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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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Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette

 

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I used to think there was no way I could ever make my own dressing. I learned that’s so not true. Watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks taught me how easy to make your own vinaigrette. I thought I’d share my three favorites with you, Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette.

I mix all the ingredients for the Balsamic and the Lemon, right in their own 8-ounce jelly jar. The Cilantro-Lime takes an additional step of first processing the cilantro leaves. It’s simpler, for this vinaigrette, to be made in the food processor and then transferred to a jelly jar.

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Agave nectar, honey, or granulated sugar are a few of the sweeteners you can use when making your own vinaigrettes.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields 8 to 10 ounces of vinaigrette
Equipment: Food processor, blender, or an immersion blender, four 8-ounce jelly jars, small bowl

Ingredients For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (substitute spicy mustard)
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar (substitute honey)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
Yields:
10 ounces
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of shallots, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons of Agave nectar (substitute granulated sugar)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
1 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallot, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
Start by placing cilantro leaves into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O. (the remaining olive oil will be added through the feeding tube) and pulse the leaves until they’re finely minced. Remove the processed cilantro and transfer to a small bowl. Back in the food processor add the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh lime juice, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, and low sodium soy sauce. Pulse all the ingredients just enough to combine everything.

Once combined, add the processed cilantro leaves back into the food processor. Place the lid and feeding tube on. Turn the processor to the ON position and slowly add the remaining *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube until combined. Remove the lid, add the red wine vinegar and using a spatula, stir once. This recipe yields 10 ounces of vinaigrette so you’ll need 2 jars. Transfer the vinaigrette to the jars, place the lids on tight and give a good couple of shakes to combine everything.

Directions For The  Balsamic And Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients for, both of, the vinaigrette into their 8-ounce jelly jars. Finish with the *E.V.O.O. Place the lids tightly on the jars and shake really well.

Notes:
1). I prefer my vinaigrette to be one part acid to two parts oil.
2). Place the dressing in the bottom of the bowl first. Right before serving the salad, add the lettuce/greens, toss to coat.
3). It’s important to wash and then dry the leaves really well so the dressing will adhere to the leaves.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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Crab Rangoon Souffle

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I love a Crab Rangoons. What better way then to put those flavors into a light and fluffy souffle. This recipe came to me as I was remembering a dear friend of mine, Ellyn. Ellyn and I worked together many years ago. She loved crab, so to pay homage to her, and our longtime friendship I came up with a twist on crab rangoons. This is my Crab Rangoon Souffle. Thanks for all the great memories.

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Crab Rangoon Souffle (2)

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Crab Rangoon Souffle (3)

Crab Rangoon Souffle (1)

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Souffle Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 8 cup souffle dish, 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, food processor,  large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, 3-quart saucepan, 6-quart saucepan, large whisk, oven thermometer

Ingredients:
1 pound of crab meat, jumbo lump
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons for greasing the dish
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly ground (using a food processor)
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 cup of scalded milk
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
4 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
5 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
4 tablespoons of freshly, finely minced chives

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Prepare the souffle dish with butter and grated Parmesan cheese, making sure the entire inside surface is coated with both, shake off any excess.

Prepare the lump crab by checking for any shells. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pat dry the lump crab with another piece of paper towel making sure the crab is completely dry of any moisture before transferring to a medium-size mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan, add milk and bring up to temperature over medium heat. Once the milk reaches the scalding point turn off the heat. 

In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add all-purpose flour whisking constantly for about a minute forming a *roux. Once the mixture has formed a thick, blonde color (refer to picture above) remove the pan from the heat. Add the freshly grated nutmeg, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, whisk to combine.

Return the pan back on the heat, add the *scalded milk whisking continuously. Turn the heat up to medium, when the sauce just starts to boil, the sauce is at its thickest consistency. Test by placing a wooden spoon into the mixture and when you pull the spoon out and swipe your finger down the back of the spoon, if the sauce on the spoon remains separated, it’s ready. Turn off the heat.

Transfer the pot onto a cutting board, while the mixture is still hot vigorously whisk in the egg yolks one at a time until all are incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula, add the room temperature cream cheese, by gently smashing up the cream cheese, and mixing, until it’s incorporated throughout. After mixing, if there are a few bigger pieces that’s fine.

Next, add the jumbo lump crab and stir through.

Immediately before placing souffle into the oven, adjust the temperature to 375-degrees F.

Place the egg whites into a large clean/dry mixing bowl. Add cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt. Using a large whisk, beat the egg whites until they form firm shiny peaks. This will take a few minutes. You could do this in an electric mixer. Gently stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the prepared souffle mixture. The mixture will look slightly lighter. Very gently, fold in the rest of the whites. Pour the completed mixture into the prepared souffle dish. Without peeking, bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until puffy and golden brown.

I like to serve my Crab Rangoon Souffle with a simple salad of mixed greens, lightly dressed with my Lemon Vinaigrette, and topped with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

*Scalded Milk is milk heated to a near boil. Small bubbles will appear around the inner rim of the pot.
*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

 

Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette

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