I adored the book and finished it with an overwhelming desire to hang garlic up to dry over my kitchen sink and hunt for morels on a hillside and buy bushels of tomatoes to freeze or can, to draw on all those years relishing the chore-filled, season-driven lives of the Little House on the Prairie clan.
But at the time I was reading it, I was lying on a beach in Costa Rica, buying rice and beans for every meal from tiny little restaurants. And by the time we were back home in our DC highrise apartment, I had forgotten.
Perhaps one day I'll lead a life so close to the earth that my kitchen will follow the seasons, and I'll finally become one with my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder. But now the days fly by me so fast most of the time. A season's gone before I realize that my canning pot hasn't moved from the top of the refrigerator.
So when I stepped outside to walk Jammer about a week ago and had to run back in for a warmer jacket, the thought that came right after "ooh, it's FALL!" was "ooh, I need to FREEZE something!"
With a potluck on the calendar for that evening, a giant pot of chili seemed like a winner. I could make a big enough batch that I'd have enough to bring to the potluck and enough to freeze for some cold winter night down the road.
And a big batch it was. We brought about seven servings to the potluck and were able to put at least that many in the freezer.
Freezer Vegetarian Chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili power
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 cloves garlic
2 fifteen-oz cans of kidney beans
2 fifteen-oz cans of black beans
2 fifteen-oz cans of navy beans
1 fifteen-oz can of Amy's medium chili with vegetables (my "secret" ingredient)
1 eight-oz can of tomato sauce
1 each green, red, and yellow pepper
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 cup bulgur wheat
1. Dice the onion and saute in a large pot over medium heat in the olive oil. Add in the salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic, and half the cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and turn clear.
2. Add in the chopped peppers and tomatoes. Cook together for about five minutes.
3. Add in the beans, tomato sauce, corn, bulgur wheat and remaining spices (including the other half of the cumin). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let cook with the top on for 1-2 hours, checking occasionally to be sure the bottom isn't burning.
It's so simple but really delicious. Once the soup cools, ladle it into your freezer-safe containers and look forward to pulling some out on a cold night this winter!