Posts tagged ‘Spicy’

January 8, 2013

Martha on Satellite & Spicy Chili

Spicy Chili

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.

Spicy Chili

* 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?

Taco Salad

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.

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November 19, 2012

Chipotle-Roasted Carrots

I’m thrilled to be hosting Thanksgiving this year! Without a doubt its my favorite holiday. Great food, family, friends and good drinks. What else is there to live for.  It’s a time to give thanks for all that we are grateful for and all that we often take for granted. My daughter lost a grandma this year. She will be missed and in our thoughts this holiday season. Many of us have survived various degrees of Hurricane Sandy’s impact. I know those of us who spent extended time without electricity will be happy to light candles illuminating our Thanksgiving tables, because we want to, not because we have to.

For some reason, the last month has caused the side of my brain that organizes stuff in my life to shut down. I’ve tried to fix it, but it’s not cooperating. I had high hopes of a beautiful photo of a big turkey on my homepage, obviously that didn’t happen.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be weeks of preparation and days of cooking, leaving you exhausted and unable to enjoy the big day. Try to simplify things a little. There are many recipes that you can make ahead or that require little prep with delicious results. I just made these carrots from Food and Wine as a trial run for Thanksgiving and this dish is a keeper! Sweet and spicy from molasses and chipotles, I love how their flavor adds a nice kick to the Thanksgiving plate.

Adapted from Food and Wine, November 2012

INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)

  • 2lbs carrots, peeled and halved on an angle
  • 1 tbsp unsulfured molasses
  • 1 chipotle, minced (from can of chipotle and adobo sauce)
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Generous sprinkling of sesame seeds (about 1 tbsp) – toasting is optional, I didn’t
  • Handful of watercress, stems removed (about 2oz)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

On a sheet pan toss the carrots with the minced chipotle, adobo sauce, molasses and olive oil. Spread the carrots out evenly on the pan and roast for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Timing will depend on how thick your carrots are. Check the thickest one on the pan, using a fork, after about 30 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and allow the carrots to cool slightly. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and watercress leaves. Toss to combine and serve.

NOTES: I’ve changed the original recipe to make it even simpler and to reduce the amount of olive oil just a little. The recipe calls for 30 thin baby carrots (2-3 bunches) with the tops discarded. These are the pretty carrots that remind me of Peter Rabbit. I know these can be hard to find, so I made this using a 2lb bag of carrots from the grocery store. It turned out perfect. In addition, this is spicy! I used only one chipotle. The original recipe calls for two. Feel free if you can take the heat. Serve it with some plain greek yogurt or sour cream  if you want to cool it down.

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