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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Homemade Chili

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There are times when I crave a bowl of my homemade chili. Chili that’s smokey, spicy, and with real depth of flavor. In this recipe I bring out all the stops. To add texture and sweetness, I like adding shoe peg corn. Shoe peg corn are small sweet white corn kernels, and I believe, is an ingredient that’s underutilized. I’m also a believer in adding black beans to chili. Everyone who loves chili knows, the longer it simmers the thicker and better it gets. The making of chili takes a lot of love. If you can dedicate 30 minutes of prep time and a little over an hour of cooking time, I promise you will really love this chili.

Ancho chilies are just a smoked Poblano peppers that’s been dried. A mild pepper with a smokey flavor that’s perfect for chili. Let me start out by showing you how to add these peppers to your chili.

Directions For Reconstituting Chiles:
I start by placing 6 dried ancho chilies to a pot along with 2-1/2 cups of water. On medium heat, I bring the chilies up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. I let the chilies simmer for about 20 minutes. I turn the heat off allowing the chiles steep in their liquid (chili stock) for another 10 minutes before going into the food processor.  While this process is taking place, use this time to prep all the veggies, measure out the spices for the chili, thawing the shoe peg corn, and finally rinsing and draining the beans for the chili.

After the peppers have been reconstituted, stems removed and seeded, I place them into a food processor along with their liquid ( start with 1/2 a cup, add more cooking liquid if needed) to be processed and then set aside. You want the processed chiles to be a thick puree. Yields, 1/2 cup of ancho chili puree

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The next day I like to do something a little different. You know how chili always better the second day well… I grab a warm corn tortilla and make a taco. A little homemade chili, Pico de gallo, and Queso Fresco. YUMMY!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven pot
Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
6 processed ancho chiles, yields, 1/2 cup of ancho puree
3 tablespoons of Mexican chocolate (optional)
1 small jar of processed Piquillo peppers
3 tablespoons of chili powder
3 packed tablespoons of light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of ground cumin
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
2 tablespoons of smokey paprika
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 minced and seeded chipotle peppers
1 minced and seeded jalapeno pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 diced red bell peppers
1 diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup of sliced green onions ( reserving the green tops for garnish)
1 large diced onion
2-28 ounce cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1- 10-1/2 ounce can of beef consomme
2 cups of low sodium beef broth
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed kidney beans
1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 package of thawed frozen shoepeg corn

Toppings:
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
lime wedges
guacamole
diced red onion
sliced tops of green onions
tortilla chips

Directions:
As shown above, while the dried ancho chilies are being reconstituted on the stove, you want to move on to the prep work for the chili. Start with dicing and mincing of the vegetables.

Diced green onions (reserving the green tops for garnish), a Spanish onion, red and green bell peppers, minced garlic and seeded and minced a jalapeno pepper. Alongside those ingredients, I’ve seeded and chopped a couple of Chipotle peppers packed in Adobo sauce. Another ingredient is, I’ve taken a jar of Piquillo peppers and pureed those in a food processor. I have my black and kidney beans drained and rinsed. My shoepeg white corn has been thawed.

By the time all the veggies have been diced and minced, it’s time to seed, clean, and process the ancho chilies.  After the ancho chilies have been processed, then you want to get all your liquids together for the chili. The low sodium beef broth, beef consomme, and the canned San Marzano whole tomatoes.

Next, is to get together all the spices that will be going into the chili. First, and this is totally optional, is the chocolate. I’m using what’s known as Mexican chocolate. It’s used as a spice and gives a depth of flavor to the chili. Then there are the standard chili spices, chili powder, ground cumin, sweet and smokey paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, light brown sugar, Kosher salt,  and black pepper.

Using a large heavy Dutch oven pot to make chili.  The stove on medium heat, I start with some vegetable oil in the bottom of the pot. To bloom all the spices, I add them right in with the vegetable oil. Stirring and mixing all the spices, including the brown sugar. Once the spices release their aroma, add the lean ground sirloin to the pot. Once the meat is stirred and mixed with the spices, add in the minced Chipotle peppers, stirring that through. Continue cooking the meat for another 10 minutes allowing the meat to brown completely.

Next, add in all the diced veggies along with the minced garlic and jalapeno. To that, some tomato paste. I stir all of these ingredients together, making sure the meat and veggies are well combined.

Now for the liquids. Start with the canned whole tomatoes. Once they’re in the pot, using a wooden spoon,  start breaking them up. To the pot, add in the beef consomme and beef broth, again, giving everything a big stir to combine. Still, on medium heat, let everything come up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to med-low, stirring occasionally, let simmer for 50 minutes. Once the chili has been simmering for 50 minutes, add the black beans, kidney beans, and shoepeg corn and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Finally, the usual suspects, some shredded cheddar, diced red onions, cilantro, lime wedges, and of course some guacamole!

