Winter in LA + Chili Time!

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Three years in — four if you’re counting this one — and I’m still not used to these Los Angeles winters. I just took an hour walk in sunny 70-degree weather whilst wearing shorts and a 3/4 sleeve t-shirt. Sitting at my desk, having just returned to my apartment, I feel a smidge sweaty and dehydrated.

Several of my friends back East have expressed that they’d love to trade climates. It’s been wintery for a couple months there now and so they’re craving warmer temps. Admittedly, I wouldn’t mind exchanging SoCal sun and beachy breeze for some snow and scarf weather. There’s something about real winter that wraps up the year and prepares the mind for Spring. I truly miss the transitions from sweltering summer to crisp autumn to blistery winter to pleasant spring. Sounds like a rollercoaster of emotions but, on the contrary, seasonal change is truly magical.

Los Angeles has really just two seasons — hot and cool. It’s 70-80F most of the year except January to April when it’s in the 60’s. That would be normal spring weather back home but since the humidity is so low here, the “feels like” temp is in the 50’s, especially in the shade or when the sun isn’t shining. It’s actually pretty chilly (or has my blood thinned out?) so you can see then why it’s my favorite time of the year. For three or four months, I can finally wear my long pants, long sleeve shirts, light winter coat, a scarf and boots. I can finally enjoy a cozy, hot bowl of soup or mug of tea comfortably. And I can finally sleep under the blankets again.

Since January has begun, I’ve been super eager for the cold weather to truly begin. The temperature has been a little up and down lately but I couldn’t wait any longer and went ahead and made a gigantic pot of chili this week.

The recipe is originally vegetarian but I added a pound of ground beef to boost the flavor. It’s totally up to you if you want to add it or not. Enjoy!

Hearty Homemade Chili
A delicious soup that is the classic for a cold winter night. You can certainly leave out the ground beef if you're a vegetarian. This recipe serves 6 people; add another can or two of beans if you're feeding more.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons oil
  2. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  3. 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 2 ribs celery, chopped
  5. ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  6. 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  7. 2 tablespoons chili powder
  8. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  9. 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  10. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  11. 1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes, with their juices
  12. 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  13. 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  14. 2 cans of yellow corn, drained -or- 1 small bag of frozen corn
  15. 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  16. 1 bay leaf
  17. 1 lb ground beef (optional)
For vegetarian chili
  1. In a large pot, saute onion, pepper and celery in the oil until onions are transparent, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and add garlic, spices and oregano. Cook until spices are aromatic, then add the canned tomatoes, beans, broth and bayleaf. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes before serving.
For meat chili
  1. In a frying pan, cook ground beef until no pink is visible. Then add to the pot of bean chili you made above.
Notes
  1. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week. Or freeze in airtight containers/ziploc bags (make sure you add the date!) for up to several months.
Adapted from Cookie + Kate
Adapted from Cookie + Kate
Oh My Foodness! http://oh-my-foodness.com/
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