Friday, April 29, 2011

chili, chilly, chilli, Chile

Many moons ago I had a cooking site on livejournal.  It was a good site and I enjoyed posting to it.  Over the years I lost touch with the people there and stopped posting, partly because I lost interest in social networking sites but mostly because my personal life became complicated as hell and I stopped doing a lot of things in general.

Since I'm going through a bit of a dry spell with my cooking at the moment I thought I'd go back to that site and re-post some of the recipes here.  The first one up is my Cincinnati Chili.  It's really easy to make and tastes like a dream.  

Cincinnati-ish Chili
4 cups water
3 - 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 - 14 1/2 ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 large onions, chopped
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 pounds beef, finely ground

Stir all ingredients, except ground beef and salt, in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add ground beef and stir with a wooden spoon to break up.  Turn heat to medium-high and boil until ground beef is cooked thoroughly.  Lower heat to medium and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with the traditional accompaniments of spaghetti, kidney beans, onions and huge mounds shredded cheddar cheese.  Oyster crackers could be served on the side and if you're feeling really non-traditional you could dollop on some sour cream, because it's yummy....really, really, yummy. 

Make sure the ground beef is as finely ground as possible.  You can get it this way from a good butcher.  When you put it into the liquid mixture while it is raw and break it up with a spoon, it should almost homogenize.  I know, sounds weird, but it makes for a very smooth chili.  Also note that this chili is thin, not thick, like a marinara sauce.  If you can hold out I would suggest putting the whole pot into the refrigerator and eating it the next day.  As with most stews and soups, it truly is better after sitting for a good 24 hours. 

Serving suggestions:
2-Way:  chili served over spaghetti
3-Way:  chili served over spaghetti topped with copious amounts of shredded sharp cheddar
4-Way:  chili served over spaghetti topped with chopped onions and then copious amounts of sharp cheddar cheese
5-Way:  chili served over spaghetti topped with kidney beans, chopped onions and copious amounts of sharp cheddar cheese

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Control the Spice, I Control the Universe

The other night I was feeling like having beef.  And not the ground kind.  I wanted a slab of meat that would make a t-rex weep with joy.  Unfortunately, all my beef was frozen solid.  So I did what any self-respecting carnivore would do; grabbed a 3 pound chuck roast in it's solid state, doused it with some stuff in a baking pan, tin-foiled it to death and threw it in the oven.  Several hours later I had spicy beefy......spicy beef you would run over your grandmother to get to, trust me.  Not that I advocate running over grandmas, that's Santa's job.

Spicy Beef
3 pound chuck roast
7 ounce can chipotles in adobo sauce
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 large onions, sliced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
12 ounce bottle dark beer
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place frozen roast in a 9 x 13 deep baking pan.  Salt and pepper to taste on both sides.  Place sliced onions all around the roast.  Drizzle the meat and onions with the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and beer.  Toss a little more salt over the top of the roast since you washed it away with the beer.  Now add the chipotles.  If you're very brave and love very hot-spicy, add the entire can in addition to the adobo.  If you're not so brave or just prefer to keep your taste buds intact, add as many of the peppers as you wish along with a bit of the adobo.  Cover the whole pan tightly with tin foil and shove it into the oven.  After an hour, turn heat down to between 325 and 350.  Cook for two more hours.  Allow beef to cool a bit, shred it up and set aside.  Skim the excess fat off the pan sauce, pass the sauce through a strainer and pour over shredded beef.  Serve over pasta or rice, in a sandwich or tortilla, or maybe just stand there and eat pieces out of the serving bowl.  Oh, and it's also divine with a dollop of sour cream to cool some of the heat.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cookie pr0n, Take II....Chocolate Chip

Mmmmmm.....more cookies.  I made these at the same time I made the peanut butter ones from last post and they didn't last any longer than the peanut butter either.  Not sure how many people are still into the crispy chocolate chip cookie since all I see everywhere are "soft" or "chewy"...whateva.  I like them crispy and so do my kids.  These are also very customizable.  You can add just chocolate chips, or jazz them up with nuts and dried fruit.  We jazzed =)

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup soft margarine
3/4 cup manteca
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extremely finely ground coffee (optional)
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces dried cranberries (optional)
1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely ground (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream margarine and manteca together with an electric mixer.  Add in brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla; cream until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated.  Remove bowl from mixer and use a wooden spoon to mix in the chocolate chips, ground almonds and dried cranberries by hand.  Mix flour, ground coffee, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and add to the butter mixture by hand.  Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop mixture onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack...if you can resist eating them straight off the cookie sheet.  Makes 4 1/2 to 5 dozen.