White beans are so pretty. They're like little champagne colored pearls and their texture is subtle, responsive, and sweet. They take on so many other flavors and even without being the star of the show, they shine.
It was 94 out today; sticky too. And a little uncomfortable even for a summer-lover like me. I was in the house all day, listening to the costly hum of the air conditioner as it bellowed softly through the vents knowing that outdoor activities would be replaced with those that made the most of indoor pleasures. As the cool air spilled out into onto my bare shoulders, I thought about how we're always trying to counteract wherever we are. If it's summer we long for winter, if it's dark, we want it to be light. If it's skinny and it lives next door...well you know. I was yearning for a chill.
You should see me when I'm hunting for something to make for dinner. I look like a confused mime as I purse my lips and stare slightly hunched into the dark chasm of my pantry. Guided only by a random sense of hunger, and of course the rotating urgency of vegetables unused in the fridge, I am in another world, imagining the tastes of colors that will end my creative coma. And soon, those little white beans snapped me back to reality. With the determination I set about to create my White Bean Veggie Chili with Kale, Topped with Fat Free Yogurt.
White Bean Vegetarian Chili with Kale
I'm doing my best to stay away from meat every night. Like a Swanson's Dinner Zombie, I am always imaging a plate with meat, veggie and starch, just like what I grew up with, and it's just not necessary. In fact, I have felt so good this last year since changing my entire eating and fitness cycle that meat is often the last thing I reach for. Chili is no exception. You don't need any dead cow in your bowl to feel like slapping your chaps and spinning your spurs.
And, I like my Chili hot. Lip singing hot. As you read the ingredients you may decide that you want to amp up your chili or take it down a bit by using a milder version of Schilling Chili Mix. If you're a four alarm kind of cook, I might even suggest adding some beautiful yellow habaneros with a Scoville Heat Index from 150,000 to 350,000. If you're literally out of your mind, try adding what's called a Ghost Pepper and summon the whole fire department with a Scoville Heat Index of over 1,000,000. (Insert a "don't be dumb and rub you eyes after touching these," disclaimer here.) Whatever you choose, enjoy the flavors of this colorful and satisfying bowl of yum.
Heat a large dutch oven, add olive oil. Add vegetables and saute until onions are transparent. (NOTE: All of these veggies together should make about 3 cups of veggies.) Add garlic and stir for about a minute until fragrant. Add some of the salt and pepper like you would if you were just seasoning the veggies. Add all the canned ingredients, along with all the liquid in the cans. Add the chili seasoning packet and the oregano. Simmer uncovered on medium low for about 35 minutes. Stir often. Now, add chopped kale and vinegar and check to see if it needs salt. Since we're using so many low sodium options, you will find salt and pepper fine tuning is necessary. Simmer for another 15 minutes on low. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of celery leaves. Can also garnish with a bit of very, very finely chopped ribbons of kale on the top of a little more color. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.
©Copyright, Camine Pappas, 2013. All right reserved.
(Uh, yah. I served homemade choco chip and walnut cookies for dessert. Hey, I never said I was perfect! ENJOY!)
It was the first sunny day we'd had in over three weeks, and even with the sweltering humidity, I was glad to see the sun bathe us all in a little golden light. I reached for a dark red ripe cherry as I watched the afternoon shadows burn hot and moist into the sidewalk, and as the fruit burst in my mouth I knew I wanted to get to work making it shine in a new creation. Soon it was the star of the show, becoming quite literally POW on a plate.
It was girlfriend night and the three of us agreed that meeting for dinner, even if it was over take-out pizza, was the perfect way to end a sunny Tuesday. There's nothing real special about Tuesday's; they're not hump day, they're far from the weekend, and they're not imprinted with the overwhelming confusion of Monday, so why not meet and laugh a little over a good meal?
To start with, I knew I wanted to add a little heat to the mix, so out came the jalapenos and some white onion. My mint beckoned next for flavor and a garnish. The cherries always look good against something green and crisp so I pulled out the celery and a nice firm cucumber. You'll find that each of these flavors meld very well and each bite is refreshing and acidic with a hint of sweetness. I was pleased that nothing overpowered any other flavor and it might benefit from a pinch of ground coriander or a sprinkling of sesame seeds. In any event. This was a winner.
Crisp Vegetable Salad with Cherries,
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.