Friday, February 20, 2015

Bedtime Story: Accident in the Jeep Station Wagon

When I was in the neighborhood of ten or eleven years old one day Great-Aunt Lottie and Great-Uncle Leonard came to visit.  I loved them dearly.  Aunt Lottie had the most wonderful tinkly laugh and glorious sparkling eyes.  Uncle Leonard was such a kind pleasant man.

It was a ravishingly lovely summer day so my brothers, sister, and I hopped into our Jeep station wagon with Mother, Aunt Lottie and Uncle Leonard.  There was not room for everyone inside so E, J, and I sat on the tailgate, with the lift gate in lifted position and off we left for a trip to Raspberry Hill, a little less than a mile from our home.

The road was narrow but pleasant with a wonderful canopy of hardwood trees overhead and a little brook running beside the road, though it was almost reduced to just a wet swath beside the road because it was summer.  As we were riding along, swinging our legs back and forth a few inches above the dirt road, all of a sudden Mother went over a bump.  With that bump, the accident happened!

The lift gate decided it had had enough in that up position and it smashed down on our heads.  Being the oldest, and tallest, but only barely, I felt it first but my brother and sister also were injured.  If you don't know head injuries, I can tell you that head wounds bleed a LOT! 

Mother stopped the Jeep to check on us.  For some reason she thought it would be a good idea for us to get off the tailgate and walk back home to the house, at this point, only about a quarter mile away.  Being obedient children, we headed up the pike for home.  There was nowhere that she could turn the Jeep around so she and Aunt Lottie, Uncle Leonard, L, and B, the baby, continued on to Raspberry Hill where she was able make the turn and head back home.

As the three of us kids walked toward home, we found that Daddy was in the barnyard,  scraping out the barn with the little Farmall Cub tractor.  I often wondered what his first thoughts were when he saw his three middle children walking towards the barnyard with blood streaming down our faces and onto our clothes.  I do know that he immediately got of the tractor and ran toward us. 

It turned out that when we were washed off and put into clean clothing that we really were fine.  My scalp lost a little bit of hair and there is a tiny bald spot there to this day.  My sister has a little bump to this day.  I do not remember what happened to E's head.

Moral of the story: be careful always.

Other morals:  you could choose many that would work!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good Vegetarian Chili

Recently I received an email from America's Test Kitchen.  They had two vegetarian recipes that they insisted were really good.  Because we like chili in our house, I decided to try the recipe.

First thing this morning, before I was even dressed, I went to the cellar for some dry pinto beans to put soaking.  After picking them over and rinsing them well, I put them in a heavy 6-quart pot.  Maybe it is 8 quarts, good sized anyway.  From then on, the recipe changed due to what I had in the kitchen.  This post is what I actually did.

Put  one and one half pounds picked over, rinsed and drained pinto beans in a large pot.  Add 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt and 4 quarts water and bring to a boil.  When boiling, turn off heat, cover, and let sit for one hour.  After one hour of sitting, place pot in oven at 300 degrees F. and let cook for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and  drain through a large colander.  Wash and dry pot.

In food processor finely chop onions, to make at least 3 cups chopped onions.  I only had small onions so I removed skins from about 12 onions then chopped them in processor on pulse for 30-45 seconds.  Add one-quarter cup vegetable oil to the large pot and bring to a shimmer over medium heat.  Add the onions and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown.

In the meantime, in a small food processor or spice grinder place 1 cup of home-dried mushrooms (or 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms if you have access to them) and 3-4 Tablespoons of italian seasoning (or just oregano if you want to be a little more "normal"), and process until very fine.  Add 3 Tablespoons ancho chili powder and 3 Tablespoons regular chili powder and pulse to combine again.  Add 1 Tablespoon cumin and pulseonce again.  Set aside.

When onions are lightly browned, add the seasoning mixture to the pot and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the seasonings smell nice, OR stop before that because you are nervous about burning them.  This is over medium heat...but still, there are always burning concerns...

In food processor pour in one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 6-8 garlic cloves, 3 Tablespoons soy sauce (yes, soy sauce) and 2 Tablespoons pickled jalapenos.  Process for about 1 minute, until everything makes a lovely mush.

By this time the onions spice mixture is ready to be removed from the heat.  Add the tomato mixture and stir well.  Add in the well-drained cooked beans, and 7 cups water.  Stir very well until everything is combined.  Stirring pretty often, bring to a boil.  When boiling add 3/4 cups bulgar wheat and stir again.  Cover and put in oven at 300 degrees F. for two hours.

Remove from oven.  Remove lid and stir well.  Let sit 20-30 minutes.

Garnish with fun stuff like chopped avocados, sour cream, shredded cheese, lime wedges, diced fresh tomatoes, or whatever else appeals to you.   Or just dish it up and eat!  Plain is fine. 

Yummy!  Makes PLENTY so invite your family and friends to join you for a nice winter's supper.