Sunday, October 31, 2010

Buffalo Billy's Droolin' Chili - Hector's Chili with Bison and Moose Drool

I figured that since it was Halloween and it is my 400th post, that I would write about something very near and dear to my heart(burn).  ;)

Hector's Chili

Back in 2007 I was exposed to this chili recipe by a Bakespace member....  That would be my friend Spryte from Spryte's Place, and her original recipe is located }--here--{  (and linked by the name above as well)  This is the ultimate chili recipe, as far as I am concerned.   In fact, it has become my ONLY chili recipe.  Granted I have done my own slight tweaks to it over time.  Nothing really major mind you, just a few things here and there.  This started because I was having less than stellar luck in finding the recommended "smoked lager" while living in San Diego.  So I opted to acquire my smoky flavor from my own chili powder mixture.... (Schmokin Chili Powder)  utilizing Chipotle and Smoked Paprika as well as a touch of Alder Smoked Salt. But I have veered from my original paragraph topic..... The beer I have come to rely on for this chili is "Moose Drool" (Brown Ale) from the Big Sky Brewing company.

I know, I know.... Here I am, living  in "Microbrew Heaven" and I am buying beer from Montana!!  This is proof positive that I am insane.

The other changes I have made have been dictated by circumstance.  But surprisingly enough, I have found that I like the chili even better.  (which I really didn't think was possible)

The first of these happenstances was when I was out of regular canned tomatoes.  I was forced to use the Fire Roasted Tomatoes in my pantry...  Oh yeah!  YUM!  The other change was the hot sauce. I have a hard time finding Caribbean hot sauce, so I have opted for Louisiana hot sauce instead.  

The final change, and reason for the post title, is that instead of Hot Italian Sausage, I use Ground Bison... With a little more Chili Powder.  ;)  It seems to temper the beef and make it taste more "beefy".  Just trust me... It does.  I think it is because Bison sweetens the Beef a little.

So once again I must shout out to one of my Beeps (BakeSpace Peep) "Thanks Spryte... That Chili Recipe ROCKS!!!!"

Buffalo Billy's Droolin' Chili
(AKA: Hector's Chili with Bison)

1 TB Olive Oil
2 Yellow Onions, Chopped
1 lb Ground Bison
1 lb lean beef stew meat
24 oz Moose Drool (Big Sky Brewing)
28 oz Fire Roasted Tomatoes
4 TB Schmokin Chili Powder
1 TB Cumin Seeds, Ground
1 TB dried Oregano
1 tsp Freshly Ground Ginger
1 tsp Smoked Salt
1/4 tsp ground All-Spice
15 oz light Kidney beans, Rinsed
15 oz dark Kidney beans, Rinsed
6 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 TB Louisiana Hot Sauce

The pictures below will not reflect the above measurements, cause I was making a double batch.  (I have to, or there is never enough)

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.

Add onions and sweat then, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

Heat a separate saute pan over medium-high flame.

Add the ground Bison and saute until it is not longer pinkish.

Move the cooked Bison to a plate lined with Paper towels and blot the top to remove the excess fat. (there won't be much, Bison is pretty lean)

Transfer the bison to the Chili Pot along with the sweated onions.

Add stew meat and reduce the flame to low.

Add the Moose Drool. LOL (Sorry, That always makes me laugh, especially since it's Halloween)

Break up the Fire Roasted Tomatoes, while they are still in the can, with a knife.

Once broken up, add the Fire Roasted Tomatoes, along with their juices to the chili pot as well.

Give everything a good stir.
Stir in the Schmokin Chili Powder, ground Cumin, Oregano, grated Ginger, Smoked Salt and All-Spice. (Cooks note:  I freeze my ginger root and then grate it with a zester-- So easy)

Cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Rinse the Kidney Beans really well. (you don't want canned bean goo in your chili)

Add Beans, along with the minced Garlic, to the chili pot.

