Posts Tagged ‘chili’

Fine! I give in!

Posted: February 7, 2014 in Humor
Tags: , , ,

There have been several individuals that have repeatedly accosted me over my supposed “secret recipe book.”  No matter how much I repeat myself, they don’t get the point: recipes are for bakers and sober people.  As you all know, I am neither.

That said, it took a request from one of my wife’s coworkers (and the fact that going this extra mile may, in fact, help me land a job with them) to get me to write this down.  By “write this down,” I meant take a large portion of my “mental health day,” get bombed, and pretend like I have any goddamn idea how to write a recipe down…  so your results may vary.

Just go with it.

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh… it’s the best I could Google. Bear with me, and enjoy the ride.

Tropical Chili

Seeing how there is no recipe for what I’m doing (as I truthfully never know precisely what I’m doing at any given time for any culinary task)–  I’m just going to write it out as I go as a set of guidelines/steps to follow…  in drunkenese.

Stuff you need

  • 2lbs of ground turkey (yeah, it’s one of those chili concoctions)
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • One small/mediumish onion
  • Garlic
  • 2 12oz cans mango
  • 1 20oz can pineapple tidbits  (yes, I said “can,” don’t judge me)
  • 1 12oz can diced tomato (obviously, if you were going to a competition, you modify this to use fresh)
  • Dry navy beans  (if you don’t have time for that shit, any canned variety will work—except black beans.  Too much flavor.)
  • 1 12oz can corn, drained
  • 3-4 medium poblanos
  • 2-3 big bell peppers (red, yellow, orange… NOT green)
  • Cinnamon
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Season salt

Optional stuff

  • Corn starch
  • Brown sugar
  • Stupidly hot peppers

Start off with a big ass crock pot.  I’m not talking those pansy two quart size ones, I’m talking a crock pot.  Obviously you can do this on the stove in a large kettle, but I’m doing this the slackinese way.  Rinse a little under a pound of beans and throw them in the crock.  Yes, this is like the second time I’ve ever used my kitchen scale, but I digress.  Turn it to high, add mango and pineapple juice.  You can throw in the can of diced tomato at this time.

Grab a knife.  Dice up all peppers, and make sure you’re wearing gloves.  I know, this is a big “no shit” moment, but I’ve burned my corneas three times (all three followed immediately by “dammit, should have known better.”)  Seriously, just scrubbing your hands with dish detergent won’t cut it.  Add those to the crock pot.  Toss in a decent amount of chili powder and paprika.  Add a little crushed red.  Don’t go nuts with it, there’s time for that later.

Alright, next up!  Grab your handy dandy food processor.  Don’t have one?  This next part is gonna suck for you.  Finely dice the onion and garlic.  Figure the amount of garlic you’re gonna clean and dice should be about 1/3 the amount of onion you have.  This isn’t a weight nor a volume call here– it’s called eyeball measurement.  Sure, I guess you could substitute dried/powdered onion/garlic—but that’s kind of the difference between slackinese and outright lazy.  Don’t be lazy.

Add a “blupp” of olive oil to a large pan, or decently sized kettle.  Yes, that’s a technical measurement.  Combine ground turkey with the finely chopped onion/garlic combo, then toss in a lot of chili powder and paprika.  Think it’s enough?  It’s not, because you’ll add more while browning the meat.  Also add a little bit of cinnamon.  Here’s the stage where you’d add firepower to it in the form of Habanero peppers, or crushed red, or Serrano/Thai chilis (thereby creating Tropic Thunder).  Do not use Jalapenos, their tartness will throw it off.   Also add in some season salt to taste.

Combine the entire contents of the pan with what’s in the crock pot.  Also, add in the pineapple tidbits.  Slice the mango, and add that.  Drained corn?  Yup.  Stir it up, throw a lid on the summbitch, and walk the hell away.

Total time elapsed:  I have no damn idea.

It really doesn’t matter.  I’m halfway drunk and you’re not.

