Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bean Night

It's Wednesday, which means it's bean night at my house. I like cooking beans, they are an incredibly versatile and nutritious food. They are also incredibly cheap. Following is one of my favorite recent creations. I will not claim that it is a new or terribly original idea. Truth is, none of my recipes/cooking ideas are. But, I hope that my inspirations will also inspire you. Anyway, here it is:

White Bean Chili

1/2 pound white beans
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 teaspoons oil
1 poblano chile pepper*, minced
1 Anaheim chile pepper*, minced
1 bell pepper, minced
1 onion. diced
4 cloves garlic, minced fine/crushed
chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Pick through the beans for shriveled beans, odd beans and small rocks, dirt etc. Soak the white beans in 2 quarts of water overnight. Drain and rinse. Set aside. In a non reactive pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add chicken and sautee unil it begins to brown. Add in the vegetables and sautee until wilted. Add in the beans and enough chicken stock to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a brisk boil and boil for 10 minutes. Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding stock as needed. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.
*If you would like a hotter chili, use a hotter pepper.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pickled Pears

2 Pounds of pears, peeled, cored, and cut into approximately 1 inch chunks.
1 cup light brown sugar
1 12oz bottle of red wine vinegar
red food coloring (optional)

Place the pears, sugar and vinegar into a non-reactive pot. Add water to just barely cover. Add a few drops red food coloring. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionaly, being careful not to break up the pears. They should be crisp/tender. Remove from heat and allow to steep until cool. Remove pears from liquid. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce to a thin syrup. Pour over the pears while still hot. Place in a non-reactive container, cover and refrigerate.

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's a yucky dreary day here in southern Tennessee, so I'm making chili. Want the recipe? Here it is!

Jalera's Chili

1/2 pound of beans (I like pintos, but any kind will do)
1 quart of water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 pound ground meat (turkey, pork, beef, whatever you like)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 boullion cube

Place beans in a large, non-reactive pot. Cover with the water and add the salt. Bring the beans to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender. Add water as necessary. When the beans are done, drain and rinse. Brown the ground meat, add the onions and garlic and sautee until transparent. Stir in the canned tomatoes, the chili powder, the boullion cube and the drained beans. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Serve hot with cheese, chopped onion and crackers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I love October, it's my favorite month. The leaves are at their peak color, the weather is crisp and cool, the sky is that perfect shade of blue. It's also halloween... probably the best holiday ever. When else can you go door to door begging for candy and not get in trouble for it? Makes me wish I were a kid again! Of course it also makes me wish I were thinner, so that I can wear the sexy, cool, neat costumes instead of wearing an orange t-shirt and going as the Great Pumpkin.... again. Ah well.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My neighborhood.

I currently live in Federally Subsidized Housing, also known as "The Projects". It's not to bad. I hate the lack of privacy. It's a little noisy. Occasionaly there is a shooting. But the crime is generally from people who don't live here. I have a nice front patio, that I share with my neighbor and an okay back porch that I also share with my neighbor (my dwelling is a duplex.). This past summer I grew a small container garden on my back porch. I grew 2 different tomatoes, an eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini. The tomatoes did really well. I was very pleased with the heirloom variety, Mr. Stripey, it was a wonderfully sweet and flavorful tomato. It was also a really pretty tomato. It's color was a pinky red with orangey yellow stripes. These tomatoes generally didn't make it into the house. I ate them before they made it that far and I will be growing these again next year. The eggplant was also really good. It was a really nice japanese variety, which I had never had. It had a wonderfully firm and sweet flesh with a beautiful purple skin. I also plan on growing these again.

Mom's Veggie soup

In reference to the previous post, my mom makes the best homemade veggie soup. It's not so much a soup as a pot of mixed vegetables with a little broth. It's great on cold days and one of my favorite things she makes. So here is a quick recipe.

1 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 10 oz bag of frozen corn
2 large cans of tomatoes ( I like whole)
1 10 oz bag of mixed vegetables
2 large onions chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
water or broth

Throw everything into the largest pot you have, add just enough water or broth to come to the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, put a lid on it. Cook for aproximately one hour, or until vegetables are tender. Serve steaming hot with homemade bread, cornbread or biscuits.

You can add whatever vegetables you have to this. When it's on sale or we can afford it, mom throws some cubed up beef that has been browned into it. Chicken and ground meat is also good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cornbread Biscuits

Woohoo! My first posted recipe. I kinda made this up the other night to have with my moms homemade beef vegetable soup. Forgive me if you try this and it doesn't quite work for you, I tend to eyeball things, even when I bake. I will try to post some pics soon.

Jalera's Cornbread biscuits

1 cup baking/biscuit mix
1 cup self rising cornmeal mix
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Mix the dry ingredients together, rubbing out lumps. Add liquid and stir until mixed. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled pan. Place on middle rack of oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

My First Blog

Ok, so this is my first blog. I've never blogged before. I've never considered myself a very good writer, I tend to be a very stream of concious writer. I write it as it comes into my head. . The title of this blog is Jal's Kitchen. Why that name? Well... I have no idea. Maybe it's because some of the best conversations I've had have always been around a table. Be it a restaurant table, a picnic table or... the kitchen table. It could also be because I love to cook and plan on sharing recipes, food obeservations and general food ideas. I'm a fat girl (or BBW if you prefer), a foodie and a southern, cajun girl. Offended by the word girl? Prefer if I use the word woman? To bad, go somewhere else. I can be offensive, opiniated and bitchy.