Why is September so busy? It seems that with the hectic activity of summer, that September should slow down, but somehow it doesn’t I had great fun this morning helping my friend, Donna Peck get loads of her Day Lilies ready for the local fund raising sale at the Garden Center. She splits her mature plants that have to washed and trimmed and labeled. Three of us worked for 1 1/2 hour to get dozens ready for the Albuquerque Garden Center Sale Saturday, September 23. Too bad, we will miss the sale as we will be in St. Louis for a family wedding.
However, with Donna’s generosity, we have planted 3 small and 1 larger bed with day lilies from her garden that she split. They are so beautiful—all colors of the rainbow and they are great to cook with. She and I gave a class on “Cooking with Lilies and Chiles” last spring for the local Day Lily club and now we are being asked to give another class for them and for the Regional meeting here in 2019! We are contemplating doing a little cookbook on them.
It turns out that the Ancient Chinese have long cooked with both. Lilies have a great deal of nutrition and are used in several of their popular dishes. And, it wasn’t until the Communist Revolution that chiles were released to be eaten by the mainland portion of China. Before the revolution, they were only eaten in Mongolia, Szechuan and Hunan Provinces which were remote, sparsely populated and difficult to police. Chiles were reserved as a pharmaceutical in mainland China before that time. As most of you know, chiles are fabulous nutrition and very helpful in warding off disease., keeping your waistline narrower and aiding digestion among many other health benefits.
Have you thought of making chili lately? It is a fabulous food for most anytime. It freezes well, is very quick to heat and eat and of course very good for you. There are so many ways to make chili and it is of course a very popular subject for Cook-offs on every level from local to national and international. For you readers, I am offering our chiles at 25% off and free freight for 2 days—until Wednesday night at midnight.
If you don’t have my 2nd edition of “Chili Madness” I am placing it on sale for $10.00 plus media rate shipping. I will autograph it as you like. This edition has all manner of fun to make dishes from appetizers to desserts--over 200 pages worth . You oughta get a copy if you don’t have it. And, it makes a wonderful gift.
Here are 2 different chili recipes from the book plus a dessert—all favorites of mine.
BLUE HEAVEN CHILI
Blue cheese is an unlikely ingredient in conventional chili, however cheese has long been a tamer downer and a favorite fixins ‘ mixin’s (see page ). Since I have always really liked any form of blue cheese, I decided its wonderful flavor would give a great tasting “edge” to chili and I think it does! Try it!
Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 Tablespoons bacon fat or butter
1 cup chopped onion (1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large chicken boneless skinless chicken breast cut into ½ inch squares (at least 2 to 2 ½ cups)
3 cups rich chicken broth, made by using 1 ½ times the chicken base required or reducing chicken broth by 1/3 (you would start with 4 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped green chile (prefer parched and peeled 4 to 6 fresh green chiles or frozen or 2, 4 ounce cans
1 medium russet potato, unpeeled and diced
½ teaspoon salt or to taste, remembering the cheese is somewhat salty
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled (can be blue cheese, gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton)
- Melt the bacon drippings or butter and then sauté the onion until clear. Add the garlic and chicken and stir. Allow the chicken to slightly brown. Then add the broth, green chiles and potato. Simmer until the chicken and potatoes are done, at least 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Crumble blue cheese over the top of each serving.
VEGETARIAN CHILI WITH CILANTRO LIME CREAM
What to do when vegetarian friends or relatives are coming to dinner? Good news- they need not go chili-less. This recipe provides the good taste of chili plus the benefit of complete protein derived from the beans and the bulghur. The Cilantro Lime Cream is a true taste treat greatly complementing the flavors of the chili.
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
2 ½ cups dried kidney beans
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup raw bulghur (cracked wheat available in some supermarkets and most health food stores)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 or 4 tomatoes, peeled seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons ground hot red chile
3 Tablespoons ground mild red chile
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
1 ½ green bell peppers, cored seeded, and coarsely chopped
Cilantro Lime Cream Topping
Lime zest from 1 large lime
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (1 lime)
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
½ fresh jalapeno, minced, optional
- Stew the kidney beans in a large, heavy pot with straight sides and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and continue boiling the beans, until tender, about one hour. Watch the water level and add more water if necessary, to keep the beans from scorching.
- Meanwhile, place the tomato juice in another saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat immediately and add the bulghur to the juice. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. It should be slightly crunchy. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, tomatoes, lemon juice, and all the spices (except ½ of the cumin)-including the remaining salt-to the onions and cook, covered, until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking another 10 minutes
- Add the kidney beans, the water in which they cooked, and the bulghur to the vegetables in the large pot. Stir the mixture thoroughly and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat. The chili may be thick-add water as necessary and stir occasionally making sure the bulghur does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Prepare the topping by mixing all of the ingredients together. Top each serving with a dollop of the topping.
FRESH LEMON PIE, CUSTARD SYLE
In the late 1960’s we visited Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and had a delightfully delicious lunch topped off by this amazingly good pie! I liked it so much, I asked for the recipe and the waitress got it for me. I am so happy to share it with you. It is a very easy pie to make, especially good in the winter.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 single crust pie pastry, could be purchased
2 lemons, sliced very thin, rind and all, removing seeds
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the crust in a pie tin, if glass, reduce the temperature to 400 F. Place the lemons in a large mixing bowl and stir with the sugar. Add the beaten eggs and stir together and place in the pastry.
- Bake at 425 (or 400) for 15 minutes, reducing the heat to 350 F(325) for 30 minutes or until the custard is set. You can tell if the pie is set solid and does not shake or if an inserted sharp knife or toothpick comes out clean.
More later about our Green Chile Fiesta class which is SOLD OUT. We have a multi-national group enrolled—and all of us are quite excited about creating all manner of green chile dishes.