Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chilly? Eat Chili

Chili is such a fun way to experiment with flavors by adding your own personal twist to an old traditional recipe or by revamping a recipe completely. I have found that many folks are really proud about their chili creations as evidenced by the many, many chili competitions and cook-offs across the country. My sister, Teri, has won many such local contests with her mouthwatering version made with ground turkey, chunks of beef and lots of fresh peppers. The guys at the dealership show off their chili machismo with annual chili competitions. Unique renditions from everyone. I think that's why it's so much fun to make. Throw your personality into a pot today! LOL.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a few different places. I combined whatever was already filed somewhere in my brain (stored from several big pots of chili over the years) PLUS a few methods borrowed from a wonderful batch of Chicken Tortilla Soup I made awhile ago PLUS the February 2009 Bon Appetit magazine cover recipe which paid homage to a Texas "bowl of red". That cover inspired Mark to do the cooking that weekend. The recipe featured
beef, mole paste, ancho chile powder, cumin, masa and apple cider vinegar. Mark demonstrated his first-time beef carving and chili skills on that memorable pot with great success. It was deeply flavored and dark with no tomatoes. The beans, avocado, cheese and onions were served as garnishes. It was very flavorful and unique.
My mom, Amelia, aka Emily, won a Fioretti family chili cook-off a few years ago even though she was up against Teri, the family chili chef and the rest of us. Even though Mom was never a big chili girl, she kicked our butts with a simply delicious basic recipe from, one of her all-time favorite "go-to" cookbooks, The Woman's Home Companion, which she received as a bridal shower gift in 1949. That "Chili Con Carne" recipe consisted of the usual ingredients like onions, bell pepper, beef, canned tomatoes and chili powder. So, I tried to take all of this chili knowledge, from what I have tasted, what I have tried and what I have read, and I came up with this Texy-Mexy-ish spicy combination of flavors. It may seem a bit tedious but I was really happy with the added flavor you get from the reconstituted peppers and by blending some of the vegetables. A few extra steps adds tons of flavor. Give it a shot and see what you think. Or, concoct your own!

Those who know me well know that I love to share what I know & what I do, because I don't see any point in keeping cooking a secret. It's much more fun to share and inspire.

Unchill your chilliness with some chili today! Then, just chill.

Love to all during the chilly, chili season, Katie ~ Here's the recipe!


Katie's Passion Kitchen

Hot Spicy Chili with Beef Brisket & New Mexico Chiles


Olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

4 large onions (yellow or white), one cut into large chunks & 3 coarsely chopped

2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped

4 large cloves of garlic, 1 cut in half and 3 finely chopped

1 lb ground chuck (80/20)

1 lb ground pork

1 1/2 lbs beef brisket, sliced thinly across the grain into generous bite size pieces

5 dried New Mexico chiles (or 3-4 dried Ancho chiles), reconstituted in boiling water, stemmed and seeded (reserve water)

3 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly

5 fresh serrano chile peppers or fingerhot peppers, finely chopped

2 chipotle peppers (smoked jalapenos) in adobo sauce, seeded

ancho chile powder to taste (I used about 2-3 tablespoons)

hot Mexican chili powder to taste (I used about 1/2 of a small jar)

kosher salt (to taste) - probably around a tablespoon or so for a large pot

2-3 large cans of whole canned tomatoes and their juice, one crushed by hand and the others blended in the blender or food processor

water

reserved pepper water (strained)

one corn tortilla, cut into fine strips (or torn)

your favorite beans (this batch featured 1 can of light red and 1 can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained)



Once you have cleaned and prepped all of the vegetables and sliced the brisket, toss the one onion, cut into chunks, the one clove of halved garlic, the reconstituted peppers, the chipotles, and a few of the tomatoes with some of the juice into a blender or food processor. Blend well. Set aside. Pour a swirl of olive oil into your favorite large pot which has begun to heat on the stovetop. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, green peppers and garlic. I always toss the onions (and in this case, the green pepper) into the pot first as kind of a "bed" for the garlic since the garlic burns easily. Cook the vegetables for a bit until they start to become tender. Add the brisket slices and the ground beef and pork. Brown and stir. Add the blended chile mixture, the hot peppers, both chili powders and salt. Cook and stir for awhile to get the flavors to mingle. In the meantime, blend some of the remaining canned tomatoes and juice with the strained pepper water (or plain water). At this point, you can toss some additional hot peppers into the blender depending upon the level of heat you are going for! Blend well and add to the pot. Add about a half can of water to the pot also. Add the remaining tomatoes, crushed by hand, and bring the whole shebang to a nice boil, while stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce to a simmer now and let simmer for at least one to two hours with the lid ajar. I continually taste-test for heat, salt, and "brightness" of flavor. I thought I was satisfied with 2 cans of tomatoes for awhile, and later added more because I felt that the flavor was not bright enough or "tomatoey" enough. You can also add additional sliced jalapenos (seeds and all) at this point and possibly a bit more chili powder if you think it's too wimpy. Tear up or thinly slice your corn tortilla and toss it into the pot. It thickens the chili very nicely and adds just enough of a corn meal / masa type flavor that gives the chili that "Tex/Mex" aroma and personality.


Serve hot with your favorite chili condiments. I served it with crunchy tortilla chips, cubed avocado, thinly sliced sweet onion rings, thinly sliced fresh jalapeno pepper, sour cream and two cheese choices: shredded sharp cheddar and crumbled queso fresco.


KLF

Katie's Passion Kitchen

developed and written October 20, 2009

posted on Katie's Passion Kitchen January 31, 2010


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MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

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