Archive | January, 2014

Cincinnati Chili

19 Jan

cincinnati chili

Let’s talk about all the reasons I’m all about this recipe. 1. It comes from Mast Brothers new cookbook- elegant design- go Brooklyn [ if you have never watched this Mast Bro video– you must, now] 2. The ingredients are few, most of which I had lying around/in freezer. I love my vegetarian chili but requires much more chopping 3. The spice- I love the sheer quantity- ¼ cup of chili powder? Yes please. Plus cumin, allspice, and cloves. Now you’re talkin’. 4. The chocolate and sherry vinegar finish. Perfect- it adds so much depth and flavor 5. I’ve been curious about Cincinnati chili- the Mast Bro recipe heading says: “Found at chili parlors throughout Ohio.” Someone please tell me more about this. But I’m going to guess that most Cincinnati recipes don’t involve 2.5 oz chocolate 6. What I do know is that one generally serves Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese. This makes it not only an incredibly hearty dish… but to me the flavors rendered suggest like a Mexican chocolate/mole Bolognese? I hope those words convey how amazing this tastes, because damn, I am impressed with this recipe.

No idea if this is a sacrilege in Cincinnati chili but just because I like it-  I added carrots and beans to this recipe. I used only 1.5 pounds of beef (because that’s what I had on hand)- and i also made up for that weight in the carrots & beans.

Freezes well too.

A Mast Brothers Recipe. my adaptions in [ ]

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

[optional- snacko backo added 3 carrots, chopped and 14oz can of kidney beans]

2 pounds ground beef

¼ cup chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp of cayenne [this gives a nice subtle undercurrent of heat, if you are heat-averse, lessen]

1 ½ cups tomato puree [I used canned San Marzano- sold in giant cans, freeze the rest]

4 cups beef stock [see way too long note below]

2 ½ ounces dark chocolate [no, I did not use Mast Brothers ($), while I might have gone for like 70% cocoa or above, I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet. Worked grand]

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 pinches sea salt

2 pinches fresh ground black pepper

for serving: I used whole wheat spaghetti and Colby cheese. Cheddar or maybe even a smoked cheddar also came to mind.

In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onions and simmer until translucent. [after a few minutes, I added the carrots]

Add ground beef, a cook until browned [just browned is fine, it will get lots more time]

Stir in cumin, chili, allspice, cloves and tomato puree. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes [on low]

Add stock and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. [can add beans maybe 20 mins before finish]

[Turn off heat]

Stir in chocolate, sherry vinegar, remove bay leaves.

Season with salt and pepper [more salt to taste]

A note on stock: I happen to find the box stuff- even the fancy organic kind- unpalatable- it takes like salt water to me- but call me a snob, that’s fine. In Marcella Hazan’s recipes- she recommends make stock yourself- or you if you use the box stuff dilute one cup boxed broth + 3 cups water. So i’d follow her advice on that. I did not make the stock myself- but picked up house made veal stock from my trusty butcher- Savenor’s.  I think if you wanted to sub chicken stock- you could. OR- I don’t see why you couldn’t sub the quick to make-rich stock from dried mushrooms- as in this post (which has recipes for French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup, Mushroom, Meat and Chicken stock recipes). Or you could just not be a snob about it. Something else to keep in mind- is that Cincinnati chili as I understand it- is more liquid-y than your standard chili- so you can scale back on the stock if you want thicker stew- but keep in mind that leftovers- tend to suck up all the moisture so you will have to add a bit of stock or water when reheating.



16 Jan

ginger lemon honey

When we got sick– my mom would make hot water with lemon and honey. Amazing how good– the simple things are. This takes the spice up on that home remedy– just a bit. Let’s call this a cold buster in a mug. * scratch that sentimental story– my sister said this was more something our Grandma would drink– out of those clear teacups, every night, and maybe it had something to do with weight loss? somehow the wires of our memories have crossed. but cold buster or weight loss, seems like a win win.

I drink this hot like a tea– but can also make extra- throw it in a mason jar in the fridge. boom- you got one of those $9 cleanse juice drinks. you could even add some cayenne in- if that’s your jam. or i’d prob prefer- cardamom- will give it a shot and get back to you.


Take about a 3-inch piece of ginger. Best way to peel the skin off? scrape a teaspoon down the side (learned that trick at ballymaloe and it works ten times better than any peeler or attempting with a knife). Cut ginger into dimes.

Thrown in a saucepan. Add two mugs of water. A rounded teaspoon of honey. Juice from half a lemon (that wooden reamer gets the most out of things). Add a pinch of turmeric. Turn on medium-high. Then i like to cover and leave on for at least 15 minutes?  bringing it up to a boil. the longer it goes- the more the ginger spicy it gets. Obvs- more honey if you like it sweeter- less ginger if you want it less spicy. 

That’s it. pour it in a mug. if you want to use a little tea strainer- can do. or can just avoid pouring the ginger dimes in your mug.

The ginger/turmeric addition is also inspired by Reed, who also– inspired this amazing purchase. Knife Sharpener & Honer. Do you know how much easier it is cut with sharp knives? This is probably one of these easiest- can’t fuck it up– methods.

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