Monday, October 31, 2005

Margy Cooks! Halloween Chili!

She didn't actually cook the chili on Halloween, but rather a few Sundays ago when the two of us took our kitchen by storm in an effort to fill our freezer with weeknight-ready meals. This is something I could not recommend more highly. Even a nut like me, who actually finds midweek cooking relaxing, likes to have things on hand for those inevitable evenings when there's no time, or the ingredients aren't there and the inspiration doesn't come.

As a point of departure, Margy uses the recipe in Staffmeals by David Waltuck, the chef at Chanterelle in NYC. His version calls for venison, but that just ain't gonna happen -- though it would be great to try it sometime, when we can find the stuff without hitting the woods with shotgun in hand. Instead she simply goes with ground beef, which works perfectly well. This recipe is not timid with the cinnamon, which I wasn't sure about until I took a taste to find that it, along with some cumin, gives the dish added depth in a way that's almost Indian. And for the "good-quality chile powder" in the ingredients list, Margy uses ground chipotle. She's wild like that. The chipotle makes the chili good and hot -- two alarms, we'll say -- and its smokiness snuggles right up to the cinnamon and cumin to form the perfect spice combo.

Margy tends to experiment with the accoutrements on chili night. This time we had corn tortillas, shredded spinach, shredded sharp cheddar, sour cream, and brown rice, with some string beans on the side. Corn tortillas are lower in calories than flour tortillas, but they're harder to fold around the filling.

Margy received the sum total of two trick-or-treaters, both before I got home for dinner, which meant we ate a ton of miniature Tootsie Rolls and Peppermint Patties. Happy Halloween!

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