Friday, April 20, 2012

How Not To Win a Chili Cookoff - and Beach Bash Pics

Blogger finally made me switch over to the new interface (whatever that is), which basically means that for the next couple of months, all my pictures will be out of order and possible not show up at all until I figure it out. My apologies.

Moving on - yesterday we had the Beach Bash for Paul's work and the girls had a blast! There are only a few things shown, but they apparently rented out the entire recreation center and had a million bouncy houses, obstacle courses and other fun things as well as these oversized tricycles that the Marines rode around the basketball court until the little kids kicked them off. =)

There was also a chili cookoff at which Emeril and I got totally robbed. This was probably due to the fact that most of my chili was gone before judging even started...which should tell you something...but it did not. Whatever. The recipe is at the bottom - it's a pretty close to authentic Texas chili (my favorite kind! Ground meat is for hamburgers!), so you can make it and judge for yourself.

Pictures? Oh yes - just a few.

This one makes me laugh - I love random midair photos. The Marines running this booth were so cute - giving direction and cheering on the girls. Right after this picture was taken, another Marine came in with his kid, so the guys running the booth rounded up like six other little kids and had them all in there attacking the dad. Hi-larious. He was such a good sport about it, too!

Spidergirl! The weather was a little chilly, windy and overcast, but both of my crazy children wanted to wear their bathing suits and cover-ups anyway. That worked out fine for Carly, though, since she spent most of the afternoon on this wall.

And now for the chili recipe which honestly should have won, but maybe it's better it didn't since I copied it pretty much verbatim from the Emeril Live website and the other chilis there were (reportedly at least) homemade concoctions. I'm going to write down what I did which is only slightly different from the one on the Food Network website, and I'm saying it's almost authentic because a 'real' texas chili just has meat and chilis, no tomatoes or alcohol. I personally think this is the best chili I've ever made. =)

Awesome Nearly-Authentic Texas Chili

2 tbsp vegetable or other neutral oil
3lb chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
2-3 jalepeno peppers, minced
1 poblano pepper, minced
4-5 anaheim peppers, minced
1.5 tbsp roasted ground cumin
6-7 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp Mexican oregano
6 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce with a good-sized scoop of the sauce
4-5 roma or campari tomatoes, chopped
1 12-oz bottle Lone Star or Amber Bock beer (optional)
3 oz tequila
3-4 tbsp masa harina or cornstarch
sea salt to taste

1) Use gloves to chop the chilis and don't wipe your eyes.
2) Heat oil over med-hi in a large skillet. Salt and pepper meat and brown evenly, stirring until no longer pink. (Note: if you buy sucky North Carolina beef you will have to drain off extra liquid)
3) Meanwhile heat a heavy-bottom Dutch-oven style pot over medium heat. Put browned meat in, along with peppers, onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are almost translucent. Stir in oregano and chipotle chilis.
4) Add tomatoes and cook down for a minute or two. Depending on how much liquid you have, either add the beer or don't. (I didn't because the meat was super watery.) Add tequila.
5) Bring entire mixture to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat is very tender.
6) Allow to cool for about an hour, transfer to a wide, shallow pan and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld. Reheat thoroughly and add masa harina or cornstarch paste until desired thickness.

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