Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Black bean & butternut chili... gone Hawaiian.

I just made a batch of black bean and butternut chili for tonight's potluck party. (Recipe below.) As usual, a few modifications were required.

1. The recipe comes from a vegan cookbook, and I figured I could improve it by adding a pound of bacon ends we got from the meat lab last week. In went the ham with the onions.

2. Replace butternut squash with acorn squash. There aren't any squash chunks, but it gives a nice velvety texture.

3. The recipe calls for apple juice, which we didn't have. We did have a 6 oz. can of pineapple juice that I grabbed from the Safeway-sponsored lane of the half marathon Finisher's Village bonanza. I figured the pineapple juice would be a little sweeter, but otherwise an innocuous substitution.

Turns out that adding pineapple flavor to something with ham instantly reminds me of Hawaiian pizza (which used to be my favorite kind). It's a little odd, but I'm a big fan!

Here's the original recipe, brought to me this week from Lynn Rossetto Casper's Weeknight Kitchen email.


Reprinted with[out!] permission from Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion by Robin Robertson (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). Copyright © 2010 by Robin Robertson.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

Halloween colors play out deliciously in this flavorful chili made with black beans and diced butternut squash.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups cooked or 3 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
1 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, carrot, and bell pepper, if using. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and chipotle. Stir in the apple juice, chili powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and black pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately. If not using right away, bring to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks, then thaw before reheating.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen

This is from today's Writer's Almanac. I actually really like the formality of good punctuation, but this is a fantastic poem nonetheless!

On Punctuation
by Elizabeth Austen

not for me the dogma of the period
preaching order and a sure conclusion
and no not for me the prissy
formality or tight-lipped fence
of the colon and as for the semi-
colon call it what it is
a period slumming
with the commas
a poser at the bar
feigning liberation with one hand
tightening the leash with the other
oh give me the headlong run-on
fragment dangling its feet
over the edge give me the sly
comma with its come-hither
wave teasing all the characters
on either side give me ellipses
not just a gang of periods
a trail of possibilities
or give me the sweet interrupting dash
the running leaping joining dash all the voices
gleeing out over one another
oh if I must
give me the YIPPEE
of the exclamation point
give me give me the curling
cupping curve mounting the period
with voluptuous uncertainty

"On Punctuation" by Elizabeth Austen, from The Girl Who Goes Alone. © Floating Bridge Press, 2010.