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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.


Speedy Soup: White Bean, Sausage & Kale

29 Jan

speedy soup

This is less of recipe- then a call to throwing together the contents of your fridge- when it is too cold and you are too cheap to buy ingredients. Here’s to hearty weekday sustenance! Jess P. I feel like you make a vegetarian version of this? with tiny pasta (which has a special name) and maybe tomato?

This is also sort of a riff on italian wedding soup– which i love– but thought that sausage was a nice shortcut to making own meatballs. But a recipe for that soup– inspired the finish- crack an egg in a swirl around. Totally fine w. out this last step- but it makes it super extra hearty.

needless to say, you can increase recipe amounts and get more experimental with add-ins and spices.

4 cups chicken stock (homemade please!) [this is what i had, and mine had a pretty high stuff to soup ration- could prob use like 6 cups of broth- if you want it more… well, brothy]

1 bunch of kale (in a moment of true laziness i bought a pre-cut version from trader joes the other day. i am embarrassed and will never do it again. it was all stalk. but yes, totally convenient. used half a bag) escarole would also be perfect. other dark green also acceptable. if i had used a real bunch of laciento kale i probs would have taken out the stem.

1 or 2 sausage link (i think mine was hot italian- any kind will do. as Rach W. pointed out- i buy the good butcher kinds- and take out of the casing and slice into semi-circles)

1 small onion (half a large), finely chopped

1 or 2 cloves garlic

pinch of red chili flakes

1- 14oz can cannellini or other white beans

optional: add some cooked tiny pasta, arborio rice, orzo [one thing to know is that if you are planning to have leftovers it can be good to keep, especially the arborio, separately from the soup- because it will suck up the stock like a sponge]

parmesan cheese

1 egg

Pour a generous glug of olive oil (tablespoon or two) and tablespoon (or two) of butter. Saute onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes until fragrant. When onion has begun to soften, add sausage. Once looking pretty cooked (a few minutes). Add Kale and cover to cook down. Once that is ready, add beans and stock. Simmer to blend all flavors.

Before eating, can crack and egg in a swirl w. a fork. I’d personally do this with only the portion i am reheating. But not sure that is totally necessary to keep separate like that.



Miso Soup and Ginger Pork

14 Jan

asian feast


miso soup

Miso soup- turns out- takes about 5 minutes to make. Who knew? A lot of people probably. Entire nations. First you have to make the dashi or fish stock. Then you add the miso and whatever other fixings you want. The fun thing is- this involves a trip to your local Japanese grocery- and if you look out for them- there is probably one not too far from you. [Porter Square, Williamsburg, near NYU- just to name a few]

These recipes come from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking. The book I bought when I got back from my trip to Japan- 2 years ago- thinking I would use all the time. And I just now- finally made the soup.


5 cups water

3 1/3 tablespoons dried fish flakes (bonito) [i bought the kind that is separated into tiny packets which is great- because this stuff is Stank!]

Heat the water and just before it comes to a boil, add the dried fish flakes and simmer for 1-2 mins over low heat. Turn off the heat and leave the fish flakes to sink to the bottom of the pan, then strain. Can freeze extra dashi.

Miso soup

3 ½ cup dashi stock

4 tablespoons awase miso paste

8 inch piece dried wakame seaweed [I used this kind that’s already in little pieces]

5 ounces soft/silken tofu

finely chopped spring onion/scallion to garnish

Heat dashi stock in saucepan. Just before it comes to a boil, add the miso and stir until completely dissolved.

Soak the seaweed in water until soft. Drain and cut into bite size pieces. Cut tofu into ½ in square pieces. Add tofu then seaweed to the soup. Heat thoroughly, taking care not to let it boil. Garnish with spring onions.


Ginger Pork  (top left of first image)

3 ½ cups bean sprouts (mung)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

½-1 tablespoon grated ginger- to taste

2/3 lb. finely sliced pork [I cut these little chops in thin slices- horizontally- if that makes sense. And just a note- easier to slice when very cold/near frozen]

sunflower or vegetable oil for stir-frying the pork [I used grapeseed oil]

1 tablespoon oil for cooking the sprouts

¾ tablespoon sliced garlic (1 clove)

salt and pepper

Trim end off sprouts [Harumi makes a note, that yes, you might think this is not worth doing- but they look nicer and taste better so do it. Unfortunately, laziness got the best of me and I ignored her]

Mix together soy sauce, mirin and grated ginger and dip the pork into this marinade briefly just before cooking

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over med heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to the pan, making sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick together or curl up. Turn over after a couple of mins and cook until both sides are browned. Don’t leave pork for too long as it cooks surprisingly quickly- but make sure it’s cooked through

In a separate frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add sliced garlic. When aroma is released, add bean sprouts and stir-fry. Season w. salt and pepper.

Put bean sprouts onto a serving dish and lay the slices of pork on top. Pour any remaining juices from the frying pan over the pork.


Moroccan-Style Braised Vegetables

12 Nov

I’ve wanted to make this recipe every since I stole/borrowed this Alice Waters book from Chrissy. The book In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart has some great very basic techniques- for example- it taught me the proper way to fry an egg. Or, there will be a whole chapter devoted to the mortar and pestle- as I mentioned in the post on  green tomatillo salsa. She has her friends- share recipes. This one is by Joyce Goldstein and it is called Moroccan-style Braised Vegetables. And the reason why I finally made it- is because I was able to use a lot of vegetable from my CSA. So very seasonable, very fall. I’d say this is closer to soup/chunky stew. And before you ask, yes, you should use dried chickpeas. Not only do they taste way better- but this broth you cook it in- is the base for the braise. And man, it was tasty, I will definitely use for future chickpeas. What always deterred me is that this recipe seems a bit overcomplicated. But put on some Netflix and just let it ride. Oh and yes, you should also use the whole spice seeds- toast and grind- you will get way more flavor out of it.

