Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the tag “Onion”

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

Chili.

Yes, that’s right.

Chili since its chilli outside.

But first, I have to tell you about Wednesday.  It’s probably my favorite day of the week (well, not really, but almost). Why?  Because it’s milk day!!!  I pick up milk, come home, change into some PJs, and pour a giant glass of delicious milk.  Now that I’m all settled, milk in hand, I’m ready to tell you about Chili.  So, pour yourself a glass and take a seat.

I am not afraid of eating hot foods all summer. In fact, as everyone knows, I’m not even afraid of soup in the summer. I rather enjoy it.  But that’s already been established.  There are a few things, however, that I just don’t make until Fall has started and I don’t make them after Spring has begun.  I’m talking about the Autumnal Equinox and the Spring Equinox.  This is serious and I mean it.  Ask anyone who has requested one of these dishes in the middle of the summer.  They’ll tell you.  The answer is, “Wait until the Fall.”

I don’t know why I’ve established these rules, but it just feels right and now it’s a mini tradition.  Plus it’s fun to make people wait for it.

Chili is one of those dishes.  It’s one of my specialties.  Seriously, this isn’t the best chili ever.  It’s not even a real chili, in the traditional sense.  I guess it’s a type of American Chili.  I’ve been debating on whether or not to even share the recipe since it’s one of my favorites to make for friends and family.  But, I’m feeling giving today 😉 so here you go!

One more thing, the ingredient list is a little bit daunting. I know that. Use what you have and forget what you don’t.  It’ll still be good.

Beka’s Chili

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup baked beans (wanna make your own?  Don’t worry, I’ll have a recipe soon)
  • 3 cups kidney beans
  • 3 cups pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato paste

Are you ready for the seasonings?  I did warn you this list was long…

  • 2 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • dash Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick – Broken in half
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Ok, now let’s take a breath.

Ready? OK.

Chop the veggies and saute in olive oil until they are almost soft.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add the spices, except for the Vinegar and saute a little bit longer.  Add the tomato sauce.  Add all the beans and corn and a little bit of water or stock to loosen everything up.  Simmer this mixture while you cook and drain the beef and then add the beef in. Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed and maybe a little bit more of anything else it might be lacking.  Stare at your spice cabinet (ahem, wall) and something will jump out at you that just has to be added 😉  At least that’s usually my method.  Add a splash of Vinegar.

I recommend making this AFTER you’ve eaten dinner and waiting until the next day to eat it.  It’s much better that way.  Still good fresh, but better after a day.

So, there you have it! The Chili I make people wait for. I hope you like it as much as they do!

And a Kitty Cat picture, just ’cause I think she’s cute!

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On the fly soup

You know it’s been too long since I talked about soup. 😉

I made an awesome soup with random leftovers the other day, which means the four meals I got from it were basically free.  It’s really simple to do.  Just freeze all your extras.  Yes, even if you only have enough to fit one of those little itty bitty containers.  I know someone who is irritated by those little tiny containers that only have a couple bites in them (you know who you are 🙂 ).  While I understand the frustration of having these tiny things hanging out in your freezer, they really come in handy sometimes.  Like On the Fly Soup.

I had two little containers with beans (a mix of black, pinto and lentils), some CSA jalapenos and garlic, frozen sauteed onions and green peppers and chicken stock.  I just let everything thaw in the fridge while I was at work. I came home and chopped, then sauteed the jalapenos and garlic in a little butter, added the other veggies, the beans and the stock.  I seasoned it with some thyme, salt and pepper and let it simmer for about ten minutes.  Soup’s ON!!

 

Add a fresh baked bun and some brie and you have a very happy Beka!

Even the cat wants some!

 

How to Feed Two People Five Dinners with $13 and 1/4 Lb of Beef

Sometimes I get tired of spending money, even if it is to buy food.  That might be my politically correct way of saying that sometimes there isn’t a lot of money to spend on food.  And Mom, before you ask, Yes, I would ask you for help if I needed 🙂

But really, it IS nice to not have to spend a lot on food.   I haven’t really gotten into the money aspect of food on purpose.  A lot of people think that eating from a CSA or the Farmer’s Market is always going to be more expensive than going to the grocery store.  I often hear people saying something along the lines of Oh, I went to the Farmer’s Market and spent SOOOOO MUCH.  Well, here’s a secret, you can also go to the grocery store and spend SOOOOO MUCH. Both of which I used to do, until I started paying attention to what I was buying.  Just go shopping at the Farmer’s Market with the same attitude (and list!) as the grocery store.  And Yes, have an extra $5-10 in case something you weren’t expecting looks SOGOODIHAVETOHAVEIT!  Even if you spend a little bit more than at the grocery store, at least the whole holy cow, how did I spend all the money at the market guilty feeling, won’t be as bad.

The Farm

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of ways to spend more money eating real food (yes, I know, define real food, I’ll be skipping that one fore now).  For example, milk.  Milk from a farm is always going to cost more than milk from a grocery store, why? The farmer is limited to the number of cows that they can actually care for and milk and has to charge accordingly.  Grocery store milk comes from giant farms who have money to invest in large feed areas, industrial sized milking machines, and hormones to make the cows produce more milk.

