Whether we’re ready or not, here comes fall. Temperatures have clearly dropped in Northern California and even though I know that the few droplets of rain won’t last or make an ounce of difference to the drought, we have definitely turned the corner towards the colder part of the year. Which in my house means the bowls are coming out and a pot of chili is gently simmering on the stove. Come and cook with us!
We have written about the benefits of eating with the seasons. In addition to taking advantage of what is growing right now in your – or your farmer’s – backyard, the way we prepare food also matters. While we tend to eat steamed, quick-boiled and raw light dishes in the summer month, we are attracted and crave warmth and strength through eating slow-simmered, pressure-cooked or baked hearty dishes when it gets cold. Using the appropriate cooking method helps our bodies find balance. A lot of the basics in a macro-biotic diet are based on this concept that strives for the right Yin/Yang combination. It even describes what type of vegetables are best: light and more upward-growing foods in the summer (Yin) and more compact veggies and downward growing roots in winter (Yang).
But back to my pot of chili. Based on the frequency of chili cook-offs I read of and hear about, making the perfect pot of chili is clearly an art, but there are a few basics that will make any combination delicious. We like to make classic-style beef chili with plenty of good tomato sauce and kidney beans. Letting the meat brown to create the attractive umami flavor is key, as is the low-heat simmering that lets the flavors meld and keeps the tomatoes sweet. Truth be told, we go very light on the chili peppers, as one can always light the fire in the bowl once it is served. Give it a try and let us know what you think. Come and cook with us!