Chill out Chili

This is not chili in my book, but that’s the name of the recipe. It was a first-prize winner in a Pace Picante contest. Apparently it’s an original creation of Barbara Morgan of Concord, CA. Thank you, Barbara! We really love this dish.

  • 1-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4 -inch pieces (I cut up lean boneless pork sirloin chops. Also, I’ve never tried it, but I bet you could substitute Chicken if you’re not into pork.)
  • 2  cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 cups Pace Picante Sauce (I usually buy the medium heat)
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • About 2/3 can (15 oz) corn, rinsed and drained (recipe calls for 10-oz frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, but the canned corn is fine)
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, chopped green onions

Cook meat, onion and garlic in oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven, stirring frequently, just until meat loses its pink color, about 8 to 10 minutes. (I usually sear meat first before adding onions. Once I had grilled pork leftover so I used it in this recipe and that was the best, but anyway you cook it is fine.)

Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt over meat; mix well to coat evenly.  Add remaining ingredients except toppings; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until meat and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Ladle into bowls; top as desired and serve with additional Pace Picante Sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings, about 8 cups chili.

As usual in my kitchen, I will swap out the beans according to what I have in the cupboard.  I always use the black beans and corn, but I may substitute pinto or white beans if I don’t have kidney. I like to let this meld overnight, or if you can’t wait, it’s good to eat immediately as well. But leftovers are always very good. We use warm whole wheat flour tortillas to sop up all the good sauce.

If you don’t eat pork, you could probably use chicken or beef and just adjust the cooking times so the meat is tender. If you try a different meat let me know how it tastes.

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 7:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nothing like a little belly-warming chile on a day of clouds and drizzle. Ev doesn’t make basic chile – she makes one with complex and delicate flavors.

She is so far from basic chile, as she almost finished cooking she said, hmm something is missing – but what??

I had to tell her: BEANS!

It is was yummy – but I had to dumb mine down by adding some jalapeño peppers. I also had to promise not to comment on who the sour cream piglet was in the duo, as seen in the photo  =)

Now I bet I get in trouble….


Turkey Chili  (From The Gourmet Gazelle Cookbook by Ellen Brown)

I usually make chili pulling from many different recipes, but here is one that has a nice “full-bodied” taste, so I can just follow this one without adding from other recipes. Nevertheless no recipe is sacred to me; I always make changes and adjustments according to what I have in the kitchen. I got this recipe from a newspaper so I was curious about the cookbook and did a little sleuthing on the Internet.  It dates back to 1989, and one reviewer wrote:  “Brown says that she wants her food to be sensual in the most literal sense of the word and to that extent her recipes are often aromatic and frequently sharpened by the addition of chilies or hot spices.”

Aromatic. That’s a good description for this chili with cocoa, coffee and tarragon vinegar in it.

 (6 servings)

  • 1 TBSP veg. oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped  (peeled? really? who WOULDN’T peel an onion first?)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced  (see previous comment about peeled…)
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, finely diced  (recently I just had only a yellow pepper so that’s what I used, but not so finely diced)
  • 1-1/2 lbs ground turkey meat (I’ve used chicken and beef)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 3 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cocoa
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar  (I’ve never owned this so I use either red wine or rice vinegar and I put in 1/2 – 1 teaspoons tarragon)
  • 2 TBSP strong brewed coffee
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, crushed or diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  (or to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (We like lots of beans and variety is good. I might add a can of black beans and another can of kidney or pinto beans. 2 cans might be more like 3 cups of beans, but that would still not be too many beans.)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with the spoon.

Stir in the flour, chili powder, cumin and cocoa. Stir over low heat, stiffing frequently, for 3 minutes to cook the spices.

Add the remaining ingredients except the black beans and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Simmer the chili, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes, unitl it is thick and the turkey is tender. Add the black beans and cook for 5 additional minutes. We usually top with chopped green onions and shredded Jack cheese and/or yogurt or sour cream.

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Summer Salad Nicoise

Finally getting some of those uncomfortably warm days that require staying out of the hot kitchen which gets the sun all afternoon. Luckily I had enough leftover cooked green beans and potatoes to put together a “salad Nicoise.” Honestly, I’m not sure what all the ingredients are supposed to be, but I know the basics are green beans, potatoes and tuna. I added red onions, tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. I had put the can of tuna in the fridge to make sure it was nice and cold, and the asiago bread came out of the freezer and got a quick toasting. Perfect summer patio meal, even if Louis wouldn’t once admit it was good. (but I know he liked it.)

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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Crab Enchiladas with Black Beans & Rice

This recipe goes back to the Lincoln High cookbook in the late 80’s – it was contributed by my colleague Vivian Rich. And this is the first time Ev made  it with canned crabmeat rather than that pseudo-crab stuff. And to top it all off, Sam Adams Winter Lager!  ¡Muy rico!

This is really Luigi’s food diary so recipes need not be here, but I figured I might be able to use it as an easy online resource to find my recipes some day, so I’ll enter the black beans and enchilada recipe here.

