WND – Same Batplace

January 7, 2010

I believe in the power of a pair of 3 ½” heels, not just because I’m short, but because they make awesome clicking noises when you walk across marble floors and that is the universal sound of being a grown-up (well for women anyway).

I believe that foie gras is one of the best things you can eat, and that the santon we saw on the market was of a duck being fattened up with an eye to a nice foie gras at Christmas, not a beloved pet being hand fed, no matter what the woman behind the counter said.  I know I speak English, but that doesn’t actually make me an idiot.

I believe that if you roast something in goose fat it will be spectacular, even turnips.

I believe you should make your own chicken stock, but that most of the time the stuff that comes in cartons from the grocery store is a perfectly acceptable substitute.

I believe that your Christmas decorations should be down by Epiphany or bad luck will follow you for the rest of the year.  Clearly this means that either all of America had the financial crisis coming, or this rule only applies in France.  Either way, my Christmas decorations are down, packed away and the house cleaned, because why take chances?

I believe that I will be able to plan two weeks worth of menus by Friday, and that I might even be together enough to only end up at the grocery store once for a forgotten item.  I’m hoping that this unprecedented display of organization won’t actually require a spreadsheet.

I believe that cranberry sauce should be homemade, and that half the reason nobody likes cranberry sauce is because they think it comes out of can and quivers on a plate.  It’s possible that cranberry sauce might be part of my aforementioned menu plan because I didn’t have any at Christmas and I didn’t make Thanksgiving dinner this year and an entire year without cranberry sauce might be too much for me to contemplate.  Also, I really like cranberry sauce and sometimes I make things for Dinner just because I like them.

I believe that a glass mug does not make a good cup of tea – tea made in a samovar and then poured into a glass set in a silver holder is an entirely different beast and it should be noted that the tea is actually not made in the glass portion of the experience.  I do not, however, believe that you can taste the difference between tea made with the milk added first and tea made with milk added after – that being said, I always add my milk after not before.

I believe that everyone should know why the Conference at Yalta was important.  I also know that I believe this because I’m my father’s daughter.

I believe that healthy food should also taste good, that diet pills are hawked by charlatans and that in 90% of diet commercials the women in the after pictures look like they’re coming up on unhealthy again, just from the other direction this time.  It’s possible that some of my ire is directed at the panoply of post-Christmas diet ads that are inundating the airwaves.

I believe that January 3rd is too soon to be stocking Valentine’s Day candy, much less Easter candy.  We all need some time to recover from the excesses of Christmas before we can contemplate the excesses of Valentine’s Day and Easter.

Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Chili
(serves 6 – the original recipe says it serves 12, but it lies like a lounge room lizard)

In the spirit of post-Christmas asceticism, this is a chili that’s lean and low fat, and yet mercifully doesn’t taste like it’s anywhere near as good for you as it actually is.

The first time I made it I was highly dubious right up until I had my first spoonful and then I was sold.  It looks like a bunch of disparate ingredients in the pot, but once you simmer it and cook the butternut squash it somehow comes together into something wholly unexpected.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 lb butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
½ cup chicken broth
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15.5 oz) can white hominy, drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic salt

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.  Add the ground turkey and sauté until no longer pink.  Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.  Poke the butternut squash so that all of it is under the liquid, simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.

Serve with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

A little piece of my soul dies every time I buy canned chopped green chilies.  I feel myself stepping closer to the people who buy canned peeled and sliced potatoes (Seriously, who does that?  And more to the point, why?)  The only reason I do it rather than chopping my own green chilies is because the canning liquid adds necessary liquid to the chili and because I haven’t figured out how many chilies you’d need to equal a 4.5oz can.  Sometime soon I feel that I will chop and sauté my own green chilies and add some extra chicken broth to the chili and see if it all tastes the same.

This goes together very fast, but if you want to make it in advance because chili always gets better if it sits in the fridge overnight, I would leave out the butternut squash and hominy and add those the day that you want to serve the chili.  I think cooking and then reheating the butternut squash would just make it disintegrate and you want the chunks, and I don’t know anything about the cooking life cycle of hominy so I play it safe and only let it stew in the chili the once.

Cornbread on top of the beans, the hominy and the butternut squash does seem like starch overkill, but it’s such tasty overkill.  I mollified my conscience by making the version of cornbread that doesn’t call for a cup of butter.

Recipe previously given:   Chili Take II



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  6. […] year I decided early on that what I was craving was hominy, and I figured I’d make my standard Butternut Squash Chili which is light, un-Thankgiving-y, and involves hominy, plus is quick and easy to put together which […]

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