WND – Chili & The Perils of Pottery

November 15, 2007

A gentleman I used to work with had a rant about women and shopping. It ran something along the lines of – women buy things they don’t need and can’t really afford just because they’re on sale and they can’t resist the lure of the bargain. I feel that this isn’t something that’s limited to women. Advertising campaigns from Home Depot, Lowes, Sears and any other DIY store you can think of suggest that men are just as guilty of the, “but honey, it was on sale,” buy as women. Men just buy power tools instead of coats (at least according to television – I personally know a lot of women who’d be thrilled to buy power tools on sale).

While I can’t say I’ve never bought a piece of clothing I didn’t strictly need just because it was on sale, my impulse purchases tend more towards pottery than textile. There are reasons why I only let myself go to the Crate & Barrel Outlet on rare occasions and with a specific purpose in mind. There’s a large coppery bowl on my dining room table that speaks eloquently to my lack of self control when it comes to extraneous serving dishes.

The problem isn’t so much that I don’t need more serving dishes, because I do. Really. Honestly. I swear. I do not have enough platters the right size, and I’m always short at least one serving bowl of some size. And, I don’t have a sauce boat yet. The problem is that I’ve run out of space.

When I envy Ina Garten it isn’t because of her house (although it is gorgeous), or her terribly romantic marriage (which is refreshingly lacking in angst). I don’t covet her fabulous gay friends who come over and arrange flowers for her; I don’t mind arranging my own flowers. I don’t want her friends with the amazingly perfect children; I have friends with some pretty amazing kids. What I envy, is that she apparently has space for a rainbow of table clothes, and a butler’s pantry that makes The Breakers look like an exercise in moderation.

This is all a long winded way of saying that the other day I came across a sale table with a set of polka-dotted soup bowls and was completely incapable of not buying them. This does not, unfortunately, mean that I’m not still looking for a set of deep soup/pasta bowls. It required creative space management to put these bowls away and finding space for more is probably going to require folding space. Can you hide bowls in a tesseract?

This is also a long winded way of saying that I clearly needed to make a dinner that would make use of said new bowls. And thus, the first chili of the winter was served at Dinner.

Jen’s Father’s Chili
Corn Muffins

Jen’s Father’s Chili

1.5 lb ground beef (or ground turkey, or sausage*)
2 Tbsp oil

Remove meat from pan.

Add a drizzle of olive oil, and saute until transparent:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

Add meat back to pan and stir to combine.

8 oz tomato paste
2 (15 oz) cans beans (kidney, black, whatever floats your boat)
1.5 tsp salt
3 Tbsp chili powder **
1/4 tsp tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 red pepper, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped

Simmer 30 minutes, adding a little water if it seems too thick.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

* If you use turkey or chicken sausage increase the spices by about 50%, but not the amount of salt.
** I start with 3 Tbsp and then usually end up adding more to taste after the chili has simmered for a while.

Notes: I used 1 lb ground beef, and 1 lb bulk sausage. I’ve become fond of sausage in my chili, especially turkey sausage. I use a lot of turkey sausage in my cooking. This isn’t because I have some kind of ethical or health aversion to other forms of sausage, they just tend to make me ill. I had a memorable experience with meatballs when I was in high school and I haven’t been able to look at a sausage in quite the same way since.

I have very successfully turned this into vegetarian chili by substituting a combination of finely chopped mushrooms, carrots, zucchini & bell peppers for the meat.

I made the chili on Monday night and then just reheated it on Wednesday. You do have to be careful when you reheat it not to burn it on the bottom. My roommate happens to like the way it tastes when I burn the chili which works out well for her, but it’s not something I’m usually aiming to achieve.

I doubled the recipe and served 7, and have enough left over that my roommate and I can have it for dinner again later.

Feather Light Corn Muffins

1 cup flour
½ cup yellow corn meal
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
¼ cup whole milk
½ cup butter, melted

Sift dry ingredients together. Whisk eggs and milk together. Melt butter.
Add 1/3 dry ingredients to eggs/milk, then 1/3 of butter. Repeat.
Scoop into 8 muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

I have non-stick muffin pans and don’t grease them. Given the amount of butter in the recipe you probably don’t need to grease any muffin pan, but I might do it anyway if I had regular muffin pans.

Notes: I suspect this is one of those recipes where everyone would be just as happy if I never told them what was in it. These are remarkably good and moist corn muffins which probably has more than a little to do with the amount of butter involved and the corn meal/flour ratio. I actually also like grittier, cornier corn bread, but nobody else who comes to Dinner seems to so this is the recipe I end up making most frequently.



  1. […] climate I can at least eat like I am. Barbeque Baked Beans Chicken with Root Beer Barbeque Sauce Corn Muffins Ambrosia Salad […]

  2. […] I don’t have anything against microwaves, I just don’t have counter space for one right now. Jen’s Father’s Chili Cornbread […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given:  Chili & the Perils of Pottery […]

  4. […] Recipe previously given:  Chili & the Perils of Pottery […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: