Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sweet and Smoky Bison Chili

So we're deep into fall football season, yet in DC it hasn't gone much below 60 degrees. But when I realized that 12 people would be at my house for college football Saturday, I thought well, guess it's time to pull out the chili! Chili always reminds me of the fall, cold autumn nights, and college football. Or football in general.

There are many ways to make chili. Some believe it should never have beans. Some like it spicy. Some like it sweet. Some like it with ground beef, while others like turkey or sausage.

Well this chili has a little bit of everything for everyone. Although I will say that if you don't like heat, I wouldn't try this. It's not super spicy by any means but if you don't like a somewhat spicy chili, then I'd suggest making the chili I make in my chili half smokes recipe. Just omit the half smokes.

This chili combines bison meat, cannelli beans, kidney beans, guajillo peppers, and a bunch of other surprises to make a rich and deep chili. It does require a bit of cooking time to really get all the flavors going, but that's how it goes with all good chilis.

I recommend serving this with some good cornbread (I made some but failed to take pictures....will do next time) and shredded cheese. Oh, and beer. And football. If you are into those things, like our household.

Shrimp and Grits

So this week we went to Charleston, SC to see my beautiful cousin and her now husband get married. They've been dating for a long time and live in DC, so I've had a chance to get to know them well as a couple and as people over past years.

We arrive to the house we were staying, just outside Charleston on the Isle of Palms. Coincidentally, I've been here many times. Brett's family does a family reunion on Isle of Palms every year. I highly recommend going if you have the chance!

Anyway, back to the whole story. So we arrive at the house and there is this big beautiful welcome basket waiting for us. And inside? Three big ol bag of grits.

So obviously, I decided to cook with them. And I mean, we were in low country, so obviously I had to make shrimp and grits! Now, I've never made shrimp and grits before. Yeah, yeah, I'm not a northerner at heart.

I searched the internet for inspiration because yeah, that's what I do. And I came across this recipe for Crook's Corner Shrimp and Grits. I made some modifications. Used skim milk rather than half and half. And I used all cheddar rather than the parm and cheddar. But basically the same recipe. And I will say it is absolutely amazing. The whole family chowed it down.

So if you're in the mood for low country cooking, shrimp and grits done this way is great. (Note: if you're looking at the portions when I'm cooking and thinking, this looks more than mine, it's because I doubled the recipe for all of the guests.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Asian Marinated Tofu Salad

There are just some times where a good salad is the best meal. It's not that I don't love a good burger or fried foods because believe me, I do. But a hearty salad can make my tum feel so good. 

So as I sat with my block of tofu (yes, sit, we're friends) I was trying to figure out what I wanted to marinate the tofu in. I decided a good Asian-style marinade would be a good option. Fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, a bit of honey, rice wine vinegar and grapeseed oil combined not only makes for a good marinade, but it doubles as the start to the salad dressing. 

With the tofu I paired some creamy goat cheese, crispy apples, and crunchy cucumber. This is an excellent and light salad. 

Moules Marinière

Mussels. They are so incredibly delicious. And easy! I've always love all sorts of shellfish, but mussels hold a place in my heart. They are meatier than clams and cheaper as well. You can get a big ol bag of mussels at the store usually for about $5-6. And they're incredibly malleable.

I've cooked mine with fennel, broth, curries, you name it. But I strongly think that this is the best kind of mussels. Butter, clam juice, wine, garlic, shallots, thyme, cornichons....yum. The broth cooks a bit longer to infuse all of the flavors together.

Mussels make for a great party meal. They're great to share out of a big bowl and bread serves as an excellent sponge to scoop up all the tasty broth. This is an easy meal and a wonderful treat.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bison Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are one of those things that remind you of childhood, for better or for worse. Mom's dinners, cafeterias, school lunches....all harken back to the days of sloppy joes.

Which leads us to tonight's dinner. As I sat at my desk wondering what I should do with the bison meat in my fridge, I started going through a list of meals in my head that would usually use ground beef. Tacos? Nah. I don't have any taco fillings. Meatballs? Nah, I've already done it. Meat sauce? Nah, not feeling pasta.




Hm. What about sloppy joes? I pitch it to Brett. He likes it. Sloppy joes it is.

So how can I make it updated? Throw in some sriracha? Yeah, yeah that sounds good. And maybe some cajun mustard? Sure! Why not. And then topped with some sweet pepper relish, this updated version of sloppy joes is unbelievably good. And it took under 20 minutes to make. Saweeet!

So embrace your inner dinner child and have sloppy joes tonight!