Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Leftover chili

Chili only gets better when it's left over. The other night at our chili cookoff, Jay was just a tiny bit scornful of my chili because it had beans in it. I know very well true Texas chili does NOT have beans. And don't fall into the trap of thinking chili is from Mexico. It was "invented," "concocted," whatever by chuckwagon cooks in Texas. In fact, native Mexicans look down their noses at it as some inferior Texas dish. True Texas chili never had tomatoes either--basically just meat and seasonings, cooked a long time.
I admit I'm not a purist. Judy's Mild and Tentative Chii has tomato sauce and beans, but it's so easy and so good. You simply brown a lb. of hamburger or chili ground beef with 1 medium onion and as much garlic as you want--I used four medium cloves. Drain off the juice and brown again, so you get that good browned taste. Then add 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce, as much beer as you want (I used a whole one because I kept letting it cook down--and even then it was pretty thick, like stew, which chili isn't supposed to be). Add chili seasonings to your taste--I used four very generous teasoons, plus a  couple of dashes of Tabasco. Let it all simmer. Just before serving, stir in beans--I used Ranch Style, rinsed, but Elizabeth uses black beans. Either one is good. Offer toppings of grated cheese and diced red onion. I bring this up again, because I had the last of the chili for supper tonight (I'd sent a bunch home with Jordan). It was sooo good that I began to regret giving some away. My chili may be mild--Susan said it had a bite to it--and not real Texas chili, but I really like the recipe. Next I'll move on to Judy's Sloppy Joe, which I also love.
Elizabeth Edwards' death surprised all of us. Yesterday's announcement led us to believe that she had a few weeks left, so the news of her death today was a shock. But a blessing. I suspect once she'd made the announcement, she was ready and just let go. The media, social and otherwise, is full of sympathy, praise, there seems nothing to add. But I have to say, for myself, she was a role model in grace and strength and determination. Would that each of us could live life as fully as she did, both its joys and its sorrows. God bless her family, even John who was reportedly at her bedside with the children.
My dog has a new and puzzling problem--he who has always tried to sneak in the house whenever he could is reluctant to come in at night. He hesitates, looks at me, looks off into space, takes a few steps closer, and then stops. I finally have to pretend to close the door--and then he comes in. Similarly, he's a little slow to come into the office--we went through this several months ago, but I thought he was over it. I don't know if it's age or if something scared him inside. He stays briefly in my office and then wants to go to his bed, when of course I hoped he'd want my company. But he's one content dog in his bed. Yep, I think he needs a friend.

No comments: