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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Everything for the kitchen

Some people dream of having a huge closet,  wall size big screen television, or a nice swimming pool.  I dream of having a fabulous kitchen! My kitchen is not a tiny kitchen nor a huge one.  If there is a kitchen gadget, I want to own it!  How wonderful would it be to reformat my formal dining room into a huge kitchen/ library (to house my hundreds of cookbooks, chef bios, and food travel stories).  Yes, I can envision it now: wall to wall shelves to hold my books, a built in butler's pantry for all of my cooking paraphernalia  a giant glass case to hold all of my specialty dishes, and a small table with comfy chairs to enjoy a meal with a friend or two. I doubt that there are very many small houses with a giant kitchen taking up half of the space.

I'm always dreaming about "my kitchen" and I get a lot of ideas from visiting friends, stores, and looking at magazines.  I have discovered many things I would like to add to my kitchen collection.  I met with a group of women to have an art escape day. We had so much fun.  I met up with old friends, and made some new ones too.   I made vegetarian chili for the event for those of us on a "I would never eat an animal" diet, and my friend, Edvique "made" chili using the exact recipe as a local restaurant!  Yes, she knows the owner by name, as they have catered many of her "home cooking" events!  Her hospitality, kindness, and huge heart are what make her great! Her laughing about the fast food chili recipe and the catering are what make her so much fun!  She had handmade bowls from Colombia that are especially made to be placed in hot ovens, etc... They were beautiful!  I must try and find a set here in the U.S.  I made vegetarian chili which was a big hit for the vegetarian crowd.  I don't always measure ingredients when making chili, which doesn't help when writing a food blog, but I can at least tell the ingredients.

The long version would be to soak 5 different kinds of beans overnight, and cook the next day.  The quick version is to use canned beans.  I like black, pink, pinto, great northern and lima (yes, you read correctly)  beans. In a large frying pan, sautee 1 very large sweet onion, 1 green bell pepper, 1 red bell pepper, and two cloves of garlic. I cut them all in a large dice.  When those are tender, I put them in a crock pot with the beans (rinsed and drained), 2 cups chopped tomatoes, and 2 cups of fresh corn,  approximately 1/4 cup of chili powder, 2 tablespoons of cumin (more or less to your liking), 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Add one large can tomato sauce and water to thin out the mixture.  More water can be added as cooking time progresses.  Everything is already cooked but the onions and peppers.  I just like to let it cook all day so that I can enjoy the delicious aroma!  When serving the chili, I always add chopped fresh cilantro (I love it!), grated cheddar cheese, and a spoonful of sour cream.  I pass the hot sauce and sliced jalapeno peppers for those that like a spicier chili.  The great thing about vegetarian chili is that you can add whatever vegetables you have at hand. My chili is never the same way twice. So, next time I make chili, I hope to have some artistic bowls (it's the artist in me), if not from Colombis, from somewhere else. While thinking about the warmth of chili, it reminded me that I would like a fireplace on one wall of my "dream kitchen"!  Stay warm this winter!

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar