Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

In which Chili gets hot.

Posted: March 31st, 2008 | Author: johanna | Filed under: Johanna | 19 Comments »

I’m really happy about having made chili. I made it once before, and I really loved it. I love winging things. I think that there’s an element of pride in the fact that I can (sort of, limitedly) figure out how things will taste together, and cook by intuition. Of course, without any bullshit, I’ll fully admit that a lot of my cooking successes are via trial and error. I’m not at all afraid to screw up in the kitchen, mostly because I think it’s a learning experience. Also because frankly, if I screw up, I can throw it out and make scrambled eggs. I never screw those up.

My chili is pretty much designed to my tastes. I don’t love spicy-hot flavors, but I do love the warm spiciness of Indian inspired foods… cumin, coriander, curry powder…. they seem so warm and comforting to me, and not spicy at all. I like the illusion of heat. But of course, since it’s chili, you have to bust out the hot sauce and the chili powder. Just not blow the roof off.

Making chili is a bit weird for me, because I’m the product of 12 generations of New Englanders on one side, and Polish and Scottish immigrants on the other side. Luckily, my father has a small obsession with cajun and southern food…. he’s read The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American too many times, and I think the pages on Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, and Jambalaya are all falling out from use. He loves fried chicken, and chicken fried steak. He’s the most southern New Englander I’ve ever met, at least as far as food is concerned. He’s pretty much the reason I cook, because my mom cooks only because you can’t get food from thin air. My dad likes to cook, and he’s a very good cook.

It’s also a bit weird for me to make chili, since as a child, I hated it. This might be because my mom’s chili wasn’t very good the one time I remember eating it, which I assume must be it, since I would eat red beans and rice cold, with cold rice, until there was no more left. Plus, my staunch New England heart is amazed by the fact that I’m in a long-term relationship with a man from Tulsa – a man who swears he’s sort of mid-western, but whose mother cooked sort of southern stuff. In general, basically I’m dating my polar opposite.

As this entry is about chili, I suppose I should mention something straight out:
I put both beans, AND tomatoes, into my chili.

If you’re against either of those things, please don’t give me hate notes. I love it this way. It’s delicious. Even Jesse likes my chili, and he’s the first to admit that he doesn’t really go for beans in chili – or for that matter, tomatoes. Apparently his mom didn’t make it that way. I’m down with that. I’m from New England – I have an automatic handicap. We don’t follow the chili rules, mother effers! We’re crazy! We’re liberal! We’re contentious! Woooooo!!!

Anyways. Chili making takes all day. It involves deglazing with a beer – I recommend Brooklyn Brown, but any fun brown ale will work out. Plus, for my pregnant reader, all the alcohol gets burned out — you can de-glaze with a beer if you’re feeling sassy.

It also involves Fire-Roasted Canned Tomatoes. They’re amazing. They add smokiness that you can really taste. It’s remarkable.

It also involves tasting and stirring every like…. 15 minutes, tops. You’re probably going to have to add more garlic powder, more chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, etc…. which is what I add. Cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, curry powder, and hot sauce. It’s a winning combination, although that’s only with my taste.

The leftovers, again, badass. Best thing ever for lunch today. I really needed this amazingness today.

Plus, when I didn’t want to eat left-overs for dinner tonight, I was able to make scrambled eggs for dinner. And spinach, which I sauteed with butter, salt, and pepper, with lemon juice and parmesan. It was lovely.

Tonight, we begin again. Tonight, I’ll curl up in bed with the boyfriend, and make a grocery list. It’ll be very nice, and it will be a good start to a long and difficult day. But as long as this shopping day ends up better than last week’s….. we’ll be golden.

Next up: In which I cause fishies to surrender.


19 Comments on “In which Chili gets hot.”

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