"Life is partly what we make it and partly it is made by the friends we choose."
I had a fabulous time in Cincinnati. Although the last leg consisted of canceled flights, plane de-icing, and taking a train instead of a plane at one point, I refuse to let the craziness of the journey home color the wonderful extended weekend I had. What a joy to spend time with Carin, Chris, her parents, and their animals. It was a nice mix of relaxing and sightseeing and of course, there was plenty of eating!! Remember when I said I rarely eat meat? That went right out the window, especially since I had to try the famous Skyline chili. Oh and of course trying it meant eating it on top of a mini-hot dog. I can't remember the last time I had one of those, but laden with meaty chili and cheese, it tasted pretty good! Here I am, eating a "Coney" (after coney island I believe).
I decided to make chili tonight not only to honor Cincinnati, but because while I was there, Carin gave me her friend Kate's fabulous recipe for vegetarian chili which Kate made while I was visiting St. Louis a few years back. I've honestly had that chili in the back of my head since then. There are just countless recipes for chili--I've made oodles of different versions over time but I've never truly loved a recipe. I think this particular recipe will become my go to chili recipe because it is so unique. Also, I made some cornbread that I've been wanting to try from 101 cookbooks called "Firecraker Cornbread" which I have eaten before but never made.
Both recipes are fairly straightforward. Follow the above link to find Heidi Swanson's cornbread. I followed it as is, except I didn't have buttermilk on hand (who ever does??!!) so I substituted plain yogurt. You'll just fall in love with it--yes, Jiffy mix is super easy, but this bread isn't all that difficult and the taste is worth it!
And here is Kate's recipe.....you need to play around with the spices a lot since it's not exact. The spice amounts listed here are a starting point--play around with it and add more as you go and according to what your tastes are. OH! and also there is a secret to the recipe--beer. Today all I had in the fridge was Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (which actually tastes nice) but you can use whatever you like.
(Yes that is basil from my Mom's garden, bottled with love)
Kate's Great Chili:
3 celery stalks
1 green pepper, 1 red pepper
2 medium onions
a bunch of garlic
First chop up everything and saute them in a little oil in the bottom of a big soup pot. When they look like they're getting soft, add the following to the pot:
2 16 oz. cans of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 16oz. cans of white (great northern) beans, drained and rinsed
2 32 oz. cans of chopped tomatoes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp. chili powder
dash cayenne pepper
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 c cider vinegar
Let this mixture simmer with the lid on for about an hour and a half, then add a can or bottle of beer, and simmer for half an hour more. Throw in some whole cashews just before you serve it, as well as some cheddar cheese.