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Grilled Cheese with Southwestern Vegetarian Chilli

Woke up this morning and caught an episode of David Rocco on the food network channel. Of course he was in Italy and melting cheese all over the country. Guess who got a hankering for grilled cheese?

Grilled Cheese

My favourite way of making grilled cheese is to take a whole grain bread, rub it all over with a fresh garlic clove. Then on to a zesty blend of sharp and melting type cheeses for the grilled cheese. My choice is about:

1 ounce of sharp cheddar,

1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, and then about

1 tablespoon of zesty freshly grated Parmesan.

  1. Put all the cheese in the middle of two the two slices of bread.

  2. Brush the outsides of the bread with some avocado oil or your favourite olive oil.

  3. In a non stick skillet on medium heat, crisp the bread and melt the cheese.

  4. Cover the pan for about a minute to help get things started.

  5. When it starts to smell toasted, then flip the grilled cheese sandwich over. Just brown it on the other side, about 2 minutes.

The grilled cheese sandwich can end up burning if you don’t keep an eye on it. There you have it! Zesty melty grilled cheese sandwich.

Vegetarian Chilli

This crispy melted goodness needs to be paired with some kind of soup or chilli. Here’s the recipe for the smoky slightly sweet spicy Cowboy Chilli that we made at The Spice Lady’s Creating Flavour workshop last week. This is the spiced up vegetarian version for you to enjoy. Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. It’s mostly the aromatic spices. This simple vegetarian chilli is ready in no time!

Spiced Up New Mexico Cowboy Vegetarian Chilli Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 medium onion, chopped 1 small red onion, chopped 2 large stalks celery 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 1/2 cups beer 28 fl oz can black beans, with liquid 2 bell peppers of your choice, diced 1 Large Jalapeno, finely diced 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds, whole 1 tablespoon coriander, ground 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano leaves 1-½ large dried ancho chiles, soaked and cut up 1-tablespoon mild smoky chili powder (see recipe below) 1 28 fl oz can of whole plum tomatoes 4 cups water (or stock) 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup Coarse Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper Fresh tomatoes of your choice and scallions, to garnish

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over high heat.

  2. In the same pot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the onions to the pan and cook until soft.

  3. Add the garlic and celery. Cook for 2 minutes.

  4. Deglaze the pot with the beer and bring to a boil.

  5. Stir in the chocolate and cook until the liquid is almost completely reduced.

  6. In the same pot over medium heat add all the peppers, cumin seed, oregano, and coriander. Stir until slightly soft.

  7. Add the can of tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Puree with an immersion blender.

  8. Add the can of black beans to the pan with the liquid; reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and until thick.

  9. Remove from the heat, add the maple syrup, and adjust seasonings.

  10. Pour into single serving bowls.

  11. Top each with a dollop of sour cream and shredded aged cheddar cheese.

  12. Garnish with small diced fresh tomatoes and scallions. Serve over rice or with cornbread.

Smoky Chili Powder

2 tablespoons smoky paprika 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons ground coriander 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon sweet paprika 1 tablespoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Combine all the whole spices in a spice grinder. Pulse to a powder. Add all the powdered ingredients and mix all together.

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