SatGourmet: Speed-Eating and Chili Bowls

Our (markets are closed, can’t focus on money all the time) pastimes come into play from market close Friday  until  the “Return to Greed Mountain” Monday.

And, since Spring sprung this past week, our gustatory inquisition this weekend involves Heat and how it relates to Spice.

Heat & Spice:  Observations

Personal Data:  Seattle, where Ure (and his buddy the Major) grew up 68-years ago, was not an especially warm place.  Seemed like most of the year, except for the three-week summer, rain was coming down, it was cold, and a person ate accordingly.

A fair amount of carbs and fats.  Food (and even pastries, yum) right out of the oven.  Pappy’s fresh Cuban Bread cooled only far enough to be quickly buttered, smeared with strawberry preserves and popped in the mouth where it was further cooled by a swallow of coolish, but not cold, milk.

The cooler the weather, the hotter the food (temp-wise).  Cold day of 5-year-olds building forts in the woods was interrupted for a bowl of cream-of-mushroom and a hot fried cheese sandwich.  Often on home-made bread which was cheap.

About once a week, there would be a big pot of meatball and vegetable soup.  My buddy Gaye ate the same soup and memorialized it in an article:  “Lose Weight and Feel Great with Cabbage Soup & a Healthy Diet.”

Gaye’s soup was (is) healthy.  But, since she and survival hubby moved to Arizona, some of the “Northwest Accoutrements” have disappeared.  The Ure (Jensen) soup was basically the same base.  But, now take Gaye’s recipe and dump in a pound of Sam’s Choice precooked Angus meatballs.

Since they come frozen, toss ’em in an hour ahead of time.

The OTHER big addition to the soup (screw this weight-loss crap) is a 3 to 5 slice (one-inch thick, each) stack of “doctored” French (or Cuban) bread.  The medical treatment?  Varies on mood, but butter, a solid dusting with garlic powder (not salt!!!). And sometimes, a good shake of Parmesan cheese.

Don’t get me wrong:  Her soup is great.  Ours, though, has a little more “stick to the ribs” (and waistline) to it.  If dinnertime “company” happens to be a cardiologist, hers is the better choice, no question.

The Great Parmesan Debate

Important sidebar here on what Pappy always referred to as “sprinkle cheese.”

I could see the economics of the American Dream up close and personal starting 72+ years ago.  The first cheese in the house was Velveeta.  A bit of real cheddar followed for a few Danish favorites.  (Ham and scalloped potatoes, for instance.)

Then – must have been 1955-ish, or so, the first can of Kraft “sprinkle cheese” arrived.  It had been a hit at the fire station, so it was welcomed into the home.

It went best:  Sprinkled on the cardiologist-worrying soup, on heavily garlic-laced baked bread, and on anything with a tomato involved.  Spaghetti, lasagna, and so forth.  Pizza? Of course!

It wasn’t till I married Elaine that I was schooled (by she who reads Bon Apetit) that such lowly “sprinkle cheese” is not worthy persons such as “us.”

Since then, I have upgraded the Parmesan to include both fresh shredded along with fresh shaved varieties.  Only two or three brands have passed muster.

Still, I secretly long for another can of “sprinkle cheese.”  It’s a finer grind than uppity cheese.   It’s the table cheese answer to Wondra for gravy-making, if that makes sense.  Smaller grind means easier to melt into soups and a much more even distribution on cheesy garlic bread.  Even good on pizza for the same reason.  Not quite as salty as “uppity” either.

Back to the Heat

In addition to learning that my wife has “cheese snob tendencies” I also learned more about “hot weather people.”

Since her background was mostly Arizona, with some childhood time in Panama, hot weather and spicy food is very acceptable to her.

Recently, I made some rum-soaked, Jamaican-jerk glazed chicken – she loved.

But the BIG difference between us is serving temperatures.

To my way of thinking, a big steak should be serve (like fajitas, too) on those steel plates that sit in wood holders.  Dull red pan.  Sizzle and smoke goes a long ways with a firefighter’s son,  see?

Elaine’s idea of a good steak is medium to very well-done.  Cooled to a civilized temp.  So if the meat comes off the grill, stands for 10-minutes, and then leisurely arrives within arm’s reach, it’s ideal.

Since Children of the North get calories from their mouths, a whole meal will be eaten in not more than 10-minutes.  This may arise from the Depression – which was universally The Hungry Years.

