Monday, April 19, 2010

"The Star Wars Cookbook - Wookie Cookies and other Galactic Recipes" - Crazy Cantina Chili

Date I made this recipe: April 18, 2010

The Star Wars Cookbook – Wookiee Cookies and other Galactic Recipes by Robin Davis
Published by: Chronicle Books
ISBN: 0-8118-2184-6
Recipe: Crazy Cantina Chili – p. 42

People, I’ve often maintained that there is a cookbook out there for everybody about everything and this one is no exception. Although this cookbook was intended for a young audience, there is so much to like about the movie Star Wars that this adult chef just had to have it.

Many things come to mind when I think of Star Wars. First, there’s Bill Murray’s hilarious rendition of the Star Wars theme from a sketch he did on the TV show, Saturday Night Live. In the sketch, Murray played a piano lounge singer who liked to sing movie themes, all with made up words and all of them hilarious. To listen to the Star Wars theme in all its glory, go to YouTube and enter “Bill Murray Sings Star Wars Theme” and you’ll get the link. Unfortunately, you’ll be unable to see Bill sing this song as apparently there is a copyright issue and that’s a shame because he completely nails the “too hip for words” lounge singer persona.

Second, I’ll always have the memory of going to see the movie when it first opened on a college date. The guy I was with was nice enough but he had one fatal flaw: having already seen the movie, he couldn’t wait to tell me about it and did so while the screen was rolling the “A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away” spiel, otherwise known as THE PLOT!! Talk about being confused for the entire movie! Needless to say, we did not last long as a couple. I ended up going again, this time with other friends who knew how to keep quiet. Men, please file this under “bad date behavior!”

Third, I recall and have photo proof of going to a Halloween party that fall with my roommates dressed as Storm Troopers - the guys in the white outfits. Shopko (the MI/WI version of Target) had the masks on sale so we each purchased one, ripped some sheets to make the body costume and then (and this is soooo creative) wrapped some car snow brushes/scrappers with tin foil, turning them into our very own laser swords! (Hey—it was 1977 and we were poor college students. You try doing better!). We had a blast at the party although we stayed in costume the entire time and therefore had to drink beer from a straw. This is not recommended.

And finally, my community band, The Calhoun-Isles Community Band, frequently does music by composer and Star War movie music master John Williams and has performed the Star Wars music to the delight of audience members of all ages. This coming Tuesday, April 20, we are performing a concert of all movie themes and while we have a couple of John Williams’ medleys, we are not doing Star Wars this time around – drat it all!

So to console myself, I just pulled out this cookbook and found the Crazy Cantina recipe (the cantina scene in the original Star Wars movie is one of my favorites) and went to town.

Since this cookbook is for kids, the recipe was easy but also surprisingly good. Since I oftentimes pick garbanzo beans (chick peas) out of soups and salads, I wanted to make sure I ate them and so I whirled them around in my Cuisinart for a second or two until they were nicely chopped. It made such a difference to me that you might want to try this as well, especially if you have picky eaters at the table.

“May the force be with you” as you prepare this recipe!

Crazy Cantina Chili – makes 4 to 6 servings
1 can (16-ounces) kidney beans
1 can (16-ounces) black beans
1 can (16-ounces) garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)
1 onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes with juice
1 cup tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream or plain yogurt

Open the can of beans and drain off the liquid from the cans into the sink. Set the beans aside.

Put the onion on a cutting board. Carefully slice off the root end and the stem end. Use your fingers to strip off the dry skin. Then cut the onion in half from the top to the bottom. Hold an onion half cut side down and thinly slice it crosswise. Be sure to keep your fingers clear of the knife blade. Set aside.

Put the oil in a large saucepan. Set the pan on the stove and switch on the heat to medium-high. When the oil it hot, add the chopped onion and stir with the wooden spoon until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the chili powder and cayenne pepper and stir for 30 seconds. Add the beans, the crushed tomatoes, and the tomato juice. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the chili with the cheese and sour cream on the side.


Kim Ode said...

It never ceases to amaze me, the variety of cookbooks out there. never thought I'd see one with Chewbacca on the cover!

Anonymous said...

This cookbook is in my collection, too. I modified this recipe by sauteing together 1 1/2 lbs ground beef with the onion. (Omit the oil, the fat from the meat takes it's place.) Drain the fat off the meat/onions, and cook the lot in a slow cooker on low heat.