Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to make after 18 inches of snow? Chili Con Carne!

Yesterday I woke up to 18 inches of snow. Winter obviously does not want to release its icy grip and so I needed some comfort food. I decided it was time to share with you the recipe I cook the very most from my grandma's cookbook.  It is "Best Ever Chili." I love it because it is easy, yummy and just a little different than other chili recipes.
But first, earlier in the cookbook she gives a recipe for chili con carne. Here is exactly what the recipe title looks like--Chile Con Carne (with corn bread--serves 6). There is a great recipe for the corn bread that is cooked using "corn-stick" pans. (I had to look this up -- see the picture to the left.) But this is not the funny thing--then she just says open a can of chili and spoon it over the corn sticks. Homemade bread--canned chili! That is the contradiction of this book -- some of the recipes are quite difficult and extra yummy and they sit side by side all sorts of convenience recipes. Nice to know that we may all have our little inconsistencies and so we should just celebrate them. Go canned chili!

Below is her great and from scratch recipe for chili.

Best Ever Chili

3 c chili beans (These are the dried variety set to soak overnight. You may of course use canned chili beans they are certainly easier and often have better texture. I went to the internet for this conversion--3 cups of dry chili beans = 9 cups of beans after soaking and boiling. There are 1.5 cups beans per 15 ounce can. So you would need 6--15 ounce cans. Is that clear or just more cloudy? I have a link on how to hydrate beans below in the directions.)
2 bay leaves
2 pounds ground beef
4 onions, chopped
1 bud garlic, minced (I use at least 4)
1 quart canned tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T salt
***1/2 t curry powder (You may think this is weird, but it makes the chili. Although when I make this I usually only use 1/4 t curry powder and I think it is just enough of the flavor without saying --oh my heck this chili has curry powder in it!)
Cayenne pepper to taste

Wash chili beans, put in kettle (isn't that just cute "kettle!") with 6 cups water and the bay leaves. Boil until tender.  (Here is a link on the process if you need a little help like I do: "Preparing Dried Beans" The link says to use 3 times the water, so it would be 9 cups of water not 6.)

Boiled beans and the rest before mixing.

Fry meat, onions, and garlic until brown. Add to drained beans with remaining ingredients. Simmer for about an hour.

All mixed and after an hour of simmering -- Yum.

With all the fixings and ready to eat. Nothing better on a cold and snowy day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birthday Joy

My daughters did make me this adorable
and very yummy cake though!
I had  a panic attack the night before my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I realized I was going to be half of 88 years old and there was no way that I could claim NOT to be middle aged any more.

Then I started to worry that I hadn't done enough with the first 44 years. All those wasted hours of television, iffy novels, and sleeping. Then I had a terrible thought--the next 44 years could be worse. Harder things could happen (really isn't that inevitable after all).

I better stop writing; I'm working up to another attack.

I couldn't sleep all night and ended up watching HGTV re-runs deep into the morning.  Strange existential crisis.

Happy Birthday to me--and a nice cheery post to you!