Black beans with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar – this recipe is a newspaper scrap and I always have to look too long to find it.  Maybe this will be an easier find. I have to laugh because I see it’s supposed to give you 6 servings.  Most of the time we get 2, possibly 3 servings.  I guess we really like black beans.

  • 1/2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. hot chili powder (or less if you don’t want them too spicy)
  • 1 (16 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over moderate heat until hot.  Add onion, and cook until translucent. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder. Cook, stirring until  mixed, about 30 seconds.  Add beans, vinegar and salt to taste. Cook, stirring often until heated through.  (add more vinegar and salt to taste)

Crab  Enchiladas from Vivian Rich

  • 1/2 to 1 cup small chopped mushrooms
  • 1-2 Tbsp margarine, depending on amount of mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup mild picante sauce (I generally use medium hot)
  • 1  3-oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed oregano leaves
  • 1-1/2 cup imitation crab meat
  • 1-1/2 c shredded Jack cheese
  • corn tortillas (at least 8, but more if they’re tiny, or if you don’t fill them too full)
  • *(See Note)

Saute the mushrooms in margarine.  Turn to low heat and add green onions, 1/4 c. picate sauce, cream cheese, cumin, organo, and crab meat. Stir over low heat until cream cheese melts. Stir in 1/2 c.  Jack cheese.  Remove from heat.

Heat corn tortillas in pan on stove or in microwave to make them pliable. Spoon crab mixture (depending on size of tortilla — about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup) over tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down in very lightly greased (use margarine) 12X7 inch baking dish. Pour remaining picante sauce over enchiladas, covering all the tortillas well. Sprinkle with remaining Jack cheese. Bake at 350 uncovered for 15 minutes to heat through and melt cheese.

*Note: I have often added finely chopped celery to give it a bit of a crunch.  Filling is just mush otherwise.  I’ve also added finely chopped green pepper, regular onions and black olives.

Published in: on January 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Gingered shrimp w/ chickpeas and spinach


Ev found the recipe in her book, had the ingredients, so we had this for the first time ever!  Newspapers may be dying but one benefit of getting them is the random recipes they publish, which you may eventually get to try out if you have a serendipitous kitchen!

This has a subtle Indian flavor. Here’s the interesting and very different recipe:

  • 1 (1 1/4 inch ) piece ginger root, peeled and minced (I used about 1 tsp ground ginger cuz I didn’t have fresh)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small chopped onion (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 o 8 large sprigs cilantro
  • 10 oz spinach leaves
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon, cut in 5 wedges
  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper

If needed, toss shrimp with 1/2 tsp salt. Heat 2 Tbl. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until not quite cooked through.  Transfer to a plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over the shrimp.

Add remaining 1 Tbl. oil to skillet and heat to medium.  Add onion.  Sprinkle with salt to taste and cook about 5 minutes until onion starts to brown.  Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add cumin, ginger and cayenne.  Stir and cook for 20 seconds, then add 1- 3/4 cups of water, chickpeas and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook uncovered, stirring for 5 minutes.  Use a potato masher to crush half of the chickpeas in the skillet, then add spinach and cilantro.  Use tongs to fold them into the mixture; cook for about 2 minutes, until wilted.

Return shrimp to skillet and cook 1 to 2 minutes, adding 1/4 cup water if needed until shrimp is reheated, opaque, and just cooked through. Remove from the heat and adjust seasonings. Serve with jasmine rice.

This recipe seems to have come from the Washington Post.

Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 4:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken Chili Blanco

Cold rainy day in San Diego calls for a nice belly-warming chili…

Not a Tex-Mex – this is chicken, cheese, white wine,  white bean, white rice – oh, blanco! Then the garnishes give it some eye appeal. Ev has had this recipe for quite a while. She doesn’t remember where it came from, but it is an easy keeper.

Chicken Chili Blanco

4 servings:

This is an interesting “white” chili- a lovely oregano-flecked delicate beige color, with a creamy texture, but a surprisingly zippy kick of peppery flavor. Serve this splendid chili with steamed rice, rolled warm corn tortillas.

  • 1 tablespoon olive  oil
  • 1- 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1-1/2 cups  chicken broth
  • 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf, broken in half
  • 2  cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
  • 2 cups drained cooked white beans, rinsed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, fresh or pickled, minced
  • 1-1/2 cup grated Montery Jack cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferable coarsely ground
  • salt
  • Garnishes: diced tomatoes, chopped scallions, sliced black olives


1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, cumin and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, wine, and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered over medium-high heat until somewhat reduced, 5-8 minutes.

2. Add the chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Using the back of a spoon, mash about one-quarter of the beans to thicken the sauce. (Can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated, or frozen. Reheat gently before finishing.)

3. Over low heat, add the cheese one handful at a time, stirring until melted. Add the pepper and taste for salt, adding some if necessary.

4. Remove the pieces of bay leaf. Serve the chili topped with some or all of the garnishes.

Note: You can substitute 12 ounces of uncooked skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh meat.  cut in rough 3/4 dice and add with the broth and wine in Step 1.


Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 3:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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