Chili with cauliflower & 2 beans


I realized that I’ve been saying some mean things about winter lately. And we’ve had such a pleasant winter, so far! The truth is, I kinda like winter (in the way that a person who was probably a hibernating animal in another life likes winter!) I’d like to stay home all day, cuddled up, reading books, the boys in their pjs, me making complicated baked goods and slow-cooked I-don’t-know-whats! But I work on the weekends, so we never have a day of everyone in their pjs. Here’s something you can make that’s warm and rich and has complex flavors, so it feels like that kind of day, but in a fraction of the time. Oh, yes, and I almost forgot! We ate it with home-made tortilla chips and some grated cheese. Nice.

Here’s Bryon Lee and the Dragonaire’s with Hot Hot Hot.
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Deep pie with black beans, greens and pistachios

Beans & greens pie

Beans, greens, and … guava paste!?!?! That’s right! Guava paste! It lends a subtle sweetness and a mysterious flavor to this otherwise extremely earthy dish. I’m going to try to mix it up a bit with the bodega express ingredients. I might try one dish that’s a fairly traditional and accurate application of the star ingredient, and one that isn’t so authentic, but strikes me as a nice combination. That’s the plan at the moment, anyway. As it happens, it’s not unusual to find guava paste paired with cheese in an empanada, and this is sort of a giant, elaborately decked out version of that, I suppose. I would have made them as empanadas, and, in fact, I think the filling might work better that way – smaller and with a flakier crust – but I wanted to try out a new and improved version of my hot water crust pastry, so this tall handsome pie is the result. It contains black beans, kale, spinach, smoked gouda, pistachios for crunch, bread crumbs, sage, thyme, basil, allspice and nutmeg, and, of course, smoked paprika. The guava, which is bright and has a hint of tartness behind all of its obvious sweetness, added a nice balance for all the smokey savoriness. Actually, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of pouring jelly into the hole in the top of a pork pie (although meaty jelly isn’t the most appetizing idea, to me!) And I briefly considered melting the guava jelly down and trying this very practice! I chickened out, though. I think it would have been too sweet.

Anyway, this was very easy to make, and very nice with some mashed potatoes and a crispy salad, and I think it might be even nicer with a flaky paté brisée in smaller empandas. Someday I’ll try that and let you know!

Here’s Johnny Nash’s smooth cover of Bob Marley’s Guava Jelly. Still stuck in my head!!
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Black bean & butternut squash enchiladas


What makes these Halloween-y? They’re black and orange, of course! They’re also a welcome warm and spicy meal on a cold autumn night. The earthiness of the black beans and the spinach contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the squash. Chipotle puree and red pepper flakes add some zing, and fennel and cilantro brighten it all up. The sauce is a spicy tomato-almond sauce, and it’s delicious! These enchiladas are not drowned in sauce or cheese, they’re lighter and dryer, and the tortillas become nice and crispy on the edge.

Here’s Enchilada by the Scamps. Enchilaaaaaaaada….enchilaaaaaaaaaaada! The maniacal laughter makes it a good halloween song, too!
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