Now, you’re probably wondering if there’s another way to do this if you don’t have all damn day to wait for slackinese magic to occur.  Sure—you substitute the dry beans for canned (drained, obviously), and you brown the meat with the peppers.  Add beans, fruit, juice, and tomato after the turkey’s sufficiently browned.

But wait, you’re a tree hugger that doesn’t eat tasty animals!  Well this recipe was originally executed on some Lenten Friday, and instead of turkey—try a shitload of quinoa… and triple the amount of beans.  You also have to really know your spices.  No, I don’t remember what I did; I wing it every time I’m in front of my stove.

Anyway.  Leave the crock pot alone for a couple hours, but you might want to give it a stir around hour 2-3.  Or not.  That’s the beauty of a crock pot.  About an hour before you’re ready to eat, make sure you have a stir and a taste test.  Too hot?  Add some brown sugar—very sparingly.  Test and stir.  Too weak?  Add some cayenne, Tabasco, whatever extra firepower you have handy.  Too much liquid?  Dust in some cornstarch to thicken it up.  This is also the point to test the beans, since they’re going to take the longest to cook.

Your concoction should be done within 4-5 hours.  Again, none of this is exact—so you will need to tweak it towards the end.

In other words, if you need an exact recipe to make something edible—this is not a project for you.
However, if you even have the faintest idea of what to do in a kitchen—this is easier than pie.

… it absolutely has to be, because I can’t make a pie.

Unplug.

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Among my closer circle of friends is a diabolical creation known as Hellfire Chili.  There have been wondrous variants like Hellfire Burritos, Hellfire Burgers–  shit, even Hellfire Stir Fry has made a trial run.  The influence of these nefariously hot dishes have also led to one of my most prized creations–  pollo con arribiata puttanesca.

However, I digressed…  this has to do with the root, the great-granddaddy of them all, the chili that has burned several hundreds of asses across a decade of toilet terrorism. In other news, my name is a swear word among porcelain deities due to my affinity for fire.  Anyway, October 26th was the annual Quaker Steak ‘n’ Lube chili cook-off in Sharon, PA.  Granted, it’s an amateur event, but a friend of mine–  we’ll call her Miss Sassy– told me that the reigning “hottest” chili has been undefeated.  Someone cue up a record skip sound byte, it’s appropriate here.

Undefeated.  Really.

Check please, that’s the best damn sales pitch I’ve ever heard.  So what do I do?  I call up The Rev, the man who helped create the very basis on which this chili was made.  Next call went to my buddy Dr. Gonzo– since he has a cache of ghost chilis, and an affinity for spicy foods that is probably even greater than my own.  I figure this TKE Triumvirate would be more than enough to drop bombs all over this amateur competition, right?

Damn right. At that point it was a case of, “Gentlemen.  Time to bring a nuke to a napalm fight.”

Notice the mask.

So we got to work. Rev’s in the background chopping up bacon, because it’s BACON. You gotta have bacon. And you may notice the bandanna over Doc’s face– yeah that’s not for show.

If this hasn't given you a boner yet...

Before we sautee, we behold the pile of awesome. And by the way– that’s about a quarter of the peppers we put in.

So we guys got knives flying amid capsaicin, bacon, spices, and booze (at this point, shots).  You know, a little beer for the cooks makes everything better– and if some makes it to the food, so much the better.  Right?  Right.  Let’s move on.  Start off with some ground beef, bacon, andouille sausage, peppers, spices, onions, garlic…  You know, the basics for an all-around great chili.  Anyone worth their beans (Get it?  Chili joke?  Don’t judge me.) already knows this, I’m not goddamn Alton Brown, so let’s move on.

Now, to give you an idea where the firepower came from:  ghost chilis, habanero peppers, Portugal Reds, Thai chilis, serranos…  That’s kind of what you see in that mix above.  If your tastebuds aren’t cringing in terror yet, your ass sure is.

This sexually arouses some people.

Post browning– mind you the vapors from this kettle were fragrant and delicious… but decidedly caustic to the eyes.

Being three fraternity brothers, wouldn’t you think we’d have beer on hand?

You’d think that, right?

