chili n' cheddar

on tuesday night, there were two *very big* things to look forward to: 1) dinner with my friend soulmate, justin, and 2) the 30th annual dc high heel race, which served as world's most outrageous intermission to our heaping bowls of chili. the high heel race, which blazes right past my street, is one of those quirky, over-the-top, genuinely dc things that just makes me beam with happiness and pride (no pun intended) that I'm lucky enough to call this city and street home. then i realize i get to have soul-affirming, laughter-filled dinners with one of the best friends in the game, and man, everything just feels at peace. 

justin and i kept laughing that no matter how long we let the cornbread sit (even during our high heel race break), it was still warm every time we went back for seconds...or thirds. maybe it was just a reflection of how heartwarming the night was...or the wine, but whatever it was, it felt pretty perfect. 

this meal is made for nights like that. the nights when you need something comfy, cozy and nourishing.

sweet potato chili with cheddar cornbread

serves 4
what you'll need:

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes, diced in 1/2 inch squares
2 cans black beans (14 oz), drained
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (14 oz)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 cup greek yogurt, for serving
grated sharp cheddar cheese, for serving

what you'll do:

  1. in large stockpot, drizzle in olive oil over heat, stirring in garlic. toss in diced onion and stir with wooden spoon for about 4-5 minutes.
  2. pour diced sweet potatoes into stockpot, topping with cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and orange zest. stir with wooden spoon until sweet potatoes start to soften (about 15 minutes), then pour in water. stir occasionally for about 5 more minutes. 
  3. pour in black beans and fire roasted tomatoes, stirring all ingredients occasionally to avoid sticking to bottom of pot. let simmer until water is absorbed and sweet potatoes are softened to your liking (about 30 more minutes). taste and adjust spices as you see fit. 
  4. serve and savor, topping with a scoop of greek yogurt and grated sharp cheddar cheese.

cheddar cornbread

cheddar cornbread recipe by epicurious

what you'll need:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

what you'll do:

  1. preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. butter 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan (i used glass)
  3. whisk first six ingredients in medium bowl to blend. then, mix in cheese.
  4. stir in buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in another medium bowl to blend.
  5. add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated; do not overmix.
  6. transfer batter to prepared pan.
  7. bake until bread is golden on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean (this took my oven about 25-27 minutes.
  8. serve warm with butter, butter, butter.