Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Creaky, Squeaky Cold
So, we lost the photo credits for this photo. If you let me know who took it, I'll give credit where credit is due. This is my town.
Two or three times a winter, we get inversions. That's where the cold air from Canada and Alaska swoops down from the North, settles into our protected little valleys, sending the warmer air aloft, where it does us no dang good.
Aiyiyi, we're laughing today because people in LA are bemoaning their 40-degree winters. It's not particularly happy laughter. We're high into judgement here. I went to church on Sunday in minus 7 degree weather. My car never did warm up. Every bump in the road caused creaks and groans. That was me. The car was worse.
We are hunkered down, little nips of something or other in the hot chocolate, little nips of something else in the apple cider. It can be a season of joy and warmth, if you work it right. A fireplace. A good chili. Homemade bread. Family and friends to share it with. A book you can't get out of. Some old movies that make you laugh out loud. The Awful Truth. Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Little Miss Sunshine with Olive and her peppery grandpa.
So, here is my chili recipe. Best served on a cold, cold day.
An onion, chopped up into smallish pieces.
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
Cook those down in a little bit of olive oil, until they are soft.
The add 11/2 pounds of meat. Can be hamburger, ground chuck, veal, pork, chicken. Or all of that mixed together. Let the meat brown in the onion and garlic mixture. Season with Salt and Pepper.
Add 1-3 cans of beans. Your preference: red beans, black beans, white beans. The more people you are feeding, the more beans you'll need. Add 2 cans of beef broth and 2 cans of tomato. . . somethings: sauce, diced, mashed. Whatever you like. Start with a can each of the tomato and broth. See if that's enough. Add more if you need it.
Then begin layering in some veggies: a red pepper, 1 - 3 fiery peppers—taste as you go, a green pepper or two, roast those in the oven until the skins are blacked, take the skins off, add a can or two of corn, some sliced zuchini, maybe some mushrooms. Add a tablespoon of cumin and then another of oregano, 1-4 tablespoons of ground California chili, some paprika, about a teaspoon.
Let it all settle in the pot for the afternoon. When you ladle the chili into pottery bowls, top it off with pine nuts, some chopped cilantro, some avocado diced, and a rich shredded cheddar. An icy full-bodied beer goes ever so well with the chili.
See, it's not so bad.