About Me

Yoga changed my Life and it's just too good a thing to keep to myself! I have been practicing yoga since 1995 and am a certified yoga instructor. I teach a combination of classical Hatha, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. My teaching style is safe, compassionate and challenging at the same time. I teach at a number of studios, and also offer private and group lessons!

In addition to my schedule, I post other writings here, about yoga and Life in general. For private or group lessons, contact me at: workofheartyoga@gmail.com .

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deep thoughts vs. Chili - a Yogi's holiday dilemma

A quick Yoga Schedule Announcement:
*Class THIS Sunday the 23rd, 9-10:30am at Your Neighborhood Studio.

Now, on to our regularly scheduled program…

Don’t worry, I have other ideas for “deep thought” posts in the near future…but in the spirit of simplifying things during the holidays, and considering I still have to clean my kitchen, vacuum and pick up my parents at the airport, I thought I’d post something a little less cerebral. Since I’ve had five separate requests for my Chili recipe since Casey’s birthday party, I’ve decided to oblige. Without further ado, here it is…and the quick story that goes with it…

The funny part is, all the folks that requested it are meat-eaters and did not REALIZE it was a vegetarian recipe (suckers.) The meatless ground round fooled them – one person said it was one of the best beef chili’s he’d had. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

To give credit where credit is due - I’ve modified three recipes: My mother’s, my mother-in-law, Marilyn’s and my cooking bible, the Joy of Cooking circa 1997. The curry powder is my own thing, and roasting it with the cumin and chili powder before adding oil is something my dad taught me. For some, reason roasting certain spices while dry wakes them and adds a smoky flavor. You’ll notice the bell peppers and carrots are mysteriously absent in my version – I don’t DO bell peppers – particularly the green ones. And I’ve always felt carrots seem unnatural in chili, a little out of place if you will. Call me crazy.

So this is how it happened.

This year, for my husband’s birthday, we decided to throw a party. As the invite list began to grow, I started to panic about having enough food for everyone (as a good Italian always does.) When I realized that roughly 30 people would be attending, the idea of a quaint sit-down dinner of some elegant fish quickly vanished and I knew I needed a plan. And what do I do when I am panicking and need a plan? Again, what every good Italian does…

I brought out the big guns. I called my mother.

The phone was ringing, my mind was speeding, please let her be there, please let her be there, please let her be there… my new mantra.

“MOM.” I screamed into the phone before she could say hello.
“April? What’s wrong?!”
“The invite list is now at 30!”
“…Well, I guess that means you’re not cooking fish for everyone.”
“Oh shit.”
“Exactly… Well, that’s ok…” She thought for a moment. “Just make chili,” she let it roll off her tongue casually, as if to imply the situation required a smooth and calculated strategy, and that she was, of course, the master.

“Oh, Chili,” I thought, bewildered at her steady composure in the face of what I was sure was impending doom. “That sounds great.” “Yeah honey just make a big giant pot of chili, have some corn bread and chips and salsa, and viola! You’re done!”

Genius, I thought. So that’s exactly what I did. And here it is.

Enjoy, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. See you on the mat!

Casey's Birthday Chili

T ground cumin (not seeds)
T chili powder
½ T curry powder
1 tsp oregano
3T extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
1-3 jalapeno peppers chopped fine (with seeds is more spicy)
1-2 onions chopped
2 medium zucchini chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
2 15 oz. cans black beans (drained a little)
2 15 oz cans pinto or cannellini beans (drained a little)
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1 15 oz can sweet corn
1 package of meatless ground round (experiment with different kinds, any kind you would use in a taco)
1 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes (Muir Glen is the brand – love their salsa too!)
Splash of white vinegar
Kosher salt (to taste)
Lots of fresh ground pepper
Tabasco sauce (1-2 T or more if you like it spicy.)
*For a wetter version – use more tomatoes or add a bit of water! For a thicker version, or more tomato flavor, add a T or 2 of tomato paste.

Get Large pasta or Soup pot. Place over medium to medium-high heat. Heat pot well. Toss in the cumin, curry and chili powder for about a minute, until spices start to smoke.
Pour in the olive oil and heat for 20 seconds to cook the spices a little more.
Toss in onions and jalapeno(s), sprinkle with ½ T of salt to “sweat.” 3-4 min.
Add garlic for 2 more minutes. Careful not to burn, or it will get bitter.
Add zucchini and squash and cook for 5 minutes.
Toss in meatless ground and just heat through. Stir frequently to keep from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Add beans and corn (stir all and heat for a few minutes.)
Add tomatoes and oregano and splash of vinegar.
Let come to a simmer. Stir and taste.
Add fresh ground pepper and Tabasco to spice it up as needed.
On low heat or simmer, cook for about 45 minutes.

*You can cook it in the morning or the day before a party and then refrigerate. To do so, let it cool significantly before putting in the fridge. To re-heat, put it back on the stove and heat it on low until hot again. Serve in bowls with corn-bread!