Hmm! White Chili

ChiliWhite2

it is a rainy Memorial Day Weekend here in Manhattan, Kansas. So I thought that a White Chili would be a good dish to serve – fun & casual, flavorful & warming, but not too heavy. I hope that you are having a great weekend!

White Chili

This flavorful dish is what is traditionally referred to as a white chili (because no tomatoes are used in the base). This vegetarian version, though, is more of a light golden color.

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 T. crushed garlic

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)

2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

5 sweet mini yellow peppers, chopped (about 1/2 c.)

1 jalapeño, minced (about 2 T.)

1 (15 oz) can chick peas, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. frozen yellow corn, semi-thawed

1 t. ground cumin

1/2 t. white pepper

3 c. boiling water

2 “Not-Chick’n” bouillon cubes

4 oz. low-fat cream cheese

1 ripe avocado, diced (for garnish)

juice of 1 lemon

1 c. chopped ripe tomato (for garnish)

2  – 3 T. cilantro leaves, stemmed and chopped (for garnish)

cheddar cheese, shredded (for garnish, optional)

  1. Place olive oil in a large deep skillet or stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery, and peppers. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  2. Stir in chick peas, beans, corn, cumin and white pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, dissolve bouillon cubes in boiling water. Add cream cheese to bouillon and stir until mostly dissolved. Stir bouillon mixture into pot. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook just below a simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Just before serving, toss together avocado, lemon juice tomato and cilantro leaves. Ladle chili into bowls. If desired, top with cheese. Garnish with avocado-tomato mixture.

Enjoy! Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

It’s Scorching Hot: Is it the Weather or the Peppers?

It is scorching hot in Manhattan, Kansas today. It was 97 degrees by noon and 107 in our yard at 5 pm (According to the weather service our official high was 101). So who could ask for a better day to write about hot peppers? In the little container garden on my “back porch”, I grow  Chenzo and Burning Bush Habañero peppers.  Chenzos have a rating of 45,000 scoville heat units (which is quite hot) while Habañeros are even hotter at 100,000 – 350,000 s.h.u. To put this in perspective, jalapeños rate  2,500 – 8,000 s.h.u.

Chenzo Peppers Ripening

Chenzo Peppers Ready to Pick

Burning Bush Habañero Peppers

When I picked my first bunch of Chenzos a few weeks ago, I tied them into a small ristra and hung them off the back porch to dry. It took about two and a half weeks for them to be ready to bring in. Of course, we were having cooler nights then. With our current temperatures, they would probably dry more quickly. I will use the dried peppers in chilis and rubs for grilling.

Chenzo Pepper Ristra

I decided to do  something different with the peppers that I picked today, so I made several bottles of Garlic Chili Lemon Oil. This can be used as a dipping oil with bread or tortillas, can be added to chilis, soups, pasta dishes, and salad dressing. If you decide to make your own flavored oils, be sure to sterilize fresh ingredients such as garlic either by heating them or acidifying them as the oil seals out oxygen and can easily lead to botulism growth. We want everyone to be able to eat safely!

What are your favorite ways to use hot chili peppers? It would be great to hear from you!