47. Mexican Chili Con Carne and the Game of the Week

Please disregard any formatting issues on #47–since I lost this post and had to recreate it piecemeal, it’s not my best work. 

This was to be the week of the Game of the Century: No. 1 ranked LSU versus No. 2 ranked Alabama in a fight for BCS and SEC superiority.

Game of the Century my ass. Getting it through the uprights only 2 out of 6 field goal attempts, Mr. Alabama Kicker? Weak. I hope that you are in witness protection somewhere.

Let’s talk Game of the Week: Ravens at Steelers. Whenever the Ravens play the Steelers all of the local media refers to it as STEELERS WEEK. Have they been doing the same on the radio in Pittsburgh? I know it’s a big to-do but is it RAVENS WEEK?

STEELERS WEEK is the sort of stuff I imagine them doing at a big college football school. I would not know this because both of my alma maters are nerd-intensive institutions. One doesn’t even have a football team.

Since it was STEELERS WEEK and I am a Steelers fan I decided to have some friends (rowdy friends?) over for Sunday Night. One problem: they’re all Ravens fans. I invited the enemy over. And served them chili.

I made this chili the day before because 1. Cleve and I were attending a luncheon celebrating Senator Barb Mikulski’s induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (I do not know what that is, but I aspire to one day be in it). 2. Chili is best the next day.

Simple recipe. I used 1.5 lbs of cubed stew meat because that was the largest package they had at the store. I also used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (recipe called for 1lb) and omitted the cup of water. In lieu of regular kidney beans I went for the Mexican-style chili beans. The only other modifications were as such: the doubling of most all spices in the recipe, a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of red pepper flakes, and a healthy sprinkling of Crystal Hot Sauce.

This was to cook for a total of 1 hr 30 min. I probably had mine on for at least 3. The meat cubes were quite large and I wanted them to cook long enough to start to break down.

On Saturday I also made the dessert: floating island. This was easy. I used instant vanilla pudding–the package calls for 2 cups of milk but DiS! insisted on 3 cups. I wonder if this would’ve made a difference with cook and serve. But why do cook and serve when the Lord gave us instant?

That went into the pie pan. I made the meringue. I think that my meringue was OK. It had stiff peaks (that sounds like a bad girlie mag) in the bowl, but when I began to ‘drop mounds’ onto the pudding, they didn’t seem quite as firm. Oh well. I tried for a fetching pattern of concentric circles, but that went bad real fast. Instead I ended up with one, giant, mountainous, floating island. It was most definitely not the prettiest of confections.

But once I put it under the broiler it did brown nicely.

So I put this in the fridge. When I later put the chili into the fridge next to it I noticed that my floating island was floating a little more than it should. I don’t know if the meringue started to break down or because there was too much milk in the instant pudding, but things began to look a little watery. The next morning, after a night of chilling, it did seem to firm up a bit, but my browned, stiff peaks had flattened a bit.

Onto the big day. I put the chili into my slow cooker to reheat and to keep warm, I made some Jiffy cornbread (the cheapest and the best) and assembled the salad.

Orange, Olive, Avocado, and Papaya salad. For the majority of DiS! green salads I forgo an actual recipe and just eyeball it from the picture on the card. That’s what I did here. So I got some bagged butter lettuce mix, and the other ingredients. Do I even have to say that the Safeway doesn’t carry papayas? Although, in the Safeway’s defense, even if they did have papayas I wouldn’t know what constitutes a ripe papaya or how to cut it. But I digress. I chose Safeway’s California dressing because right on the packaging is a leaf of lettuce, some Mandarin oranges, and avocado slices. I assume that this is the right dressing. Mix. Done.

And with that, DINNER IS SERVED!

This chili was quite good. Who knew that using cubed meat instead of ground beef would make such a difference! The beef became the star of this chili and the beans were relegated to a supporting role. The doubling of the spices was a clutch decision and the addition of the cinnamon gave it that little something extra that made it a little extra-special.

The salad was good, too. The dressing had a nice little sweet and tangy thing going on and the variety of textures–avocado, olive, orange–made it interesting.

The dessert was a success as well. It was kinda like a meringue pie sans crust. Fancy instant pudding!

I have to be honest with you, I didn’t see a lot of this game. As a good hostess, I was more worried about the food, drinks and sparkling conversation. However, once our guests left, all before the half-way point of the fourth quarter, I could sit and watch the game. And well, that sucked ass. You know how that turned out.

P.S. Coach Harbaugh(s)–you didn’t win the Super Bowl. Shit, you didn’t even win a playoff game. Act like a professional football coach and not some Pop Warner dad. 

In the wrap-up (as in all segments) Tony Dungy looked like a sad, sad Vulcan.

I looked a little dejected, too. Although this is pre-game in an attempt to recreate the awesomeness that is the Sophia-Loren-With-Big-Fork-and-Spoon photo.

But ya know, win or lose, at the end of the day all that matters is friends, food, fun, and this guy and his lil’ pink nose.

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3 Responses to 47. Mexican Chili Con Carne and the Game of the Week

  1. mum says:

    i truly believe that tony dungy is indeed a vulcan and that he is, without a doubt, the dullest vulcan in the universe. damn, that chili looks good!

  2. Well, your big spoon, big fork photo is awesome!

  3. Pingback: 40. Beef Pizza | Dinner is Served!

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