Sunday, January 17, 2010

Storm Watch!

Yes, Southern California is all worked up because we are expecting a REALLY BIG STORM. Okay, so the weather forecasters finally have something to do besides tell us that tomorrow will be just like today. As I type, it is actually raining. The rain isn't very hard and hasn't left enough water to really run anywhere, but we are getting a nice soaking. So, what do we do when it rains? Well, I try to stay of the roads when possible. Unfortunately, I do have to go to work on Monday. I figured it was a good day to mix up a big pot of Chili.

So, as a thank you to my friend Jo, whose Corn Chowder recipe was such a hit that Young Man not only drained his first bowl, he requested leftover chowder instead of going out for dinner on Friday!

Engineer's Diner Chili

Put the following into a big pan (5-quart or bigger):

1 pound lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder if you are out of fresh)
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped

Cook and stir over medium heat. Stir to break up the meet. Cook until onion is soft and meat has lost its pink color. Drain off most of the fat.

Add lots more good stuff:
6 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups crushed or chopped tomatoes (I use canned and dump in all the liquid)
1-2 cans of whatever beans you want (optional) - This batch uses a can of Chili Beans and a can of Red Beans. We also like Black Beans or even Kidney Beans
2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional - hey, if a small sprinkling of sugar means the 12 year old will gobble this up, I'm game).

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for an hour or so or until you can't stand it any more and must dish it up because the house smells so good. We serve it with cornbread. Most of the time I just make the basic cornbread recipe that comes on the box of cornmeal, but lately we have become hooked on fancier fare.

Mr. Engineer's Phenomenal Cornbread
Lube up a 9x9 or 8x8 square baking pan with whatever you prefer (spray lube, butter, etc.)
In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups corn meal (white or yellow)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar

When the dry ingredients are all mixed, dump in the wet ingredients:
1 can (14-15 ounce) cream style corn
1/3 cup oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, or Mexican blend) - optional

Mix lightly just until moistened (do not overmix quick breads!).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.


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