Come the weekend, we’re communal food people. I’ve talked about this same topic over these fajitas and this podcast recently. I like food speckled across the table as the centerpiece, mostly because it seems fitting. The table is our meeting place, our sustenance. I like the way passing bowls full of food gently nudges the start of a conversation. Can you pass the rice? And the beans? Read more
When your husband has been out of town all month, you make a bitchin’ bowl for dinner every night. It’s far better than the eggs and toast which usually fill that stark white dinner plate. And it’s ready in five minutes. And for just a second, it makes you forget that you’re alone in a condo fully dressed in Christmas garb at the end of January.
Three and a half years later. One semester to go. My husband is nearing the end of graduate school. At least the school part. He’s currently touring the country interviewing for internships. Connecticut. Maryland. Ohio. Michigan. Tennessee. Illinois (current home). Louisiana. Kentucky. Colorado. In one short month we’ll find out where we’re going. February 24. Match day. A simple email holds our fate. Read more
Maybe it’s because of all of the good memories surrounding it. My mom made chili a lot growing up. While she made the chili, I was in charge of adding the egg and milk to the Jiffy Cornbread mix. Without fail, every Halloween we’d have a bowl of it before going trick-or-treating. Those were good times.
When I make chili, it makes home feel a little closer. Two and a half years ago, I married my best friend and moved to Chicago. Here, winter lasts about 5 months out of the year, providing many opportunities to make chili. So, I set out to recreate my mom’s chili. After a couple attempts, “the chili” was concocted. A friend asked me for the recipe last year, only problem being that it was in my head. I guess that’s not the only problem—I rarely use measuring utensils. When I cook, I smell, dump, and taste. Kevin, my husband, alerted me to this the other day. I always open the spice jar and smell it before dumping in the guesstimated amount. I guess I cook with my nose just as much as I do my taste buds. This is no good for sharing recipes.
Today, though, I got out my measuring spoons.
Chili serves 8
1 large sweet onion (make sure it’s sweet!)
4 garlic cloves
6 roma tomatoes
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
1 lb. lean ground beef
15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained
15 oz. can light red kidney beans, drained
15 oz. can black beans, drained
Hot Chili Sauce (we call this chinese ketchup)
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened chocolate powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1. Dice onion and garlic. Don’t worry about chopping too finely. You’ll take care of that in a minute.
2. In a stock pot with olive oil and salt, sauté onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes.
4. Add tomatoes into the stock pot, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
5. While the tomato mixture is sautéing, cook ground beef until browned.
6. Pour sautéed tomato mixture into a food processor, and pulse for 20 seconds. (This will help get rid of those pesky tomato skins that curl up and look unappetizing.)
7. Add mixture back into stock pot along with the browned meat, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, and spices. Add hot chili sauce and salt to taste. Stir.
8. Simmer for an hour. (I recommend tasting 30 minutes in to make sure everything is on par. Go with your gut, or should I say your nose, and add extra spices if needed.)
9. Top with your favorite chili toppings. (We love to add brown rice or pita chips, hot sauce, cheese, and cilantro.) Serve.
For all the people out there like me, here is a visual recipe.
I hope this makes home feel a little closer for you too!