Roasted Vegetable Chili

This is a vegetarian riff on some of the same flavors that I used in my Damn Good Chili recipe. Only with less meat. The recipe also pulls in some inspiration from The Pioneer Woman's Roasted Vegetable Minestrone. Between all the roasting of things and the fermentation (beer and soy), we get plenty of flavors to round it all out.

Roasted Vegetable Chili

  • Plant and Fungus
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 medium celery stalks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium yellow summer squash
  • 2 large sweet bell peppers (red and yellow)
  • 2 C. mushrooms
  • 1 6-oz. can roasted mild green chilies
  • 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cans of beans, your choice (pinto, small red, kidney, garbanzo, small white & navy)
  • Liquid
  • 1/2 C. olive oil, divided
  • 2 12-oz. bottles beer (stout) (one for the chili, one for you)
  • 1/4 C. dark soy sauce
  • 4 C. water
  • Seasonings
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 t. black pepper

Set crock pot on high and add the beans. By the time the sauce is ready, it will be getting warmed up.

Set oven to broil with one rack high and one rack low. Wash and cut open the bell peppers. Cut them into slabs that will lay flat on a baking sheet, skin side up. Chop the mushrooms coarse, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread mushrooms on another baking sheet. Place the peppers sheet directly under the broiling element and the mushrooms lower. Broil until the pepper skins are blackened, 3-5 minutes. The mushrooms will not take much longer, if the oven was already hot; they are done when they are tough and chewy, but not burnt.

While the peppers and mushrooms are roasting, coarsely chop the zucchini and summer squash into 1/2-3/4 inch cubes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on two baking sheets. Roast at 425°F for 10-15 minutes, stirring once; they are done when they are browning, not quite blackened; some will be toasty crunchy.

(I used dual ovens, which made the roasting go so much faster, one on broil for the peppers and mushrooms, and one at 425°F on convection for the summer squash/zucchini)

Heat a deep saute pan over medium heat and add the remaining 3-4 T. olive oil. Remove skin from garlic. Peel and chop carrots. Wash and chop celery. Peel and chop onion. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and onion to a food processor and mince fine. Add the vegetable puree to the olive oil and saute until carrots start to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Remove mixture from pan and add to the pile of roasted vegetables from the oven.

Smear the pan with the two cans of tomato paste and cook until it starts to brown and stick to the pan. Add the bottle of beer to deglaze. Add the crushed tomatoes, green chili peppers, soy sauce, water, and seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted vegetables and the sauce to the beans in the crock pot. Continue to cook in the crock pot for another two hours. Finish seasoning to your taste, adding more salt, hot sauce, etc.

Steamed Whole Fish

Steamed Whole Fish

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

  • 1 large minced garlic clove
  • 1/8 t. sugar
  • 4-5 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 1 c. sliced celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onions
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. rice wine
  • 2 T. dark soy sauce
  • 1 2-lb. whole fish (mackeral, trout, bass, etc.)
  1. Clean fish, remove scales, rinse, and pat dry.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl
  3. Place fish in a shallow baking dish and gently make 3 or 4 slices along the sides of the fish parallel to the bones.
  4. Spoon the vegetable sauce over and inside the fish.
  5. Place some inverted custard cups or a small grate in the bottom of a wok.
  6. Add very hot water to the wok, careful not to add it to the shallow baking dish, filling to about one inch deep.
  7. Cover the wok and bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and steam for 25 minutes or until fish is tender.
  8. Remove from heat and serve immediately with rice and vegetables.

Tips and notes

  • If you don't have a wok, a turkey roasting pan with a cookie sheet for a lid works great.
  • Instead of custard cups, small cans (like tuna or other short cans) with both ends removed works well. You just want the baking dish to sit right above the water so it gets the heat of the steam all around.

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars

Bars Frosting

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 C. sugar
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 2 C. (16 oz.) pumpkin
  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 C. soft butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cream eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spread in an ungreased jelly roll pan.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
  6. When cooled, make the frosting as follows.
  7. Mix cream cheese and butter.
  8. Stir in vanilla.
  9. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time.
  10. Beat well and frost.