Simmer at least an additional 30 minutes up to 1 hour.
Add Louisiana Hot Sauce just before serving or, since I got it pretty hot this time, allow those with asbestos tongues to add their own.  ;)

My favorite, is the proverbial Sour Cream and Shredded Cheddar and a little Pepper Jack.

Oh, and a Buttermilk Corn Biscuit!

It doesn't have to be shaped like an owl though, I did that for my Nieces and Nephews.  ;)

Mangia!! or should I say "Chow's On!!!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not So Sweet Charlotte - Aubergine & Chèvre Charlottes

I had mentioned on the Fallen Souffle Cake post that I had wanted to try Laura Calder's Aubergine and Cumin Charlottes. I am always looking for interesting ways to prepare Eggplant. After all, one can only eat Mousakka and Baba Ghanoush so many times, delicious though they may be.

These are completely, totally and unequivocally exquisite.  Though I had to serve a different salad with them.  This fresh tomato allergy is a pain in the butt sometimes.  True, I could have oven roasted the tomatoes or something and then it would have been fine, but I decided since the oven was occupied, I would go in a completely different direction.  A deliciously fresh Upland Cress Salad, simply dressed with Meyer Lemon and Olive Oil.  (ANY excuse to use a Meyer Lemon)

It created a nice counterpoint to the warm Charlotte.

Laura Calder's Aubergine and Cumin Charlottes

2 Medium Eggplants
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 pinch Kosher Salt and Black Pepper
1 TB Cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3 Large eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces fresh chèvre, crumbled

Turn on the boiler and move the rack down 1 level from the top (you don't want them too close to the element)

Line a large sheet pan with parchment (this will foster easier cleanup)

While it's heating up, slice one of the eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. (4mm is better)

Brush both sides liberally with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil for 10 to 15 minutes, until they become soft, but not crisp.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and line a second sheet pan with parchment.

Cut the other eggplant in half, then brush the cut surface with Olive oil. (I used 4 smaller Ichiban Eggplants from the garden instead)

Lay the halves, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and bake about 40 minutes, or until the flesh is REALLY soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you are able to handle them without burning your fingers.
While the eggplant is baking, place the Cumin Seeds in a small skillet and set over medium-low flame.

Toast the seeds until they are fragrant, then remove from heat and place in a Mortar.

Grind the seeds with the pestal until you have a fairly fine powder.

When the baked Eggplant has cooled enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the baked aubergine halves into a bowl.

Add the toasted Cumin and stir to incorporate.

Switch to a whisk and beat in the eggs until homogeneous.

Finally, whisk in the Milk (Half & Half).

Season with salt and pepper.

Now time for assembly......
Line 6 ramekins with the aubergine slices, leaving the edges hanging over slightly. (I used 3 slices per ramekin)

Spoon in a layer of aubergine custard. (about 3 TB full)

Sprinkle with the crumbled chèvre.

Spoon a second layer of aubergine custard over the cheese.

Fold the overhanging slices back over the top to enclose the custard filling.

Set on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until set. (they will "rise" in the oven, then sink a little bit)

 Cool at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate with upland cress salad. (below)

While you are waiting for the charlottes to cool, assemble the Upland Cress Salad.

1 bunch Upland Cress or Watercress, (remove as many stems as possible)
Zest of 1/2 Meyer Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Meyer Lemon
1 TB Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Black pepper

Place the leaves in a bowl.

Add Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice and Olive oil.

Using your hands, gently toss the leaves until well coated.

Season with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Place a small amount on each serving plate.

When the Charlottes are cool enough to handle, slide a small icing spatula around the edge to loosen slightly.

Tip onto the plate next to the small pile of Cress Salad.

Cut a small wedge with a butter knife and release the deliciousness.

I loved these so much, I am making them again, cause I didn't get enough....  LOL


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chanterelle, My Belle...

You and pasta go together well,
My Chanterelle.

