Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Special bonus post: Cooking with Auntie Jo

Now that I'm in an internship, I've been cut back in hours. Being unwilling to eat things like ramen and generic Cheerios, I've decided to cook what I can from what's lying around (with the occasional foraging trip). It's Live Like A Student Time, but not really, because my college cafeteria had pretty good food, and it was all paid for, so maybe it's not at all like that.

Auntie Jo's What's On Sale Pretty Damn Good Black Bean Chili

three cans plain black beans (3/$1, sitting in cabinet)
one 28-oz can whole tomatoes (99 cents; the diced ones were 30 cents more)
about a half a bag of frozen corn I just had lying around
one medium onion, ditto
two poblano peppers (the big budget breaker at $1.29)
an appropriate amount of both cumin and chili pepper (at least two tablespoons of each. I have no idea what this costs per use, because I buy both in bulk from the Indian grocery)
however much cayenne pepper you want, if you want it.

Chop the onion and poblano pepper coarsely. Heat up a little oil in a pan large enough to hold two half-grown cats. Toss onion and peppers into the oil.

Saute over low heat until the onions are softening and the poblanos are an unnaturally bright green. (Do not be alarmed. They will not stay this color.)

Drain the tomato juice into a suitable container and chop up the tomatoes. Or use diced ones. Or just dump the whole can into the pan (once the onions have softened a bit) and use a potato masher or big fork or knife to squish them around and break them up.

Drain the beans into a colander and rinse them under cold running water until all the soaplike bubbles are gone. (This is an important step, as it will prevent you from making a huge pot of Auntie Jo's Gas Giant Black Bean Chili.) Dump said beans into the pot.

Dump in a half bag of corn, or maybe some carrots you've chopped up, or perhaps even a little squash (ew).

Dump in the appropriate amounts of chili and cumin. I tend to use about a two-part chili to three-part cumin ratio (Beloved Sis is garking right now), but then, I like lots of cumin.

Sprinkle on, or toss on, or shovel in, cayenne. Here again I am in the shovel-in school. Your mileage may vary.

Bring the whole kaboodle to a simmer and allow to continue to simmer for anywhere from 45 minutes (the absolute minimum) to five hours (about as long as you can go without scorching the mix or turning it into a solid). If you're simmering longer, add a little extra water now and then, and stir to keep from sticking.

Serve with cheese if you have it, sour cream if you've got that, or nothing. See? Pretty! And tasty! And filling and cheap!

Makes enough to serve one hungry nurse three meals and two hungry liberal Christians one meal each.


woolywoman said...

I find on days where I actually am expected to eat lunch, like class days, I care a whole lot more abou what I eat. I mix different kinds of beans, when I make this. Have you tried Trader Joe's canned corn? It is really, really good.

Sunflower RN said...

Hello Auntie Jo,

I just might make me some of this. My tummy is a rumbling pretty fierce right now and this chilli put me over the edge.

I might skip the wierd pepper thing as most of those things give me heartburn, but I'll replace it with some steak.

Add some corn chips and we're all set!!

Oh Man! I'm starving.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Great use of "what's lying around"! And good tip about the de-gassifying when using beans. Took me a long time to learn that trick.

My problem is that "what's lying around" in my kitchen tends to be random stuff like a half bag of lentils, a box of raisin bran, some ketchup, and a whole mess of dark chocolate.

The whole "stock the kitchen with healthy staples" concept somehow eludes me, so grocery shopping is a frequent event or I end up with really weird dinners.

chuckr44 said...

You do what I do. I toss together: canned spanish rice, black beans, corn. As the week goes I heat up a bowl and add a different spice to see what happens.