Saturday, October 2, 2010

Chili Con Carne

I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen yesterday.  This isn’t abnormal for me though.  I seem to be obsessed with food lately.  The food I made yesterday though wasn’t a new recipe to me.  Yesterday, I hunkered down in the kitchen to make Cook’s Illustrated’s Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne.  I clocked myself and set a new record clocking in at 1.5 hours of prep time!  Woohoo!  I improved by a 1/2 hour!  Yes, that’s right – this is VERY labor intensive stuff.  But also VERY worth it in the end.  I was able to shave that half hour off of my time by using my Chop Wizard to chop up the onions and by buying stew meat already cut up.  I’m not big on handling raw meat, so this is definitely worth doing in my opinion.  The folks at Cooks Illustrated probably frown upon that, but oh well!  The bad news is that I can’t link you to the recipe.  Cooks Illustrated doesn’t post their recipes online.  I guess they want you to subscribe to their website/magazine in order to get the goods.  This is bad news for me as well because it happens to be the LONGEST recipe in the world.  So if needed, I can type it out.  But you must comment and let me know if you are interested in that.  If no one asks, then I won’t do it.  Because like I said, its long and I don’t want to type it out if no one is even interested in making it.  Please note that not all ingredients and prep are listed below.  This is only an abbreviated version, if you will.

First we assembled the necessary ingredients and helpers.   DSC_1139

Chopped onions and garlic.   DSC_1140

First step is to blister corn torillas in a pan. DSC_1141

Here’s a pic of the recipe.  You can see my mom’s note at the top there - “1 hour, 45 minutes prep time!”  That’s no lie! DSC_1144 More ingredients – tomatoes, beans and chipotle peppers.

Looking pretty blistery!   DSC_1147

6 tortillas were blistered in all.   DSC_1148

Here’s the meat.  This is 2 pounds of meat here.  You have to dry them thoroughly with paper towels before you begin browning them so that there is not excess moisture in the pan.   DSC_1149Nex

t, you rip up the blistered tortillas and put them into a microwave safe dish with 2 cups of chicken broth and microwave it for 2 minutes. DSC_1150

In the crockpot already was the 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 5 of the chipotle chiles and 1 cup of chicken broth.  What you are supposed to do here is process the tomatoes, chiles, and saturated tortillas in a food processor or blender.  I put them all in the crockpot and used my immersion blender to process it all smooth.  In the future, I will go back to the food processor method because the immersion blender sprayed sauce all over the place.  Not cool, immersion blender – not cool!  DSC_1151

Next, was browning the meat.  First – pour some olive oil in and heat up the pan.  Then put the meat in leaving space between the pieces. DSC_1153Brown all the sides.  I browned the meat in 4 separate batches.  When the meat is done, throw it in the crockpot.DSC_1156

Next up – cooking the onions.  There are 3 small onions here and also some olive oil.  I cooked them until they were soft. DSC_1157

Next, the spices go in the onions.  You use 5 tablespoons of chili powder and 2 tablespoons of cumin.  Cook until the spices are very fragrant.  Then you throw in the garlic (8 cloves, minced) and cook for 30 seconds more or so. DSC_1159

Throw it all in the crockpot and let it simmer all day.  The house smelled AWESOME all day long.  Finished product pictures below. DSC_1162My next task in the kitchen was to make a chocolate cake for my mom’s birthday celebration we were going to have after we ate chili.  I will have to post pics of that later on.  It was dark by the time we got around to eating it and things do not photograph well in artificial light.  So, we’ll see if I get around to it today.  I paused to try and get a picture of Avery in her cute sweater.   DSC_1170 DSC_1171I was also trying to do something about that mop of hers.   DSC_1177

  And trying to get a picture of her with the hood up.  Not sure how she’s going to do with winter hats if I can’t even get her to wear a hood.DSC_1181

They are laughing because Avery plopped her butt down on my stomach and knocked the wind out of me.  Its hilarious seeing Mommy get hurt! DSC_1182

And finally, the chili.  You add in 2 cans of beans (I did one kidney and 1 pinto) 15 minutes before you want to eat.  And then top it with whatever you want.  Its SUPER spicy from the chipotle chiles, so sour cream is a MUST to kind of take the edge off.  We also like to do crumbled chips.  Last night though, we did Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread.  It was tasty.  But no pictures of it.  Was getting too dark and my belly was getting too hungry!  Pictures had to stop! DSC_1188 DSC_1190 That’s all for now!  We’re all ready for showings….but no one has requested one.  Send showing thoughts our way!!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mission Incomplete

