Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bizzy Bizzy Bizzy (Perfect Parsleyed Potatoes

It's event and big project time again and I’ve been really really busy – not much time for cooking, blogging or blogging about cooking.  But tonight I made a side dish that was so good, I had to jot it down to share with y’all.
At the Farmers Market or the grocery store,
North Carolina Potatoes are hard to beat

Most people don’t know it, but North Carolina is home to some mighty fine potatoes.  I love getting them from the Farmers Market, but our local grocery story has a “local” section so we can get them pretty much any time we want.  Tiny and tasty they are the perfect spud.

We’ve been having these tasty taters lately simply boiled and tossed in garlicky butter and parsley. They are a snap to make any old weeknight, but good enough to serve for company.  Give ‘em a try, they won’t disappoint.

Perfect Parslied Potatoes
Serves two with a tad bit of leftovers – do the math to make for a larger crowd

  • 6 tiny white or red “new” potatoes, cut in half
  • Plenty of Kosher salt for the water
  • 1 pat butter
  • 1 Tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Put the potatoes and the garlic in a medium sauce pan, cover with water and add a Tablespoon or so of Kosher slat. Cover and bring to a boil over a high flame.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, remove the lid, lower the heat to medium and cook until fork tender (abut 7 minutes or so)
  • While the potatoes are cooking, put the butter into a microwave safe bowl, and heat for 30 seconds to melt.  Add a pinch of salt and  a grind of pepper.
  • When the potatoes are done,  turn off the heat, remove garlic and smush it into a paste with a knife.  Then add the garlic to the melted butter and combine.
  • Now, remove the potatoes from the pot of water with a slotted spoon and drop them into the butter, garlic mixture.  Toss to coat. 
  • Now add the chopped parsley toss to combine. 

Serve immediately, or cover the bowl with foil to keep warm until the rest of the meal is ready to serve.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl! (Mom's chili and beans)

I love it when Will calls and asks for a recipe so he can cook for his friends. 

I just hung up from just that kind of call -- he's having friends over for chili and elk burgers (remember, he goes to school in Montana and now has a freezer full of venison, elk and moose) and needed me to email him the ingredient list for "Mom's Chili."  We couldn't believe that this recipe hadn't been blogged yet -- I sent it to him his freshman year, with a box full of canned goods and spices. 

Steve & I wish we could join the boys for the game, but at least we know how the chili will taste.... delish!

Mom’s Chili with Beans

This is one those recipes that is not exact.  OK you know the drill. You will have to taste as you go and adjust. Here’s what you need:

The fresh stuff:
  • 1 to 1.5 lbs ground beef (elk and venison work well, too)
  • 1 onion - chopped up
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • XLNT tamale (usually in the deli section of the grocery store) - if you can’t find this, packaged polenta will also work - the polenta comes in a tube and may be in the refrigerated section or where the rice or pasta is. The masa will be in the Mexican section, cuz it's what you use to make tamales and tortillas. Find a nice lady and ask (-; 

The canned stuff
  • Big can of crushed tomatoes (or whole tomatoes that you squish up)
  • Large can of dark red kidney beans
  • Medium can of diced tomatoes
  • Small can of tomato paste
  • Small can of Ortega diced chilies
  • Can of beef broth
  • Bottle of beer (optional)

The herbs and spices
  • Cumin - I prefer the seeds
  • Chili powder
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper

The Method:
Over a medium to low flame
  • Brown the beef, drain the fat and remove the beef to a bowl or plate
  • Add the onions and sauté until translucent
  • Add the garlic - sauté  - be careful, don’t burn it!

  • Add 1/2 of the can of tomato paste - sauté it until it looks like it has developed a bit of color
  • Add palm full of chili powder
  • Add about a fourth to half palm of the cumin - go easy on this. Crush it in your hands by rubbing it together then toss in
  • Add about a fourth palm of oregano - crushed in your hands the same way
  • Add the beef back in and sauté it all together

Now, add the cans of crushed and diced tomatoes as well as the big ol' can of kidney beans, and stir this well. 
  • Add some salt and pepper to taste
  • At this point you’ll want to add about 1/2 can of beef broth; stir it well. This is also when you make the judgment call about the beer. It’s nice to add if you will have time to let it cook down. If you don’t have that kind of time add the rest of the beef broth.

Lower the heat and let this simmer for 45 minutes or so. Stir it now and then.

At about the 30 to 45 minute mark I like to add the tamale (or polenta or masa) if you have them. They are not mandatory, but they thicken it up and make it really good.
  •  To add the tamale/polenta/masa you will need to smush them up with some of the reserved broth or a little water. You need to get it to a stage where you can mix it into the chili as a thickening agent. Not super thin, but stir-able.

Cook the final mix for another 15 to 20 minutes. It can go longer, but keep an eye on it. Burnt chili is nasty.
Serve with cheese and onions

(Another way to stretch this for a crowd is to add a can of black beans and/or a can of corn)