There’s five pork chops and six people coming to dinner…” was a real Ure-family Depression era saying.  Grandma Bessie (and her neighbor Frosty) bot long gone, fed people for a block, or so around, out of their dueling gardens.  Nothing – coffee grounds, bits of lettuce, banana peels – absolutely nothing went to waste.  It was all composted with love.

And like all Depression garden, the soil, like the people who worked it, were enriched over time from the effort.

Elaine wasn’t raised in such a stable world.  The Mormon uplands of Arizona were (and still are) filled with hardworking, farm-oriented people.  But, because of the religion, the deep-seated fear of immediate hunger wasn’t baked into her personality.

Where a good steak and potato might be 10-15 minutes being wolfed-down, Elaine ponder, pontificates, and picks each bite with precision.  Five minutes after a steak arrives, it may – or may not – have yet made it onto the fork.  Our family would serve on conveyor belts if smaller ones were available.

Our first bottom line?  Spicy and cool food eats slow.  Gives the stomach time to adjust.  Feels fuller.  A break for the fire department to put out some Scoville’s is not unusual.

Northern comfort food is like the other way around:  Bland enough for continuous stoking. resulting in conveyor-like forking.  Warm enough so that if you’ve been outside all day, you warm from the middle out as the hot food goes down.

Like all married couples, we’ve adjusted over time.  Elaine serves my food mostly hot.  I serve hers cool, when it makes sense.  I’m done in 15-minutes tops.  I’ll check on Elaine in an hour, or two.

Chili Bowls

Looking Out Of the Box is our guest recipleaser this morning. Offering something which could (in this hot/cold discussion) go either way.

Chili bowls.
This is a favorite recipe for winter.. or for a great summer salad bowl .. the same recipe is used making corn chips or corn scoops…

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

  • 1 cup maseca yellow corn flour- not corn meal
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Mix this and place it between waxed or parchment paper.. then roll out.

For chili or salad bowls…take cereal bowl and use it to cut the bowl out.. make sure your dough is about  1/8th inch.

Brush the metal or heat resistant glass bowl invert it onto your cookie sheet. Brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.. now press the cut circle of rolled or pressed dough around the bowl. Bake about 10 minutes.. our oven its 8.

For chips?  Pizza cutter: Lay them out on your cookie sheet bush and season flip and bake again…

Scoops use a small glass or medicine bottle then flip a mini muffin pan over brush with oil mold your scoops.  Bake

  • Glaze
  • Olive oil
  • salt

From what Ure gathers here, the “chili bowl” (which oughta be like a mega chip in size) then gets filled with Chili.

Sounds like a lot of fun!

Cincinnati Chili?

One other chili note – long as we’re on topic:

Elaine has a cut, or so, of fine egg noodles left over the other night.  I found it in the fridge next day (foraging for lunch). So half a can of Wolf’s Chili (with beans) and a handful of Mexican cheese blend.  Nuke until all hot and gooey.

Hard to describe the flavor:  Not like spaghetti, but not like chili…

In fact, there are whole books about this kind of comfort food.  Start with $18-bucks worth of 6 Pack Cincinnati Chili Mix Packets if you don’t have everything in the leftover’s department.  With instructions and ideas from Dann Wollert’s book The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili.

Who knew?

Coming Up:  Next weekend the lovely Nancy is back for a return engagement.  A new kind of baked beans to try – and a dessert, as well!

Got a Special or Fave?

Always wanted to write for Bon Apetit or even Sunset or Southern Living?  But, never got around too it fearing rejection letters?

Go ahead – start small!  (Hard to be smaller than here…).  Send in the story and directions.  Not more than 100,000 words, no more than 500 pictures, but none you don’t own…and we’ll toss it in the VitaMix and see what…OMG!!!  See that???  Our New sign?

You Can’t Eat Stock Tips.

Eat now, or forever hold your peas…

9 thoughts on “SatGourmet: Speed-Eating and Chili Bowls”

  1. “Cold day of 5-year-olds building forts in the woods ”

    Years ago.. a couple of friends of mine and myself built an outstanding fort using the separating lumber from pallets of sewer pipe.. the community was putting in a sewer system and these things were everywhere..
    two years ago.. I stopped by to see the changes in the small town I grew up in.. I could hardly recognize it.. down by the slew.. they turned that into a duck pond.. you could see where the trees still stood out in the field where our fort was.. and sure enough.. it was still there.. a little worn for time..
    It was the same thing for the shelter for Sacagawea… when I was little I was out for a walk with my great great uncle.. and he was telling me the old stories passed down from generation to generation.. until we came up on the remains of an old shelter.. he said and I believed him.. this is where Sacagawea lived when they returned from wandering around the USA..
    I don’t know if they rebuilt it as a museum.. or if its still there.. ( I doubt it.. they burned the old house down along with the tobacco drying bins..) but it was history and it was one of the more pleasant memories of youth..

