Fare Exchange: A hearty chili perfect for fall weather, football

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Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

E-mail: [email protected]

Fare Exchange: A hearty chili perfect for fall weather, football

Jane Henegar

Jane Henegar

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Remember the old days, you seasoned cooks, when the Wednesday following Labor Day was the first one after school started? Alas, no more, but now fall is in full swing, with a broad-reaching request from Terence F.

He began, "In the last 24 hours I have heard from two different people about the benefits of a plant-based diet for treating a variety of medical conditions, as well as to lose weight. Is this news accurate, and if so, how do you do that and where do you begin? I would like to begin by having a menu and recipes for a breakfast meal, a lunch meal on the go and a dinner meal. Also, what foods are absolute no-nos?"

AVOCADO ADVICE

Leda Roberts wrote from McMinnville, Tenn., to start what we hope will be a chain of comments about avocados.

First, she gave some general comments about storage of leftover guacamole. "After mixing up guacamole, place it in the serving container and completely cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole all the way to the edges so that air cannot get to it until you are ready to serve. This works for me for at least four hours.

"If I use just half of an avocado, I leave the seed in the other half and press plastic wrap down around the seed and make sure it is touching the avocado flesh to the peel. I've kept it this way for a day without its turning."

She acknowledged what avocado lovers have discovered for themselves, "Avocados are tricky sometimes. But I do like them in salads, on top of scrambled eggs, on crackers for a healthy snack or even on chili."

And now to a specific recipe, discovered by Ms. Roberts. "When I saw the request for best guacamole recipes, I had just downloaded a recipe from the Betty Crocker website called Loaded Guacamole.

"It looks really great to me. I'm going to try it tomorrow for a family birthday gathering."

Here is that recipe, straight from bettycrocker.com. Let us know if you have tried it.

Loaded Guacamole

If you didn't think guacamole could be any more delicious, brace yourself for this mind-blowing loaded guac. All the best parts of loaded potatoes and already-awesome fresh guacamole join forces to create your new favorite party pleaser.

Guacamole:

3 large ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup finely chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (2 medium)

1/4 cup seeded and finely chopped jalapeno chilies (2 medium)

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

1 can (4.5-ounce) Old El Paso chopped green chilies

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:

1/2 cup finely chopped plum (Roma) tomatoes (2 medium)

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (6 slices)

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Multigrain chips (Food Should Taste Good brand recommended) as desired

In a large bowl mix guacamole ingredients.

Spread on medium plate or in low bowl. Top with tomatoes, then cheese, then bacon and finally green onion. Serve with chips.

TEXAS-STYLE COOKIES

Ms. Roberts continued with a colorfully named cookie recipe, "the monster cookie recipe I promised, which I have tried and loved. We were at a national convention in Houston and I found in the registration goodie bag a card decorated with boots and saddles and a recipe for Texas Cow Chips."

Requests

* Recipes for a plant-based diet

Texas Cow Chips (Monster Cookies)

2 cups butter

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

4 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups oats

2 cups bran flakes

1 cup pecans

1 cup coconut

1 cup raisins

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

1 (6-ounce) package peanut butter chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugars together until blended. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda; gradually add to sugar mixture, and stir well. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop cookies with a 1/4-cup measuring cup onto lightly greased cookie sheet — 6 cookies to a sheet. (You may use parchment paper instead of greasing. Pans can be rotated faster and the parchment can be reused.)

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Store in container between sheets of wax paper.

TAILGATER CHILI

We thank you, Jim Sparks, for sending "something for fall weather and football." And when you see the word slurry below, you might want to look up the definition. Or need to. I did. It's "a thickening mixture that is made up of equal parts flour and water, that is prepared for use in making soups, stews, etc."

Black Bean/Turkey Sausage Chili

Olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 bay leaf

1/2 tablespoon oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

12 ounces smoked turkey sausage, quartered lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablespoons water

Sour cream (optional)

Chopped green onions (optional)

Heat oil in large pot and sauté onions, bell peppers and garlic. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, chili powder, sugar, vinegar, bay leaf, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes. Add sausage to pot and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Thicken with flour/water slurry during last 20 minutes. Top with sour cream and green onions, if desired, when serving.

It's off to the kitchen for us now ... or off to planning for the next meal, the next welcome diners. Or perhaps simply to say grace over a nourishing meal with gratitude. Won't you join me?

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