Because a couple people have wanted the chili recipe, particularly Linda, I thought I could just post it on the blog. I don't always precisely measure things when I do this, but I have a general idea. Also, this recipe is very easy to make vegan, if one wishes.
3 cups black beans (dry)
1 cup garbanzo beans (dry)
2 cups lentils (dry)
1-2 cups canned diced (or whatever) tomato, depending on how much you like tomatoes
1 can tomato paste (optional - we put them in when we have them, but our chili changes too much time to time to say whether or not we taste a difference)
4 tablespoons chili powder
4 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons butter (a nice fat, even a little bit, prevents the mealy mouth feel you can get from just plain beans. To be vegan, just use olive oil. I actually usually use both)
1-2 tablespoons of both vegetable and no chicken Better than Bouillon
~1 cup corn, depending on how much you want (we never measure, just dump corn in the pot
~1 cup dry skim milk (you could use regular milk, but you would have to not put in as much water to compensate. Leave out the milk to make it vegan, but with the milk it adds calcium and makes the meal a complete protein without adding fat. J- Or you could add a little coconut milk.)
1 tablespoon sage
several healthy squirts of sri racha hot sauce (depending on taste)
salt (no idea how much I put in)
First, we start with 3 cups black beans - we wash them, and then let them soak for 10 minutes, then replace that water and let them soak overnight. Supposedly, this reduces the oligosaccarides which can cause intestinal discomfort and bloating. Then we add the garbanzo beans, which don't need a presoak.
The next morning, drain off most of your bean water, but you can save about a cup of it, as it will have really rich black bean flavor to it. Start cooking the beans, and add the lentils and tomatoes now. While that's going, saute the onions and then pour the onions (with their oil, for mouth-feel and flavor) into the beans. You can start adding seasonings whenever you want, but you don't want to add them too early because it's hard to taste accurately with all the extra water that will be boiled off. However, if you add them too late, the flavors won't be soaked up by the beans. We tend to add the dry milk towards the end of things.
Something that Jessica and I have tried and works really well is to reduce the acidity of the chili by simply shaking some baking soda into the chili and stirring it. It doesn't affect the flavor if you don't add that much (as it's reacting with the acid to form salt and water) and we find the chili to be much more pleasant with a reduced acidity. I, in particular, found that I get canker sores from eating too much of the non-treated chili. Just be careful not to add too much too fast, as it will bubble and foam and the starch in the water from the beans will give the foam structure so it will build up. It dissipates after a few minutes.
Just keep cooking the chili until the beans are cooked all the way through, adding water as necessary. The lentils will completely disintegrate, giving the chili a very meaty stew like quality, only with more flavor and better for you than ground beef.