Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year's Chili (& other goodies)

For New Year's Eve I held a board gaming party that started at 5pm and went until about 2:30 am. I made a ton of food for it, the main course being chili, since I'm swimming in ground beef.

My chili recipe:
  • 3 lb ground beef
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 large cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 to 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 large guajillo pepper
  • cumin (1-2TBs?)
  • ancho chili powder (1-2TBs?)
  • chipotle chili powder (2-3TBs?)
  • cinnamon (1/2 tsp?)
  • cocoa powder (1 tsp?)
  • salt
Brown the meat in batches, and sautee the onions & garlic in batches as well. deglaze the pan with a bit of broth. Add everything together and simmer for a while. I cooked it for a few hours, but that was simply because I made it early in the day and left it on the stove on low while getting ready for the party. The spice amounts are guesses -- adjust for your taste.

I served the chili with cornbread (which turned out too dry for my taste), sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. I also had baked potatoes that could be topped with chili.

The chili went over well, though the big hit was picklewiches -- dill pickles smeared with cream cheese, wrapped in corned beef and sliced into rounds. I served veggies (carrots, celery, red peppers, greek olives) and pita with dips. I made hummus and Tsatsiki. While I used the same recipe as always for the Tsatsiki, for some reason it was quite bland this time. My best guess is that it was the cucumber, since I used a hot house cucumber as I can't get cucumbers from the Farmer's Market in January.

For sweets, I made Aztec Bark and cookies. The bark was a spiced chocolate with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds). The nuts were definitely appreciated -- next time I'll add extra. The chocolate wasn't quite as popular as I expected, but I think it just got lost in all the other food.

I made refrigerator cookies a few days in advance and baked them up the day before. This recipe is for a base and then you mix in different flavors. Orange cranberry was the most popular of the three I made. I used the zest of four clementines, 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, and vanilla extract. The lemon poppy seed cookies(zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 c poppy seeds, lemon extract) were also good. The coconut chocolate chip (1/2 chocolate bits, almond extract, rolled in coconut flakes) did not turn out as well as I hoped. The almond extract overpowered things I think. I wanted to use coconut extract but I couldn't find any at the grocery store.

Over all the cookies were a bit sandy, which is to be expected for shortbread style cookies. I found the dough to be a bit dry -- it didn't want to stick together when I made the logs. Mixing it a little longer helped with that. The picture of the cookies at smitten kitchen shows lovely cookies. Mine all got brown on the bottoms. At first I thought it was just baking on too low of a rack, but even moving them up a shelf didn't help. (Next time I'll try the very top rack.) I tried pulling them out early, before they browned but the cookies hadn't set yet and had to go back in. I don't know why I have this problem. However, even slightly browned they were tasty.

Along side all these goodies I also had some cheese (soft goat, castello blue, and a double gloucester with chives), since I had a new cheese board and knives to use. The only special drink I served was hot apple cided. I put fresh cider in the crockpot along with some thin apple slices, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, a smashed nutmeg and a few dashes of cloves and allspice. Turned it on a high for a hour or so before the party and let it go all night, refilling as necessary. It was quite popular.

Hope you have a fun and food fill new year!


Steve said...

Cinnamon? Chocolate? Blasphemy! Rebecca...heir apparent...did you learn nothing from making chili with your Dad? :)

Rebecca said...

It's a different style chili than what we used to make. After all it doesn't have carrots in it, which i remember being and interesting quirk of your chili. Still very tasty though.