Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lately on the TUF

traditionally, i have maintained a tenacious loathing of all vegetables that share the pepper/chili family.  it is well documented by those close to me how vehemently and for how long i have opposed peppers and chilies in my food.  this is particularly notable, as there are almost no other foods in the WORLD that have given my appetite such pause.  in just the past few months, however, i have noted the end of this preference phenomenon.

case in point: we went to the downtown farmer's market yesterday for the first time in a while, much to the dogs' collective thrill!  there was a riot of colorful vegetables out in force, with some tantalizing signs of the cooler weather (!) harvest to come.  this time, i was completely dazzled by the peppers and chilies offered up by booth after booth at the market.  i could not believe the diversity of shapes, colors, and sizes--piles and piles of vibrant shiny peppers!  i wanted to swim in them, roll in them like the ball pit at the children's amusement park.  i nearly seized and devoured a bag of impossibly beautiful small specimens labeled "scotch bonnet chilies," but dan (forever the logical realist) informed me that those may be some of the spiciest chilies available, and would turn my pepper-reverie into a hellish spicemare.  he then gathered a collection of delectable, reasonably-spiced peppers and chilies to turn into his famous buffalo chili for dinner.

when we got home, chili preparation began immediately.  it is an all-day cooking event, after all!  the chili master decided to grill the million chilies and peppers we had acquired.  the ground buffalo browned with the onion and garlic as the chilis became aromatic.  THIS WAS GOING TO RULE.

dan then mixed the grilled goodness with the browned business in the big skillet.  he added some lone star beer, chili spices, and a can of tomato paste.  our eyes burned from the onion and chili chopping, but even with eyes squeezed shut we could smell the deliciousness that was in our future.  simmertime!

in the meantime, we had been incredibly productive before noon, dinner wasn't for many hours, and there was some trout in the fridge that needed immediate attention.  it was grilled quickly and turned into a leisurely weekend lunch.  dan enjoyed his neat, the light seasonings and grilled-flavor enough for him.  being kind of ridiculous, i decided to turn mine into non-traditional fish tacos.  that is: organic lettuce and local goat cheez (purchased mere hours before!), some dill pickle slices, and the flaked grilled trout, on toasted tortillas.  HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

at this point, i'm going to do something kind of odd: i'm going to bring up our compost heap.  i began to discuss it in jest in a previous post, but it's time i gave it some real attention.  the compost heap is pretty amazing, actually--it has gone from a tiny afterthought to a real, dirt producing, waste-reducing entity in our backyard.

we have implemented a tupperware container on the kitchen counter in which we accumulate compostables: vegetable tops, bottoms, guts and peels; coffee grounds; compostable dryer sheets; eggshells; various other (non-greasy, non-meat) bits and pieces.  we also have been composting the guinea pig and rat bedding, and incorporating coop/run hay as well.  after several months of stuff-adding, raking, watering, and waiting, the pile is actively producing lovely dirt.  it leans against the chicken run, and the ladies love the bug-fet it offers.  we are still considering the best way to use the finished dirt, considering our shade/sun gardening challenges; however, it has certainly reduced our landfill contribution.  more on this and gardening as developments develop!

now, back to food.  saturday evening, the chili has been simmering all day, filling our house with chiliful aromas.  dan has his over penne, sprinkled with chopped onions; i have mine over market lettuce greens, with the onions and some creamy chunks of goat cheez (i LOVE the stuff!).  as predicted, IS DELICIOUS.

the million grilled chilis lent an unusual sweetness to the dish.  i can safely say this was the best chili i had ever had IN MY LIFE.  i feel like i say that a lot when i talk about dan's chili; he is a really good cook.

in short: tastes change, seasons change, kitchen scraps change into dirt, and the food around here stays tasty.  thank you for your readership, Dear Reader...more soon!

1 comment:

  1. i've been feeling more cordial toward peppers as well lately. i never had quite your level of aversion, but i never really sought them out until fairly recently. yum! (i still hate green peppers, though)