Chili Buffalo Chicken Wings- Day 365

On December 31, 2013 we stood at the precipice of formative experience.  One year and 365 chili recipes later, we have gained this wisdom: Happiness is a byproduct of making great decisions. It is decidedly of great importance to take great care in deciding what is important.   More to the point, consider this- white collar criminals are indicted for their activities at work.  The rest of us are left to be condemned for how we spend our free time.   As much as chili365 the website has been a means to assemble an odd-ball and (too often) blithe cookbook oozing with budget-friendly and diet-razing chili recipes, it has also served to quietly chronicle a year in the life of an unremarkably peculiar family.  Further, the final aggregate of this year-long process has served as a (mostly) welcome tocsin.  Viewing the experience from the privileged vantage of having survived it, I imagine that I am experiencing the same sort of awe-struck astonishment a sculptor suffers when he steps back from his creation only to realize that his hands have hewn an effigy very distantly tangential to his intended subject matter.  All 365 recipes are here, let there be no ambiguity, we have doggedly (and sometimes in spite of our better judgment) accomplished our goal.  My growing sense is that rather than standing as a monument to chili kick-assedry, that chili365 will serve as a testament to my own state of being far too self-absorbed.

 

The year 2014 is now spent and there springs a new happiness in being ‘condemned’ to remember what is truly important.   The most important people are those who surround you.  The most important time is now.  The most important thing to do is take care of those around you- right now.  Right now, that means making Chili Buffalo Chicken Wings for my favorite people, my little involuntary tasters.

 

Ingredients:

 

Wings:

3 lb chicken wings, cut into 2 sections (well technically 3, but the tip is thrown away)

1 C flour

1 T chili powder

1 t paprika

1 t garlic pepper seasoning

½ t cumin

Bacon fat or cooking oil, enough in which to fry wings.

 

Sauce:

5 T butter

3 T red wine vinegar

3 T Louisiana hot sauce

1 T chili powder

 

Directions:

 

  • In a 1 gallon zip lock bag, mix flour, chili powder, paprika, garlic pepper, and cumin.
  • Add wings and shake to coat.
  • Fry in hot oil on both sides (unless you have a gigundo pan, you’ll need to perform this Herculean feat in two shifts).
  • Place fried wings on a baking sheet and heat at 350F in the oven while you prep the sauce.
  • For the sauce, melt butter in a small pot then add remaining sauce ingredients stirring well.
  • Remove baking sheet of wings from the oven and coat the wings with the sauce.
  • Place the coated wings back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Serve.

 

 

Tasting Notes:

 

Chili Jr, Pre, and The Pirate were noticeably impressed with the outcome of the recipe.  All three agreed that I had saved the best chili for last.  Mrs. Chili 365 doesn’t eat wings, but she amiably soldiered through.   Imagine that.

Chili Buffalo Chicken Wings- Day 365

Chili Buffalo Chicken Wings- Day 365

 

 

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J’s Smoking Bear Chili

Our only close encounter with wild bears was perpetrated (mainly) by the ever-adventurous and thrill-seeking Mrs. Chili365 and her trusty infant companion, Pirate.  While stomping about in nature, they happened upon a mother black bear frolicking carelessly with her cubs.  They had to be rescued by boat and by station wagon.   (I rescued the people, not the bears.  That fact notwithstanding, the bears were actually quite fortunate to be unaware of the danger that my wife and infant daughter actually posed to them.)

 

Tonight’s chili recipe features bear meat.  As twisted minds go, mine is as distorted as most, though far less docile than many. In yanking the bear meat from our freezer, my brain fixated two (maybe three) bears.  Paddington and Smoky instantly came to mind.  Armed with the spectral apparitions of two cartoon bears from my childhood, I decided to add smoke flavor and marmalade to the chili.   I threw everything into our hobbled crock pot.  This sad beast of a small kitchen appliance has soldiered through over 50 chili recipes this year.  Give it some props.

 

On the subject of props, the Pirate has graced us with a series of drawings I like to call “The Chili Ladies”.  (No explanation necessary.  Not after 364 days).