Meat: same idea as milk, so yes, meat directly from a farm will cost more than going to the grocery store.  Unless of course you happen to live near a large scale meat factory that will sell directly to you.

BUT, you don’t have to blow your entire budget on food, hence the ten meals for cheap post.  So, wait for it… wait for it… your mind might be blown when I tell you how easy this is:

STEAK QUESADILLAS (with cost, let’s talk about transparency)

  • 1/4 lb Flat Iron Steak (1.92)
  • package of tortillas (2.99)
  • 1/2 cup mix of black and pinto beans (made from dry beans .35)

    Quesadilla

  • salt and pepper (50? if that)
  • soy sauce for marinade (.20)
  • garlic clove (.20)
  • olive oil for marinade (.20)
  • 1/2 onion (.75)
  • 1 tomato (1.00)
  • pepper (.50)
  • block of cheese (4.00)

Total? 12.61

Season the beef with olive oil, salt and pepper, soy sauce and crushed garlic overnight.  Cook the steak. Cut up the steak.  Assemble quesadillas with a little shredded cheese on a tortilla, topped with a few pieces of steak, some beans, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped peppers and add a little more cheese, top with another tortilla. Or only put the filling on one half of the tortilla and fold it over to make a moon – I find this way easier to flip.  Fry the quesadilla in a pan until one side is toasty, then flip and fry until the other side is toasty and the cheese is melted.  These are good, really good, I know because I had one for dinner every night this week!

We’re getting fancy

I don’t know why, but anytime I hear the word braised, I think fancy.  I know its not, or at least doesn’t have to be, but it makes me think fancy.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t really have anything braised while I was growing up or because I feel like it’s just a giant pain to braise something.  In reality, braising is just about as easy as making a soup and putting it in the oven.  Seriously, it’s that easy.  The catch for me is – I have cooking pots for the stove and I have cooking pans that go into the oven. So, to me, braising is a pain.  Sear meat, remove from pan, saute veggies, add liquid, remove everything to another pot that DOES go in the oven, cook for a few hours, take it out and pour the liquid into another pot that goes on the stove, reduce, serve over braised meat, wash the 5 million dishes you made dirty while preparing braised meat.

I forgot that I have cast iron, which can be used in the oven and the stove top.  I used to use cast iron for very specific things (bacon, corn bread), but I didn’t really use it for every day cooking.  The more and more I cook, the more I tend to use it for everything. Recently, I pulled out the back up cast iron for every day use, so now I have two 🙂

Back to the fancy meal for tonight.  I bought some short ribs that I am finally going to braise.  Here we go…

  • Short Ribs
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 Celery Ribs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 or 2 cups of water or stock

Preheat the oven to 350. Season and sear the short ribs in a little bit of olive oil and remove them from the pan.  Add the veggies, season and saute for a few minutes, then add some wine and water or stock.  Bring the liquid up to a simmer and add the ribs back in, cover and put it in the oven for a few hours until the meat is cooked through an tender.  AND, if you don’t have a lid for your cast iron… No worries!

Eggplant

And Squash, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Tomatillos, Onion, Garlic Scapes

This is what came in my CSA box last week.  While we’re on that note, I am wondering if other people actually get boxes with food in it when they join a CSA?  I need to take pictures of mine because there aren’t any boxes.

He gave everyone a tote bag and when we arrive on the day we said we would pick up veggies, he’s there, in his van full o good stuff.  He pulls crates of various veggies out of said van and puts them in a row on the ground.  Then he looks at what he has and takes out his chalk board and writes the name and number of veggies you get depending on how many shares you signed up for.  He offers 1, 2 and 4 person shares. We fill our tote bags with however many veggies our share gets that week.  I have to admit, it was what I was expecting at all.  I kept hearing about boxes and shares and I imagined meeting him each week and getting a box all neatly packed and putting it in my car and taking home to open it like it’s a Christmas present.

Ok, so we’ve taken care of that – The veggies have been amazing. I forgot how DIRTY veggies straight from the ground are.  Believe me, I slapped myself in the head when I realized I was thinking that, so no one else has to. Of course they’re dirty, they were living there until a few hours ago.  I had to pick caterpillars out of my cauliflower. I’m probably not making this CSA thing sound very good, but I have to tell you I’ve been loving it.  I’m going to guess that if you knew me, you might not pick me out as someone who enjoys getting dirty and picking caterpillars off veggies.  Well, Surprise!

Back to veggies.  I made a really good onion and squash saute to be a side for the BLTs we had for dinner.  We also had some pretty tasty tomatillo salsa that I put on eggs and hot dogs (separate times, of course).  I heard it would be good on fish.  I’ll have to try that next time. I also made these broccoli cheese bites that were really really amazing.

There were many successes – and one massive failure. Eggplant. What do you do with eggplant that makes it good? It was soo bad, I tried to eat it fried, sauteed, with other veggies, alone, in eggs (gross). I am probably going to get at least one eggplant per week for the next few months, so someone, please help me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come check me any many others out at What’s in the Box? Link Party 🙂

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