Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Mad Vincent's Crazy-Hot Chili

by SuSu, Sparticus, MaceVindaloo, Diana

The crew of Serenity was weirded out — their latest heist involved stealing the preserved, dessicated ear of Vincent van Gogh! The ultra-famous impressionist painter had suffered from the effect of syphilis and from ingesting absinthe, both which can cause hallucinations, misjudgement, and ultimately insanity. He was in love with a woman of the night whom did not return his ardor, and so to prove his devotion, he cut off his right ear to present to her as a gift ...

That same ear — dried and shriveled, but clearly recognizable as a whole human ear — was on display at a van Gogh art retrospective. He was one of the few artists that the survivors of Earth-that-was deemed critical to their cultural survival (along with Michelangelo, daVinci, Picasso, and their ilk), and so as many original paintings as could be found were transported over many centuries to the new galaxy in which they now lived.

But once stolen, passengers Inara Serra (the companion) and Shepherd Book (the preacher) — both of whom had sufficient education to know better — pointed out that this could not possibly be van Gogh's ear. For one, the painter mutilated his lobe, not the whole ear, and he reportedly cut off his ear after an arguement with painter Paul Gaugin. He did give the lobe to a working woman named Rachel "for safekeeping," but she was said to have discarded it when she realized what it was. "Besides," noted Book, "I doubt van Gogh was a tomato, in life." He'd realized that the crew had stolen a piece of sun-dried tomato! They'd been scammed!

At least they wouldn't go hungry, for it was a large, high quality piece of sun-dried tomato, and it made a fantastic spicy chili, which they named for the mad painter (rather than their own madness to be suckered into stealing something that couldn't have existed in the first place!).

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 large mushrooms (caps and stems), diced
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz / 85 g tomato paste
  • 3 oz / 85 g can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 to 4 cups water
  • 14 oz / 390 g kernal corn niblets, with liquid
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil. Add the onion and salt and cook slowly till translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and diced mushrooms. Cook till the mushrooms exude their juice. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and continue to cook till the tomatoes start to rehydrate a bit. In a bowl, combine the tomato paste and 2 cups water (you start with 2 cups, and add more at the end to adjust the texture). Stir the tomato paste into the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, then the chipotle in sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes till it's bubbling. Add the canned kernal corn with liquid. Add cumin and sugar; stir and taste, and add more water if desired. Serve hot. Makes 1 to 2 quarts.

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