bowl of red.

Do you know anything about the chile queens of San Antonio? All I knew was a couple of paragraphs' worth in the The Whole Chile Pepper Book, which is an eminently readable survey of the world's chile traditions. Anyway, the above link is to an NPR special that will fill in some of your gaps.

I knew I wanted to cook with chiles last night, but it was Mara who suggested chili (one of the least-good Wikipedia entries I've seen in some time, by the way). This is probably mostly to do with the fact that Andy has been making really good "chili" about once a month since the summer, and when he makes some, he usually brings us a bowl (or two, if we're lucky!). He just made some last week, but I don't think Miss Mara got to put her tooth on any of it...

So the only matter up for debate about tonight's chili was: what style? I used the quotes around Andy's chili because it contains a number of things that, if they saw them, would cause hardcore chiliheadz to spontaneously combust: carrots are probably the most flagrant violation of chili law, but his also contains beans, which as you probably know are a massive point of contention. Call his version "European-style".

Regarding our style choice, our two big options were: New Mexican, which is simply cut beef, beef broth, and chiles; or San Antonio-style, which uses ground beef instead, and adds onion, garlic, tomatoes, and some herbs and spices.

I've eaten enough ground meat chili to last me the rest of my life, so we did New Mexican chile con carne, augmented by some Texas-style spice. I may have been a bit overzealous in defatting this as it cooked...the flavor could be a bit rounder than it is. But it looks and smells beautiful, and pretty good chili is about the same as pretty good pizza or pretty good sex...it's plenty good enough. And if you need it, the round fatness can be retrofitted using crema, or creme fraiche in our case.

To see what real chili geeks put in their brews, check out the websites for the two major factions of chili cooking in America, the ICS and the CASI. Still looking for a good source that explains the feud between the two and what the differences are in their cooking styles.


border-style chile con carne.

1 kg riblappen or biefstuk if you see it on sale like I did
2 tbsp walnut oil (the non-border-style ingredient)
4 cups beef broth
4 ancho chiles
4 guajillo chiles
3 cloves garlic
3 tsp cumin
3 tsp oregano
1 sweet onion, for garnish
or maybe pico de gallo if i get around to it (I did)

Details forthcoming.


If you're curious, diet is still in effect, yesterday was a good day. Went to the gym, plus:

: smoked salmon sandwich on whole wheat with mayo and mustard. 350kcal.
Snack: couple bites of hungover Mara's tuna melt on whole wheat that I made for her. 100kcal.
Beverages: 2 cups of coffee. 1 rehydration drink. 1 Earl Grey.
Lunch: Weird. Nothing.
Dinner: a couple small bowls of chili. A couple tiny pieces of cornbread with butter. Even if this was all 1000 calories, I'm still cool for the day.
Later: Grapefruit at 22:30.

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