Homegrown Chili

Homegrown Everblossom chili ingredients

Homegrown Everblossom chili ingredients

This is the most locally produced chili I could possibly imagine – thanks to my family. My Dad raised the beef, my sister the beans, garlic, tomatoes, chili pepper, onion and kale. My husband’s grandpa’s farm grows the corn and roasts the corn meal for the sweet corn muffins I serve with it. Put together with a half-decent recipe, it makes for a chili better than good. If I think too much about it, the effort put forth to make that meal is astounding, and I’ll get sappy and perhaps attach more meaning to hamburger and beans than is deserved. On the other hand, I can’t help but believe that when so many people work so hard to perfect their product, you can’t help but taste that difference.

I used a mix of Elaine’s dried black beans and cranberry beans. Please note that the cranberry beans take extra time to soften and you may want to cook those separately ahead of time. Cooking them ahead would greatly reduce the time it would take to simmer the combined chili. In a slow cooker, I cooked the beans all together in the chili and it just took a bit longer for it all to be ready — after I soak the beans and brown the beef, I allow everything to simmer in a slow cooker, 4 hours on high and 2 on low.

1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1 quart whole tomatoes and their juice, chopped roughly or squished with your hands
2 cups beans, black and cranberry beans, pre-soaked
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 dried chili, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 bunch kale, chopped small

Saute the onion, garlic and beef until browned. Don’t drain it and transfer all of it to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and their juice.

squishing the tomatoes

squishing the tomatoes

 

Add the beans and all the spices – below, Ava presents a mix of pre-soaked cranberry beans and black beans.

Ava and the beans

Ava and the beans

 

Chop the kale very small if you want to hide it from others who do not understand. I used the curly kale. When cooked, it becomes impossible to detect and gives a huge vitamin boost to your chili!

the incredibly vanishing kale

the incredible vanishing kale

Cook together in the slow cooker until the beans are tender to chew, approximately 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. As I mentioned, the cranberry beans will take longer because they are bigger and firmer.

IMG_1606

Advertisements

Garden Potato Salad

Lunch: a bowl of garden potato salad

Lunch: a bowl of garden potato salad

Serves 6

This potato salad has been my very favorite since Elaine’s first season back in 2005 . I can eat just a bowl of it for lunch. It uses your Everblossom potatoes, garlic, basil, and Elaine’s variety of beans.

My hamstrings and I had the opportunity to help pick a row of her beans last week.  It is the hardest crop to pick in my amateur opinion and could be made easier only if you had a hover craft. It was, however, a great time to think and talk with Elaine as we moved slowly hunched over, eyes on the stringy prize, our hands busy. Our dad said it was heartwarming to see us working out there together. There is something pure and good about farm work with your sister. But, the next day my legs suggested that maybe next time just sitting around together could be nice too.

clockwise from top, Dragon Tongue, Provider, Indy Gold, Burgundy

clockwise from top: Dragon Tongue, Provider, Indy Gold, Burgundy

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
2 large handfuls of string beans cut into 1 ½” pieces
2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds assorted potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1 ½” pieces
1 small bunch of basil, chopped

  • Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and pepper together in a large bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of dressing in measuring cup
  • Boil beans in salted water until crisp, but tender, about 4 minutes. Remove beans with a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander to dry. Then add to large bowl with dressing. Toss to coat.
  •  Add potatoes to the still simmering water and cook until a paring knife can be inserted without resistance, 7-10 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to beans and dressing. Toss to coat. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  •  Just before serving add basil, and reserved dressing. Toss gently.

Cooking in Foil Packets

Elaine likes to whip up foil packet feasts in the summer. Here are just a few ideas to get you started. This method makes cooking large amounts really easy – and no pots to clean. Cook these packets in the oven, on the grill, or on campfire cinders. Either way you’ll find that it seems to heighten the flavor as all the ingredients steam together.

the root foil packet

“root” foil packet with thyme

Make a foil packet: take a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, generously sized, but appropriate to the amount you plan to cook. Drizzle with olive oil; add prepared veg; fold together opposite sides of the foil, rolling down a few times, but leave a little space for the steam to circulate. Then, fold up each end to seal.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at about 375oF or grill at medium heat until contents are fork tender.

  • Root Packet: Cut into even pieces your choice of potatoes, onions, beets, and carrots. Drizzle with olive oil; add sprigs of thyme, parsley or your favorite herb, salt, and pepper. Cook approximately 15 minutes.
  • Rustic Ratatouille: Evenly chop summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers. Drizzle with olive oil; add choice of herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley. Cook approximately 15 minutes. Serve over pasta or rice.
  • Chard: Rinse and chop or rip the leaves and stems of a large bunch of Swiss chard. Add to packet with some olive oil. Add juice of half lemon and then toss in the lemon too. You can also add a slice of tomato to help the steaming process. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Roasted Garlic: There is no easier way to enjoy the sweet nutty goodness of roasted garlic for making garlic mashed potatoes, garlic bread, or bruschetta. Use cloves or bulbs of garlic (peeling optional), drizzle in olive oil, and wrap in foil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. The soft sweet garlic will squeeze right out of the peel.
  • Roasted Onion: Leave the peel on an onion to prevent it from burning. Cross-cut ¾ of the way down the top of an onion and stuff it with rosemary, thyme, and a hunk of butter.  Add salt and pepper; wrap in foil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened through.