Woodchuckfest veg*n chili

So last night we threw a party at the place for our wonderful Buffalo crew, the tribe of likeminded folks we’ve been lucky enough to find.  The occasion?  K. and I are getting married next Saturday.  Yeah, I’ve been a little busy.

I’ve been reading more about astrology lately, because it’s another great vehicle for small talk.  “Oh you’re having a tough week also?  It’s because Saturn is in Libra.  Just give it till October 4.”  Astrology Zone has been great for sounding like I know what I’m talking about, and as well as having an eerily accurate September forecast it’s taught me that as well as being mediators and smelling really nice, Libras like me tend to enjoy and be great at throwing soirees.

The secret to entertaining is to make it look effortless and have enough drinks and snacks.  The drinks are easy: buy enough sampler 12-packs of beer to alarm a 19 year old cashier (or brew your own.)  Fill a glass pitcher halfway full with chopped apples and pears, pour in cheap champagne and chill: voila, sparkling sangria (top off with more chilled champagne as needed.)  And the snacks?  Chips, dips, and chili all the way.

Nothing says hospitality like chili, unless it’s two chilis (one for carnivores and one for vegans and vegetarians.)  Here’s my improvised red chili recipe: I have to give the recipe out at least once per party.  It’s a crowd pleaser and it’s so, so easy.

I’m writing the recipe in can amounts, but fresh tomatoes and dried beans would be as good or better.

Red Veg*n Chili

Saute 2 chopped onions and 3 chopped cloves of garlic in vegetable oil with sliced mushrooms and a hearty amount of cumin – it’s hard to overdo cumin in chili.  Add 2 cans of black beans, 1 big can of kidney beans, about a cup of brown rice, and 1 large can of  diced tomatoes plus water as needed.  Bring to boil, then simmer until rice is cooked and flavors have blended.  Salt and pepper as needed.

Top with cheddar cheese, nutritional yeast or chips, depending.

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