On a whim I decided to make some chili powder. I took a handful of dried chilies, baked them even drier in my oven, and used a little coffee grinder to make chili powder out of them. Andria walked in the house after her sports practice, ravenous, ready-to-eat-cardboard-hungry and said “Ooooh it smells so wonderful in here. I am starved!”
“It’s chili powder”
“What do you mean? Don’t tell me that wonderful smell isn’t something I can eat!”
Well, yep, that pretty much summed it up. I had to scrounge up something else to feed her but it was not nearly as satisfying as the smell wafting from the oven where the chilies were drying. That was some years ago, and I have never found a chili powder that matched homemade in flavor or aroma….so here are directions for how to do it. And just in case you want something you can sink your teeth into, here is a great way to serve cornbread seasoned with chili powder. Wrap the batter in wet, green corn husks and tie with a string of husk for a great looking appetizer or side dish. Lynne from my Intercultural Foods class chose this recipe to make. They were a hit with all of the other students. Stay tuned for a blog on banana leaf wrapped yummies. One my students gave me the heads up that they are going to use purple banana leaves to steam a great appetizer.
Chili Cornbread Wrapped in Corn Husks
Dried Chili Peppers
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped chives
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ cups cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
¾ cups buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay chili peppers on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until brittle but not burned. Allow to cool. Remove seeds and stems. Place in spice grinder and process until mixture is a fine chili powder. Combine 2 teaspoons of chili powder and 3 tablespoons oil in a small glass dish. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 ½ minutes or until spices are heated.
Combine all of the ingredients, stirring in the chili powder and oil mixture. Form into small rolls, adding more white flour if needed for dough to form a dollop and wrap in green corn husks that have been soaked in water. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve warm and allow each person to unwrap their own chili cornbread.