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Mom’s Chili

This is a fairly sweet chili, with just a little bit of spiciness. I use the medium hot chili powder from the Spice House. If you have a milder chili powder, or like your chili spicier, add some cayenne powder.


1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 (28oz) can tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can pork and beans
1 ½ Tbsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp chilli sauce (or ketchup)
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Brown meat and crumble with fork. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour, or put it in the slow cooker for several hours. Serve with sour cream.

Dilly Beans

I’ve done quite a bit of canning so far this summer. Last weekend it was three kinds of salsa (tomatillo, spicy tomato, and basic tomato), as well as yellow tomato jam (which tasted like honey), marinara sauce, and peaches. Earlier this summer I canned wild raspberry jam, current jelly, blueberry butter, roasted peach butter, pickled watermelon rind, grainy white wine mustard, and dilly beans!

jars of food

And we’re still working on eating up batches of orange marmalade, vanilla rhubarb earl gray jam, cherry wine jelly, herbes de province wine jelly, and pear butter from earlier this year. I finally had to dedicate a shelf just to canning jars because they were taking over the bookshelves.

canning shelf

I’m posting the dilly bean recipe today because I know I will want to make this one again–they are delicious!

2 pounds green beans (trimmed so they fit in the jars)

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup pickling salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

4 tsp dill seed

4 garlic cloves, peeled

Prepare 4 pint jars and their lids for a boiling water bath. Combine the vinegar, 2 1/2 cups water, and pickling salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Pack the beans into the clean, hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tsp dill seeds to each jar. Pour the hot brine over the beans in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to dislodge bubbles and check the headspace again. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 5 min. Let sit 5 min before removing, then let sit undisturbed on the counter for 12-24 hours. Remove the rims, wipe the jars, and let cure 2 weeks before eating.

(Recipe from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan)

Poached Baby Vegetables with Caper Mayonnaise

This was part of our main course for our recent Picnic Contest. I picked this recipe because it was kind of rustic looking with the vegetables not trimmed too much, and I thought it would go with our theme.  But I was surprised at how tasty it was. I would make this again. Just add a rotisserie chicken and you’ve got a nice meal!

chicken, veggies, and hand pies

Poaching liquid:

2 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 cup olive oil

2/3 cup lemon juice

2 bay leaves

1 small onion, cut in half

2 celery stalks

1 tsp salt


1 bunch small carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise

8 baby zucchini, cut in halves or quarters lengthwise

4 baby fennel, cut lengthwise

asparagus, baby leeks, baby turnips, green beans, or other baby vegetables

Mayonnaise: (measurements are approximate – adjust to taste)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (store bought or homemade)

2-3 Tbsp finely chopped capers

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

zest and juice of 1 lemon (or less–it may not need that much juice)

small garlic clove, pressed

salt to taste

Prepare the vegetables, washing them thoroughly but not trimming off all the ends of the stalks/leaves. Cut them in pieces that are roughly similar in size for even cooking.

Make the poaching liquid: Boil the wine for 2-3 min. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Add longer cooking vegetables such as carrots, fennel, and turnips first. After about 3 minutes, add zucchini, asparagus, leeks, green beans and cook for another 3-4 minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but still a bit crunchy.

poaching the vegetables

Serve the vegetables with some of the poaching liquid spooned over top and a dollop of mayonnaise (and maybe some chicken too). You could serve it warm, but it’s also good cold/room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Cheesy Zucchini Bake on Rye Toasts

Besides the zucchini we receive in our CSA box each week, we also got a 3.5 lb + zucchini the other day from a friend. I haven’t run out of zucchini ideas yet, but I may be getting a little closer. This one is a nice change from zucchini bread and sauteed or grilled zucchini. I had a loaf of this bread in the freezer that I needed to use up and it was very good with the warm zucchini mixture spooned on top.  It was also good on the plain pizza crust I baked when I ran out of sauce and cheese, and would be good on crackers or other kinds of bread.

zucchini bake and rye bread

2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

bread or crackers for serving

Toss zucchini and salt in a bowl; let stand 1 hour. Rinse, drain, and press out excess liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients to an 8×8-inch baking dish. Stir in the zucchini and mix well. Bake at 375 degrees F until bubbly, 15-20 min. Serve warm with bread or crackers.

(Recipe adapted from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce. 3rd Ed.)

Chocolate Banana Bran Muffins

I saw this recipe in an advertisement for All-Bran cereal in a magazine. I already have a banana bran muffin recipe that I like, and so I thought I should try this chocolate (actually, double chocolate) version. It’s very good!  The original recipe called for 1/3 cup chocolate chips, but I doubled that amount. I also substituted about half the milk for buttermilk, so don’t think it matters which kind of milk you use.

In other muffin news, I recently tried parchment paper muffin tin liners and they work great. It’s easier to get them off the muffins than regular paper liners.

chocolate banana bran muffins

1 1/4 cups All-Bran cereal

3/4 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 large ripe bananas, mashed, with 12 slices reserved for topping

2/3 cup chocolate chips

Combine cereal and milk in a medium bowl and let soften for a few minutes while mixing other ingredients. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Before mashing the bananas, reserve 12 slices of banana to top the muffins. Beat egg, oil, and mashed banana into the cereal mixture. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and scoop into a paper-lined or greased muffin pan. The batter will fill the cups to the top. Top each muffin with a reserved banana slice.

Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until they test done.


