Before my freelance days — aka “funemployment”– Friday evenings usually meant pushing through copy til around 8 or 9 p.m., then drinking copious amounts of booze in attempt to forget the drama of the newsroom. By the end of the week, I was usually too tired to grab drinks with friends, let alone go shopping. So even though I live over in Echo Park, I’d never been to the Friday evening farmers market.
While working on a post on LA Food Day for the Weekly, I discovered that my local market was celebrating its 5th anniversary. I decided to head down to commemorate my local market’s success– and my own newfound freedom. (The free carrot cake really sealed the deal.)
Echo Park’s smaller, more mellow affair was a real treat compared to the neighboring Saturday Silverlake market that I’ve been frequenting. Not to mention, shopping is much more pleasant the night before one too many old fashioneds. Another unforeseen bonus was meeting Dexter of Jazzy Sprouts, who sells all sorts of sprouted legumes and grains.
Dexter is a wiry, grey gent that has a real passion for beans and their health benefits. He’s also got a great sense of humor and loves to sing, hence the “jazzy” bit. He and I went back and forth sharing bean puns before I finally decided on getting a bag of his goodies. I ended up with a mix of lima beans, black eyed peas, red lentils, quinoa, barley, English peas and kidney beans.
When I woke up to a misty morning, I figured I might as well do some cooking and writing. (Funemployment!) Thus was born this “it’s bean real” chili, which is perfect for a blustery fall lunch or dinner.
4 cups broth (I used pho bouillon for this batch. If you use stock you’ll need to add salt to taste.)
1/2 pound mixed beans and legumes from the bean dude
2 zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup carrot, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn kernels, canned or raw
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon papika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
In a large stew pot, sweat the onion and garlic. Then add the remaining veg, and brown for 2 minutes. Add the dry spices, and “stir the pot.” Then add your broth or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes on low, or until beans are cooked through. Top with sliced avocado, a dollop of Mexican crema or grated cheddar. Or just eat plain for a lighter meal. Bon apetit!