Note: I like to have this as a birthday cake. To do this, we bake it as instructed in a jelly roll pan and then cut that in half to make two smaller rectangles. Then we make a two-layer cake out of it with frosting in the middle and all around. So yummy.

Damn Good Chili

Good chili starts with strong flavors. This chili has plenty of that. We let fermentation (beer, whiskey, and soy) do its thing for us to give flavors that fresh food just doesn't have. This makes a lot of chili, so it's a good thing it tastes so good.

Damn Good Chili

  • Meats
  • 2 lb. beef (brisket, chuck, etc.)
  • 2 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 1 lb. boneless pork ribs (shoulder)
  • 48 oz. beef broth
  • Plant and Fungus
  • 2 C. mushrooms
  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cans of beans, your choice (black, small white & small red)
  • Deglazes
  • 1-2 bottles beer
  • 1/2 C. whiskey
  • 1/4 C. soy sauce
  • Seasonings
  • 1/4 C. chili powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 t. coriander
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/2 t. black pepper

Set crock pot on high (or a large stock pot) and add the beef broth. Add the crushed tomatoes and beans.

Cube the beef and pork into bite-sized pieces, removing and reserving the large chunks of fat. Heat a cast-iron skillet to medium high and sear the beef and pork cubes about 8oz at a time. Do not be tempted to put too much meat in the pan or the pan will cool and the meat will boil in its own juices instead of browning on the outside. Put the cooked meat into the broth as it finishes. Between sets of meat, if the pan has stuff stuck to the bottom, use some of the beer, or whiskey and soy to deglaze the pan, pouring the sauce into the pot with the meat and broth. When the cubed meat is done, cook the ground chuck on high, one pound at a time. Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder and coriander.

Mince the mushrooms and jalapenos, dice the onions and green peppers. Fry the onions until clear, about 1 minute and add to the pot. Fry the peppers until bright, about 1 minute and add to the pot. Cook the mushrooms until most of the moisture has evaporated and reduced in size; add to the pot.

Add 1 T. oil to the frying pan and reheat. Add the tomato paste, allowing it to carmelize on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste to the pot and deglaze the pan with any remaining beer, whiskey or soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste (~ 1 T. salt and 1/2 .t pepper).

Add sufficient beef broth, beer, water or apple cider to make the chili a bit runny. Cook at a low boil until meat is tender and the chili is thickened, about 4 hours.


  • Make your own beef broth. Throw 1 lb. ox tail, a gallon of water, a diced onion, salt and a teaspoon of peppercorns in the crockpot and let it simmer overnight. Super simple and so delicious. Pick the meat out and add it to the chili. Strain the broth and try not to drink it all.
  • You can probably use any cut of beef and pork here. You will be cooking them long enough that they will get tender. Brisket is pretty flavorful, so I used that. But it is not the cheapest cut of beef at the store.
  • Add more jalapenos as needed for heat. Or consider adding minced chipotle for a different chili profile.
  • I have heard that unfiltered apple cider works well in the place of beer. I used a dark stout that doesn't smell or taste anything like apple cider, so I don't know how true this is.... But my chili doesn't taste like the beer either, so maybe it is just all the other strong flavors mixing too.

Raspberry Sorbet

Last summer we bought a bunch of raspberries with the intention to make a bunch of jam. But we really got too much. So after freezing 24 pints of jam, I just juiced the rest of the raspberries and ended up with about 8 cups of juice. Into the freezer!

Now it is time to make some raspberry sorbet. I looked around online for some recipes and found that they were very similar: juice, water, sugar, and maybe lemon or lime. One recipe caught my attention because it involved invert sugar. I was hooked. But the ratios the recipe called for were way off, even at first glance. I looked up the molecular weights of sucrose and water and found that the ratio of sugar to water needed ONLY for the chemical reaction is about 95:5. Thinking that would probably end up as a solid brick of sugar once it cooled, I decided to add a little bit more water for a ratio more like 80:20. This turned out great.

