Chili When It’s Chilly

September 20, 2012

I’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to hear anything in my life. The diagnosis came after a long period of being shuffled around by doctors who thought I might have Multiple Sclerosis, which seems much scarier to me. Diabetes is something I can, and will control.

I’m also excited. I’ve been slowly working on reducing my portion sizes and reducing fatty and fried foods in my diet. I’ll miss french fries from McDonald’s. In the past year, I’ve lost 50 pounds and dropped two sizes, and I’m about to drop down one more. I’ve been eating leaner, healthier proteins,; more vegetables; less salt; more herbs/spices; and fewer pasta, bread and potatoes.

This past weekend I decided to make chili.  Not a traditional Texas chili, but one with beans. So, more of a generic American-style chili.

Turkey chili

I grew up on ground beef and beans chili, served with cheese and crackers.  I got addicted to Texas red when I lived in Austin. There are many styles in-between and there’s one for everyone.

Well, maybe. My boss M apparently makes vegetarian chili, and sorry, that’s just tomato soup. (Don’t tell him I said that). I do want to try it though.  I just feel that chili should be random cuts of meat slow cooked with onion, garlic, and peppers in a tomato sauce.

Last Sunday I made a turkey chili, with ground pork and chorizo. I roasted jalapenos and a couple of Hatch chilies. I am really glad I have a gas stove now, for the first time in decades.

I love to roast the chilies on the fire…

You need to get them totally black then let them cool a bit and gently remove the blackened part. You can use running water (I try not to).

After that, I saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil, and then add the onion and diced roasted peppers.

I let the onions get a little translucent. Meanwhile in the crock pot, Dave was adding beans (kidney and great northern) and diced tomatoes with chilis and a can of tomato sauce.

To the onion mix I added the ground turkey, ground pork and the chorizo.

I use a seasoning packet, Spices are expensive and I feel that too often when you buy spices they sit in the cupboard for long periods of time. One reason I love bulk spice sections at the markets for you can get smaller quantities.

Oh yeah, we added Beer, can’t have chili without beer.  This is one Dave picked out. [DAVE SAYS: It’s Newcastle Werewolf, a seasonal blood red ale, delicious and dark.]

To the crock pot we added a green bell pepper. Adding the bell pepper this way slowly adds sweetness to the mix.

After that I added the meat mixture, mixed it well, covered it and let it simmer while I went to sleep. Dave added a couple tablespoons of Ancho chili powder for some more flavor/heat. [DAVE SAYS: Because when I tasted the broth after an hour or two it was flavorful but weak. Three tablespoons of hot chili powder definitely did the trick.] We had it that night with a nice blend of Mexican cheeses and some chips. The next day I had it i with some diced avocado. Heaven!

Had to show this again, totally the best chili I’ve ver made.

Meat & Potatoes

This year Dave and I discovered a new restaurant called Meat & Potatoes, a gastropub located in Pittsburgh’s theater district.  It’s small, kinda dark, and has a huge central bar, but it’s still comfy. When you walk into the actual restaurant you immediately see the bar in front of you, a small private dining room to your left and, to your right, a curved wall of mirrors and small tables with chairs on one side and benches on the other. There’s additional seating on the other side of the bar and outside. The decor is subtle and the music is loud but not enough to cover the conversation of the table next to you. If you feel the need to eavesdrop. So far we’ve dined there three times,...

Odd Craft Project

A few years go I was married to this Texas Guy, let’s call him O.D. Now O.D. is a great chef. His folks were into food, too — his mom cooked, and his dad ate. She was insecure about her cooking, but it was great! I don’t think she could have run a restaurant more complicated than a pizza joint or fast food place, but she had skills. Before they passed away, they gave O.D. their KitchenAid stand mixer. It had been rebuilt at least twice, and was barely squeaking by when O.D. and I split. He took the stand mixer. I miss that KitchenAid mixer, I loved the attachments. Even though I only ever used the sausage grinder. Before we split, I did a crafty thing to...

The Beginning

Lately I’ve been thinking of blogging about my experience being a chef, specifically, a female chef. I love my career, and though it hasn’t brought me fame and success, it has introduced me to some awesome folks, served me life-changing meals, and allowed me to travel. I’ll be focusing on the three aspects of food that intrigue me the most: cooking, food in the media, and dining out. I think about these things on a daily basis. When it comes to cooking, I can be strict about recipes and terminology. For instance, a Peach Melba is traditionally a base of vanilla ice cream topped with peaches and a raspberry puree. You could reinvent the Peach Melba in many ways: you could roast or grill the peaches, doctor the...