Tuesday, October 6, 2009

a chili fall night

on sunday night, one of the first brisk nights of the fall, we enjoyed a classic cold weather meal on a table that really brought the feeling of the darker months home in a very cozy way. i made a centerpiece for the fall table using twine and woven balls, rust-colored silk hydrangeas and sparkly gold pillar candles (all from our rehearsal dinner two years ago, btw). i actually think i might get rid of the candles - i don't know, seems like a lot. here it is without. thoughts?

so anyway, i made turkey chili, which i often do in the fall and winter, but i have to say this was the best time i've made it. it's totally one of those dishes that's slightly different each time i make it in terms of exact ingredients and amounts, but always tastes basically the same. in this case, though, i think it was just the right combinations and proportions to really elevate it a little. here's what i did:
i sauteed about 2 pounds of ground turkey with 2 packets of taco seasoning. while that was cooking, i started cooking chopped onions and peppers along with corn in a dutch oven with a tablespoon of canola oil. once that started to heat up, i added a large can of stewed tomatoes (about 32 oz), 3 cans of drained beans (one white, one black, one red), one small can of green chiles, and the cooked turkey.

as far as spices. i added about 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: salt, red pepper flakes, cumin, curry powder, chili powder. and just a pinch of cinnamon. we garnished it with light sour cream and chopped chives, and i served it alongside cheddar and chive bread rounds.

and by that i mean these fab bake-at-home breads from trader joe's baked directly on the rack, then split open, sprinkled with 2% "fancy" cheddar and chopped chives, baked until melted and sliced into rounds.

the best new thing i did this time, in addition to the right ingredient mix, was that i used frozen peppers, onions and corn, which MAJORLY cut down on prep time, and yielded extra savings too. the peppers are from trader joe's and are one of my favorite products there. it's a big bag of mixed peppers already cut into strips. it's a great buy, and convenient for all kinds of stir fries and mexican situations. i just poured all the frozen vegetables into a colander and let them defrost and drain a little before starting to cook.

we used my favorite new placemats from ikea, listened to simon and garfunkel and had a relaxing, cozy sunday night to ease into a new week.

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