It’s safe to say that I have taken a lot of things for granted since I’ve moved here. It dawned on me this morning how being homesick kept me from really opening my eyes to so many hidden places in and around Vancouver. I’m not saying this past year was spent under a cloud of dreary rain and depression. That’s definitely not true! But, I do think I spent way too much time in my comfort zone of routine school and work. If it wasn’t brought to my attention-well then I didn’t exactly go looking for it. I think the mentality of “Oh, well I live here now and I’ll go there another day,” or “there is always next weekend to find something cool to do on Vancouver,” turned into 2016 and now I’m just itching to try EVERYTHING!
One of the biggest things I don’t miss about living in a small town is the variety. Yes, this is a very vague statement but allow me to explain…
In a food culture where quality is beginning to catch up to the desire of quantity I always envied that girl on Food Network who leisurely strolled into the bakery as it opened at 10AM and bought the freshest loaf of artisinal bread. Then as she makes her way out the door, she is reminded there is a local meats and cheeses shop right next door that sources from farms in and around the area. She pops in a grabs a few things new to her and a couple of familiar meats. Oh-it doesn’t end there! She then goes home and makes this amazing meal out of these ingredients!
Wait..did I just describe to you my life?
Why yes I did! I was that girl two weekends ago! It was GREAT!
I found a bakery nearby (for once!) and had been waiting to find a time to visit. It’s easy for me to assume everything is at least a 30 minute traffic drive away so 99% of the time don’t even bother. So on a overcasted sunday morning we took our dog, Khersi, and headed to the beach. After a mild melt down- yes, Khersi has melt downs- we started making our way back home when I saw it. Fieldstone Aritsan Breads. I love how Darren and I share the same excitement of grocery shopping when its not a weeknight. It’s 100% unlikely for the same reasons; I get to cook with the ingredients and he gets to eat the food but ultimately our grocery shopping trips are never a chore when we go together. So we went in and shared a sausage roll which was not an easy decision to make because 1) Darren doesn’t like to share and 2) the other savory option was pizza. Then the hard part came. While it’s easy to get carried away and want to buy one of everything, I told myself to get 1 loaf of bread. We went with a roasted garlic multi-grain loaf. I knew instantly it wasn’t going to be long before I went back.
Image from Fieldstone Artisan Breads
We then went next door to Beast and Brine where the culinary playground got bigger! It was really nice to chat with the guys behind the counter to learn about where all of the different sausages and bacon were coming from. As our stomachs began to grumble louder and louder, we quickly decided on smoked bacon, lamb sausages, and andouille sausage. The smoked bacon went in a quick egg sandwich using the bread from the bakery, the lamb sausage went in my slightly unsuccessful cassoulet, and the andouoille sausage was was cooked whole in the tomato sauce for my eggs purgatory I made last Monday night (Twos-day Tuesday) and served on the side. The entire experience was quiet addicting. It was new and nostalgic all at the same time for myself and Darren.
I went back this past Sunday and got a loaf of olive and rosemary bread, more bacon, and chorizo-probably my most favorite ways of eating pork! I guess it’s my Indian side coming out that is addicted to anything and everything spicy and bold. And as I tangent into what I made with this chorizo, is anyone else a little sad that chili season is almost over? I know I am! I know one other person who probably is too and I’m a little sad she and her husband aren’t here to try this. As yesterday was the first day in a week we had a nice sunny day, it did not deter me from making chili. It is a bit experimental and if you like spicey and cool it’s a perfect combo!
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 45 hr
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded if you want but I prefer the heat from them so I leave the seeds in. Minced.
- 2 chorizo sausage links, case removed
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 can tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes. You can also experiment with flavored cans of diced tomatoes. I like to fire roasted or canned diced tomatoes with garlic.
- hot sauce to taste. I always use Cholula hot sauce when making chili and I can have a heavy hand when adding it too.
- olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- cilantro, to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, small dice
- Heat a pot with about 1 tbsp olive oil
- Add chili powder and cumin seeds. Quickly mix for about 15 seconds
- Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions soften up and become translucent
- Add jalapenos and cook for 2-3 more minutes
- Add chorizo and begin quickly breaking up the meat until it looks like cooked ground beef
- Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans and corn. Mix together evenly with the meat and onions. Season with salt (1-2 small pinches)
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes
- Add canned tomatoes and a few dashes of hot sauce.
- Cook until chili is thickened (covered for 20 minutes, uncovered for 15 minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning
- For the Avocado Cream, in magic bullet, add avocado, lime juice and zest, cilantro, salt, and sour cream. Blend together. Then fold in the chopped green onions and red onions
- Serve chili with avocado cream and other toppings of your choice-cheese, tortilla chips, pico de gallo.