Slush is a frozen punch that my grandma used to make when I was a kid. It’s a lot like making granita, but then you add 7-up or Sprite to a glass full of the frozen bits and serve it with a straw and a spork. Or a spoon, which is all I have, but a spork would be more fun.  How often do you get to use a spork?!


4 black tea bags (I used decaf Red Rose)

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate

26 oz. rum, vodka, or gin (optional)–I prefer it without…the way I remember it

7-up or Sprite, for serving

Combine 2 cups water and tea bags. Bring to a boil and set aside to cool. Remove tea bags when tea is dark. Boil 7 cups water and sugar. Cool and then combine with tea mixture. Add orange juice and lemonade concentrates. Stir in 26 oz. rum, if using.  Freeze mixture. It is easier to scoop if you stir it a few times with a fork while the mixture is freezing.

To serve, fill each glass 3/4 full with slush and then fill with 7-up or Sprite. Add a straw and spork/spoon.

Spicy Sesame Green Beans

This recipe came with our batch of beans from the CSA last week, and it is my new favorite way to eat green beans (or purple beans, but they turn green when you cook them). It’s pretty spicy, so reduce the red pepper flakes to just a pinch if you don’t want it very hot!  The beans are cooked just enough so they stay nice and crisp.

I’m not giving up Maple Mustard Green Beans as an out-of-season bean recipe, but this is great for when the beans are nice and fresh. I also think that these beans would be delicious in sushi.

sesame green beans

1 1/2 lb green beans, washed and trimmed
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
coarse salt to taste

Steam green beans covered in 1/2 inch boiling water for 2 minutes.  Transfer beans to a colander and run under cold water.  Drain and then dry them well on a clean dish towel. (Any water will cause the oil to splatter all over.)

Heat skillet over high or medium-high heat, add cooking oil, sesame oil and crushed pepper flakes.  The pan will smoke.  Add beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse salt.

Honey-Dijon Kale Salad with Goat Cheese, Cherries, and Pecans

We subscribed to a CSA this year from Big Head Farm, and we’re doing pretty well at keeping up with all the vegetables each week. We got our new box today, but we still had a bunch of kale from last week, and a few little turnips from two weeks ago, so we had this salad tonight for dinner. I think with the right dressing, a kale salad can taste pretty good. And adding crumbled goat cheese, toasted pecans and dried cherries really helps too.  With a side of goat cheese biscuits to round out the meal, this was a tasty and satisfying dinner!

kale salad and goat cheese biscuits

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, and shredded into ribbons

3-4 radishes or baby turnips, washed, sliced very thin and cut into matchsticks

dried cherries

toasted pecans

crumbled goat cheese


3 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp honey

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and toss with the shredded kale. (If you mix in the dressing and let it sit for awhile it makes the kale a little softer.)  Top with the rest of the salad ingredients right before serving.

(Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman)

Black Bean and Fresh Salsa Quesadillas

These are very tasty vegetarian quesadillas. I cooked them on the grill and served them with grilled summer squash.


Black bean paste:

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from a can, or leftovers from Slow Cooker Black Beans)

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

small bunch chopped cilantro (leaves and stalks), about 1 oz.

juice of 1 lime

1/4 tsp salt

Fresh salsa:

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

3 green onions, thinly sliced

5 medium tomatoes, diced

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 mild fresh red chile, finely diced (I used a seeded serrano pepper instead)

small bunch of finely chopped cilantro (leaves and stalks), about 1 oz.

3/4 tsp salt

juice of 1/2 lime


2 ripe avocados, diced

8 small corn tortillas (or more–I had a lot of leftover ingredients, but no more tortillas)

3/4 cup sour cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

6 Tbsp drained and chopped pickled jalapenos


Make the bean paste by processing all the ingredients in a food processor until they form a rough paste.

Make the salsa by soaking the onion in the vinegar for a few minutes, then adding the rest of the ingredients.

Prepare a barbecue or griddle pan (or heat the oven).

Spread bean paste on a tortilla, leaving a space clear around the edge. Spread with sour cream, cheddar, some salsa, avocado, and jalapenos. Spread bean paste on a second tortilla and use it to top the first. (Or, put the toppings only on half the tortilla and fold it over. I couldn’t do this with my small tortillas without breaking them.)  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Heat on a barbecue or grill pan or in the oven for a few minutes per side, until the inside is warm, the cheese is melting, and the tortilla is slightly charred. Serve with the extra salsa and avocado.

preparing quesadillas

(Recipe adapted slightly from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)

If you have some ingredients left over, they are worth saving to make Migas for breakfast in the morning.


Slow Cooker Black Beans

These beans have a good flavor and a firmer texture than canned black beans. This makes a lot, but if you don’t want to eat them all week you can freeze the leftovers and use them instead of canned beans in other recipes, such as Black Bean and Fresh Salsa Quesadillas.

black beans and rice

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, pressed

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 lb. dried black beans, rinsed

1 dried chili

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp salt

9-10 cups water (or unsalted vegetable or chicken broth)

1 Tbsp lime juice

For serving:

chopped red onion

lime juice

chopped fresh cilantro


sour cream

cooked rice

Put all the ingredients for the beans, except the lime juice, in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-6 hours, until beans are very tender. Alternately, you could cook on the stove top –bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for about 3 hours.

For the garnishes, mix the red onion with some fresh lime juice and a bit of salt and let them sit for 15 min. to make them slightly “pickled”. Also, the recipe I used recommends mixing 1 tsp cumin in 1 cup of sour cream to use as a garnish. I served the beans over rice, but you could also have them over garlic toast.

(Recipe adapted slightly from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman)