Some people add strange things to a chili recipe, but you don't have to preen to create a hearty, satisfying dish. Uploaded by canadianwineguy.com.
When the calendar gets deep into fall and winter, almost nothing tastes better than a steaming hot bowl of chili. Now, what goes in that chili varies from individual to individual, but many of the best recipes have quality chuck beef, some variety of chiles, cumin, and probably some beer. What most chili purists won’t have, however is beans. (I’m not a purist, though; I like beans in my chili.)
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Now that any city worth its salt has a chili cook-off, and there are national competitions that showcase this hearty soup, we’ve learned the unconventional ingredients sometimes include in winning recipes. Some include: pineapple, honey, vanilla (sounds pretty sweet so far), bacon, grape jam, Peppermint Patties, pumpkin, peanut butter. And anything that will make your mouth blister.
To each his own. One personal observation — there’s no reason I can think of why good chili has to be blistering hot. Spicy hot, I mean. The tongue needs to savor the richness of the flavors, not be hanging out of the mouth looking for an icy drink to plunge into. There are lots of excellent chili recipes available online, but here’s a page that has the recipes of the Chili Appreciation Society International’s Terlingua Championship winners all the way back to 1988. Enjoy.
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First, I appeal for calm. Nothing stirs the passions, especially among Southerners, quite like a discussion of which kind of barbecue sauce is best. So let’s take a deep breath and start our tour.
Over in Eastern North Carolina, they prefer a vinegar-based sauce. Here in the western part of the state, we like it with more of a sweet tomato base. In Texas, they put molasses and Worcestershire sauce in theirs, Kansas City has it thick and sweet, and in South Carolina they want it with mustard. Shoot, we can’t even agree on how to spell the blessed food. Barbecue, barbeque, bar-b-que, b-b-q, and probably other permutations exist. Here’s the deal, though. No matter which you think is “genuine,” I think we can all agree on one fact:
Oh man that stuff tastes good.
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I will take issue, however, with those who believe that any meat cooked on a grill or smoker is barbecue. Nuh-uh. True barbecue is pork. Not brisket. Not beef. Not chicken. Not even ribs. All those things are delicious, but don’t go calling them barbecue because it just ain’t so. I’m not making a call on chopped, sliced, or pulled pork, because I think all three have their place.
And their place is in my mouth. Oh, put some baked beans and a few of those hush puppies on my plate, would you?
Posted in Food
Tagged barbecue, Food, South
Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Captain Scooter.
The American pizza community is basically divided into three camps. First, those who like thin crust pizza (let’s call them the “Smart” pizza lovers). Second those who prefer the deep-dish style (also known as people who don’t understand what pizza is all about). In geographic terms, it’s New York vs. Chicago. The final group is California “pizza”, dough topped with goat cheese, bean sprouts, and other things God never meant on pizza.
Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased on this subject. (You think?) I love a crunchy crust, and nothing is crunchier than a pizza made in a coal-fired brick oven. Patsy’s way.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Home Slice Pizza.
The original Patsy’s is in East Harlem, going strong since 1932. From most places in Manhattan, it’s a longer way to go for a pizza, not as easy as going around the corner. And its atmosphere can best be described as what atmosphere? But it’s worth it for the pizza… Read what Michael Stern of Roadfood.com had to say about it:
It is the simplest pie imaginable, easy to hoist slice by slice, built on a marvelous thin crust with charred spots all along the edge that have the smoky flavor that only a coal oven delivers. Two versions of plain cheese pizza are available: fresh mozzarella, with thin pools of creamy sliced cheese spread out within the microthin layer of tomato sauce, and regular mozzarella on which saltier, slightly oilier shredded cheese is spread evenly all across the surface. They have a very different nature, topping-wise, but they both sport that marvelous wafer-thin charcoaled crust.
This is one of the Great American Things I haven’t personally had the opportunity to try yet. Next trip to NYC, it’ll be a must-do. The only problem is, I may never be able to eat Pizza Hut or Papa John’s again…