Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Quick(ish) Chili!

My BFF Saucymama gave me the best Kristamas present ever! Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I keep sitting down to read a recipe and realize I’ve been sitting idle for an hour! So great!
When an awkward cold front blew in the other night, I decided to whip up a quickish batch of chili. Emphasis on quickish, because when I think of chili, I envision a slow cooked masterpiece, and this still took about 2 hours?! So I dove into my first recipe from HTCE; Mark’s idea of chili was a bit different from mine, so I had a few additions. It was still pretty yummy! Maybe could use a bit more work, I, of course was the only one that thought that, but it did it’s job by warming us up!!


1 pound dried red beans, (you don’t have to soak them if you didn’t think ahead, just means a longer cooking time)
water or broth to boil beans in (I did half and half)
1 pound of beef, turkey, chicken, etc
1 whole onion, unpeeled (I chopped of the top and bottom)
1 small onion, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup of the bean-cooking liquid (leftover)
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 fresh/dried hot chile. (I ended up using 2 small thai chiles) *note to self, do not bite the chile to see how hot it actually is….
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp marjoram
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp herbs de provence
cayenne pepper to taste (be careful! You already may already have 2 chiles)

Put the beans in a large pot of water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat, add the whole onion. Adjust the heat, so the beans are at a steady boil rather than a rolling boil and cover loosely.

While beans are cooking, brown your meat. Before draining the meat, add salt and pepper, and the 2 tsp of chili powder.

When beans begin to soften (start checking at 30 minutes, cooking time depends on whether you soaked or not) season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, and adding water if necessary. Cook until beans are very tender but still intact.

Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid. Take out the whole onion, eat it layer by layer (or whatever). Add the rest of the ingredients, including the leftover cooking liquid, and bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to low.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender and all the flavors have mellowed. Taste, and adjust the seasoning, and serve!

I like mine best with shredded cheese and avocado!



The Best Pumpkin Roll EVER!

I found this recipe last Thanksgiving on Anna’s site, Cookie Madness. I love her site, and will be making a few of her treats this Christmas!! This is my favorite baked gift! It’s so simple but aesthetically pleasing! Plus you can make it ahead and seriously the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes (within reason of course).

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
6 T. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan and line with wax paper. Butter the wax paper.

In on bowl, beat eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin.

In another, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then stir into batter.

Pour into lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees 13-15 minutes. Spread a clean linen dish towel on counter. When pumpkin bread is removed from oven immediately spread powdered sugar all over it and flip the cookie sheet onto the towel quickly. Remove wax paper from bottom of bread. Roll the bread along with the towel into log shape and try not to break it as you curl it (It’s easier than you might think). Allow to cool at least an hour (I usually move on to another batch while it’s cooling). This will give the bread the tendency to curl after it has cooled off.

Mix all ingredients for the filling.

After it’s completely cooled, unroll the dish cloth and bread and spread the filling onto the bread and roll the bread into the same direction. Now cover with wax paper and chill to set for a few hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting into slices. It really tastes good after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so.

So very yum and festive! Enjoy!

Nerd’s Chocolate Silk Pie

Approximately four years ago I convinced Nerd to go on a date with me. Our date was to consist of me making his all time favorite Jell-o Chocolate Silk Pie from the box … I never spent time in the kitchen back in those days, and about had a nervous breakdown shaping the crust (crust still makes me cry occasionally). Welp, Nerd ended up making the pie, and he still reminisces about that night when I’m slaving away in the kitchen. He got lucky, we both did. Anyway, they discontinued the Jell-o silk pie and it had been years since he’d had his beloved pie. 

So last summer when he spent 10 weeks in Cleveland, doing nerdy things working for NASA, I searched for a recipe to surprise him with when he returned home:) I found this recipe here on recipezaar. As Nerd requested I made this pie for two thanksgiving dinners, and it was a big hit!! I will be making it again next week, as should you!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture before we cut it but it’s still beautiful!

Cooked Chocolate Silk Pie

1 cup whipping cream
6 oz semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 T whipping cream
1 baked 9 inch pie shell

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine 1 cup whipping cream, chocolate pieces, butter, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted; about 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and gradually stir ~half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, then return the egg mixture back to the saucepan.

Continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is slightly thickened and almost bubbly (3-5 minutes). Then remove saucepan from heat and stir in 3 T of whipping cream.

Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water, stir occasionally, until mixture becomes stiff and tough to stir (20 minutes)
Transfer stiff mixture to a mixing bowl and beat on medium to high speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes)

Spread the filling in your baked pastry shell, cover, and chill for 4-5 hours, but is best when chilled overnight.

It’s delectably rich and delightfully sinful! Enjoy!