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Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

Are you ready for football to be over for the season? I know that I am.  Honestly, this year I couldn’t care less about either team that is playing in the Super Bowl. The only thing I am excited about is hanging out with friends and eating delicious food.

After Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is the next big event in the Olympics of food.

You want to bring a dish to the party that will be delicious and Instagram-worthy. You may want it to have some sort of nutritional value. I always prefer homemade food, cooked from scratch, because I am weird like that. I want my food to be made from ingredients from the Earth rather than chemicals in a factory.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

My daughter often laments when she visits my house that my kitchen is full of ingredients rather than food. I take this as a compliment, although, I know it is not intended as such.

Super Bowl Appetizer Ideas

So, for weeks I have been trying to decide what to bring to the Super Bowl party that we will be attending this weekend. I can’t decide between snack food such as a dip with chips and veggies like this Roasted Carrot Hummus or Guacamole with Clementines or bringing something more substantial.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

Some of the people attending the party are meat and potatoes people and a few are vegetarians. So, I want to bring something that will appeal to everyone.

Keeping that in mind, in addition to the dip recipes listed above, I have a really delicious chili recipe to share with you. The Super Bowl and a pot of chili go together like wine and cheese. Am I right? Chili is a perfect party food. It can be made ahead of time and then kept warm in a slow cooker so it is ready to eat at half-time.

Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean Chili

This Blow-Your-Mind Black Bean chili is sure to please your football loving friends. I am so in love with this chili recipe! It is full of black beans and wheat berries (more on these in a minute) which makes it a super satisfying.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean ChiliThe addition of mushrooms also lends meaty texture to the chili which may keep the carnivores at the table from grumbling. The smoky flavor comes from chipotle chili powder. If you like extra heat and smoke, you could add a chopped up chili pepper and some of the sauce from a can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. The chili is meatless which is perfect if you have vegetarians coming to party and hearty enough that the carnivores may not miss the meat.

If you aren’t familiar with wheat berries, I encourage you to give them a try. You boil the whole grains in liquid, usually water or broth, until cooked through. The process is similar to cooking rice. They have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. You can find wheat berries in the bulk section of many super markets or packaged in the grocery aisle with other whole grains. Wheat berries are sometimes referred to as hard red winter wheat.

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

Plus, suggest having a selection of toppings available so that guests can customize their chili bowls just the way they like them. Some of my favorite chili toppings are:

  • Avocado
  • Green onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Grated cheese
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Sour cream

Blow Your Mind Black Bean Chili

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

You don’t throw away those end rinds of Parmesan cheese, do you? Please don’t. Ever. Take them and place them in a freezer baggie and freeze them for future use. Or, next time you are at a grocery store that has a nice cheese section, look around, sometimes stores will sell the rinds. Buy them. Every single one that you can find and stash them in the freezer like you are a squirrel hoarding acorns for the winter. These little flavor bombs are perfect to add to soups, stews, a pot of beans, and, of course, making Parmesan broth.

Parmesan Broth

Making a pot of Parmesan broth is ridiculously simple. Plus, the smell of Parmesan broth cooking on your stove top will infuse your kitchen with the most delectable smell. The broth can be ready in under an hour. Then, you can decide whether add a few more ingredients and have dinner on the table or if you want to use the broth later, place it in the fridge or freezer for future use.

To make the broth you will put water, an onion, cloves of garlic, and the Parmesan rinds into a pot or Dutch oven. You don’t even have to peel the onions and garlic! Simmer for 45 minutes. Then, strain the soggy solids out which will have given up every ounce of flavor, and there you will have Parmesan broth. Now comes the fun part. What ingredients will you add to transform this broth into a scrumptious bowl of soup?

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

The world is your oyster here! Feel free to add whatever soup ingredients that you like. I decided to add a can of white beans, some leftover cooked quinoa, and kale. The addition of these ingredients transforms the Parmesan broth into an incredibly satisfying and hearty meal.

This recipe was inspired by the incredible Julia Turshen cookbook ‘Small Victories’. I would encourage you to track down a copy. Julia is a cookbook author, food writer, and hosted the first two seasons of Radio Cherry Bombe which featured interviews with amazing women in the world of food.

Small Victories book cover Turshen

In the recipe from Small Victories, Julia added peas and some small pasta to her Parmesan broth. One of the features of the cookbook that I really enjoy in that she offers variations for all her recipes. I find that those suggestions inspire my creativity and also encourage me to look around my fridge, freezer, and pantry to use ingredients that I already have on hand rather than running to the store. One of her variations recommended beans and greens which I almost always have on hand. Plus, I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge so I threw that into the pot too. The result was an perfectly warming meal on a frigidly cold night.

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale

Parmesan Broth with White Beans and Kale Pin

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate Seeds

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate SeedsSteamed cauliflower stinks. Growing up I couldn’t stand the smell that would permeate beyond the kitchen when my Mom would steam cauliflower. So, for years I didn’t think that I liked cauliflower because it would never make it past my lips based on the smell alone.

Then, one day I discovered roasted cauliflower and my entire world view of cauliflower completely changed. Suddenly, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. I often have cauliflower in my grocery cart during the winter months especially when the availability of fresh locally-grown produce is sparse.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate SeedsHave you tried roasting cauliflower? I want to urge you to give it go if you’ve only had it steamed and didn’t care for it. You might find that roasting cauliflower changes your mind. I love cauliflower roasted simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But, sometimes you want a dish that has a little more pizzazz.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate SeedsI think this roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds could be a star of your holiday table. Or, it would brighten up a dreary winter meal. The pomegranate seeds make the dish sparkle!

The cauliflower is seasoned with an array of warming spices including sumac. Sumac is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. If you aren’t familiar with sumac, it is well worth adding this lemony-flavored spice to your pantry.  Sumac can be found as Middle Eastern markets or ordered online.  Buying new spices is one of the reasons I love shopping at ethnic markets.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate SeedsTahini is crushed sesame seed paste and a crucial ingredient in hummus, baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip), and halva (a sweet confection which was a childhood favorite of mine). Tahini is available in most supermarkets in the ethnic food aisle. You will want to give the paste a stir before using because much like natural peanut butter, tahini can separate when sitting on the shelf.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce and Pomegranate

Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and pomegranate seeds

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