  2. “And like all Depression garden, the soil, like the people who worked it, were enriched over time from the effort.”

    The stories I heard about the depression was the community pulled together..
    Like the old childrens story of Stone soup.. that is how it was where my mother and her family lived.. each had a small garden.. one would raise a hog one chickens one a cow or goat.. etc.. and everything was shared between the whole neighborhood..
    visiting with contestants to the show Naked and Afraid.. that have made trips to other countries they said it was the same there.. if there was meat each person took a bite.. starting with the one that got the meat..
    My parents were like that.. they grew a nice garden every year and then split what they go from it with everyone else.. around here we do the same thing.. if we have twenty squash.. we take what we can use and to the store where it sits to be taken free by whoever needs it.. the same with any other produce.. its out displayed to be used by anyone ..

    • I have a lemon tree with roots into a crack in a lava tube below with adequate water, and so damn prolific I couldn’t pick them fast enough. Gave away basket loads to anyone who would take them, and even put a daily-refreshed basket out front on the road with a sign: “Free Lemons”. Now the tangerines are coming in, too. Giving them away to all takers, also. My neighbor has chickens. He just gave me a dozen eggs because they couldn’t eat them fast enough. Then he asked me, “Do you want some tangerines, too?” Hahahaha.

  3. I’m all for trying new things, but noodles in my chili makes me shudder. Tried that at a Skyline Chili in Cincy. Really didn’t like it. But, this could have been because it came from a fast food joint, instead of being freshly made at home.

    • OMG chili mac.. is awesome… gotta give it a try Silvermitt
      a weakness of mine is chili fries with cheese.. LOL

  4. Mom’s Recipe Hall of Fame: Rich and Devastating Almond Cheesecake

    1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs
    1/4 cup honey
    6 tbsp. melted butter
    3/4 tsp. cinnamon
    3/4 cup finely chopped almonds

    Mix crumbs, honey, almonds, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Pour melted butter
    over and mix thoroughly. Press this mixture on the bottom and sides of
    a 10-inch spring form pan, reserving a small spoonful of the crumbs
    for a later topping.

    Cheese Filling:
    2 pounds cream cheese
    1 cup honey
    4 eggs
    1-1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
    1/8 tsp. pink salt
    2 cups sour cream
    1/4 cup honey
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1-1/2 tsp. almond extract
    3/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds

    Use mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy, then add the 1 cup of
    honey and gradually add the eggs and beat thoroughly. Add lemon juice
    and salt. Spoon mixture into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40
    minutes. Mix together sour cream, honey, almond extract and vanilla. Spread over the
    partially baked cake, sprinkle with the reserved crumbs and bake at
    475 degrees for an additional 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a cake
    rack, then chill for several hours or overnight. Remove from the
    refrigerator about an hour before serving and remove the sides of the
    spring form pan.
    Just before serving, sprinkle with sliced almonds.

    To prepare ahead of time: This can be prepared the day before.
    To freeze: Yes, this can be frozen. Be sure to give it enough time to
    defrost thoroughly.
    Compare this masterpiece with the ingredients of the infamous Sara Lee “cheesecake”:

    George is lucky to be alive after ingesting all that!

  5. Having grown up in frozen Wisconsin, I can relate to George’s young eating habits. But I was always a slow eater… last one done at the table by a long shot. I had a sensitive stomach and it took time to adapt to input. Wisconsin and cheese are synonymous, but I hated cheese when young. My folks had several different (and stinky!) types in the fridge at all times that I couldn’t even get near. My first cheese was as a teenager on pizza! Mild mozzarella I could tolerate. Took many years before I got a slight taste for some cheeses. Living in Hawaii for my entire adult life I have adapted to the cultural richness of various foods available here now, and even the hot stuff… eating raw Jalapeños with my Vietnamese friend. But I’m still a slow eater. I can enjoy it longer, and eat less.

  6. Yo Gorge, Helpful tip for all you gardeners growing spinach and lettuce. Once harvested I wash and use a salad spinner to dry. Sandwich the greens between paper towels, usually three or four layers. Roll up and place in a sealed plastic bag. Place in the crisper drawer, I have found that freshly harvested greens will last a good three weeks in the fridge. Twelve plants for me is plenty, usually share with all the neighbors. Enjoy…

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