Last night the temperature dropped to 48. In AUGUST! It had been kinda chilly all weekend, so when I was trying to come up with what to serve for the regular family Sunday night dinner, I was thinking fall type things. And then Mama Bird and I went to the farmers markets, to a booth that was selling tomatoes for a dollar a pound (if you bought more than 5 pounds). So of course we bought 5 and a half pounds! That of course meant we were going to have chili. So we then had to figure out the other things we needed. Onions, cilantro, and chilies. The beans we used were from a can, but we don't really know where to find fresh beans, or rather, the right type of fresh beans. Anyway, using my canned beans (from Whole Foods, 4 cans red kidney, and 2 cans black), and the 1 and a half pounds each ground chuck and ground pork we started the chili. Sweating the onions and some garlic (picked up at the market the week before) first, then adding the meats. I mix my own spices for this dish and those came next. Following that comes the tomatoes. Now, before we could add them to the chili, we had to skin them. To do that you dip them in boiling water for about a minute and the skin just comes right off. So with our now skinless and chopped up tomatoes we add those and the two whole red chilies and the diced jalepeno. We had purchased some beef broth to add if the chili was too dry. Five plus pounds of tomatoes provide ample amount of liquid, just so you know. The beans get added last and only after everything has simmered for about thirty minutes. Once the beans are added it's another twenty minutes or so and it's ready to serve. We had ours with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, and chopped green onions. Oh, and queso fresco. It was divine!
It's true that when you use the freshest ingredients your food tastes better. This most certainly proved it.
So now I have an entire container of beef broth to use. Tomorrow I'm going to another farmers market and buying onions. Yellow onions to make french onion soup. I'll need to pick up some gruyere cheese to smother the top with, but that's not a problem. We also have a bunch of fingerling potatoes to use. Those we intend to roast with salt and pepper (a little olive oil too) and serve it with a little side dollop of sour cream that has green onion, chives and a smidge of garlic.
Yeah, I'm back on a food kick. After I told Mama Bird my plans she sighed and said "I'm gonna get fat". She won't.
Also at the markets this past weekend, one of the booths had giant bunches of basil for only a dollar each. We bought three. In addition to the two we had gotten at a different booth earlier. Basil is hard to find at the other booths now, so when we first saw it we jumped on it. And then we found it for cheaper (and better quality) we decided to make a ton of pesto and freeze it. You can freeze pesto for up to three months, and I'll keep making it as long as I can find basil at the market. I have to keep that freezer stocked!
Everybody has favorite autumnal foods, what are yours?
--Little Bird is back in the kitchen!