Thursday, September 27, 2012

Davis Chili versus Woodland Chili

There are two surefire ways to keep me tossing and turning for hours. Feed me chocolate covered espresso beans anytime after 5 pm. Tell me something really interesting right before bed. What kind of information keeps me up?

  • Budding romances
  • Engagements
  • Broken engagements
  • Separations 
  • Pregnancies 
  • Health scares
  • Money woes
  • Money windfalls (it could happen)
  • Juicy gossip

Basically any information that I can't do a thing about but lie in bed and ponder over is best left until morning. That's the rule around here. But the other night Ernst casually informed me that the couple I was planning to make the food for live in Davis.

Davis? I practically bolted up in bed. They live in Davis? Not Woodland?
What difference does it make? was his reply.
Men. Sometimes they are just so hilarious.

At that point my menu was all set. It was to be first of all really healthy - a plant-based, low oil Dr. McDougall style meal. Of course I wanted it also to be yummy and easy to transport and able to sit in the refrigerator at my husband's school, ready to be delivered to a home in Woodland.

I tossed and turned in bed with the following thoughts swirling around nutty brain:

  • Farm to table
  • No GMFs
  • No BHAs
  • Locally grown
  • Farmers markets
  • Pesticide free
  • Cruelty free
  • Cage free
  • Chemical free
  • Free range
  • Shade grown in the Amazon in a preserved rain forest by well-paid indigenous peoples who don't wear leather

Although my ten years in Davis were my chunkiest ever, it wasn't the town's fault. It's really easy to eat healthy there. Throw in the Green Belt, and what's not to love? I still don't understand though, how I moved there as a vegetarian and moved away a carnivore. What was I thinking?

Needless to say, the night of the Davis/Woodland mix-up was sleep-free for a time. But I forged ahead with the planned menu. Here it was, all packed up in not so environmentally friendly plastic containers. If I lived in Davis, I would have sent the food in BHA-free glass containers. Tied with cruelty-free twine. Delivered on a bicycle.

Here are the recipes, or as closely as I can remember making them.

Causeway Classic Chili
(quantities are for a big batch) 

In a large pot in about one inch of veggie broth, saute a chopped yellow onion. After onion is soft, add a teaspoon of chopped garlic. Stir in one large can of each: black beans, garbanzo beans and kidney beans. Also add  a large can of crushed tomatoes and half a package of Trader Joe's frozen 3 color bell peppers and about a cup of Trader Joe's roasted tomato and red pepper soup. Add the following spices to taste: salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, hot sauce and Braggs.

Let cook until the flavors combine and it thickens up a bit

Oh So Yolo Rice Salad

To about 3 cups cooked white or brown rice, add a half of each chopped fresh bell peppers - red and green and yellow, about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, some unthawed Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn, one can of chopped black olives, some cumin, salt and pepper, a dash of Braggs and apple cider vinegar and a little plop of salsa. Toss and chill. Serve with cherry tomatoes.

Poleline Peppers

Core a variety of bell peppers and slice into quarters. Broil on both sides until the skins are charred.They will look awful. Cover with parchment paper or place in a covered bowl and let them sweat it out. When cool, peel off the charred skin and slice. (The peppers, not the skin. Put the skin in your earth friendly compost pile.) Toss with a dash of balsamic vinegar, Braggs, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Chill and serve cold.