Posts Tagged ‘chili’


Veggie chili.

Our friend Norma, who lives with husband Bill in McClean, Virginia close to Washington DC, has given me permission to reproduce her wonderfully detailed survey of chili traditions.

Tempting one day to cruise the Chili Trail!

Do you know that “Chili” was strictly a “Gringo” invention?  The only chili the Mexicans know is the sauce.  It was the ranchers and cowboys who first started putting together the recipe, mostly to cover up stale meat while out on the trail drive.  They also needed the extra protein while on the long cattle drives north to St. Louis, Kansan City and then Chicago.  People in the southwest don’t add beans to their chili.  That is a Midwest way to do it.  Cincinnati cilli has a dash of cinnamon.
Bar-B-Q:  Texas Bar-B-Q is always dry.  They rub seasonings and spices on the raw meat, put it on a grill and smoke it slowly until it is done.
Memphis and Kansas City Bar-B-Q is “wet” cooked in a sauce until it falls of the bone.  Most of them start with a tomato base sauce.  Also includes vinegar, molasses & paprika.
St. Louis has mustard and brown sugar.
Thanks, Norma!
Anyone care to add other chili wisdom?

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This recipe is adapted from one I spotted in The New York Times a few weeks back.

It is quick and simple to do with an otherwise bland white fish (often a cheaper option).

I found whiting (merlan in France) at the market this morning.

(Tuesday market in Castres today was a sparse affair–everyone’s still in recovery mode I guess!)

The original recipe called for spring onions (scallions), but I couldn’t find them, so I sliced a sweet onion finely and spread it over the fillets bubbling away in the pan. Should work, but it won’t have quite the texture of spring onions.

This dish goes well on a bed of  brown basmati rice (to soak up the juices) and  perhaps a green salad.

A simple lunch for someone else in recovery mode–for not quite the same reason though!*

for 2/4

2 fillets of white fish, about one and a quarter  pounds of fish–cut in four

5 tablespoons mild soy sauce

5 tablespoons water

1 sweet onion–sliced very thin

1 red chili–fresh or dried (whole)

  • Bring the soy and water to a boil.
  • Slip in the fish fillets–flesh side down–followed by the onion and whole chili.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes–the time depends on the thickness and texture of the fillets; mine were ready in 3 minutes.
  • Add more hot water if you like–though the fish doesn’t need to be covered with liquid.
  • Lift them out carefully with a fish slice onto a warm plate.
  • Simmer the remaining liquid in the pan to reduce it by about half.
  • Place the fish on top of a serving of rice.
  • Spoon over some of the sauce and serve.
  • No need for extra seasoning–the soya sauce is salty enough.

In the event Meredith preferred a poached egg on toast! understandably not quite ready for something as savoury as this.

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The green “gold” that won 2nd prize at the Fiera dell’Olio in Cavriglia, Tuscany last Sunday.

Our friend Keith has emailed to say their new season olive oil from his Podere [farm]Boggioli won second prize at the local fair this week. A good enough reason, if I needed one, to cook one of Helen’s signature dishes for lunch today.

Helen cooked this delicious pasta after the last olive was in the basket and the picking was done for another year.

Two of the team stayed to eat it with us–Lucio and Ivan. Both still had  their own trees to harvest.

I like to think they’d had the dish before and knew it was irresistible.

for 2  [for 4–double up on the beans and their liquid and add 4 oz/100 gms more pasta]

200 gms/8 oz wholewheat penne

4 tablespoons olive oil

8 cloves of garlic–peeled but kept whole

a handful of fresh sage

2 small red (hot) chilies–chopped

1 tin  [about 200 gms drained] of white beans–drained, but their liquid retained

4/5 tablespoons of stock–I dissolved half an organic vegetable stock cube in a mug of hot water


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add the garlic and let it colour a little.

  • Add the sage and chilis and let them cook on for a few moments.
  • Add the beans and cook gently for about fifteen minutes–adding the bean liquid little by little to make a thick runny sauce.
  • I continued cooking the mix a little longer, adding the tablespoons of stock–a couple at a time–to keep the mixture loose without losing the thick viscous quality of the sauce.

  • Some of the beans will melt into the sauce.
  • Season with salt and taste.
  • Cook the penne in plenty of salted water until just tender.
  • Drain the pasta.

  • Add the sauce to the pasta and let it meld in.
  • Helen doesn’t serve grated parmesan with this pasta–but it’s up to you, of course.
  • I poured over a little of the new olive oil–naturally!

  • Meredith added a little parmesan–that’s marriage for you!
  • We ate it “al fresco” in the late autumn sunshine.

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