Raspberry Sorbet

  • 4 C. raspberry juice
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 500mg ascorbic acid (a crushed vitamin C tablet)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 T. lime juice
  1. Raspberry juice comes from raspberries, not from a can. Press the raspberries through a strainer, squeezing out the juice, discarding seeds and thick pulp.
  2. In a one-quart pan, bring the sugar, ascorbic acid, and water to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, monitor the syrup, bringing the temperature up to 114°C/237°F/low soft ball stage. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour syrup into a heat-proof dish.
  5. Temper the syrup with about 1 C. raspberry juice by slowly pouring the juice into the syrup while stirring constantly.
  6. Add the syrup mixture back into the rest of the raspberry juice.
  7. Add salt, and lime, mixing thoroughly. Test for flavor.
  8. Cover the mixture and put it in the fridge until completely cooled.
  9. Chill using ice-cream maker until soft-serve consistency, according to manufacturer instructions.
  10. Put the sorbet in the freezer until frozen.
  11. Enjoy!

Cherry Fluffy

I searched for "cherry fluffy" on Google and none of it was the genuine article. This is one of my favorite childhood desserts, along with several others that I just can't get enough of (oatmeal cake, apple pudding, cherry cheesecake, etc.) I have to post this to share and to make sure that it is there for future generations. Not that future generations are likely to turn to my blog for recipe suggestions.

Cherry Fluffy

  • Crust

    • 1 1/2 C. flour
    • 1/3 C. brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 1/2 C. + 1 T. butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 C. chopped walnuts
  • Filling
    • 1 C. milk
    • 37 large marshmallows
    • 1 pt. heavy cream
    • 1 can cherry pie filling
  1. Mix the crust ingredients together with hands
  2. Spread in a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400°F
  3. After baking, crumble with a fork while it is still warm
  4. Save 3/4 C. for topping and press the rest back into the bottom of the 9x13 pan; packed, but not too firm
  5. Heat the milk and marshmallows until melted
  6. Set aside to cool, stirring occasionally
  7. Whip cream and fold into marshmallow mixture
  8. Spread half the mixture over the crust in the pan
  9. Add the cherry pie filling in a thin layer
  10. Top with the remaining marshmallow cream mixture and finish with the reserved crumbled crust
  11. Refrigerate overnight before serving
  12. As a child, I remember this stuff going fast. But not everyone in my family *now* likes cherries. So sometimes we make half cherry fluffy and half chocolate fluffy, substituting chocolate pudding for cherry pie filling, and then adding grated chocolate as a garnish. That is pretty tasty too, but I still love the original.

Roasted Cranberry Sauce

One of Oregon's food exports is the cranberry, accounting for about 5% of the nationwide harvest. This year, we bought some local cranberries to make into cranberry sauce. My first time ever. Historically, it was Dad's job (which he relished a lot) to make the cranberry sauce. His was usually ground up with oranges, sugar and nuts. I always tried some, but never LOVED it. But when I saw Nick post a Roasted Cranberry Sauce recipe, I had to try it. Since I don't have any Triple Sec around, I modified it a bit, but it turned out great. I made it last night so it could mellow in the fridge overnight before the big day. And I daresay, this is the best cranberry sauce I have ever had. Sorry, Dad.

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Candied Pecans (Adapted from Macheesmo, where it was pretty heavily adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe)
Makes about 3 Cups, easy to double or triple though.


  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1/4 t. dried)
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh sage, minced (or 1/8 t. sage powder)


  • 1/8 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup orange juice
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup currants (you could sub raisins, but chop them roughly so they aren’t so big)
  • Pinch of salt


  • 1 Cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 Cup sugar


  1. Mix cranberries, oil, 1 C. sugar, and herbs together in a bowl. Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
  2. While cranberries are roasting, mix sauce ingredients in a medium sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove cranberries from oven and add to the sauce pan. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. While simmering the sauce, mix the pecan ingredients and spread on a baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes at 425°F.
  5. Remove nuts from the oven and stir as they cool. Place cooled pecans in an airtight container.
  6. Chill sauce overnight in fridge. Serve heated or chilled, topped with pecans.

