Real Chili

R made chili the other night, possibly the best chili I’ve ever had.  While checking out at the grocery store he grabbed a chocolate bar and Pepsi from the “impulse aisle”.  I teased him about having a sweet tooth, but he told me it was for the chili and said something to the effect of: “Real barbecue comes from Kansas City, southerners don’t know how to really barbecue”.  The woman in front of us turned around and gave him a judgmental once-over, the hazard of being a Midwesterner in the South.

The chili was thick, perfect for pairing with cornbread, and had a spicy heat with the first spoonful.  The complex taste finished with a sweet, savory tone that had me in the kitchen ladling out a second bowl.


Savory Mac & Cheese

I’m not usually a mac and cheese person, and when I am it’s usually blue box.  But I wandered across the idea of adding red peppers to baked mac and cheese and had to try it.

Milk, cheese, pasta, red peppers and artichoke hearts all mixed up in a baking pan and thrown in the oven until bubbly.  The smell of cheese, artichokes, and peppers greeted me when I opened the oven.  Slicing into it the top part was crunchy, help from bread crumbs, but the underneath was still creamy and luscious. The feta cheese sprinkled on top adds a kick of flavor, while the Italian cheeses make a smooth base that plays up the punches of artichoke and pepper.

Fresh out of the oven was the best, but reheated it still retains it’s flavor.

Baba Ganoush & Pita

R got me a Jewish Cookbook and so I decided to give a few recipes a go.  I wanted something healthy, light, and delicious so we decided to go for baba ganoush, kabobs, pita and an apricot mousse to finish off the meal.

This cookbook is definitely a keeper, even for non-kosher households.  All the recipes have fairly short ingredient lists and utilize the natural flavors of the ingredients by accenting the meats, fruits, and vegetables with spices and herbs.  Most of the recipes also are most healthy than other styles of cooking.

R made lamb kabobs with a yogurt sauce while I made the baba ganoush and pita bread.  The recipe said to cook the eggplant at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a knife pierces it easily.  After 35 minutes I took it out, the knife did get a little resistance piercing it so next time I plan on leaving it in longer.  The rest of the process was easy, just chopping up vegetables and pureeing in a blender.

Meanwhile I had mixed the dough and was letting it rise.  The bread turned out fluffy on the inside and hard on the outside, with a nice crack when it was split.  It seems the less the dough it handled when forming into the pitas the better it turned out.

The apricot mousse was very simple, and so delicious.  It is very sweet, but in a natural sweetness (no sugar was added).  The apricots provided a rich, luxurious flavor to the light texture of the mousse.  R and I only had a few bites, but I kept grabbing another spoonful every time I opened the fridge throughout the night.

Overall it was a delicious and tasty dinner that filled us up and yielded lots of leftovers!