Thursday, February 19, 2009

The world's perfect chili *

* Disclaimer: May not be perfect
Anyone who has had my chili in the past will know that it is somewhat (!!!) inconsistent. It can range from very mild, to being able to peel wallpaper from a wall. Well, last night I came as close as I will ever come to making the world’s perfect chili. Anyway, I figured this would be as good of a place to document it.

• 1.5 lbs lean (90%) ground beef
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• 1 green or red pepper, diced
• 1-2 chili peppers, minced with seeds and the ribs removed
• 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2-3 green onions
• 2 tsp ground cumin
• 1 ½ tsp chili powder
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper (more if you want it hot)
• 1/8 tsp coriander
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 bay leaves
• 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, diced
• 2 cups beef stock
• 1 cup pale ale (I prefer Sierra Nevada…buy a six pack. Drink said beer while cooking chili)
• 3-5 cups beans, I use a mix of black, kidney, and cannellini
• 3 tablespoons chopped *fresh* cilantro
• Handful of grated cheese, I used a Mexican blend
• Masa (or regular) flour
• Salt
• Fresh ground pepper
In a heavy pan (cast iron Dutch oven preferable, but any heavy pan will work) over med heat, add meat and cook until browned. Drain off as much fat as you can. Add the onions, peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and cook til the veggies are soft. Add the tomatoes and juices, stock, beer (you should be on your 2nd beer by now), and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 45 mins, partially covered and stirring every 10 mins or so. Add the beans (rehydrated dried beans would be best, but if you used canned make sure to rinse off the liquid) and cook for another 30 minutes. You should be well into that six pack by now. Removed from heat, add the cilantro and serve in a large bowl. Top with cheese and green onions.

Friday, February 13, 2009

We're Pregnant!

It's true we are expecting out first baby this September! We learned the big news on New Years Eve morning. Our friends Nicole and Phil were the first to know since they were hosting a party that night, and where among a small group of people who know we were trying to get pregnant, and would have know the second I refused a glass of wine anyways (that would never happen normally). Nicole and Phil just had their beautiful daughter Sophia at the end of October, and I knew I would have a lot of questions and Nicole would be a good source of answers.

Next up to know our big news was Uncle Andy, since we all share a house it was not something I wanted to hide from him either. The rest of our siblings and parents would be in the know during the MLK long weekend. We drove up to Maine to attend our nephew Elliot's 1st birthday party that Saturday and told Greg's step-sister Brooke. We then stopped in Portland on the way home and had dinner with AJ & Brenna. We called Uncle Tom on the way home. He was in a bar in Manhattan at a networking event and stepped outside in the cold to take our call and hear the big news! Sunday Jim came up from CT to celebrate Greg's birthday (late due to snow storms). For both sets of grandparents we wrapped up PJs and onesie that said "I love Grandpa" and "I love Grandma" calming they were Christmas gifts that came late. Jim seamed a little confused at to what this gift could possibly be, but caught on quick once he read what the little piece of clothing said. The next night we stopped in to see Al & Patty. Mom jumped up and down, and said she knew the news was coming soon because she had a dream about it the other night! Dad was excited, and just as I expected wanted to tell the whole wide world right then and there. We asked that we get though the first two doctor visits before we took out the megaphone, and they both agreed (although a little reluctantly).

So today was our 2nd doctor's appointment. We are exactly 10 weeks along, and so far so good! We got lucky and heard the heart beat for the first time. He/she was not cooperating at first, the doctor had to get the ultrasound sounds machine to help find the best location, then back to the doppler device again and she eventual found it! We were so glad to have gotten to (well kind of) see the little guy/girl on the screen and hear a healthy heat beat.

Keep checking back for more updates on us and the baby!