Monday, March 06, 2006

Many new things coming from the kitchen!

We had an interesting day in the kitchen today. I made one recipe that I thought I never would end up doing, one that has a new combination of flavors and a new take on cornbread. Let's start off with the sweet and slightly savory combo.

Curried Sunflower Brittle has a lot of promise, but I think the recipe could use some tweaking. Raw sunflower seeds and curry powder are first toasted (separately) and then mixed into a very hot sugar mixture. After spreading very thin and allowed to cool, you can easily break the brittle into shards. The recipe calls for cooking the sugar mixture for about 3 minutes, until you smell the first sign of caramel fragrance, but that is kind of hard to do when the air is filled with toasted curry powder. I let it go for about 4 minutes total, and while about half of it is crisp and firm, some of the mixture is a little chewy and sticks to your teeth. Other than the chewy texture, we both really loved the taste of this brittle. The brittle color is not as clear/see through because I used brown rice syrup in lieu of light corn syrup as we try to shy away from high fructose corn syrup when we can.

The new take on cornbread tonight was Cheddar Corn Bread with Pepitas. This is a moist and more savory cornbread filled with sharp white cheddar, green chiles and topped off with crunchy pepitas. Since we have recently started using chiles in food, it seemed a bit too heavily chile-flavored , but the more we had I think we could have eaten the whole pan. Thankfully, we had something else to go with it tonight and only had a couple servings. Peptias are raw pumpkin seeds with the shells removed and bring a great texture on top. Definitely worth looking for.
Okay, so the main portion of tonight's dish is something that I steered clear of while growing up. Whenever my family made this, I was no where to be found as just the sound of the stuff that went in it made me nauseous (yes, I was a really picky eater!) Jeff always said he didn't like it either so I figured we were safe, but I finally overcame my fear and went ahead with a recipe called All-American Chili. What's to be afraid of about chili right? Beans and other unknown stuff that even though I've never tasted when I was younger, I just knew I would never like it.

Boy was I stupid for not even trying it a long time ago! We both thoroughly enjoyed this so much. Color me surprised! Thick, hearty and full of flavor with a bit of spice to heat things up. Even though the recipe uses lean Hot Italian turkey sausage and ground sirlion, they bring enough meaty flavor to make up for it. The recipe did originally call for brown sugar, but I set it aside until the end as I thought with all of the Merlot in the recipe it might not need it. When I tasted it as the timer was almost done, I'm glad I left it out. If you like your chili on the sweeter side, feel free to add in a couple tablespoons. This opens up so many other recipes we've skipped over because of certain ingredients we "thought" we would never like.



  1. That chili recipe is my favorite recipe to use. I do add the brown sugar and it does not taste sweet, I think it cuts the acidity some.

  2. That's too funny. I fine that most of your recipes are a bit 'out there' (in a good way - exotic, different) but you've never made good old-fashioned chili before?! LOL

    I'm seeing curry popping up in sweets but I can't wrap my head around it.

  3. I'm so glad to see you've come over to the chili side of things! Welcome, brother! :)

  4. It is always nice to try new things! I love trying new foods and also have been surprised to actually like some flavors I didn't think I would before!
    Your chili looks great, and so does the cornbread! Yummy!

  5. It's a whole new world once you discover chili love. ;) Rachael Ray has a good one ... Manny's Manly Chili. Easy to make and great tummy warming food.

  6. Joe, I love that recipe! I probably make 20 different kinds of chili, but that one is definitely a keeper.

  7. LOL, I grew up on beans, tomatos and chilis... chili was a weekly meal at our house. If you want a REALLY good chili, add beer in place of the wine and use the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. of cocoa powder and some smoked Spanish paprika... OH MY!

  8. Hi Joe,

    I have been following your blog for about 6mths now and I love it! I look forward to it everyday, in anticipation of what you are going to make/bake!

    Whenever I find that I like something that I didn't like as a child, I say to myself "Grown-up taste"...

    Keep up the good work...

  9. your brittle just needs to be cooked longer, then it wouldn't be sticky.
    it looks great--

  10. you used to be a picky eater? who would ever guess!

    that brittle sounds very different and interesting.

    i have never tried it, but i hear that a few dollops of peanut butter in a chili adds a really great kick. since i am vege... i make lots of vegetarian chilis with TVP! yum!

  11. Patti - I didn't notice too much acidity, but I might have to try adding it next time to see a difference!

    The cookbook junkie - I know exactly what you mean - I'm quite surprised at the stuff I end up making myself!

    s'kat - Must find and try more recipes now!

    Ana - Yeah, I can't wait to try the next thing I thought I hated but in turn actually like!

    sweetnicks - I'll have to look that one up - thanks!

    Dawna - I can see why, it's very tasty! Even better the next day.

    Michele - Wow, beer and cocoa huh? We will have to try that!

    Anon - Thank you!

    Anon - That was my guess too - it was very good so we will have to make some more soon!

    EP - Yeah really! Mom didn't believe I was trying half the stuff until I started this website!

  12. All American Chili is OUR chili of choice. I love that recipe. So happy to have found it long ago!

    Welcome to the world of chili. I like mine with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese.

  13. Oh my gosh, you're from Minnesoootttaaa and you didnt eat Chili? What about hot dish? Do you eat that? LOL. Did I ever tell you my ex is from MN, shakopee to be exact. Btw, if you could come up with a homeade nut goodie, I'd name my next pet Joe!!