No More Training Wheels

May 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Chili, eggs | 36 Comments
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Remember your first bicycle? I think it must have been about 3rd grade when I received my beautiful purple Schwinn. I remember how uneasy I felt the first time my dad let go of the handle bars while running along side of me, for my first solo trip without the training wheels. I remember my mom watching nervously and wringing her hands. Of course I promptly fell in the dirt, and with the help of Band-Aids and determination eventually became a bicycle riding fool adding flashy purple tassels on the handle grips and clothes-pinning baseball cards in the spokes to make a lot of racket when I went real fast.

So what does this have to do with food? 

Dinner last night was supposed to be skewered grilled shrimp and tilapia finished with some jalapeno butter for dipping, but at 6:30 when I decided I was starving and had better start dinner the recipe instructed that I marinade the seafood for at least an hour. Don’t you hate when that happens?

Plan B:  Dig around in the refrigerator, fry up some corn tortillas, top with some warmed up green chili and nestle a poached egg in on top. 

I had just started my 2nd glass of wine and feeling a false sense of security, threw caution to the wind and decided to ditch the egg poaching pods.

That’s right, no more training wheels.  I boiled some water, added some vinegar, got the water swirling like a tornado and slid in the raw egg. It worked like a charm and I didn’t even fall in the dirt. No Band-Aids were necessary. 

Bye Bye green silicone egg poaching pod training wheels. Bye Bye odd-shaped poached eggs…forever!

Don’t they even kind of look like training wheels?

As you can imagine, I’m completely tickled with myself. So tickled that I have to post way too many unnecessary photos.

So with all that said, Happy Mother’s day to all. I feel a perfect celebratory weekend has already begun. The wine we opened last night was a delicious Joseph Swan Russian River Valley Pinot…yum! After my poached egg victory we watched The Blind Side. What a great movie to kick off Mother’s Day. LOVED it.

 We’re brunching out this morning with the kids. Tonight I’ll start the marinade early enough to have my grilled shrimp and tilapia skewers.  It couldn’t have worked out better since yesterday was chilly and predicted temperatures at grilling time this evening will be in the 70’s

For fun, in the comment section, why don’t you share a  bicycle “incident” memory.  Whether it be a proud decoration, or a stunt that brought mom running with Band-aids and kisses.

Salute to Moms everywhere, and may your poached eggs be perfectly swirled and runny.

Chipolte Buffalo Chili with Lime Crema

February 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm | Posted in Chili | 18 Comments
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I’m starting off this post with a photo of the Lime Crema.  This mixture of sour cream, lime zest and lime juice is key to the uniqueness of this chili.  Michele, who originally posted this recipe and judge at the chili cookoff contest noted that she was unimpressed with the stand-alone flavors without this Crema.  I agree, it is a fabulous addition.

I saw this recipe over at Cooking with Michele and couldn’t resist giving it a  try as this took 2nd place in a chili cookoff  here in Denver.  I also found this recipe on another food blog, weeknightgourmet.com who indicates the recipe comes from Bon Apetite. 

Anyway, the combination of ingredients just sounded too interesting to pass up. So if you’re looking for something different here’s a new Chili Recipe for you.

Chipotle Bison Chili with Lime Crema
Adapted from Nora Neureiter, Second Place Winner of the 2009 Leyden Street Chili Cookoff

Serves 12

3 pounds ground bison (I used two pounds. You can use ground beef, as well.)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, optional (see instructions)
Salt and pepper
3 cups chopped onions, about 2 medium onions
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used four large.)
1/2 cup chili powder
2 14-ounce cans beef broth
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes with juices
1/2 cup stout or dark beer (Didn’t have any stout, so used plain old Coors.)
4 minced canned chipotle chiles (These things are H-O-T, so I removed veins and seeds.)
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
2 15 1/2-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup sour cream
1 lime, zested and juiced

And my very own secret ingredient addition to this recipe, revealed below.

Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. If your ground meat is very lean, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the pot before adding the ground meat. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until meat is completely browned, using a spoon to break up meat. Remove cooked meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

Add onions and garlic to the meat drippings and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Return beef to the pot and add chili powder, broth, tomatoes, beer and chiles. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover partially, and cook until very thick, about 1-2 hours.

When chili is thick, stir in cornmeal and add black beans. Let simmer together for 10 minutes before serving. Combine sour cream with lime zest and juice of one lime and serve chili in bowls with a spoonful of lime cream on top.

To serve, ladle a large dollop of Lime Crema in the middle of your chili, and you know me well enough to know that life isn’t complete with a sprinkling of chopped Cilantro. 

My secret ingredient is two Kiefer lime leaves. I added these when I added the tomatoes and broth and fished them out before serving. I think it added a subtle sweet lime flavor to the overall dish. 

This recipe is a keeper and DEElicious.  Enjoy.