Spicy Mediterranean Chili

Recently I participated in a chili contest and this is the recipe that I came up with. I was feeling like making something different than your standard run-of-the-mill chili, so I went with a Mediterranean theme. I was hoping to win the hottest chili award, but I did not. But talking with the two others chefs at the contest who had the other two spiciest chilies, I think it was agreed on that mine was the spiciest. I think that some people just tried two chilies, and voted for the spiciest of those two or something. The one that won was not even remotely spicy. I think it was rigged. Anyway, I digress. I had it all made up and ready to go, but it was lacking a little depth in flavor, so I added a handful of Guittard dark chocolate. That did the trick. It turned it from a rosy red to a nice brown and gave it that je ne sais quoi I was hoping for. Chocolate and chilies are best of friends, right? My chili recipe from last year was not good enough to repeat, but this one most definitely is. If this isn't hot enough for you (on a scale of one to habenero, I give it a four), you can always add a habenero or even just some hot chili sauce.

Spicy Mediterranean Chili

Original recipe by Vernon Mauery


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 jalepeno peppers
  • 3 cherry bomb peppers
  • 3 sweet banana peppers
  • 2 large (or 3 medium) red bell peppers
  • 4 medium tomatoes (about 1 lb.)
  • 2 C. prepared garbanzo beans (~3/4 C. dry)
  • 2 C. prepared black beans (~3/4 C. dry)
  • 1.5 oz. dark chocolate (or bakers chocolate)
  • 1 lb. bone-in lamb shank
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • salt
  • water
  • olive oil


T-8 hours:
Rub salt on lamb shank and place in crockpot

T-4 hours:
Wash tomatoes and skin them. The easiest way to do this is to blanch them or roast them until the skins come off nicely. Dice them and add them to the crockpot.

Wash peppers and then roast them. The bigger peppers will take longer. Make sure that most of the pepper is charred or the skins will not come off easily. As they come off the grill (or broiler), place them in a covered container to continue to steam themselves. With protective gloves on, skin and core the peppers. You can keep or discard the seeds as desired. Dice the all the peppers except the bell peppers and add them to the crockpot.

Add about one cup of water to the grated carrots in a saute pan. Cover and simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Remove lid, add bell peppers and continue to cook until most of the water has evaporated. Pour mixture into a food processor and puree. Add puree to crockpot.

Add diced onion to the saute pan with about 1 T. olive oil. Saute for 4 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add mixture to crockpot.

Add the prepared garbanzo beans, with their water to the crockpot. Discard the water from the black beans and rinse them before adding to the crockpot.

Add cumin, mustard. Add salt as needed (depending on the saltiness of the beans and how much salt was on the meat.)

T-1 hour:
Pull the meat out and coarsly shred it with two forks. Put meat and bone back into the crockpot.

Add chocolate and stir until melted and dispersed throughout. Adjust spices as desired.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with pita bread, chopped green olives, and feta cheese.

Nouveau Baked Beans

When you think of baked beans, you usually mentally insert Boston at the front. These are not Boston Baked Beans. More like Chickpea Popcorn or something. They make a great, tasty, healthful snack.

Nouveau Baked Beans

  • 2 C. cooked garbanzo beans (~ 3/4 C. dry beans, prepared)
  • olive oil
  • seasonings

Coat the beans in olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F for 15-17 minutes or until starting to brown. Take care, the beans hiss, spit, pop and jump while baking. You may want to stir them part way through. Remove beans from oven and toss with seasonings. Try salt and pepper, curry powder, cumin, or any other flavor you like. Eat as an appetizer or add to a salad. Mmmm.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Roasted Garbanzo Beans