Vegan Chili, Anyone?

>My old friend Darcy writes, “Got any suggestions for an easy vegan meal? I am sick of my own cooking.”
We discovered she had some nice white beans about, so I suggested chili! Vegan sometimes gets a bad rap, but the fact is, it’s great cooking and eating – Read the ingredients and you’ll see there’s nothing weird or funky about it; just simple, good ingredients well married!

Vegan Chili

2 cups each white, kidney, pinto, black, or garbanzo beans, (the more the merrier; I like at least three varieties, and white/black/garbanzo is my fave combo)
2 cups tomato, diced, crushed, or pureed as you prefer
1 sweet onion, diced
1 or 2 cobs of sweet corn
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves of garlic, fine dice
1 each red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
1 or 2 hot chile of your choice.
½ cup cilantro, chiffenade cut.
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
½ tsp Cumin
½ teaspoon ground pepper, (I like a blend of black, red, white and green)
2 cups vegetable stock, (And if you don’t make this yourself, then more on that down the line)
2-3 cups of water (start with 2 cups and see if you need more)

Put beans, 2 cups of water, and the tomatoes into a crock pot or large soup pot over medium heat. Stir often, and as soon as this comes up to heat, reduce so that it is on a low simmer.

Lightly brush your bell peppers, chiles, and corn with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place ‘em on a baking pan whole and slide that onto a fairy high rack with your oven on broil. Keep an eye on the peppers and chiles and rotate them as they blacken and blister; don’t let your corn burn; it needs to be turned faster and pulled before the chiles are done! When the peppers and chiles are done all around, pull them out and let them cool enough to touch. Remove stems, seeds and veins and rough chop; slice the kernels off the corn and use your cob for compost.

Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan and let it get nice and hot. Toss in your carrot first, let it sauté for a couple minutes and then add your onions and sauté until starting to caramelize. Reduce your heat to medium and add the garlic, cilantro, diced and roasted peppers, chiles and corn. Add the veggie stock and all spices to your liking, (Those amounts are a decent starting point to middle ground volume; do more or less as you please!)
As this gets up to a simmer, throw it all into the big pot and let the flavor marriage begin!

Vegan Cornbread

2 cups coarse yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 350. Lightly oil a 10 x 10 baking pan.
Whisk soy milk and vinegar together well.
In a second bowl, combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt.
Add oil and honey to the wet mix. Whisk for a few minutes, until air bubbles form in the mix.
Pour wet into dry and blend gently but thoroughly with a spatula.
Pour batter into your pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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