White Bean Chili Smackdown

November 25, 2009 at 12:26 am | Posted in Chili | 34 Comments
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Can I see a show of hands of how many of you watch “Giada At Home” on Food Network??? … Ok, good…a few.  For those of you who don’t, the show features Giada creating perfect meals for her perfect husband and perfect friends,  served on perfect plates, in her perfect ocean view kitchen, in her perfect house that sits on the perfect California beach…oh, and while perfectly dressed.   

Well, just be forewarned that the next time you tune it, don’t be surprised if you see our very own Buffalo Dick cooking in that perfect kitchen instead of Giada.  I’m just sayin…It could happen!  You’ve got to admit, it does have a ring to it “Buffalo Dick at Home”  And Buff, I hope you put your foot down if the producers try to make you show cleavage. 

Well it appears that we have a White Bean Chili Smackdown.  

This is what makes food blogging so fun, a little bit of friendly competition.  So in my best Michael Buffer voice: Are you ready to RUMBLE???

A couple of weeks ago I unwittingly posted a White Bean Chili recipe that I watched Giada make on her “Giada at Home” Food Network program.  Delicious, so I quickly blogged, and confidently exclaimed that it was the best White Bean Chili EVER.   You can review that post by clicking HERE.

Soon after the post, I  received an email from Buffalo Dick over at “Opinions and Rectums, We All Have One”   saying that he had an Award Winning White Bean Chili recipe.  How could I resist a comparison.   You can view his blog HERE I begged him for the recipe, gained his permission to blog about it and here’s my opinion (see he’s right, we all have one) about his Chili.  This just might be the best White Bean Chili recipe EVER!  Folks, my husband and I had a FIT over this recipe, right there at the dining room table – a FIT.  After Thanksgiving, I highly recommend you give this a try. 

Move over Giada, here we go:

Gather ingredients.

These cumin seeds smelled sooooo good while toasting.  We’ll add about 2 Tablespoons of  these towards the end.  After lightly toasting, Buff said to grind them, but in my excitement I forgot to do that. 

Beautiful bell peppers.

Chop and brown chicken breasts and Italian Sausage separately.  Remove to a plate.

Finely chop jalapeno (seeds and veins removed), sweet onion and bell peppers.  I sautéed these in the same pan that I browned the meats.  Deglaze the pan first with a bit of chicken broth to scrape up all those delicious browned meat bits sticking to the bottom.  Buff said that you can also add some chopped celery.  Didn’t have any, so didn’t.

I used fresh frozen Colorado sweet corn that I froze in September.  It’s so delicious.

Return meat and add remaining ingredients (except Alfredo Sauce, Jalapeno Pepper and cumin seed) to the Dutch oven and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

About 5 minutes before serving add the toasted cumin seeds, Garlic Alfredo Sauce and the Jalapeno Salsa.  This is where I became scared…very scared.  I have never used Jalapeno Salsa before and wanted to make sure I didn’t add too much heat.  This really ended up to be a great flavor addition to this Chili.  I probably used 1/2 of the can.

Voila!  Delicious.  I love the flavor that the sliced black olives added to this soup.  And of course that cheese!  Yum.

Here’s Buff’s unabridged recipe:
1. 3 Lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with light salt and white pepper, cooked and cubed
2. 2 15oz. cans of low sodium chicken broth
3. 1 lb. of sweet Italian sausage, crumbled and browned.
4. 1 yellow, 1 green bell pepper chopped
5. 6-7 Jalapeno peppers , seeded and chopped finely
6. 1 jar of Great Northern white beans- around 30 oz, rinsed and drained
7. 1 large onion, chopped
8. 2 teaspoons of white pepper, 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of Mexican Oregano
9. 1 15oz can of sweet corn- crisp, and drained
Simmer all ingredients until veggies are soft, but not mushy
Add 1 to 1-1/2 jars of garlic Alfredo sauce , stir in slowly until incorporated into liquid
Add ground hot Jalapeno salsa (La Victoria) to taste
Garnish when served in bowls with grated Parmesan and Romano cheese, and sliced black olives.

So Buff, thanks for the inspiration to try another White Bean Chili Recipe.  Can’t wait to serve it to friends and family, my popularity will sky-rocket!  I’m sending you the “My Year On The Grill Inspirational I Can Cook  That  Award”

Odd Couple White Bean Chili

November 13, 2009 at 4:23 am | Posted in Chili, Soup | 26 Comments
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This just may be the best White Bean Chili I’ve ever had – EVER! 

Chili 001

The odd combination of the flavors march right up the aisle, all the way to the altar, and to everyone’s surprise, and without much ceremony, join in holy matrimony.

Giada served this up a couple of months ago on Giada at Home.  I went to foodnetwork.com, bookmarked the recipe and vowed to give it a try.

First of all, I’ve never seen chard in a White Chili recipe, nor have I seen Parmesan Cheese in a White Chili recipe.  But they seemed happy, so who am I to judge. 