Yeah, well, being the cheap bastards that we tend to be– we also assumed that everyone else was taking care of the beer.  We hit that stage pictured above and discovered that lo-and-behold… we three alumni are still idiots at heart.  Good thing The Empty Keg is less than a five minute drive from Dr. Gonzo’s apartment.

I opted to rage drive, since we’re running later than expected.

Oh yeah.

Chili needs beer. And none of that yellow or light shit.

At this point, we started whipping up the sauce with added peppers varying from bell to poblano, spices, etc.   After a few flame tests and subsequent tweaks later– I added the coup de gras: brown sugar.  While you’re savoring this thought, here’s what it looks like:

Feeding this to unsuspecting children would be considered child abuse.

See that wispy haze of steam? That’s not just steam. That’s the fog of impending DOOM.

A former cubicle mate of mine, Big Red, can attest to what Hellfire Chili can do to an unsuspecting colon (or even a clued-in colon).  The batch I brought to the office was barely qualified to carry the moniker.   That batch (delicious as it was) blew faces off, and apparently also tore up some digestive tracts.  The contents pictured above… well after the “final doctoring,” it was easily 15x hotter.

What you see up there is what Hellfire should be, enough for me to make declarations of hallowed feces.  We’ve just created a delicious violation of the Geneva Convention, one that starts off sweet…. rolls into a savory applewood/smoky type of goodness… and then blam!!!  It Johnny Cages you before you know what happened.  Not to mention, the unholy inferno left over across your palette might remind some WWII veterans of Dresden.  Realizing that this batch of nefariousness was well above and beyond anything any of us had ever made, we had to give it a new name.  So we dubbed it–  Johnny Cash.

I’ll let you savor that for a moment.

There’s a certain delectably sadistic glee that comes from watching reactions at a chili cook-off.  Let me try to put this image into a few words.  “Hey, this is pretty tasty…  Wow, there’s more here than I expected, the different layers of flaa–  waiiit a second…  oh dear God, did I just blow Beelzebub?!”   Of course, the best part is watching them go back for a second scoop– as if the initial bite was somehow a mistake.  No, you really did taste delicious flaming death, and your screaming nerve endings weren’t being hypochondriacs.

So yeah, enough about our very own Johnny Cash–  now to the short-short version of the competition…  we showed up with about a half hour to spare, and it was colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra.  Lucky for us, we had something that could be mistaken for a fuel rod from Three Mile Island.  One of the first people I met was (as it turned out) the “undefeated champion.”  She had a fistful of paper, but that shit won’t be crucial ’till later.

We got some beers, tried some fantastic chili recipes.  Tell you what, there was a white chicken chili there that was worth stabbing a guy over– just to get seconds.  Our leading competition, #6, took a bite– and stopped by our table to tell us our chili’s level of heat reminded him of his.  He then came back five minutes later, sweating, and showed us his ballot–  he voted for us, shook our hands, and we talked chili for a bit.  Then #2 came back….

Ever have one of those conversations that keep recurring with the same person because you know they’re a little on the slow side, but they’re really nice, but they don’t seem to get the whole “you’re creeping me the Hell out” message?  Yeah, our “repeat champ” is one of those.  Nice lady, but I totally got the overwhelming feeling that all the marbles weren’t rolling around up there.  In the air of sportsmanship, we were genial.  After all, everyone was MF’ing our chili, and nobody even mentioned #2.

To victory?

Oh yeah. We drank to victory. Make your premature jokes now.

So we hear that they’re finally going to announce the winners after tallying an unholy shitload of ballots (for what we thought was a lackluster turnout).  After having seen and heard everyone MF’ing Chili #3 (Johnny Cash), I ran to go get my camera for the inevitable victory shot.  As I got back, I overheard the winner for “spiciest.”

Number.  F***ing.  Two.

Nobody clapped.  Nobody.

