Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chilly Enough for Chili

Fall was snappin' at our toes this weekend for sure. I really can't say I'm happy to see the warm weather go, but I do admit to ringing my hands in glee at the thought of all the yummy comfort food the cold weather brings with it. It's really a weird seasonal thing that happens - like bears hibernating - I feel that chill in the air and I just want to cook! I can't contain myself, as the days get shorter my little chef's wanna be brain turns to cooking and baking and and...I can't control myself - somebody help me!!! Is there a pill I can take to stop this constant urge to - to - to - to COOK!!!!!

Heavy sigh, hangs head in shame. Ya right. I've resigned myself to the fact that this year ain't gonna be the year that I overcome my addiction to fall comfort food. Not gonna happen.

So, now on to the good stuff. I was thinking soup of some kind, but M had a much better idea - Chili - mmmm. Personally I hate beans, I have some rather nasty childhood memories of the "You'll sit there until it's gone" nature. Suffice it to say cold beans for breakfast - blesch. Now I can tolerate a black bean as long as its all hopped up in an Asian dish or a nice spicy black bean soup - I make a mighty fine one too, hmm maybe next week (furiously scribbling a note to self). But plain old regular beans I got no time for. Baked beans? Even less.

But, if you try to pass chili off on me WITHOUT kidney beans I will pitch a sizable fit. Odd right. Ya, I think so too but there it is. And let me tell ya those weirdos that put pasta in chili - well, what the heck are they thinkin? I mean I love me some pasta - but that's just wrong!

My mother made chili from scratch - stewed the beans herself and all. To be honest I would stew my own beans but my mom's recipe - neatly printed on the side of the molasses jar - has been lost. You would think the molasses folks would have kept that recipe there for like ever...So, having attempted it -once and only once - I opted for the canned method. Me, I dump a mean can let me tell ya. Like I always say - why mess with the pros right - there is no shame in using a well prepared commercial product. Besides who's got 12 hours to make stewed beans?

So this here chili is my rendition, not too spicy this time, but if you want more zing add one of those little cans of green jalepanos that you get in the ethnic section - zoom. It has a nice deep warm flavor, not too hot, not too beany - you know how I feel about that - and nice and meaty.

To cheddar or not to cheddar - that's up to you - sometimes we do sometimes we don't. This time I opted for a change, and I tried Ina's cheddar jalepano corn bread - granted it was a last minute thought and I skipped the jalepano and the green onions 'cause I was out of both. The bread was nice - cooked up beautifully like the recipe said, but overall I was disappointed - it just wasn't corny enough. The cheddar came through okay, but if I make this again I will double the salt - it seemed really lacking. I might also cut the flour in favor of more cornmeal. Still, it was hot and cheesy and went nicely with the chili, which of course was the star.

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