Spices and Flavors from last Summers Garden
Charred Onions and Banana Peppers
Start with a small fire in your grill and char the three banana peppers and one onion (we prefer use the sweet vidalia for this) cut in half over the flames. Once done, peel the peppers and the most burnt parts of the onion. Don't be afraid of letting them really char - this is where a lot of the smokey flavor will come from - and if you don't want to, or can't use a grill you can put over open flame on your gas stove or roast in the oven.
At the same time, put a large stock pot over low heat and drop in the full stick of butter. Chop all the leeks, onions (not the scallions), shallot and peppers and drop in the butter. Simmer until soft and onions are translucent.
Remove the charred peppers and onions from the grill or oven. After peeling them chop and add to the simmering mixture.
Open the cans of beans and tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir into the pot. Add 2 cups of water. Keep the pot at a low / slow boil - we don't want anything to burn on the bottom.
Add the pepper paste, the pickled peppers, dried spices, sugar and stir in. Salt and pepper slowly to taste, you can always add more later!
Let everything simmer for at least 1 hour up to 4 or so, the longer the better.
Chop the cilantro and scallions - add to taste.
We also serve with sour cream and/or shredded cheese - depends on the mood - and if you have it, guacamole!
Chopped Sweet Peppers
Vegetarian 4 Bean Chili
We aren't strick vegetarians, but we don't eat a lot of meat - primarily fish, and often cook vegan meals as well.
This recipe is one of our favorites - lots of flavor, lots of heat, lots of texture and no meat at all. It would be vegetarian if not for a butter so that can easily be eliminated in favor of vegetable ghee or olive oil.
For this recipe we'll need:
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 sweet banana peppers
1 each: red onion, vidalia onion, white onion, shallot
2 medium or 1 large leek
2 - 3 scallions
1 each green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper
1 bunch cilantro
6 - 8 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of pickled banana peppers
1 tablespoon each of turmeric, cumin, coriander
1 tablespoon fermented asian hot pepper paste
2 14.5oz cans of dark red kidney beans
1 14.5 oz can each of pinto beans, black beans, light-red kidney beans (obviously any of these can change for personal preference!)
1 14.5oz can of crisp white corn
1 14.5oz can each of whole peeled tomatoes and diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
One palm full of sugar (we prefer sugar in the raw)