½ pound (1 cup) dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight [i left overnight because i had time, but could also do the speed up method Just the Tips #10]

1 small onion, peeled and halved

½ cinnamon stick

1 small dried red chile

2 tablespoons olive oil


Drain the chicpeas, put them in a medium pot, and add water to cover by 1 ½ inches. Add the onion, cinnamon stick, chile, olive oil, and generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook gently until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes [check, a forgot to time it but I think they might have taken less.] Taste for salt. Remove from the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid.

For braised vegetables:


½ pound carrots

1 pound baby turnips [1 used two small turnips and 2 parsnips]

1 ½ pounds butternut squash [I substituted acorn squash because I had it at hand- though next time would go w. butternut]

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

a pinch of saffron threads

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

One 14-oz can whole tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

[optional: i threw in some currants my leftovers, yum. golden raisins would also work nicely]

Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with generous amount of salt. Peel and halve the carrots and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch segments. Trim the turnips and cut into halves and quarters. Cook the carrots and turnips in separate batches until just tender, about 5 minutes. Spread the vegetables on baking sheet to cool at room temperature.

Peel and seed the squash and cut into 1-inch chunks. Put squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread the squash out to an even layer, season with salt, roast in the oven until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.

Lightly toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and saffron [in a dry skillet], and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Add the turmeric and cayenne, and stir to combine.

Warm a large [large- i used my 5 qt all-clad- this makes a ton], straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the onion, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the tomatoes and cut into ¼ inch dice. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the spices, garlic, and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chickpeas, and the cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Add the squash, carrots, and turnips. At this point there should be a nice amount of broth in the pan- like a chunky soup. If not, add water as necessary. Taste for salt, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Recommend to serve with buttered couscous or saffron rice (ask me for recipes- I haven’t tried yet) and pass a bowl of harissa at the table. I think this Moroccan couscous would work well too.

Harissa recipe- I didn’t make but would have if I had the ingredients so am including.

Toss 5 dried ancho chiles on a hot griddle until puffed and fragrant. Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with boiling water, soak for 20 minutes, and drain. Roast, peel and seed 1 large red bell pepper. In a blender or food processor, purée the drained chiles, and peeled pepper with 4 peeled garlic cloves, ¾ cup olive oil. 1 tsp red wine vinegar and salt to taste. Thin with water if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho

22 May

Also made this week: Turkey Burger. Yum! Check out its hot new pic.

There was a phase where my mom made “fat burning soup.” I think the idea was similar to the (myth?) of celery– that it takes more calories to eat than you actually consume? Well, this tastes nothing like that soup– but gazpacho makes me think of it- as it always feels like the most healthy and fresh soup. This recipe is packed with flavor and comes from The Voluptuous Vegan. Obviously, I would never have found a recipe from this on my own. But last summer, this gazpacho was brought to the vegeatrian potluck thrown by the tech dept at the museum. It was so tasty, i asked for the recipe. Normally, I get lazy and skimp on garnishes. But these really add something- so I encourage you to use. I also had thought about adding a serrano pepper to add some heat to the soup or garnish— in the end, i didn’t- but the idea is out there, if you want to. I do also have a more traditional gazpacho- an Ina Garten recipe– elsewhere on the blog.

Also- check out my new rooster timer! I’m in love. Thanks to Alexis- for encouraging the purchase at Fish & Eddy’s.

4 thick slices of bread (preferably sourdough) [two slices go in the soup, two used as croutons]
2 cups cold water
2 pounds red tomatoes
1 large roasted red pepper
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons paprika [i used 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon sweet parika. this produced a strong smokey flavor, so adjust accordingly to your tastes]
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons salt
finely chopped red onion, for garnish
finely chopped green bell pepper, for garnish
finely chopped tomatoes, for garnish

To roast red pepper (directions as cribbed from swordfish recipe): Preheat to 400. Line baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat whole red peppers with olive oil. Cook for 30-40 mins. Flip over once during. The peppers will get charred and black on outside- that’s what you want. When done, take the peppers out. I put in a tupperware, and cover with lid for 15 mins. This steams and makes them worlds easier to get skin peel. When cool, using hand or knife, to slide off skin, seeds and top.

Remove crusts from bread. Place 2 slices of bread in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 5 minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze it like a sponge to rid of excess water. Discard the water.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes, soaked bread, and water to a blend/food processor to break up the tomatoes. Will probably need to do in 2 batches. [i regrettfully didn’t listen, and it caused a mess, so batch it]
Remove the charred skin from the pepper. Scrape of stems and seeds. and chop into 1-inch pieces.
To the blender, add the pepper, scallion, paprika, garlic, vinegar,1/4 cup of the oil, chopped basil and salt and blend until smooth.
Tranfer to a container and chill thoroguhly. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

[admittedly, I skipped this step- and just ate with bread] To make croutons: preheat oven to 350. Cut the remaining slices into 1/2-inch cubes. Put remaining tablespoon of oil in small bowl. Place the bread cubes in bowl and light toss around so bread touches oil. Spread cubes on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes until crispy and golden.

Serve the soup garnished with a spoonful of red onion, green pepper, tomato and croutons. Gazpacho is one of those things that tastes even better the next day- when flavors have all spent the night together.

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