Now, remember when I sportsmanly shook the hand of the lady with the fistful of paper?  Go ahead, scroll back up, we’ll wait.  Yeah, that was a fistful of ballots.  Ladies and gentlemen, argue about political voter fraud all the Hell you want– but this is proof positive that shallow people leading meaningless lives will always try to buy a win when they can’t get it legitimately.   Chili cook off voter fraud, especially at amateur events, is stupidly rampant– and the non-reaction of the crowd said it all.

Oh sure, she shook our hands and wished us “better luck next year,” and we were genial before we left– but you can thank my post-waistaff passive-aggressive nature for this blog entry.

May Johnny Cash still be burning your asshole with the fire of a thousand suns– and may you look upon your bought trophy and realize that you’re living a lie.  But hey, some people need to pretend– because they suck that hard at life.

The Reverend.  Yours Truly.  Dr. Gonzo.

See those grins? Do you see defeat?

Nuts and bolts.
Nuts and bolts.
We.  Got.  Screwed!
Unplug.

Seriously, bonus points to anyone who knows the awesome cooking show I just referenced.  Either way, I got the bright idea to try and actually partake in one of my former avocations.  No, I’m not talking about…  You know what, I’m taking the high road this time.  No right-handed lefty spanky jokes.  Not this time.

Back to the task at hand (Ha.  The puns march on!).  If you’ve been following this little saga of mine, you’ll know that I have many food-related issues stemming from this cast-induced gimpification.  All was not lost!  After all, Rosie quickly learned how to use chopsticks.  I re-learned how to butter toast.   However some things, some manliness-affirming things, like trying to cut a steak?  Totally have to get someone else to do it.  It’s kinda sweet in a ball-shriveling kind of way when my girlfriend does it, but it’s utterly emasculating when my mother does it.  Seriously, it’s like I’ve become the type of male that, as I’ve said in the past, “is the exact reason why there shall always be women for guys like me.”

So, knowing beforehand that timing was going to fail in a way that nobody was going to have time to make dinner last night (except me), I decided not to do the American thing and order out for everyone.  I didn’t even do the lazy thing and let them figure it out, and just get included with it.  Oh no.  I decided to go balls to the freaking wall and see exactly how good Rosie is with a freaking knife.

That’s right.  The madman returned to the kitchen, with one viable hand, to go whip up the one thing that should potentially be the easiest meal to make– my famed sweet chili.   After all, how freaking hard can it be to stir a pot?  Right?

Freaking prep work...

Yeah. Gotta clean and cut these with just Rosie on duty. Anyone got 911 on speed dial?

Knowing that one-handed prep work was going to be as challenging as farting in a packed church unnoticed, I set to work immediately.  Rosie cleaned the peppers without much issue, and I got the rest of the kitchen set up in a handicapable accessible kind of way.

Next step: actually farting undetected in church (or doing the prep work, sans metaphor).

Now we get serious...

You may say that I'm cheating because of the food processor. You try to clean and peel an onion and garlic with one friggin' hand, then try to talk shit.

No, the Sam Adams Red pictured above wasn’t just to up the difficulty level of what I was about to do, half of it legitimately made it into the chili.  It took me the better part of five minutes just to get the freaking onion peeled, quartered, and tossed into the food processor– something that should have taken less than one.

At this point, I realize that this may have been a bit ambitious for a one-handed chef– sharp knife, beer, and cooking toys aside.  For the next twenty minutes or so, maybe less since it felt like an eternity, I got the garlic cleaned.  No sooner did the food processor mince the living shit out of the onion/garlic combo, I heard keys in the front door.  Cue the sigh of relief.

If my mom hadn’t been so gracious as to play sous-chef for a gimp, I’d probably still be cutting peppers instead of writing this up.   Oh, and the result?

I've still got the magic.

Single-handed awesomeness (plus sous chef). Hungry yet?

Stirring the kettle was an unexpectedly difficult task, but I had no choice but to man up.  I don’t think my ego could have taken any more abuse.  One batch of sweet and spicy turkey chili is sometimes all anyone needs to perk their mood up.  I seriously missed my kitchen zen, but this wee experiment taught me something.  I’d better stick to easier tasks.

The problem is, how much easier can you get than chili?!

Unplug.