Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hey Punkin', Savor a Bowl of Tasty Goodness!

So I think it is safe to say I have been failing lately on the cooking front.  I can blame it on the wisdom teeth (yeah that sounds good!).  I got my wisdom teeth out a couple of weeks ago and it seems like life has been a blur of soft foods: yogurt, ice cream, hummus, tofu, soup..ahh to eat something truly substantial!!  Well one of the things I had wanted to do all Winter long was make chili.  Chili is so warming and for some reason it reminds me of home (my mom and aunt both make REALLY good chili).  I love making chili. It's kind of like a magical adventure of throwing stuff in a pot, setting it and forgetting it, stirring occasionally and in the end you are rewarded with something magical and truly comforting...kind of like home I guess.
Well if I'm anything, I'm an experimental cooker.  I'm at my best when I have a recipe, if only there really was a "recipe for success" in life I would be a pro.  I was browsing some recipes and was struck with curiosity at a recipe for Turkey Pumpkin Chili.  Now to me this didn't seem all TOO shocking but I had plenty of doubters when I expressed my intent.   The real truth of the matter is I've had a can of pumpkin puree for months and I have no idea what I was going to do with it.  I think the original intent was pumpkin hummus..but details..to try another day - especially after the success of this dish!
I thought I had lost my chance to make chili, since weather has suddenly creeped up into the 80s here.  But today I was blessed with a nice chilly (hehe) rainy day in which chili made the perfect sense.
Ingredients at attention!  I deviated from the recipe a little..added a little bit of Guinness Extra Stout(tasty) and used a pepper I bought at the French Market in Stamford this weekend instead of two jalapenos.
I always believe you know you are getting a good meal if it involves a lot of chopping.  I love chopping.  I'm slow and awkward at it but there is something to the meticulous detail that you can apply to chopping vegetables.  You really have to have an adequate knife though..and chopping board of course. 

The aroma of garlic, onions and peppers..the first true sensory exposure we get to the cooking experience..love it.  I admit, I'm really not a very brave experimenter.  When I have a recipe I feel safe, I trust the recipe.  And seldom has a recipe ever let me down..as long as there are no user errors.  In life I can see this side of me a lot.  I always have to make a list.  Every day I write down what I need to get done.  When I'm thinking through a project I always have to write down my thoughts.  In school when I used to write papers (ages ago it seems) I always followed an outline, it was the only way I could ever get a paper done.  Which I often did very well, unlike my twin sister who I would always end up helping as she started her class paper (because I had already finished mine).  But even though I am always comforted by a well thought out step by step plan, that isn't to say I don't wing it every once in a while..but that's when things like Corn tortilla Hummus & Sardine pizza happen...
So the moment of truth..the pumpkin!  Would the recipe pull through for me?  What was this going to be like?  I admit it really didn't make much sense..and when I was pouring it into the pot I thought to myself..how on earth is this going to work!?
Well then the miraculous thing about Chili..somehow it just works..you really can't go wrong..I mean you can put too much meat it in it or too much tomato..but in the end it's always good and comforting and extremely SATISFYING.

So there you go, my first substantial and tasty meal in what has seemed like forever!  I sat down to try my creation, to the tunes of my Pandora quickmix playing through the apartment, an ice cold Guinness and the computer in front of me as I look for weekend plans.  Lets hope satisfying adventures lay ahead much like the chili I had tonight!  I have to say, I hardly noticed the pumpkin.  But if you thin kabout it it is really no different than say a butternut squash soup..it just added a little bit of thickness, richness and nuttiness to the chili.  It was all very sweet, spicy and satisfying.  Even though Turkey really destroys the look of any chili, it's far lighter than traditional beef.
So here is to the theme of life now...adventure and new experiences.  Now I just have to find some folks to help me with all this leftover chili!

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