Thursday, 11 June 2009

confusion yum: chili meets salsa meets italy, and it all gets kitchendanced

Sometimes, I don't wanna cook the tomatoes because actual ripe tomatoes are so wonderful after a winter of using canned or dried ones. But I want chili. And then I thinks to myself : what *is* chili, really, but cooked salsa? Maybe I'll just make some salsa and put it on rice. And then I thinks: oooh, look, dried mushrooms, and isn't that fresh basil in the fridge? Maybe I want a nice fresh basil tomato mushroom sauce. But with chocolate. Finally, I think: I want it ALL. I don't care if it goes together.

Confession: I don't just think this. I say it out loud, at the tomatoes, as if they have an opinion on the subject.

The result is wonderful. In fact I will be making it again, much more decisively, and without consulting the tomatoes at all. And again, and again, because it's ridiculously easy and pretty and colourful and enables me to eat chocolate and chickpeas for dinner at the same time, both of which rank very high on my "foods to get excited about" scale. And the tomatoes agree. They told me so.

3 cloves garlic
2 nice fresh (opinionated) tomatoes
1 red or orange pepper
1 bunch basil (I ended up with just over 1 cup)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
a handful of dried mushrooms
1 heaping tbs of capers, drained
a handful of sundried tomatoes, soaked in just enough hot water to cover

See that list of stuff above? Chop it all into tiny bits and dump it in a bowl along with the soaking water from the tomatoes, if your tomatoes are pre-soaked. If you (like me) aren't the kind of girl to have presoaked sundried tomatoes around, just set them soaking now, and add them later. If you've been good and read to the end of the recipe, you'll realize you have half an hour of fudge time on the tomato-soaking.

1 lemon of lemon juice
1 lime of lime juice
2 tbs of toasted cumin seeds
1 tbs of dried chili (I used one that was described as "sultry", ie.. a nice complex sweet hot, but use whatever kind strikes your fancy)
some ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbs of finely grated unsweetened chocolate (I grate it with a lemon zester)
and a sprinkling of cocoa nibs too
sea salt (I used smoked)
2 c of sprouted chickpeas (or cooked chickpeas, or other sprouted legume...) I used sprouted green chickpeas because they're both yummy and pretty.

Stir this around and then let it sit while you cook rice or read a book or whatever. It needs at least half an hour for the mushrooms to soak up liquid

Just before serving, stir in a tbs or so of toasted and ground sesame seeds or almonds. Chopped mango is also nice in this, but I accidentally ate most of it while waiting for the rice to cook, so only about 1/4 of a mango actually made it into this dish. I highly recommend using more than 1/4 mango, but these things happen. You can't really expect me to know that there is a chopped mango sitting right there and not eat it. It's just impossible. There will be a fair amount of liquid in this dish. I like that, because you can then pour it over rice. If you want a thicker liquid, add tahini or peanut butter, or just don't add the tomato-soaking water.

I just stirred this into warm rice and scarfed it down. It was one of those Very Satisfying Meals. Comfort food for summer, I guess. If one can call what we have here in Edinburgh "summer". I mean, I am typing this in a toque. But it's a cotton toque and it's light out at 11 pm. So, summer.

A note on the chocolate. I've been using Willy's Supreme Cacao a lot lately. It's an unsweetened block of cocoa (100% cacao, meaning that it contains only cacao solids, including cacao butter... this is not just pressed cacao powder) that you grate onto foods. I like the Venuzuelan Black variety. At first glance, the price tag seems high, but a block of the stuff goes a long way, and even if it didn't, it's so good that I don't care. Oh yes. Fuck all the vegan parm substitutes. Just grate this on everything. I kid you not. I've put it on pasta and tomato sauce, on chili, on middle eastern soups, even on a pear and arugula pizza. The dude behind this chocolate clearly knows what he's doing. He's made a super duper high quality chocolate without any of the pretense and preciousness I've come to expect/tolerate from high-end single-origin, handmade, slave free (I could keep going on the qualifiyers, but let's just say ethical and damn fine) chocolate. So if you're in the UK, check out his stuff. Then, make confused chili.

the tomatoes dance to their death to the diabolical strains of : this offer is unrepeatable, by elvis costello


Penny said...

Chocolate and chickpeas both! Two of my favourite foods! This I must make!

sinead said...

Yes, you must. It's far too easy not to. Btw, if you want a more traditional chili-ish flavour, just replace the basil with coriander, and the rosemary with oregano. Fresh oregano is *amazing* if you can get it/grow it.