Monday, October 3, 2011

Three Bean Chili

If you read my blog long enough you will see that I am not a fan of the cold weather. I love leather jackets...I love boots...and I love the holiday season. But I am a much happier person when it is above 60 degrees out. So we are this period of being too warm during the day to cut the heat on; but too cold at night not to. And I just had the air on last weekend as it was in the 80s. I so hate not having a few weeks where I can just use the ceiling fans and have the heating and air turned to the off position.

So as I debate on what to do to heat up my frigid house and my cold body, I figure soup is a good way to start. One of my favorite soups is chili. I make it with black beans. I use black beans with dark and light red kidney beans. I use a mix of pinto beans, black beans and garbanzo beans. I use turkey meat. I use chicken. I use ground beef. There are many ways to enjoy chili at my house. And it is also imperative at my house to enjoy it with some skillet cornbread or buttermilk cornbread muffins.

Three Bean Chili

3 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
3/4 c diced celery
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tbsp hot Mexican-style chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp parsley
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 c chicken stock
1 bottle Corona
1 15-oz can pinto beans
1 15-oz can black beans
1 15-oz can  garbanzo beans

In a large stock pot, add olive oil and crumble in turkey or ground beef and cook, until no longer pink. Stir in onion, pepper, celery and jalapeno and cook until softened. Stir in seasonings. Stir in diced tomatoes,  chicken stock and Corona. Add beans to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Top with sour cream and green onions.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

A few things Southerners are known for: 1) they make some ridiculously good, but diabetic coma sweet, iced tea; 2) peach cobbler and sweet potato pie are dessert staples; and 3) don't sleep on a plate of buttermilk cornbread, black eyed peas and collard greens...make you want to slap ya grandma.

I am making some skillet cornbread to go along with my bowl of chili tonight. Now if you suffer from high cholesterol, you might just want to look at the photos and skip the recipe. Because this recipe calls for butter in proportions that would win Paula Deen's approval! You need a cast iron skillet for this recipe. You can use white or yellow cornmeal. And if you really want to kick your cornbread up a notch, use a bit of bacon grease instead of butter.

If you don't own a cast iron skillet and feel compelled to run out and buy one, you can typically find them at Target (between $12-$20). You will want to season your cast iron pan before you use it. Seasoning a pan gives it a stick-resistant coating of polymerized fat and oil on the surface, which will prevent it from rusting and foods from sticking to the surface. 

How to season your cast iron skillet:
  1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Coat the pan with lard. Don't use a liquid vegetable oil.
  3. Place the pan in the oven. In 15 minutes, remove the pan; pour out excess grease.
  4. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
Tips for caring for your cast iron skillet:

  1. Allow hot cast iron skillets to cool gradually.
  2. Never immerse a seasoned cast iron skillet in water to clean it.
  3. To rid the cast iron pan of minor rusting, use a steel wool pad and put it through another round of seasoning.
  4. Never drop cold water into a hot cast iron skillet or it will split or crack.

Buttermilk Skillet Cornbread

2 c buttermilk, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 stick butter, melted
2 c cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 c sugar (or one packet Stevia)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place cast iron skillet inside to heat as you mix the batter.

Combine the buttermilk and eggs. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Whisk in 6 tbsp of the melted butter.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter to the hot skillet, coating the sides and the bottom. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 20-25 minutes. Remove skillet to wire rack and let cornbread cool for 10-15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack. Cut cornbread into wedges and serve.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

I feel really bad when I have people over to visit and have not gone to the grocery store. I have plenty of food in my fridge and pantry that I like to eat. However, it appears that none of my friends and family members are eating healthy so there is not plenty in my fridge and pantry that they like to eat. My sister was here this week and has been eating these deli sandwiches for lunch. I keep looking at her lunch, thinking fondly of how I used to bake bread, with my beloved Sunbeam bread maker, for my sandwiches. But something was missing from her lunch. Potato chips! What's a sandwich with no chips? So I remembered that I had some Russet potatoes in the fridge and decided to make a batch of chips to complete her lunch for tomorrow.

I have some reservations about making the chips because I was cooking dinner a few weeks back and heard this mini explosion. I looked up and saw a fire in the back of my range and was devastated that I may have to have a funeral for my Frigidaire...or better yet, one for myself! It turns out that a cord in the back had been worn, possibly due to age, and the electrician said it was no major problem to repair.

So the stove was fixed the next day...but the electrician also said my house could have burned to the ground and I could have been electrocuted. So, needless to say, it has taken a while for me to be completely comfortable in the kitchen, which is a shame because it is my favorite space in the house. I said all that to say, these chips would normally be cooked in a 400-450 degree oven but, after the "incident" I am a little nervous about cutting the oven on that high.

So, here's hoping that my act of sisterly kindness does not give me a kitchen nightmare!

Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

2 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in lower position.

Slice potatoes with mandolin (approximately 1/8 inch thick) and put them in a bowl of water to soak for ten minutes. Pat potatoes dry. Divide potatoes between baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with oil, toss, and spread them in a single layer on sheets, careful that chips are not touching.

Bake until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar.

All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Sweet Treats 'n Good Eats, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.