Thursday, November 20

Excuse Me While I Take a ‘Truffle Break’

There are two things I love almost as much as my husband – chocolate and…well, let’s just say the other is pretty darn good too.

Like finding your soul mate, no ordinary chocolate will do. It has to melt across your palate, letting you taste all the nuanced flavors held within. It has to be refined but still rich enough that you crave a second piece. And if you are so lucky as to come across a prized truffle, mmhhmmm, pure bliss as the hard chocolate crunch gives way to a silky smooth filling immersing you in gastropleasure.

Luckily for you, and me, the Fates have intervened. Godiva Chocolatier will be giving away Free Truffles today from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., or while supplies last, at boutiques nationwide. Limit one per person.

Now if I can only get my hands on item number two my day will be complete…Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 18

Any Given Sunday

Along with our cold front comes Sunday football games, or most importantly, as Husby would say, the Giants continuing their winning streak. I don’t really care for sports unless it involves the University of Maryland Terrapins or March Madness. Call me biased.

Growing up we had one big television and needless to say, it only lived for sports. Forget trying to watch an HBO movie with popcorn and hot cocoa, while cuddled in a warm blanket on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The screen had a date with a pigskin ball that I slowly grew to hate.

Now imagine my euphoria when I heard about the success of Husby’s favorite football team this season. Yeah, me. No really, yeah me. I finally have an excuse to eat all the delicious foods that my husband normally avoids.

Thick beefy beer chili served with a heaping pile of cheddar cheese and sour cream – I’ll take seconds please. I can't get enough of crispy nachos oozing with beans, corn, tomatoes and fresh guacamole. Sloppy Joes dripping with meat and a greasy pile of fries anytime.

So in my house on Sunday, while Husby spends his day imitating a couch potato, flipping through games, I scour my cookbooks, getting my hands on any recipe that screams tailgate.

H.I.T. Arsenal Recipe # 2: Pam's Chili

2 lbs ground beef (I like chuck)
3 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp fresh ground pepper
½ tsp ground chipotle pepper (this will sizzle down as the chili simmers)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
3 TBS chili powder (plus 1 TBS for later)
2 cups beer (Guinness or imported German beer)
1 cup water
1 26-oz can tomato puree
2 16-oz cans no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 16-oz can kidney beans
1 16-oz can black beans
½ tsp salt
3 TBS dark brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 squares dark chocolate*

Directions:
1. Brown beef and drain fat. Set aside.
2. Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add red bell peppers and garlic and continue cooking 2-3 minutes more.
4. Add ground cumin, black pepper, chipotle, crushed red pepper to taste and chili powder, while continuously stirring until spices begin to stick to bottom of pan and brown, about 30-45 seconds.
5. Quickly add beer and water. Add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans and salt, and stir well. Add beef and stir again.
6. When chili begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 1 hour.
7. Add additional 1 TBS chili powder, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate, stirring until fully incorporated into chili. Simmer for at least two hours. Enjoy!

*Optional.

Wednesday, November 12

Winter Games

Last week, I took a cooking class at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York (ICE). Husby begged asked me to learn how to cook game for the holidays and I succumbed after non-stop groveling politely accepted. Here’s what I learned:

1. There are two types of people who attend cooking classes – those who are coupled and those who are single. Do not attempt to go unattached. You will be dogged by the old man with jagged teeth who quickly calls dibs on being your partner.

2. Kitchen tyrants do exist and are cruel, ugly creatures. Our table was given 4 dishes to make, two of which also included sides, making a total of 7 dishes. Thanks to our table tyrant, I was tasked to make the one dish I hate the most with my old man partner – mock fois gras. There’s nothing like blending chicken liver to quickly ruin your Thursday night out.

3. Venison can be quite tasty – along with quail, pheasant and rabbit. Despite my needy partner and pushy table head, I had a pretty good experience and the food was quite tasty. They even served wine with dinner.

If you’re looking for a fun night out with your significant other, friends, or to meet a husby of your own, I would definitely recommend a recreational course from ICE. But please, take it from me and bring a friend. It’ll help you keep both old man partner and kitchen tyrant at bay, so that you too can have fun and learn to cook more than one gastronomical delight.

Saturday, November 8

Internet Down

The wonderful folks at Time Warner have finally decided that our wireless modem no longer works (we've been telling them this for over a month now) and that it's time to replace it. On Wednesday. That's 4 whole days with no Internet access. I'm about to die of boredom after just 10 minutes. So until then, no more posts. It's too hard doing this from my iPhone.

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