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Month: January 2014

A Tale of Two Chili’s

A Tale of Two Chili’s

This time of year reminds me of Chili.  This week, my friend Gracie suggested that I enter into a Chili Cook-off that will be held in Hoboken in late February.  I made Chili once, so I thank her for the confidence she has in me!  I went on a mission this week to find the best recipe and did as much research as time permitted.  I was inspired by Bobby Flay’s Red Beef Chili, but his recipe has a lot of fresh peppers.  My concern was that the supermarkets would not have all of the types his recipe called for.  His recipe also uses chunks of beef (bottom round) and I am usually a fan of Chili with ground beef.

Yesterday I went all around Hoboken to find chili peppers and ended up with dried chilies instead.  I thought I would make a chili sauce for the base to replace the fresh peppers.  Then, when it came time to buying the beef, I was reluctant to get the bottom round, so I decided to compromise with myself (BTW, I do this all the time), and get both bottom round and ground beef. So, while Bobby’s recipes was my inspiration, I did change it up a lot. I made the chili sauce yesterday – something I recommend  as it take a little time to prepare the sauce, but worth it.

As I was preparing to make the Chili this morning, I had every intention to use both kinds of beef.  This is where the Tale of Two Chili’s comes into play.  Since I might enter into the contest, I decided to test out the two separately, using exactly the same ingredients and make two versions – you, got it – one with the bottom round and one with the ground beef.  I plan to bring both to work and let them be the judges!  As soon as the results are in, I will let you know!!  My preference is the ground beef 🙂

 

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New Year… Old Recipes…

New Year… Old Recipes…

Happy New Year everyone!   Hope you all enjoyed the holiday season.  We had a great Christmas holiday and not surprisingly, I learned more things from my mother that I will post in the weeks to come.  For this week’s post, I decided to try her basic pastry dough recipe.  Its a pretty simple dough recipe that she uses for so many things.  This is the same way her mother made it, so its extra special. I used it for empanadas rather than a traditional empanada dough.  When you think about it, almost every culture has their own version of a meat or cheese filled pastry dish.  Italians have Calzones, Asians have Samosas, Spanish have Empanadas, and well, you get the idea.  In Malta, we have Pastizzi (Pa-sti-ze) and Qassatat (ass-sa-tat).  This is the dough recipe we use for the Qassatat but I decided to make a beef filling for empanadas.

Last year, my sisters and niece tried to learn how to make Pastizzi from my mother and well, let me be the first to say, it’s not very easy and we enjoy eating them more than making them!  The Qassatat is much easier and I will share that recipe soon.  For today, I posted the basic dough recipe and my version of the beef empanada filling.  If you are thinking that making a dough is hard to do from scratch, I am telling you, this one is easy.  Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

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