I’ve become a chauffeur. I know the other moms out there understand all too well. I drive people places and run errands. I’m not complaining, I’ve just had the realization that I spend an inordinate amount of time in my car. I never seem to listen to music. It’s only talk radio these days. NPR, CNN, BBC and my recent discovery, Martha Stewart on satellite. If you follow me, you know I have this tortured love hate relationship with Martha. On one hand I admire her for all her creativity and success. However, I can’t ignore the ridiculousness that is Martha.
The other day I was driving around and Martha had on a segment called “Cat Chat.” An entire show dedicated to cats and dogs. There was a call-in segment featuring a pet psychic who could read your pets thoughts and feelings. A caller said that her cat was peeing in the house. The psychic claimed the cat was feeling too much stress in her life. Another woman called in to say her adopted dog seemed upset. The psychic asked for the dog’s name. The dog owner said Bella. The psychic told her that it wasn’t the dog’s real name and its name at the shelter was Happy. The dog was sad the new owners weren’t using her real name. Really? Who comes up with this stuff? I wonder how much Martha is paying this person? I could do this job!
I’m sure it’s no surprise that during the holidays, Martha had lots of crafting and decorating tips. For example, you could have embellished your mailbox for the holidays. Just tape stripes around it, primer and paint it, paste on a ladybug and pull off the tape. Voila! Your own lady bug, candy cane striped mailbox. What happens to the mailbox after the holiday?
Did you know Martha grows and dries her own catnip? She gave some to Whoopi Goldberg as a gift once. I wonder if she also shares it with the Cat Chat lady?
I listened to 10 minutes of discussion about the benefits of cedar balls verses moth balls. She instructed one caller to dip baby booties in paraffin and use them to serve candy for her baby shower. She has an answer for everything. It’s actually quite remarkable. I do like the cooking show. She has guest chefs on the show, including Michael Symon and Mario Batali. That’s very informative, but the chances of my needing to know how to candy cane stripe my mailbox are slim.
I must mention that I saw her on TV recently explaining that she lost 150 trees on her property in hurricane Sandy. She said she recycles the trees, which is nice. She goes into the woods with a saw and cuts the trees herself. Then, of course, she brings the wood home and makes votive candle holders using her trusty drill. Amazing! We don’t even own a saw. Our fallen trees from the hurricane are now home for the squirrels. If I had a saw, I guess I could be out there now, gathering wood to make stuff.
No kidding, after all this mocking of Martha, my Martha Baking Book has gone missing. I think it’s the Cat Psychic… she’s made it disappear as punishment for disrespecting Ms. Stewart. No disrespect, it’s just that Martha makes me feel lazy and uncreative. On a positive note, she’s providing me with countless hours of entertainment when I’m in my car.
* This recipe has nothing to do with Martha Stewart, I just needed an outlet for my Martha obsession.
SPICY CHILI INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 large green bell pepper, small dice
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and small dice
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and small dice
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 2- 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 2- 15oz cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2- 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Few drops hot sauce
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
Heat a large dutch oven on the stove at medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Saute the peppers and onion until they begin to soften. Add the garlic to the pan and stir, cooking until it becomes fragrant. Add the meat to the vegetables and cook, stirring often until the meat is browned. Depending on how lean your meat is, you can drain off any excessive fat.
Add the beans and tomatoes to the meat mixture, along with the spices, stir to combine. Bring the chili to a hard simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. I let this sit on the stove for 3-4 hours. It just gets better as the flavors come together, so you can’t really over cook it, just keep the heat low.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFT OVER CHILI?
We made these taco salads the next night. Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, sliced avocado, corn, pickled jalapeño and red bell peppers. A big ladle of warm chili in the middle and a handful of crumbled tortilla chips on top. For the dressing, I combined just about equal parts of jarred salsa and sour cream. I didn’t measure. Just “eye-ball it” until it comes to a dressing consistency.