Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cold Nights, Warm Chili

Slater Park, RI

Hello all, long time no see!
I might be lazy in writing but certainly not in cooking. I just got back from the gym and feeling pretty good, so here I go, I get to tell you about my most recent culinary flop and awesome discovery.

Steak Fail! I bought some amazing steaks from Armando's last month and they came out -perfect-. I wanted to take pictures but we ended up eating them too quickly and nothing comes between Chris and his red meat. So yesterday I decided to re-create the event by buying again the most wonderful cut of meat, NY Strip, 1½ inch thick, beautifully marbled and fresh, I could nearly hear them mooing in this picture.

Now the usual technique to not screw up steak this thick is easy: first, get your pan SUPER HOT and sear them on both side for a couple of minutes and then, throw them in the oven at 450F until they reach a wonderful 130F, take them out and let them take in their last few degrees of done-ness. Most meat will cook on for an extra 5-10 degrees on the residual heat, that's why you should let your meat rest for a good 10 minutes without cutting into it.

I must have been in a hurry or somewhere else because I forgot to sear them and they ended up well-done and slightly dry. Chris forbade me from cursing myself and shared his less than dry steak with me. He's such a sweet heart, I could serve him burnt rubber and he would tell me I'm a great cook.(According to him, only I can make boxed cake taste good, teehee!). So take a page from my book and Focus. On. The. Steak!
Acorn Squash and Brussels Sprouts hmm

Also, I would recommend to anyone to purchase a probe thermometer, it's the one most useful tool in the kitchen. I don't know how most chefs knows that their meat is ready without one, seriously this thing has saved me a lot of gray hair in the kitchen. I own a OXO, it will set you back a wooping $40 but I haven't regretted it once, super easy to use and cleans easily. You can use it for any kind of meat and even cake.

Also get a cast iron grilling pan!
Anyway, that was for my fail.. as for the awesome discovery, Chris and I have a semi-tradition to find a fall festival to spend a few hours. The Cranberry bash last year, King Richard's fair 2 years ago and this year we went to the Johnny Cake/Harvest Festival in Kingston. What a well organized fair with a great team of volunteers and shuttles from and to the parking area. Dogs were allowed which is always nice, I was bummed to hear the Scituate art fest forbade dogs this year. I always grab business cards because later on I can browse the vendor's website. I saw these beautiful handmade wood trays and butcher block which I really wanted but I couldn't see myself dragging one around all day so we settled for these cute pottery mugs (we collect them!) by a guy named Erick Adams who is just starting to sell his work. We struck up a conversation about pretty things and Dungeons and Dragons, funny enough he started wood carving in college by making his characters. ~Love it!~ He's trying to earn enough cash to buy his own potter wheel, if you like what you see, I suggest you e-mail him to receive his PDF Catalog (tell him you are Julie and Chris's friend!). Nice guy, love his style and his dedication. EMAIL AT:  TEL: 401-884-5661

Oh yeah, and I had my camera that day, just no memory stick, I'm a winner.

And now I will abandon you to your sad fate with an -awwweessoomme- chili recipe that I jury-rigged last week.

Crock Pot Wednesday Presents:
Warm Chili for Cold Nights
Adapted from  Kalyn’s Kitchen

  • 2 cans 14 oz black beans
  • 1 jars of salsa
  • 2 ½ lbs of ground beef
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
And the obvious topping for chili, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and rolls, all the stuff you love.
  1. Drain the 2 cans black beans into colander and rinse well, until no more foam appears. Toss 1 can in the crock pot and using a food processor, mush the second can with half the salsa until it reaches a smooth texture.
  2. Toss everything in the pot, cook on low for 7 hours, taste to adjust spice level.
  3. This is a crock pot recipe, the instructions ends here.
  4. Enjoy with toppings and bread.

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