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  • Texas Red – Chili

    With the recently departed Stella, and the oncoming snow for the weekend, it is time for some serious hearty food. And for this Texas boy, that means meat, and since I live in New York, I have no time to spend hours cooking, so that means the slow cooker.

    From Wikipedia:

    Chili con carne, commonly known in American English as simply “chili”, is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), and often tomatoes and beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin.

    Geographic and personal tastes involve different types of meat and ingredients. Recipes provoke disputes among aficionados, some of whom insist that the word “chili” applies only to the basic dish, without beans and tomatoes. Chili con carne is a frequent dish for cook-offs and is used as an ingredient in other dishes.

    From way back in my youth, these are the days my mother made chili, or Texas Red, no beans, no tomatoes, no mushrooms, no tofu, absolutely nothing fancy, just beef, stock, Allium, and capsicums, and perhaps some cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and other trace element style spices. (Alliums are the onion family, onion, garlic, etc, and capsicums are peppers.)

    To quote a description:

    Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.

    If one looks at all the legends of how chili was discovered, there is one thing in common…. ABJECT POVERTY, so the meat involved is not going to be the best, but since it will be close to the horn or the hoof, I am sure it will have flavor beyond compare, and collagen beyond believe. (And this is a good thing….)

  • A New Year’s Cholent

    It is Rosh Hashanah, and while I do not celebrate this, I can truly appreciate the food.

    I’ve been rocking and rolling on various projects and living the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet), life. Time to stop and get back to cooking. I want SERIOUS hearty food, I want meat, root veggies, legumes, all in a rich and savory gravy. But a stew just is not going to cut it, and I’ve done roasts of just about anything that would walk, fly, swim or slither. Time to take a lesson from some friends. Time to make cholent, a savory, rich, stew of brisket, beans, veggies and all held together by a gravy that can only happen after hours of slow cooking.

    I already acknowledge the fact that the “fan club”, will be writing me on ALL the mistakes I’ve made. (Send me your recipes, I’ll try them all)

    Using my slow cooker on low I’ll simmer this for at least 10, maybe 12 hours, or until the collagen in the meat melts

    Wikipedia says:

    Cholent (Yiddish: טשאָלנט, tsholnt or tshoolnt) or hamin (Hebrew: חמין‎) is a traditional Jewish stew simmered overnight, for 12 hours or more, and eaten for lunch on Shabbat (the Sabbath.) Cholent was developed over the centuries to conform with Jewish religious laws that prohibit cooking on the Sabbath. The pot is brought to boil on Friday before the Sabbath begins, and kept on a blech or hotplate, or placed in a slow oven or electric slow cooker until the following day.

    There are many variations of the dish, which is standard in both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi kitchens. The basic ingredients of cholent are meat, potatoes, beans and barley. Sephardi-style hamin uses rice instead of beans and barley, and chicken instead of beef. A traditional Sephardi addition is whole eggs in the shell (haminados), which turn brown overnight. Ashkenazi cholent often contains kishke or helzel – a sausage casing or a chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture. Slow overnight cooking allows the flavors of the various ingredients to permeate and produces the characteristic taste of cholent.

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  • Spicy Dahl

    dahl

    Ok, it’s windy, chilly, nasty, threatening snow. Almost what you see in all the mountain movies about the Himalayas. Soo, hmm, Himalayas, gurka’s, Dal and rice…. But a soup, with Asian chicken stock, one can forgo the chicken stock and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian twist. But as always, we’ll look at some dried red peppers, or maybe serve with a hot pepper / vinegar finishing sauce on the side…

    Background

    Dahl bhat is a traditional South / Central Asian and staple dish which is essentially rice (bhat) and lentil soup (dal). This is a very common food in South Asian countries specially Nepal. In general eaten twice a day with another (usually spicy, maybe hot /sour) dish called tarkari which can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian..

    The recipes vary by locality, ethnic group, family, as well as the season. Dal generally contains lentils (different types are used according to taste), tomatoes, onion, chili and ginger along with herbs and spices such as coriander, garam-masala and turmeric.

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  • Slow Cooker Black Beans

    bbsoup

    I do not do cold or wet very well and for the last several days of misery, I’ve been craving some hot, hearty, black bean soup. I love thick black bean soup, just about a stew, something that will stick to you and shield you from the icy talons of wind.

    Soups like this are mostly improvisations. The basic ingredients are the black beans, the smoked ham, the aromatics, and the spices. From there one can add or remove ingredients to meet your tastes or culinary requirements. (The ham / pork component can be replaced with dark meat chicken and liquid smoke, or the meat component can be dropped entirely and replaced with a heavy mirepoix or other aromatics.

    I know I’ve done a few bean posts over the last month, but they are easy to cook, fairly healthy, and very cost effective, one slow cooker of beans will feed the lair for several days, as opposed to a slow cooker of stew that will be consumed in less than a day.

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  • 16 Bean Soup

    Today is another working day in the lab. Correcting all the mistakes I made yesterday, and making fresh ones for tomorrow. So food will need to the hearty, hot, and plentiful. I’m thinking beans, but maybe not my usual beans, a mix say 16 beans. Soaked overnight, and slow cooked with bacon, andui sausage, and the trinity of onion, celery and green pepper.

    This is a good, simple, healthy meal for a winters day. It’s delicious and full of protein and fiber and low on cholesterol…you can’t loose. And it’s cheap, a good thing considering the current economy.

    This can be made vegetarian, in fact vegan, but I really will need real meat protein, so I’ll also go with chicken stock as a liquid.

    Wikipedia says:

    Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth. Traditionally, soups are classified into two main groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consommé. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter and cream. Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour and grains.

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  • Cajun Red Beans and Rice

    As the projects roll on, I need a dish that can cook without a lot of care, I also need a dish that will be hearty and tasty.

    Trolling the panty, I have some “Sangre de Toro”, A classic red bean of Mexico. Whether it’s New Orleans red beans and rice, chili or just a bowl of beans, I think Sangre de Toro (or “Bull’s Blood”) is a tremendous bean. Dense and meaty, it has a good pot liquor and can be used whenever red beans are called for.

    Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine (not originally of Cajun cuisine) traditionally made on Mondays with red beans,[ vegetables (bell pepper, onion and celery), spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf) and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice. Meats such as ham, sausage (most commonly Andouille), and Tasso ham are also frequently used in the dish. The dish is customary – ham was traditionally a Sunday meal and Monday was washday. A pot of beans could sit on the stove and simmer while the women were busy scrubbing clothes. Similar dishes are common in Latin American cuisine, including moros y cristianos and gallo pinto.

    Red beans and rice is one of the few New Orleans style dishes to be commonly served both in people’s homes and in restaurants. Many neighborhood restaurants continue to offer it as a Monday lunch special, usually with a side order of either smoked sausage or a pork chop. While Monday washdays are largely a thing of the past, red beans remain a staple for large gatherings such as Super Bowl and Mardi Gras parties. Indeed, red beans and rice is very much part of the New Orleans identity. Jazz trumpeter and New Orleanian Louis Armstrong’s favorite food was red beans and rice – the musician would famously sign letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong”.

    I will break with tradition and use brisket rather than tasso (ham), as I have a half cut that should be used.

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