  Today’s mission – get some pictures of the kids smiling TOGETHER out in the leaves.  Not an easy task, but I knew that going into it.  We warmed up with some individual shots.  DSC_1027This is funny cuz I think I have a picture of Dylan peeking thru the steps of the swingset that looks JUST like this. DSC_1033What is Milly DOING up there, Avery? DSC_1039

Looking for mice – duh!  (or hiding from the neighbor’s dog, whatever) DSC_1042

He is hamming it up for me juusssst a tad.   DSC_1047

Here they are thinking, “Awww man, I wish she would just give it up already!” DSC_1059G

etting warmer… DSC_1067

Damn it Dylan!  Look at me! DSC_1069

As close to a BINGO as I got.  Dylan’s head is cut off because I wasn’t looking in the viewfinder.  I was TRYING to get them to both look and smile at the same time.  Seriously – this is impossible.   DSC_1070 DSC_1077

So I put them to work instead.  If you aren’t going to humor me, then you must work!  Work work work! DSC_1078We stopped to make Ginger Cookies.  They are just okay.  Perhaps its because I’m not THAT into Ginger Cookies.  I know someone who is coming tomorrow that will eat them tho. Wink DSC_1083 DSC_1086

Then Eric all of a sudden appeared on the lawnmower and ruined the picturesque backdrop I was working with.  That and he disturbed the peace.  Both with his lawnmower and… DSC_1100


ventually he got his turn.   DSC_1105

She’s so nice - gives her brother a turn and doesn’t even have a freak out. DSC_1115Instead, she takes the opportunity to ham it up as well. DSC_1116

You don’t have to charm me, Avos.  I am already at your beck and call. DSC_1124

I was trying to get her to throw the leaves up in the air, but she wasn’t quite grasping it.  She sure did grasp the leaves tho!  She gave those leaves the bidness! DSC_1135 Well that is all for today.  We have visitors arriving tomorrow.  Grandma Puppy is coming to provide reinforcements while Eric is away next week for work.  Grandpa Puppy is coming too but only to drop her off.  Dylan is pretty excited because I told him that today is Grandma’s birthday.  He asked when her party was and I said, “Well, she’s not having a party.”  “No party?!?!”  Guess we’re having a party tomorrow night for Grandma!  (She was already getting special chili and cake, but now its a full fledged party I guess!)  So, see ya tomorrow for the partay!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Can you believe that the Brainerd does NOT have a Chipotle?!  Thats ridiculous!  They have a Little Ceasars, but NO Chipoopoo?  Chipotle is always one of our stops when we go to the cities, but since I have no plans to go there anytime soon – I had to bring Chipoopoo to ME.  Except without all the added calories.  It really seemed quite simple, actually!  Though, it would really help if they had their chicken marinade readily available online.  That would have been helpful.  Alas, I think it turned out quite well.  It’s definitely not a dead ringer in taste, but I thought it was top notch!  Then again, I think everything I make rocks! Wink   
DSC_1007So, basically, what you need are these things:

-3 chicken breasts (or more, depending on how many peeps you have to feed)
-Brown Rice (I use Bob’s Red Mill – its fab!)
-1 can Black Beans, rinsed

-Salsa of choice
-Spices: Cumin, Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic salt, Oregano
-Juice of 1/2 a lime
-Butter or margarine

-And whatever toppings you want/have on hand.  Think guacamole, tomatoes, etc.

Cook the rice according to the directions.  It takes about an hour, so make sure you start it early. Smile  Bob’s tells you to put butter and salt in when you start it, perhaps this is the secret to tastiness?  Don’t know – but what I do know is that this rice is gooooood.  And I don’t even like rice.  For real.  Don’t like it, never have.  Until Bob’s came into my life.  When the rice is done, put a tablespoon of butter in (yes, more butter, but trust me – its good) and the lime juice.  I also put in some freeze dried cilantro, but you couldn’t even taste it.  So mainly, it was for looks.  While the rice is cooking – do up the chicken.
DSC_1004So I mixed up a tsp of each of the spices and then patted it onto the chicken breasts.  Then I grilled them – 5 minutes per side.  DSC_1006  For the beans, I put in a few dashes of the spices that I used for the chicken and also a 1/2 cup of salsa.  DSC_1008 Once all the ingredients were done, I assembled them as you see here.  With tomatoes on top!  If I would have had avocado on hand, this would have been even more dynamite!  Next time.
DSC_1009Seriously – this rice is SO good.  Even Dylan raved about it and then proceeded to eat his weight in rice.  Now, this says a lot.  Avery was a fan as well.  Eric wasn’t home yet from Minneapolis, but I’m quite sure he would have jumped up and down with excitement.  WinkDSC_1010 Well, time to park it on the couch!  Later!