Friday, April 22, 2011

S-s-s-so C-c-c-cold

Earth Day. I'd rather it was warm and sunny so I could go plant a tree or smile at a child or something, but it's 40 and raining (again). It's amazing the bad mood that extended unseasonably cold weather can put you in. And it's not just the cold, it's the lack of sun. We've had maybe 3 days where it was sunny all day in the past 2-3 weeks.

Part of my spring recharge ritual, since I work in isolation in my house and never get to talk to live human beings, is to take little walkabouts in my garden. I've substituted this for obsessing over the seedlings in my basement, but somehow it isn't the same.

On one of my basement walkabouts I excavated eggplant, tomatillo paste, tomato paste and frozen tomatoes from the deep freeze and made this wonderful portobello chili.

Eggplant-portobello chili
1 eggplant, roasted
2 quart bags (or 2 cans) whole peeled tomatoes
1 pint tomato paste
1 quart bag roasted tomatillos
1 pound portobello mushrooms
Olive oil
1 1/4 cup black beans
1 cup corn niblets
1 T (or to taste) chili powder
salt to taste

If using dried beans, bring to a boil in a large pot of water, then simmer for one hour; allow to soak until water is cool. Just before making the chili, boil again, for 20 minutes. (I think this yields a softer, better bean than the "soak overnight" method.)

Dice the mushrooms, and saute in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When all the oil has been absorbed by the mushrooms, squeeze a quarter lemon on it; the mushrooms will release some moisture; sautee until they are quick limp. Cut up and then add the eggplant. Cook these together until the eggplant has lost all structure. Add the tomato and tomatillo and cook this down to a thick sauce. Add the beans, corn, chocolate and spices. Adjust spices to taste.

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