They say it’s important, after a day of strenuous exercise, to “sweat out the toxins”. And when I say “they say” this, I mean I made it up, but it sounds like a plausible story (i.e., if I’d told you I read it in “Shape” magazine, you would’ve believed me).
So, to this end, I’m sitting enjoying a bowl of fiery-hot vegetarian chili, iron-skillet cornbread, and an ice-cold Corona. (Do you ever question the meaning of the phrase “ice-cold”? As if ice can have only one temperature?) I thought I would share with you, my loyal reader(s), the recipes for these delicious eatables. Whoever you are, you should eat more chili.
I. Smoky Chili
Get some dried chipotlé peppers. These are available in Mexico, possibly other places too. Roast them in an iron skillet until they soften and smell good. Then put them in a bowl with a cup boiling water.
Meanwhile, sauté two medium onions in 2-3 tbs of vegetable oil 5 minutes. Add 2-4 cloves crushed garlic, sauté a minute. Add several tablespoons powdered chili pepper and about half as much cumin. Stir constantly over medium-high heat for a minute. Add 1-2 diced tomatoes, cook a minute. Add a big can of crushed tomatoes, some diced bell peppers (red is good), several cups of black beans (canned, or previously cooked), and 1/4lb squished tofu. Yes, I said tofu. Don’t give me that look. It’s good for you.
Take the chipotlés, slice them, remove the seeds, put in blender with their soaking water, and liquefy. Add to the pot. Add a pinch of oregano, half-teaspoon salt, and simmer till the cornbread is done.
Heat oven to 450F (that’s 230C, for the Canadians). Put a 10” (25cm) cast-iron skillet in the oven.
In a bowl, mix: 1/2c flour, 2c cornmeal, 1tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt.
In another bowl, beat one egg and 2c buttermilk (or 2c soy milk plus 4tbs buttermilk powder.)
Put 3tbs shortening or vegetable oil in the skillet, return to oven until melted/hot. Pour shortening into milk mixture and beat. Pour milk mixture into cornmeal mixture and beat. Pour everything into skillet, put back in the oven for 20 minutes. Then put under the broiler for a minute or so until the top is lightly browned.
Chill Corona. Open with bottle opener.