Ah, Chanterelle Mushrooms.... the scent of apricots, forest floor, and black pepper waft through the kitchen, making my mouth water as I try to prepare dinner.

The Chanterelle is an important mushroom here in western Oregon, for there aren't a lot of sunny days here.  Especially some the Fall.  Thus we all tend to run a little low in vitamin D.  Granted most milk is artificially fortified with it, but it's a minuscule amount and there are those of use who do not drink milk.  When ones diet is lacking in copious amounts of "moo juice" and the sun spends most of its time hiding behind cumulonimbus, we turn to other sources of the elusive "Sun Vitamin".  Enter the Chanterelle....  with up to 2500 IU per 100 grams of weight. 

This is an important consideration, since Vitamin D production in the skin only occurs when the UV factor is above a 3.  Why is Vitamin D so important?  That is a good question, considering that this fat soluble substance isn't really even a vitamin.

Nope, it's a secosteroid hormone.  I am not going to get in the full metabolism that is necessary to create the "Active" form your body actually uses, but suffice it to say that it is the most active hormone in the body.  Active D is responsible for unlocking the binding sites on the human genome (there are 2,700 sites) as well as controlling the calcium level in your blood.  There has even been research into your own cells' ability to utilize D in fighting some 17 types of cancer.  Pretty darned impressive I'd say. 

Sadly, if you are not out in the sun absorbing UVB for at least 30 minutes a day, then you are deficient in D.  You can take a supplement, but most are sorely lacking in the amount of viable D that one needs.  Thus, most of us are running around with a significant shortage of this vital vitamin (5,000 IU per day).  To get enough, per day, from milk, you would have to imbibe somewhere around 50 glasses and most multi-vitamins would require the consumption of up to 10 pills before you have replenished your D stores. 

All that being said, there are other ways of getting D into your system, especially in the winter.  For in the temperate climates the Chanterelle mushroom is available from September to April.  AWESOME! 

So with that I present to you a dish that is High in D as well as C & potassium.  Granted, this is a little high in fat, but I am on a roll with the Mascarpone sauces.  This is a variation of the Spinach Mascarpone pasta that I made a week ago.  Earthy & spicy chanterelles and shallots, sauted in olive oil, deglaced with white wine, a touch of chicken stock to round out the flavors... a delicate hint of tarragon (cause mushrooms + cream + tarragon = bliss) all bound together with, that ever so unctuous, Mascarpone with a touch of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  It's heaven on a plate.

Torchiette with Chanterelle Mascarpone Cream

10-12 oz Chanterelle Mushrooms
3 TB Olive oil
2 medium Shallots, minced
1/2 cup White Wine (I chose Pinot Gris)
1 tsp fresh Tarragon, chopped fine (just a pinch if using dried
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
Black Pepper, freshly ground
8 oz Mascarpone
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
optional fresh Chives
optional shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Clean the Chanterelles, then dry them with a paper towel.
Slice off the very bottoms; I usually leave the smaller ones whole and slice the larger ones in half.

Place a large stock pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil for the pasta, I like Torchiette (little torches) for this, cause the shape kind of reflects that of the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, heat Olive Oil in a saute pan over medium heat.

When hot, add the minced shallots and sweat until soft.

Add the Chanterelle mushrooms and cook until they begin to soften. (They don't throw off water the way button mushrooms do)

Deglace the pan with 1/2 cup of White wine.

Stir in the tarragon. (It releases more flavor in acids like the wine)

Continue cooking until the wine has evaporated, then add the Chicken Stock.

Cook until the chicken stock has reduced by half and thickened slightly.

Remove from the heat, and stir in the Mascarpone, to create a nice cream sauce.

Season with Black Pepper.

Drain the pasta and place in a warm bowl.

Pour the mushroom mixture over the pasta and toss to coat evenly.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss again until incorporated.

Serve with clipped chives (kitchen sheers are excellent for this) and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.