Many Foods

Many Foods

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chili Adventures Part 2

          This week, in our search for the chili recipe that we can call our own we experimented by adding a couple of new flavors.  Rumor had it, that one could greatly enhance the flavor and complexity of a chili dish by adding a rich bitter flavor; common things to add include cocoa powder, dark black coffee, and very dark beer.  I didn't want to have too many things going on at once, so I opted for the addition of the cocoa powder and the coffee. 
          For the two pounds of beef, I added 1 cup black coffee (specifically a dark rich roast), and one tablespoon of cocoa powder.  Initially this change was very subtle to taste, but as I ate more of the chili, and my palate adapted to the spice and general flavors of the dish, the coffee undertone started to become much more noticeable.  While the cocoa may have also added to the richness in the chili overall, the flavor was not discernible at any point in time.  Next time I will double the cocoa powder to see the effect.  Maybe it'll enhance the flavors even more, maybe it'll be too much and become overwhelming to the dish. 
          It should be noted that the addition of these two new ingredients, did leave the chili with more of a brownish hue than it had previously.  The extra liquid from the coffee would have also caused the chili to be thinner than it had before, so to counter the effect I let some of the liquid cook off a little more and also added some extra tomato paste.  I am proud of this and am happy to have made great headway on the path of finding the chili to call our own.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Banana Bread

Last night, Allie and I were invited to a nice a shindig at a friend's house.  We were requested to bring a dessert, as well as make more of the cider from the Halloween party we had a week or so ago.  Of course the cider was a hit, just as it was last time, but the new winning recipe was the dessert we brought, some good ole' home made banana bread.

Everyone really enjoyed the banana bread, it was moist, fresh, and had really good flavor.  I started with a fairly standard banana bread recipe, and then added some of my own modifications.  I threw in aome cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and little allspice.  The thing is, I couldn't taste any of those spices in it.  The question I now I have is this: Were the spices even necessary or were they adding to the overall flavor just subtly.  Should I take the spices out, leave them in, or add even more?  Clearly some experimenting needs to be done.  The best part of the night however was when Lisa asked me what was in the banana bread:

Lisa: "So what's in the banana bread?"
Me: "cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice"
Lisa: "There's deodorant?"
Me: "No, that's Old Spice, not all spice."
And then we all laughed for a while.  It was a fun time, and I can't wait to tinker with this recipe some more.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sweet and Heat Chili

As part of our adventures in the kitchen, it seems only proper that every man (and woman for that matter) should have their own signature chili.  I have tasted numerous different people's chili recipes, and they truly are unique to the individual.  So I started my quest to design my own chili. It's still a work in progress but last night saw a lot of success.  The chili is fairly traditional containing mostly meat with some veggies and beans.

I mixed some Worcestershire and Chipotle Tabasco into the meat before browning and then during I left it with some decent sized pieces.  I know there is a lot of debate on whether or not to use beans in chili, but I like beans, so I used kidney beans.  For the veggies, I sauteed them in a separate pan first and then added it to the browned meat.  I used onions and green peppers left in slightly larger strips (just a little smaller than you would have for fajitas) and a couple Serrano peppers.  To bring it all together, some crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste to thicken it up a little.  Like in most of my savory cooking, I had to add a good helping of GARLIC!!!!!   It was seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, a little cayenne, and lots of chili powder. To finish it off I also added about 1/4 c. of Splenda.  If you're not into substituting, you can always go with the real stuff instead of Splenda.

The above result looked great and tasted amazing.  It was a great balance between sweet and heat and the meat came out very savory.  I would be content to have this be my signature chili but before I do, there are a couple of flavors I would like to test out.  A little nutmeg?  Bitter cocoa even?  Only time, and lot more cooking will tell.