Dinner at the Ranch

Chili con tempeh with kefir skillet cornbread and braised greens

Yes, chili and cornbread. A classic combo, made with pinto beans, tempeh, onions and tomatoes. The spices, I like to put together from scratch: generous amounts of cumin seeds, fried until they pop, fresh Mexican oregano, abundant paprika and a toasted ancho chile.

Cornbread is best made in a cast iron skillet. Reminds me of camping and making cornbread over a campfire. I like to give it a flavor kick of green onions, cilantro, black pepper and cheese. The kefir makes a deliciously rich, moist and slightly sour bread that is an excellent contrast to the chili.

Greens, we usually mix whatever greens we have on hand or growing in the garden. In this case beet greens, collards, kale and moringa. Lots of garlic, some veg stock, about 10 minutes of simmer time and it’s delicious and highly nutritious, although we’ve never had it tested, so that’s just my intuition about it.

Besides, the whole subject of nutrition is fraught with contradictory evidence, snake oil and food politics. I figure as long as we avoid having our diet dominated by products that are optimized for consumer loyalty and profit we’ll do fine. It’s just too bad that making food from basic ingredients is becoming an increasingly marginalized skill. Wow, what got me on that tangent?

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