For the first time in a long time, I am starting to feel an abiding sense of well-being. I've been sleeping like a log, we all seem to be simultaneously well, the ocean views here are soothing my soul, and now that we're settled for the time being, I feel a huge exhale, even with so many balls still in the air. Part of why I feel so great, I believe, is because of the "real" weekend I just enjoyed start to finish. No kamikazi drives, no packing or unpacking, no sick baby, no huge projects to undertake; just me and 3 of my favorite men on the planet (husband, baby and dad) enjoying the scenery and eachother's company in Maine.
We slept. We chilled. We read the New York Times. We continued to tie up loose ends to do with the move, but with a cup of tea at the kitchen table, not barrelling down the highway. I ran 4.5 miles each day which felt AMAZING. We met up with friends for lunch at the Ceres Bakery in Portsmouth (turkey sando on fresh oregano/parmesan bread w/ pesto mayo + a ton of veggies = yummers). We got the hub new glasses (a year plus overdue, and they are HOT to boot, so score and score). We ate Mexican take-out out of the container in front of the Olympics (aw yeah, boys' weekend!!!). I also got to attend a bona fide ladies' night with rum drinks at the house of a good friend, and talk boys, careers, real estate, home decor and childbirth in the way that only a gaggle of gals can do. Talk about soul feeding; mine feels full to the brim at the start of this week. I can't stop smiling.
We capped it all off with a Sunday night homecoming from my mom and visit from one of my best friends from the law school years who was passing through on business. Both of those ladies having vegetarian tendencies, I wanted to make a really fab and healthy veggie dinner that would also satisfy the menfolk and be an appealing lunch option for the husband to tote with him for lunch this week. Hello, Veggie Chili Love.
The Silver Palate New Basics cookbook has the best veggie chili recipe I know. It isn't too beany and it is still recognizable as chili, which sometimes veggie chilis are not. Also, it is chock full of fresh herbs and some fresh lemon juice, which really makes all the flavors pop. The result is a bright, light, filling and energizing dish. I baked cornbread to go with, and whipped up some guac to munch on first, which also did well dolloped atop the chili. I highly recommend this chili recipe... try it before spring is upon us and you want nothing to do with a savory stew! You won't regret it.
3/4 cup olive oil
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
35 oz. Italian plum tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, drained
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1) Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, and sauté until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to a large flameproof casserole or dutch oven.
2) Heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil in the skillet over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Sauté until just wilted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the casserole, along with the oil remaining in the skillet.
3) Place the casserole over low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, the fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, fennel seeds, and parsley. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
4) Stir in the kidney beans, chick-peas, dill and lemon juice; cook for another 15 minutes. Stir well, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with bowls of sour cream, grated cheese, and sliced scallions alongside.