Saturday, February 6, 2010

My take on Cincinnati Chili

Chocolate in chili....are you kidding??
Ok, so we are snowed in today and I have so many other things that I could be doing, but I thought it would be a lot more fun to make Cincinnati style chili rather than try to work on my project of downsizing our house since I really have no place to put the junk that we pitch even if it does seem like an ideal day. I always make this for the Super Bowl....my youngest son Josh just expects it to be on the table! I have eaten it in Ohio several times and it seems to have a lot of interpretations....this is a variation of a recipe that I found on the Food Network that I have tweaked a little more to suit our tastes here at home. Yeah, if you are from Cincinnati, Ohio, this one may not be your thing, but to me recipes are only meant to be a guide....I love to be adventurous and make recipes my own!
This is spice intensive....I usually buy my spices at either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods....SOOOOOO much cheaper! Have fun!

* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 onions, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons chili powder
* 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 2 pounds ground chuck
* Kosher salt
* 1 1/2 cup tomato juice
* 1 cup diced tomatoes
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 full cubes of unsweetened baking chocolate
* 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 4 tablespoons brown sugar
* Freshly ground pepper
* 12 ounces cooked spaghetti
* 1 19-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 pound grated cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add half the chopped onions and the garlic and cook until soft, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, a few turns of pepper and cloves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the beef and cook the mixture, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

Add the tomato juice, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, chocolate, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook until the mixture is thickened but still soupy. I allow this to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf and add the drained and washed kidney beans. Serve on top spaghetti with cheddar cheese. We usually put sour cream on as well. Not the traditional with the oyster crackers and raw onions, but it's well loved in our house!






Very ingredient intensive







Getting ready to cook!







Cooking the onions!







Getting ready to mince the garlic







Garlic minced







Cooking the onions and garlic until somewhat tender







Adding all the spices!







I bought a mortar and pestal so that I could buy whole spices. That way I only need one kind and I can crush the spice for the amount I need. In this case, it's cloves. I didn't need much to make 1/4 of a teaspoon! You can also use a coffee bean grinder which works just as well.







My cloves after just smacking them a little.







Throwing the myriad of spices in!







Adding the ground chuck







Breaking it up in the pot







Meat is done, getting ready for the tomatoes







A can of diced tomatoes and about 1 1/2 cups of tomato juice







Adding the tomatoes to the mixture







Adding the chocolate(!) bay leaf, vinegar and worcestershire







Finished pot before adding the beans....yum!

Friday, February 20, 2009

*Brick* oven style pizza











I just LOVE working with yeast!

One of the things that I wanted to make was pizza. I kept finding recipes that were for a bread dough style pizza and I was looking more for a brick oven style....something like you would get at Bertuccis. Since we aren't wealthy, the first problem was how would I make it. We don't have a wood fired oven and thought it would be impossible to even come close to even getting the product I was looking for! I read some bread maker blogs and then came across this one http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html
and so far the recipe on that site has been a dream! The next thing I did was purchase a baking stone from King Arthur flour.
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/detail.jsp?id=5236"
I originally tried to bake a pizza on the Pampered Chef stone, but because the stone needed to be heated for an hour at 500 degrees, I was afraid of breaking my beloved, well seasoned stone. Took two weeks for shipping, but when I got it, I planned to make pizza within the week.

Some things I have learned. I make my dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I found that by keeping it in the refrigerator for 3 days made working the dough much easier. It has rested and much easier to stretch. I wasn't too sure of instant yeast when I bought it from King Arthur. I had always used normal yeast, but I have had very good luck with the instant and I am very happy with my results. Use good olive oil and you will get amazing results. Also San Marzano tomatoes make really good pizza sauce. You really will be pleased with the flavor! When you make your own pizza, you know what goes into it and it's a food that even amateurs can be creative with. Just remember on a Neapolitan pizza, less is more. It doesn't mean you can't have fun, but this isn't a Chicago style pizza that you can just load up with the kitchen sink.

I have plans to make some different varieties pizzas as I go along...I have stayed with the classic of tomato, cheese and adding pepperoni and mushrooms.

We haven't had a pizza out in a few months!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The joy of cooking

I have been renewing my love lately of cooking for my husband and family. Many people find it hard to understand but for me it's a very passionate thing. For me, it's like creating great art. I use it as stress relief. A recipe for me is only a guide.....I change things around often.

I am one of Ina Garten's biggest fans and I love to watch her in the afternoon on the Food Network. While I don't feel we necessarily cook alike mainly because most of the food she makes tends to be on a higher end of what the local supermarket handles, I love how at ease she is with food. I understand the feeling well because it's the way I feel.

My daughter and son in law came for breakfast today and I made biscuits. The following is the recipe.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of flour
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup and 1 teaspoon of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Sift the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the flour takes on the look of small peas. Add buttermilk gradually then kneed on a floured board, but do not overkneed. Cut out biscuits and bake on a stoneware sheet if you have on. If not, it will work on a buttered cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter if desired.

Here is what you will end up with!

Bon Appetit!!