Monday, January 30, 2012

Manic Monday Meals

Kate’s Cashew Chili
It's that time of year again, when the Giants are going to DOMINATE in the Super Bowl! Who's making Chili for the Big Game? It's one of my tailgating and football party staples, but I didn't always have a good Chili recipe.

I used to work with a woman named Kate, who would bring lunch to the office wrapped in cloth napkins. Some days, the napkin would be filled with home made crusty bread, a generous spread of hummus, and some thinly sliced veggies. Other days, she would have a bunch of grapes, fresh whole grain crackers, and a handful of almonds. When I think of the term “Earth Mother,” an image of Kate gently floats into my brain, with her flowing hair, slender, graceful limbs, and bright smile. She used to share some delicious recipes with me and if I ever had a question about converting a meal to something vegetarian friendly, Kate was there with a head full of knowledge and a pencil to jot down recommendations.

My standard chili recipe comes from Kate’s Cashew Chili. Of course, I tweaked, fiddled, and changed until I thought it was just right, but the base of this chili comes from Kate. I’m not really in touch with Kate anymore, but I wish I were! Kate! If you’re out there, give me a shout out! She would gasp in horror at my suggestion to add a little meat if you wanted(1/2 lb of ground beef, pork, or chicken), or to serve it with a generous sprinkle of cheddar and heaping spoon of sour cream. This is another cupboard ready recipe, so you should have no problems whipping it up when you’re out of other meal ideas! It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but most of these are spices that you have around.

Total Prep & Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Serves: 4 – 6, Depending on appetites

Kate’s Cashew Chili

1 15oz Can of Kidney Beans – Drained
1 15oz Can of Garbanzos – Drained
2 Onions – Chopped
2 Green Peppers – Chopped
2 Celery Stalks – Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic – Minced
1 Cup of Corn – I use frozen
1 Quart of Crushed Tomatoes
2 Cups of Water
2 Bay Leaves
2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Fresh Dill – Chopped (if you don’t have fresh, it’s fine to use dried!)
2 TBSP Cumin
1 TBSP Coriander
1/4 Tsp Cayenne
1/2 Tsp Oregano
1/2 Tsp Basil
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Toasted Cashews
1-2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar

Heat the OLIVE OIL over medium low heat in a large cast iron or stock pot. Add ONIONS and GARLIC, sauté for 2 minutes before adding the GREEN PEPPERS and CELERY. Cook until tender-crisp. Slide veggies to the side of the pan

Melt in BUTTER, add all SPICES, HERBS, SALT, and PEPPER. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning. If you’re using FRESH DILL, avoid adding it now. If you’re using DRIED DILL, go ahead and add it with the other spices.

Add TOMATOES, stirring and scraping pot to incorporate all the sautéed spices. Simmer for 10 minutes. If you haven’t toasted your CASHEWS, now’s the time to do it. 350° for 10-12 minutes.

Add BEANS and WATER to chili, bring back to a simmer. Add toasted CASHEWS and FRESH DILL, simmer until heated through. Just before serving, add RED WINE VINEGAR. Start with 1 TBSP, taste. If it needs it, add the other tablespoon. Serve over rice and garnish with shredded cheddar, sour cream, and a healthy dose of Frank’s Red Hot.

There’s a joke in my family about trying to eat Chili without rice. I just don’t understand how it can be done. Do you eat your Chili over rice? Noodles? Potatoes? Crackers? Corn bread? Just in a bowl with a spoon? However you eat it, I hope you enjoy Kate’s Cashew Chili!

Thanks for reading,


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