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Burrata And Peaches

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This dish is what I call a “small bites” or Tapas. Burrata And Peaches, because of how they compliment each other is off the chain delicious. The one special ingredient I’m using in this dish is Goji berries. Now, these berries can be found at Whole Food Markets, where they specialize in organic ingredients. I keep them in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. The Goji berry is packed with antioxidants and a great addition to any salad. You could, of course, substitute fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, even a few pistachios, whatever you like.

The stars of this small bite plate are the Peaches And Burrata. I’m using frozen peaches today because fresh peaches aren’t in season. Frozen peaches, along with other fruits, are packaged at their peak of freshness.

Yields: 1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: overnight, thaw in the refrigerator

Ingredients:
I package frozen peaches, 5-7 peach wedges per plate
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves
1 tablespoon of Goji berries (fresh blueberries or dried cranberries)
1 tablespoon chopped Pistachios- optional
1 teaspoon of finely diced Fresno chili- optional
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
a spritz of fresh lemon juice from 1 wedge of lemon
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar
6 tablespoons of Burrata cheese
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Directions:
Start with 5-7 wedges of thawed frozen peaches on a plate arranged beautifully. Next, add the Burrata cheese over the top in small spoonfuls. Then add the grated lemon zest, letting the zest flakes fall where they may. Gently drop the berries all over the dish so they fall nestling themselves throughout the dish. Then add the delicate baby arugula leaves. Finally, sprinkle with Kosher salt,  pepper, and a drizzle of Agave nectar. Right when you’re ready to serve, squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over the top.

Light and delicious, this “small bite” is another example of how a few simple ingredients, are still a roller coaster for your taste buds!

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Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta

The dish I’m making today is Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta. Let me give you a little background on Burrata cheese first. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside is filled with both mozzarella and cream. This gives this cheese a unique and soft texture. It is, however, an expensive cheese and I’m pretty sure that’s because it goes one step further. The mozzarella is formed into a pouch and the filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. Inside each container, there are 2 mozzarella balls. This dish I’m showing you today only uses half of the mozzarella ball.

Until recently, I haven’t been to a restaurant that’s offered a dish using Burrata. I definitely wanted to recreate this dish but the biggest hurdle is finding the cheese. I was totally surprised to find Burrata was available at my local grocery store. Tucked away right next to the fresh mozzarella. How I missed this gem I’ll never know.

This recipe is easy to make, using a few really good ingredients. Keeping it simple is what Italian recipes do best.

Yields: 2 servings, 5 crostini per plate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 8-10 minutes
Oven Temp: 350 degrees
Equipment: a baking sheet with a rack.

Ingredients:
5 slices of toasted baguette slices, per plate
olive oil ( a light drizzle of each slice of bread)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (for bread)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ( for bread)
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves
2 slices of Prosciutto cut into thirds
5 mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes halved
5 tablespoons of Burrata cheese
Kosher salt- to taste
Black pepper- to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice a loaf of baguette bread on the bias. Lay the bread onto the rack that’s over the baking sheet lined with foil. I then drizzle olive oil over the bread with a sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper.

I’m toasting a few extra so I’ll have some to taste test when the dish is finished. I always like to try a sample of what I’m making before testing it on another person. The bread should take anywhere from 8-10 minutes but, keep your eye on it so they don’t burn.

Slice in half eight mini San Marzano tomatoes. In a sauté pan, on medium-low heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the halved grape San Marzano tomatoes. Add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper too. Toss the tomatoes around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, just giving them enough time to softened and start to burst, then remove from the heat. Take 2 slices of Prosciutto and cut into thirds, to fit onto the toasted baguette slices.

At this point, the bread should be coming out of the oven. It’s really all about the timing. Setting the bread into the preheated oven, then sautéing the tomatoes, and slicing the prosciutto.  This allows you to complete a few easy tasks at the same time.

Once the bread and tomatoes are ready, it’s just a matter of plating the bruschetta. Take a round plate and lay 5 of the crostini in the shape of a star. Place a few baby arugula leaves on each piece of toast along with one prosciutto piece on top. Next, for the Burrata. Cut open the cheese very carefully and place a tablespoon of Burrata on top of the prosciutto. Top the cheese with two tomato halves, and finish with another light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper.

There you have it! A beautiful small bite loaded with flavor, and the plates look appealing too.

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85C Bakery Cafe- Berkeley

85 Degrees Bakery (2)

Melissa just visited this amazing bakery in Berkeley. She took some great pictures so I could share them with you, my readers. She was blown away by their Sea Salt infused black tea and all the sweets they had to offer.

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A bakery/cafe with roots in Taiwan offering coffees, teas, international desserts, and loaves of bread. For more information on 85C Bakery Cafe just go to their website at www.85cbakerycafe.com.

 

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