2nd of all,  Chard is about the most beautiful vegetable to prepare.  Those deep rich green leaves with the red veins and those luscious colored stalks.  It just makes me feel good about adding it.   I think my New Year’s Resolution might be to get to know Chard a bit better.

Plus I must say that this Fall I froze a lot of delicious fresh Colorado sweet corn, cutting the kernels off the cob and saving them for special occasions such as this.

The only thing I changed with this recipe was to garnish with cilantro instead of parsley.  Yum either way.  Enjoy!

White Bean and Chicken Chili, courtesy Giada De Laurentiis:

2 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs ground chicken
1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
2 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs fennel seeds
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 tsp chili powder
3 Tbs flour
2 (15-ounce cans) cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the ground chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir the flour into the chicken mixture. Add the beans, Swiss chard, corn, and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 55-60 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about half and the chili has thickened. Add the red pepper flakes and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the chili into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

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Ina’s Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette and Odd Chili

September 17, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Posted in Chili, Salad Dressings | 8 Comments
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Wouldn’t it be kinda cool to be famous enough that when someone refers to you by first name that everyone automatically knows who they’re talking about?  Ina…Julia…Giada…Emeril. 

Even cooler is the fact that the world of blogging has brought us normal people celebrities.  We may not identify them by first name, but who doesn’t know everyone’s hometown hero Pioneer Woman.   I started my food blog in May.  My Facebook posts were commonly scrumptous teaser titles of what I was preparing for dinner.  Kind of a “here kitty kitty” to all of my friends.  Finally someone suggested that I start a blog.  What?  I had never read a blog, didn’t know anything about them.  Well, it didn’t take me long to get hooked.  The most pleasant surprise in my new world of blogging is finding so many interesting people who open up their kitchens and their lives to us with similar interests – everyday cooking and life.   

Thanks to blogging, I’d much rather read and cook along with Noble Pig and her mom as they make sauerkraut and pierogi’s.  I always look forward to an email notification of a new post from Karen in Wichita; great recipe ideas and beautiful pictures.  I don’t even know how I found Karen and Cathy, I guess just poking around on different blogs to see what other people were doing.   And see, I’m calling them by first name, have never met them, but feel like I know them better than a few of my neighbors.  I find this much more enjoyable and personal than cooking along with Giada in her perfect kitchen with a view of the perfect beach, with her perfect husband and her perfect friends.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Ina, a huge fan, I Tivo and watch Giada and have saved many of her recipes.  But now a days I’m much more likely to test a pizza recipe that Vickie in Montana posted rather than something I’ve recently seen on television or read in a magazine.   Much more personal, much more fun and easier to relate to.

Was I just on a soapbox?  Ok, back to Ina’s delicious dressing.

I hardly ever buy bottled dressings anymore.  Years ago, I discovered that one can lead a perfectly normal life without a bottle of  Wishbone in the refrigerator.  Homemade dressings are so easy, so delicious and so fresh and most will keep in the fridge for about a week and sometimes longer. 

One of my favorites is this creamy vinaigrette that I watched Ina make one day.  I love this dressing.  Her recipe states that if you’re afraid of the raw egg,  just omit.  I guess I’m not afraid of the raw egg.  I mean, should I be? I always use very fresh organic eggs, purchased at Whole Foods.  I just don’t think the recipe would be as creamy good without it.

Here’s Ina’s Recipe: 

Ina’s Green Salad with Creamy Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tbs Champagne vinegar
    1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
    1 extra-large egg yolk*, at room temperature
    3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup good olive oil
    Salad greens or mesclun mix for 6 to 8 people

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, salt, and pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Toss the greens with enough dressing to moisten and serve immediately.

Servings: 6

I served this along side Cincinnati Chili.  Cincinnati Chili is about the oddest concoction I’ve ever seen.  So odd, that I decided I better give it a try.  I have to admit, it’s pretty darn good, in a VERY odd sort of way. 

When Googling Cincinnati Chili there were many Cincinnati Chili recipes, lots of ideas, lots of similarities…but one common rule:

Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number. Two, Three, Four, or Five Way.

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  • Two-Way Chili: Chili served on spaghetti
  • Three-Way Chili: Additionally topped with shredded Cheddar cheese

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  • Four-Way Chili: Additionally topped with chopped onions
  • Five-Way Chili: Additionally topped with kidney beans

I don’t have any kidney beans on hand, so we’re ordering up four-way today.  

Cincinnati Chili

Adapted from Taste of Home

Slow Cooker

3 lbs ground beef
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
Hot cooked spaghetti

1. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

2. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the beans, tomato sauce, broth, chili powder, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chocolate, cinnamon, cumin, salt, oregano, pepper and cloves. Stir in beef mixture.

3. Cover and cook on low for 5-1/2 to 6 hours or until heated through. Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 10 servings.

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