Archive for the ‘chili’ Category

If you want to approach self-sufficiency in today’s global world, it’s important to save seeds.  It’s also important, though, to recognize and appreciate the plants that keep on giving.  Tonight we enjoyed a veggie and an herb that planted themselves:  tomatillo and cilantro.  I suppose had I been more picky about “weeding” things I had not planted, we would not have had this meal tonight.

Tomatillo are tart, green goodness encased in an inedible husk.  I planted some in my garden three years ago.  A few got caught by frost then, dropped their seed, and voila!, I’ve had them for free ever since.  This year I picked the last of my free tomatillos right before our deep freeze, but a few fruits that had already dropped will form the backbone of next year’s tomatillos.

Earlier this year my husband planted a single cilantro plant. As soon as it got hot, the plant went to seed.  It dropped some seed where it had been planted, but then he ripped out the plant and tossed it in an area where we’re building up compost and leaves for future expansion.  Now, thanks to rain and cooler temperatures, we have dozens of cilantro plants.  A little leaf covering during our deep freeze a few nights ago gave them plenty of protection.

Together, the cilantro and tomatillos joined with leftover turkey and some remaining chiles in green-chile turkey enchiladas.  Not only was much of our meal home grown, but a big portion of it was free!

I’ll post more soon about seed saving and plants that readily reproduce with little or no help from the gardener.

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Another post in the series “Living with and Loving Cast Iron”

Are you new to Dutch ovens but excited to try one for your next camp out?  The following recipe is so easy that I hesitate to even call it that.  It is also not my own creation but rather a recipe that’s been circulating for years.  This recipe is for the small 2-quart Dutch oven, but you can multiply it to use a bigger Dutch oven.

Begin by assembling ingredients:

1 small cornbread mix (I like Hodgson Mill’s whole grain mix when I use a mix instead of making from scratch)

butter or oil, eggs and buttermilk or milk to make the cornbread, according to the recipe

one or two cans of good chili (We use vegetarian chili, but you can use whatever you want.)

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

If you are using a camping Dutch oven outside, start your coals.

Begin by coating the Dutch oven lightly with oil.  If you are camping and want easy clean-up, you can coat with oil and then line the Dutch oven with aluminum foil and then grease the aluminum foil too. Now open the can(s) of chili and pour it into the bottom of the Dutch oven.  Sprinkle on the cheese.  Now mix up the corn bread according to package directions and spread it on top of the chili and cheese.  Take a knife and poke through the corn bread batter to the chili in several places.  You want them to get to know each other, but don’t marry them.

Now place your Dutch oven on top of about 5 coals. Spread about 8 coals on top.  Use more coals if you are using a larger Dutch oven. Every ten minutes or so, rotate your Dutch oven on the coals on the bottom and turn the lid (very carefully to avoid getting ash in the food!) on top.  Check periodically to see if the cornbread is browning.  After about 30 minutes, you’ll have an all-in-one meal for 2-4 people.

By the way, if you use powdered egg white and milk, you can keep the ingredients for this cornbread-chili-cheese bake on hand for months with no refrigeration.

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