Vegetable Chili

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love everything about it-the smells, the colors, the temperature, the sweaters and such! This past weekend was one of our favorite weekends of the year...Fall Festival in Ellicottville, NY. Every year, we go up to my in-law's cabin and spend the weekend with some family and friends. We go into town, stop at all the vendor and food tents and get some good Octoberfest beer from EBC. No trip is complete without a visit to Pumpkinville and Holiday Valley for a ski lift ride. You can't beat those views!

This year, since I received a new crock pot at my shower, I volunteered to bring chili. I love my mom's chili but I wanted to try to make a vegetarian chili since I knew we would be eating pulled pork too. I searched for a recipe online and decided to go with this one from Emeril, found on the Food Network website. We cooked it on the stove but then transferred it to the crock pot so we could warm it back up when we got to the cabin. The recipe below reflects a few minor changes that we made.

**Even though this recipe was good and we got a lot of complements from Joel's family, I'm still in search of the perfect chili. I like mine a little thicker than the way that this one turned out.

2 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 medium Yellow Onions, chopped
1 cup Bell Peppers, chopped (we used several mini peppers in orange, red, and yellow)
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Poblano Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium Zucchini, cut into chunks
1 bag Frozen Corn
1 package Mini Portobello Mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne (I'm sure Joel put more of this in)
1 large can Whole Tomatoes, chopped (we just run a knife thru the can before pouring it in)
1 (15 ounce) can Tomato Sauce
2 cans Kidney Beans
1 cup Water (can substitute vegetable stock)

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and peppers. Cook until softened. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, cooking until the vegetables start to soften and they start to turn light brown around the edges. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, stirring well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and water (stock). Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

From this point, we transferred the chili into the crock pot so we could rewarm it when we got to the cabin.