Sunday, March 22, 2009

3/22/09

Served this weekend and requested--

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 cup shortening-- Crisco
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup nuts (optional-- I don't like it)
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix thoroughly shortening, butter, sugars, eggs & vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. I find that it you let the dough chill for at least a couple of hours, you get better results. You can put the dough in a large zip-lock bag and press the air out.

Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. I prefer using parchment paper-- it draws out some of the greasiness of the cookies and crisps the bottom. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

My Chili Recipe
Begin with a big cheat--start with Carroll Shelby's spice package, if you can find it.

Instead of straight beef, go half lean ground beef (1 lb) and half maple breakfast sausage (1 lb). That sweetens the flavor and adds a different set of textures.

Brown a medium chopped onion and a few spoonfuls of minced garlic in some olive oil until slightly softened. The brown the meat in that as you usually would. I find that seasoning the meat slightly with salt at this point helps. Add the main spice packet, plus one 14oz+ can of tomato sauce (more than the box says).

Add about half a bottle of beer-- sweeter or darker beer as you want (I like Dos XX for this or a honey lager works to sweeten it). Add water if you like, usually half the can of tomato sauce will do it. Add half a jar of salsa-- I recommend a garlic chipolte salsa, the Frontera if you can find it. That adds a nice set of undertones. Otherwise you can use any salsa-- I recommend a thinner salsa-- the chunky ones tend to create some odd textures. Finally, if you like, you can throw in a little bit (maybe half a square) of dark chocolate.

I cook that for about 25-30 minutes; I don't add the additional cayenne as it doesn't really do anything but make it unpleasantly hot. However, if you prefer spicier you can add a little. Salt to taste-- I find that's the real key, not too much. If the chili gets too thick, thin it with the remaining beer. If the chili gets too thin, you can use the the included masa flour with some water. If it needs sweetening, I use maple syrup.