My guest this week is Toyin Coker, a mover and a shaker from Toronto! I met Toyin this past Fall at Terra Madre in Italy, and I knew by listening to her comments, that she was someone I wanted to interview. The work she is doing in buildingcommunity through events and Permaculture, while educating people about our food system and the politics around food, is truly inspiring.

Polenta Encrusted Vegan Chili Casserole

To Make the Chili:

1 can organic pinto beans 1 can organic red kidney beans 1 can organic black beans ½ can small tomato paste 1 organic onion, chopped 2 cups assorted organic peppers, chopped 2 cloves garlic 1 can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes 1 cup frozen organic corn 1 t. salt 1 t. chili powder 2 t. cumin 1 recipe of Ground tempeh (see below) Olive oil

In large pot, sauté the onion in oil for 5 minutes and then add the red pepper and garlic. After 5 minutes, add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer for 15- 30 minutes. Adjust spices to taste.

To Make the Ground Tempeh:

1 package tempeh, 1 onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped ¼ cup cilantro, chopped ½ t. chili powder ½ t. smoked paprika ½ t. cumin powder 2 cloves garlic Olive oil Salt and pepper

In heavy skillet, sauté onion in oil for 5 minutes. Add red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add crumbled tempeh and cook for 15 minutes at medium-high heat, careful not to let it burn but trying to get the tempeh crispy. Add seasonings and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tempeh mixture to chili.

To Make the Polenta

1 organic vegetable bouillon cube (gluten-free if needed) 3 cups fine cornmeal 8 cups water ¼ cup pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped 6 or more mild (or hot) cherry peppers (bottled in vinegar), chopped 1 cup frozen organic corn Salt and pepper Parsley or cilantro for garnish

Bring water to a boil with bouillon cube in a medium-size heavy saucepan over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Pour cornmeal slowly into water, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Continue stirring as mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn heat to low. Cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. If polenta becomes too thick, add 1/2 cup water at a time, stirring well. Continue cooking and add up to 2 more cups of water as necessary, to keep polenta soft enough to stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped jalapenos and cherry peppers. Stir to combine.

To Assemble to Casserole: Preheat oven to 375 ˚.

Spray a large lasagna or casserole pan with oil. Spread half of the polenta mixture on bottom of casserole pan. Wet your hands slightly, to prevent the polenta from sticking to your hands, while spreading out the mixture. Bake polenta for 10 minutes at 375 ˚. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Add chili to casserole. Top with remaining polenta. Press down again with wet hands to smooth out polenta. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 375 ˚ for 20 minutes.