In many ways, I prefer a minimalist home. My living room is open and uncluttered without any knickknacks. I’m regularly taking things to the consignment store, so that I can pare down and only keep what I really need. I try to follow the words of Morris. (The writer, not the cat.)
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
There is one area, though, where I struggle – the kitchen.
For one, I use my kitchen stuff. I’m cooking all the time, and gadgets come in handy. For the purposes of blog photography, it’s nice to have a variety of pretty platters and silverware. Second, I have a lot of affection for practical art. I love incorporating pretty things into my ordinary daily life. If I can use a wheel-thrown bowl made from a local artisan, that is a lot more enjoyable to me than something from Target or Crate and Barrel. (Although, I admittedly have those too.) I also used to make pottery, and that makes me appreciate the skill that goes into it even more.
Needless to say, the precariously stacked bowls in my cupboard are vaguely reminiscent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The problem is they’re both useful and beautiful. How do I resist?
The time of year that my proclivities are especially challenged is during art fair season. When there’s vendor after vendor with handmade pottery, it’s hard to say no. I pick up the items, and hold them in my hands, and I can imagine the great big salad I would eat from it, or the platter that would be perfect for holding bruschetta. I’m especially drawn to bowls with handles.
I’ll turn to David and say, “Wouldn’t a big bowl of chili be delicious in this?”
“Yeah,” he’ll say, somewhat indifferently.
It’s not his fault. He actually doesn’t like chili, regardless of serving vehicle.
Anyway, I try to hold back, but last year I bought this bowl at our yearly art festival. I knew it would be excellent on a drizzly spring day when the comfort of chili called, and I wasn’t wrong…
This hearty 3-bean chili is packed with pinto, black, and Great Northern beans. It’s spiced with cumin, ancho chili powder, and a bit of mustard and hot sauce for a slightly vinegar-y tang. I’ve been hooked on Yellowbird jalapeño hot sauce ever since I discovered it in Austin last year, but feel free to use your preferred brand. (Keep in mind that heat levels of hot sauce vary. So add less or omit it if you’re heat averse.)
This chili isn’t overly hot, but has a spicy, warming edge. Like all chili, it thickens as it cools. Plus, as the flavors marry in the fridge, it gets better with each passing day. Top it with your choice of minced onions, chopped cilantro, and/or non-dairy cheese. Of course, crackers for crushing on top are a must.
Even though I’m the only chili fan in our household, I have no problem finishing it over several days. (It also freezes well, though, if necessary.) It’s delicious in a chili cheese burrito (with non-dairy cheese, of course), over fries, or on a chili dog. We grilled out last weekend, and I could hardly wait to pour this chili over a grilled frankfurter and toasted bun. So good.
Until then, in the wise words of Morris, “Meow.” (Still the writer, actually. His later works were pretty esoteric.)
Looking for more ways to use this 3 Bean Chili? It’s great on a chili dog pizza…
And it’s a taste sensation on vegan chili cheese tater tots.