Tuesday, January 10, 2012

espresso chili, cheddar cornbread and kale slaw

Here's a great winter menu: hearty, rich espresso chili, with a crispy cheddar cornbread for dipping, followed by a wintery and fresh kale slaw

Who doesn't want a big bowl of chilli after a weekend of skating and sledding? Well, no sledding yet, still waiting for that snow, but I've definitely been breaking in my new hockey skates.

This chili is a nice departure from plain old tomato-chili powder-onions fare. Every time I make a staple dish (vegetable stew, quiche, squash soup), I like to try out a new flavour combination or recipe. It keeps things interesting! This one is from David Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The cornbread is also from his cookbook, but I added cheese, corn and green onions to spice things up.

(Even my cat thinks it smells delicious.) The kale slaw is from the Moosewood Collective's Cooking for Health, except I used my own favourite salad dressing instead of their suggestion. Like other vinaigrette coleslaws, it keeps well in the fridge for a few days.

espresso chili
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 cups dried pinto or black beans, soaked overnight and cooked
(or 2 14-oz cans of cooked beans, rinsed)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder, and cook another minute. Add tomatoes, coffee, brown sugar, cinnamon, beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour, covered, on low heat, stirring every once in a while. Serve with this delicious cornbread...

cheddar cornbread
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 green onion, minced
1 cup frozen corn kernels

If you have a cast iron skillet, use it! Preheat the oven to 350, and pop the skillet in the oven with the butter. (Preheating the skillet with help develop a crispy, buttery crust.) If you don't have a skillet, grease a 9x9 pan with the butter. Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together the egg and buttermilk. Combine the flour mixture and the egg-milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in cheese, onion and corn. Pour into skillet or pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a fork comes out clean and the edges are browned.

kale slaw
1 apple, grated
1 carrot, grated
1/4 head of cabbage (about 1 cup grated)
4 or 5 large dino (aka black) kale leaves, stems removed, sliced finely
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp grainy mustard
salt and pepper

In a bowl, combine apple, carrot, cabbage and kale. You want to kale and cabbage sliced as finely as possible - use a grater attachment on a food processor, or a mandolin if you have one. In a jar, combine oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Close the jar, and shake to help emulsify the dressing. Pour over salad, mix, and let sit at room temperature for half an hour. This helps soften the kale and cabbage.

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