Sundays are sacred days. On the best of the Sundays, we are permitted to indulge in obligation-free relaxation, an addicting read (I currently can't stop clutching Not that Kind of Girl), and a seat that allow's the feet to sit perched up and happy.
The weekend started in the best way possible: Popcorn Movie Night. For those of you unfamiliar, this is an evening where you slap on your coziest jammies, dress up some popped kernels with salt and olive oil (or cinnamon sugar, or parmesan and thyme, or ..get ready....taco seasoning), and watch something with an above-average plot line.
A holiday that will never cease to be celebrated, I must say. That and Sundays.
Since it's also October, and I've mastered making our apartment feel like it's 10 degrees colder outside than it actually is (pumpkin spice candles and air conditioning, can't I get a hell yeah), this Sunday demanded something comfy. It demanded something that demanded chopping, slicing, simmering, stirring, baking, and timer-buzzing. It demanded a ginormous bowl of backyard vegan chile served with honey and sage cornbread. That's right people, we're going south!
Cornbread and chile is an October-Sunday staple. It is post-pumpkin patch cuisine at it's finest. I used a recipe for vegan chile because I saw it while exploring Darling and it looked amazing. The "backyard" portion of the title comes from the use of barbecue sauce, which adds a delectable tang. It's the kind of thing you want waiting for you after you've just suffocated yourself in a pile of leaves, and pairs perfectly with beer and an afghan blanket.
As for the cornbread, I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I added honey because honey gives cornbread an extra-comfy sweater, and real corn shredded straight from the cob because it tends to make it all the more special. The sage adds seasonal warmth, highlighting the bread's buttery flavor and subtle sweetness. Together, the honey, fresh corn, and sage do a little dance that best be described as "the coziest hoedown ever."
As we ate, we watched Jane Eyre and pondered potential Halloween costumes. Considerations included: Slutty Brontë Sisters and twin Walter White Jrs. Those will likely end up in the reject pile, but we didn't need permanent answers then anyway. It was Sunday.
vegan backyard chili
1 medium onion
2 medium bell peppers
1 1/2 cups of each beans: pinto, kidney, and black beans
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Chop up all the vegetables and dice the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to quick for 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the pot, and allow them to cook for another 5 minutes. Stir often. Mix in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt. Cook for one more minute.
Add the barbecue sauce to the pot. I used one called "BIG AND TANGY" and it lived up to it's name. Different flavors will yield different chiles, so you can mix it up and try your favorites. I added the brown sugar at this point, as I wanted to add something sweet to the big and the tangy.
Lower the heat and add the beans. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes. For thicker chili, add fifteen minutes to the simmer time. For more soup-like chili, add vegetable broth.
Once your chili is finished, add the lemon juice, or any other spices to achieve the desired flavor. Give one big stir and serve warm.
Honey and sage cornbread
Preheat the oven to 425. Grease a 9-inch cake pan; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and sage.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, and melted butter. Add egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture. Add the fresh corn. Stir until just moistened, careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly; serve warm.
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
Kernels from one ear of corn
Cornbread is a lovely lovely lovely thing because you can play with as if it were a bucket o' playdoh. Add whatever mix-ins you desire...cranberries for sweeter bread or jalapeños for a bread with attitude. The chili recipe can be found here.