milk Glass Kitchen. If you know me, you know anything vintage gets my vote! (But shhh, turns out we’re both competing in that chili cook-off I just mentioned!).

That’s all for now, but I can’t wait to learn and share more with you soon!

2013-09-29 12.39.50

Best Veggie Chili
This is one of those rare cases where I will actually attempt the whole mise en place thing and chop everything before I start cooking to save myself the 
inevitable scramble when I try to prepare the vegetables as they’re needed. If you’re an exceptional planner (I rarely am), you could even chop everything the night before.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 to 3 small jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2-3 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into medium dice
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock or water
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped finely (optional)

Cooked brown rice
Avocado
Plain yogurt or sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Chopped cilantro
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions

Heat your largest soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté onions, jalapeno, and garlic until slightly softened. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne and stir about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add red peppers and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until mushrooms begin to give off their liquid. Add corn, zucchini, and chipotle and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans, sauce, and water or stock and bring to a boil, stir in the espresso powder, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Top with your favorite chili fixins’, and serve over brown rice or with a side of cornbread.

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2 thoughts on “New inspiration, and chili season

  1. Awwwww what a sweet shout-out! We’re gonna be friends, I just know it. I’m totally regretting that I didn’t make you come home with me yesterday since I baked an apple cake and two loaves of pumpkin bread once I got there. That pumpkin bread is looking for a home….

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