Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cooking with Kristin: I See the Stars Chili

I read a lot of food blogs, going out to fancy meals is one of my great pleasures in life, and if I can giave myself lots of time to make pretty simple recipes, I am generally a happy girl.  I'm not the world's greatest chef and I hate to do dishes, but I do sometimes have some successes.  The past few meals I've made have turned out, if I do say so myself, pretty wonderfully, so I've decided to share them with you this week.

They also involve cooking meat, which is something I've basically never done before.  I was more or less a pescatarian for several years, and I've never been too fond of raw meat, so this was an adventure for me, and I turned out to enjoy it much more than I thought I would.  In general, I try not to eat too much meat, and to eat local, sustainable meat whenever possible, and the best way to do that for me tends to be to cook vegetarian meals.  But, I'm trying to be braver in the kitchen and in life, so this past week, I experimented and made some meaty meals.

This first one, I See Stars Chili, is a Maffei Family favorite.  My mother somehow obtained the recipe* and promptly handed it to my grandmother, who cooked my family's meals when I was growing up.**  We assumed my grandmother memorized the recipe and tossed it in the trash, because after she passed away, we couldn't find it anywhere in her kitchen, and we considered it a great culinary loss, not unlike her beef-barley soup and dumpling soup.***  Luckily, my grandmother must have had some foresight, and one day, while we were looking for another recipe, we discovered I See Stars hidden away in my mother's little recipe box, safe and sound.

Being the technologically savvy family we are, we promptly scanned it in, and today, I'm sharing it with you.  It's spicy, warm, and hearty, and it goes equally well over fresh cornbread or buttery rice.  Enjoy!



*Totally unclear who she got it from.  Or who Anneleis Venus was.  Perhaps this woman?
**This was while I was a vegetarian.  I asked my grandmother to make a vegetarian version, and she happily obliged.  But when I found a piece of bacon in it and asked her about it, she said, "well, you need some meat to keep everything together!" Grandma didn't really understand vegetarianism so well.
**My mother still claims that her grandmother really made the best dumpling soup, but that recipe is also lost.

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