Thursday, December 12, 2013

Good Morning, I have been awake and thinking about what I have to do to prepare for my most favorite holiday, Christmas.  I love Christmas...I always did.  I love the thought of seeing my family, and talking, dancing around the tree, laughing, being stupid singing "Yingle Bells".

I was thinking that maybe, since the "Butcher Issue" of last year, I don't want to repeat that again.  I am going to take my happy ass up to the butcher and get the stuff I need, so I don't have to send my Mom and Dad.  Then after they drive the 65 miles to my house with said order, only to realize that the order was not complete, that Gabriella and Vincent had to drive the 130 mile round trip to get the rest of the order.  That was a lot of time and gas wasted.  I'll drag Kathy, cause you know we have to feed her again.  All Meat Christmas is Mike's favorite holiday, and it is a sporting event for the rest of us to watch him enjoy.  I don't think that I have ever seen Mor and Mrs. Gallo watch someone eat so intently.  They truly enjoyed feeding and watching him eat. 

This past Sunday while the chickens were on the Weber, cooking most deliciously, I thought it would be a great idea to make some Chili on Monday.  While I am happy to say that, yes, I remembered to soak the beans, I did not remember to do it until Monday night.  I put the beans in my Le Creuset bean pot to soak.  They stayed in the bean pot until Wednesday, I kind of forgot about them, and I had to go and get chopmeat.  I made the chili Wednesday afternoon, while I was making dinner.  We had the second chicken, it was the spicy one, and yes it was fabulous.  I saved the pan drippings, made the gravy for dinner from it.  They wanted mashed potatoes, but I kind of ran out of time, so I made something that I had never made before, and no, I did not take any pictures, I don't know where my head was at.  I made "Disco Fries".  Poutine, I think that's how its spelled.  French fries with cheese curds and brown gravy.  I did not have cheese curds, so I used diced mozzarella cheese.  It was good, yeah, it was good.  Chicken was perfect, and veggies were great.  You will have to take me at my word.

Now back to the chili.  I got the bean pot not because I wanted it (phew, that's a lie) but because I soaked my beans once about 20 years ago in a Calphalon pot, and it took the anodized black coating off of it.  I did not want to repeat that again.  But sadly I have not learned anything yet, because I just realized this morning that, I am cooking the chili in a Le Creuset dutch oven, and it has tomatoes in it.  I was reading a blog that said to be careful about acidic foods in the Le Creuset.  I worry about marring our pots, I love them, I do, I really do.

Back in the big 80's, we lived on Shore Road in Brooklyn, and we had the smallest kitchen known to man.  Maybe it was the fact that we each had two jobs, and Andrew was also in school, it seemed like we did not work together in the kitchen, it could also be that the both of us didn't fit....and we were much, much skinnier than we are now.  We purchased a couple of Calphalon pots, they were "state of art" at the time, they were all that, and a bag of chips.  Over the years, we have added pieces to them, and they have served us well.  I learned though that it is not a good idea to make tomato sauce in them.  I once made sauce in my 12 quart and it took the anodized finish off the inside, I never made that mistake again.  Slowly but surely, they have all started to loose their finish on the inside, but I can say that it has taken about 30 years.

Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, 30 years is not a long time, but it is a lifetime.  Many things can happen in 30 years, people marry, babies are born, people pass, feelings change, people grow apart.  I think if you are truly lucky, you still are hopelessly in love with your partner and they are over the moon about you, that is phenomenal.  But I digress....

I am hoping that the acid in the tomatoes are not taking their toll on my Le Creuset pot.  I am placating myself with "that is what they are made for".  Don't worry, but you know Murphy's law.

I have both Staub and Le Creuset cast iron.  I like both.  I love blue, it's my favorite color.  Just take a gander at our stove.  Blue, blue, blue.  I love blue.  I think that the Staub  finish is nicer than the Le Creuset, and it depends on what you are cooking, to say which interior is better.  I make soup and broths in both.  Just yesterday, we(Gabriella, Vincent and me) were in HomeGoods in Freehold, and they had a good selection of Staub and Le Creuset, and the prices were great, I would not have minded getting the 8 quart Staub, but I showed terrific amounts of restraint, and did not purchase it.  Maybe, I should have, cause then I would not be fretting over the chili.  We need another 8 quart pot like a hole in my head. 

I'm looking at the pictures and thinking "no worries", it will be fine.

Last year, before our stove was put in, we discussed getting some new pots.  We were thinking about replacing the Calphalon pots that were had lost their interior finish.  We did alot of research and decided that All Clad was the way we were going to go.  We were in HomeGoods and they had an All Clad pan and we purchased it.  Needless to say, we were more than satisfied.  We purchased a couple of more pieces, even a copper sauce pan, and are very happy with them.  I love the copper pan, and I was in Marshalls (what a shock, hehehe) saw a Mauviel copper pot on clearance, and purchased it.  When I make risotto, I use the Le Creuset Risotto pot (it is the best one for it, because of the large bottom) and that Mauviel for the broth, because it is exactly the perfect size.

Again, back to the chili, it looks mighty good and it tastes good also.  Spicy, but not overpowering.  All we are going to need is some cheese for the top and a loaf of crusty bread.   I used three different kinds of tomatoes.  2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can tomatoes with spicy red chilis, 1 can of diced tomotoes.  For an added kick, I used 8 ounces of V8 Spicy Vegetable juice.  I also added, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, hot paprika, cumin and chili seasoning.  I first sauteed an onion and shallot, then added garlic.  I then put the ground chicken in, then deglazed the pan with the V8, added the beans, tomatoes and spices then let them cook for about 3 hours. 

I hope it all comes out great, with no acid damage to the inside of the pan.

Have a great day.......

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