Okay, okay, I suppose I should talk about turning 40. A week late, but that’s about right for a self-serving honey badger Capricorn. So, without further ado, delay or interruption… turning 40 ain’t no thang. It mostly just came and went. Yeah, I hate my emerging wrinkles and, as Russell so diplomatically puts it, matronly upper arms. But, ultimately, I still feel (and think and act and save money) like a teenager. Part of it could be that the party isn’t over. I’m having a huge Vegas celebration in February, so perhaps I’m just doing mental gymnastics to prolong my 30s.
Or maybe I’m still satiated (in both mind and belly) from my AWESOME birthday dinner. Russell took me to Nine-Ten in La Jolla and OM to the G! Described as “Evolving California Cuisine” and led by Iron Chef America challenger, Jason Knibb, I don’t think we could’ve picked a better place to celebrate such a monumental occasion (without transatlantic travel, that is). I was gonna feature it as a ReKimmendation for today’s post, but sadly, it just doesn’t fit into what I want my blog to achieve, thematically. While people of all signifiers are welcome here, my target audience is comprised of women with too much bullshit in their life and not enough time to shovel it. I want to help preserve their budget, so I would be doing no favors by directing them towards such extravagance.
So, while I want to tell you about the Smoking Mirrors cocktail that kicked off the evening, I shouldn’t. While I want to tell you how I opted for their Three Course Menu (which included one starter, entree and choice of cheese or dessert), I shouldn’t. While I want to tell you about the Cevice, Lamb Osso Bucco and Honey Goat Cheese Parfait, complete with wine pairings, I shouldn’t. And while I want to tell you the evening was magical, enchanting and that you should go immediately… sigh.
Instead, I’m going to bring this post back to practicality and give you a little taste of home. It was chilly today (for So-Cal) and I thought we could all use a little warming up. With chili. Har har.
Oh, It’s Chili Out
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 can or bottle beer (I used Red Hook IPA – someone left a few bottles here.)
- 2 lbs stew beef
- 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I used the kind with chipotle peppers)
- 1 can red beans, semi-drained
- 1 can Great Northern Beans, semi-drained
- 1 can black beans, semi-drained
- Salt & pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper, followed by chili powder, oregano and cumin. This is a very important step as it toasts the herbs and spices. Saute veggies until onions are cooked. Deglaze the pot with about half of the beer. Add stew beef that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned. Add tomatoes and beans. (I drain at least half of the liquids out of the beans.) Stir all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Set on a very low heat and simmer for about 1 hour. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper as needed. Top chili with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream or Crema Mexicana. Add chopped onions and cilantro if you wish.
I served this with my favorite corn bread. All of my kids gobbled it up and asked for more. It’s great comfort food and really doesn’t cause all that much gas. Well… I guess that really depends on who you are. In my family, our mileage varies.