Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kitchen Adventures

I have made some seriously cool stuff in the kitchen in the past week or so. Inspired by the book Julie & Julia (not the movie, haven't seen it yet), I made 2 Julia Child recipes: Oeufs en Cocotte avec Sauce au Cari, and potato-leek soup. The eggs were awesome, I loved the curry sauce. But in truth, it is way too much of a pain in the ass to be any kind of practical breakfast. However, the claim that it is a powerful hangover cure is spot on - IF you can drag your sorry ass out of bed to cook it.

The potato leek soup was also pretty damn good. I had never eaten a leek before in my life, had no idea it was a type of onion. Used a potato ricer for the first time - I am pretty convinced it would make some damn good mashed potatoes, texture-wise.

I had found a recipe in one of my cookbooks for a casserole that sounded tempting, though in general I am not a fan of casseroles. It was for Southwest Chicken Tortellini Casserole, and goddamn was it good. I have been craving spicy food lately like nobody's business, but while this dish wasn't actually "hot" spicy, it had a nice, soothing spiced tone to it. I plan to kick it up a notch next time.

Today I am attempting to make chili for the first time. I LOVE chili. I am starting with the basic recipe found in the Betty Crocker cookbook (the bible-sized one). I have a couple of tweaks planned, including Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with chiles instead of the plain diced tomatoes, jar salsa instead of the canned tomato sauce, and simmering with a seeded jalapeno or two to add some kick. The recipe calls for the chili to simmer for just over an hour, but I plan to simmer it for at least twice that long. Any tips for me from fellow chili-lovers out there?

It's a cold, shitty, rainy New England sunday - I think it's got "CHILI" written all over it.


DamnGoodTechnician said...

Indeedy: I made chili for dinner yesterday! The key (for me, anyway) is the chili powder. I use straight-up Ancho chili powder that I found from a little spice shop near me for super cheap (a whole ton of it), plus a little bit of Habenero powder from the same place. Hits the spice profile in all places - up front, plus nicely in the middle and the end too.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Actually, I recommend not oversimmering the chili, as it will dry the meat out by rendering too much of the fat out of it. Stick to the recommended cooking time.

Also, I would be careful about substituting salsa for tomato sauce, not because of the hotness, but because jar salsa tends to be substantially more acidic than tomato sauce.

All those recipes sounds fucking awesome!

Ambivalent Academic said...

Here's my chili recipe - it varies with what I have on hand. Have fun!

Toaster Sunshine said...

This reminds me that I need to make a chili or a jambalaya soon. And cornbread.

I've been surviving on cookies and burritos lately.

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