Wednesday was a gray October day. There were bursts of yellow, orange and red scattered amongst the fading green of another summer gone by.
Earlier at work that day, I had heard someone say that on a dreary day they just want to go home and crawl into bed. I wonder why this is? In our part of the world that gets 4 distinct seasons, perhaps it is because Autumn is a time for bedding down, in preparation for the long sleep of winter, so we can waken refreshed again for Spring.
When the days darken, rather than turning in, I turn to my fond childhood memories of helping my dad build a fire, building couch forts with my brothers, playing board games in the family room, baking with my mother, donning musty ponchos and going on Sierra Club hikes, and sundry homey activities. These are the sorts of free fun things that nurture the spirit. I am soooooooo looking forward to recreating that life for my children!
Gray days also make me want to cook up a batch of chicken stock or bake bread. And nothing says homey like chicken stock simmering on the stove or bread baking and wafting throughout the house.
Tuesday when I retrieved Kai and Seda from my parents’ daycare, my mom had some chicken stew bubbling away in the oven. Wow, did that smell good! I returned home to my second bowl of vegetarian chili this week, accompanied by homemade corn muffins that I made on Sunday. The muffins were from the recipe on the box of cornmeal. When I bake, I measure. When I cook, I wing it, inventively. If it's good, I write it down so I can recreate it. Here is an estimation of the recipe:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
Half green bell pepper, diced
Half red bell pepper, diced
1 package Boca crumbles (3 packages come in a box) – could use reconstituted TVP instead, 1 cup dry? (textured vegetable protein)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
Few dashes of chipotle powder (optional)
1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 15oz can black beans, drained
Half a bean can of water
1 28oz can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen fire-roasted)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Saute until onion translucent. Add garlic and spices, stir, saute until fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients, stir, bring to simmer, turn down and cook on low for an hour or two.
Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips. Top with grated cheese if you like.