 

Agreed.  I like chili too.

Agreed. I like chili too.

This young lady knows a good chili when she sees one.

This young lady knows a good chili when she sees one.

Ingredients:

¾ lb bear meat, cut into small pieces

1 can (14.5 oz) chili style diced tomatoes

1 C vegetable juice

1 T chili powder

1 t powdered onion

1 t cumin

1 t liquid smoke

1 t sriracha sauce

2-3 T orange marmalade

 

Direction:

  1. Add ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 12 hours.

 

Tasting Notes:

 

I really love The Pirate’s drawings.  Without fail, the subject is well proportioned and cycloptic.  I get the sense that these figures are friendly and approachable but at the same time powerful, even vaguely menacing (not unlike the Pirate herself).    I aimed for this friendly/brawny dichotomy in making the Smoking Bear Chili.  I fell short on the powerful and the menacing.  Approachable?  Yes.  The slightly-too-thin broth was tasty with sweet and smoky notes singing in tune with a mild spiciness.  The bear meat was slightly gamey and there just wasn’t enough pop to exude any muscular imperilment.  In sum, the chili was good enough to get it done but not spectacular, making it very much like someone else I know.

 

Jay’s Smoking Bear Chili

Jay’s Smoking Bear Chili

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A Clockwork Orange Chicken Chili

I could feel my heart slamming against my ribs. My throat tightened making each breath exceedingly more labored. They were coming for me. They Know.

 

Holy Shit.  They are on to me.

Holy Shit. They are on to me.

363 days into the chili experiment and my pet chickens finally learned how to use google on their iPad. They had found this website. I have at least 60 chicken chili recipes on these pages. I’m wasn’t in a ‘bit of a stew’. It had gone way beyond that. I was in deep chili.

 

Ingredients:

For Marinade:

¼ C rice vinegar

¼ C orange juice

¼ soy sauce

2 T sugar

1 T chili powder

¼ t red pepper flakes

1 t garlic powder

1 t sushi ginger

 

Chicken, ect:

1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small chunks

¾ C flour

¼ C corn starch

1 t garlic salt

2 t chili powder

3 T orange marmalade

Cooking oil

Directions:

  1. Mix marinade ingredients in a large plastic container.
  2. Add chicken pieces and mix well. Marinade at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. In a 1 gallon zip lock bag, mix flour, corn starch, garlic salt, and 2 t of chili powder.
  4. Add chicken pieces and shake well to coat.
  5. In a frying pan, pour just enough oil to cover the bottom.
  6. Heat oil until it is quite hot.
  7. Fry chicken pieces on each side until the chicken has almost cooked through. (I had to fry the chicken in two batches).
  8. While chicken is frying, in a small sauce pot, simmer leftover marinade plus 3 T of orange marmalade.* Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  9. When chicken and sauce have cooked, remove all chicken and oil from the frying pan.
  10. Place the chicken back in the pan (throw out the oil.)
  11. Pour sauce over the cooked chicken, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Serve over rice.

*Most of the time you’ll throw away unused marinade.  Here it is okay to use it because you’ll be cooking it for 15+ minutes.  Don’t eat raw, used marinade.  You’ll get sick.

A Clockwork Orange Chicken Chili

A Clockwork Orange Chicken Chili

Tasting Notes:

As I gazed around the table after our scrumptious meal of Clockwork Orange Chicken Chili, I couldn’t help but remark at how clean the dinner plates were.  They Involuntary Tasters ate everything, leaving not a single morsel on the plates.  There are far more crumbs remaining when we serve cake or pie- no jest.  Tonight’s chili was a hit.  The multistep preparation was tedious work and the labor consumed considerable clock, but the results were fantastic- moist, tender chicken jacketed in a spicy orange chili sauce. The chili is outstanding, thought provoking, and it doesn’t ruin the song “Singing in the Rain”.

 

And the backyard hens? As fearsome as they are in their derby hats and with their tricked-out billy clubs, they lack opposable thumbs. Thwarted by doorknobs, they’ll have to just chill the hell out.

 

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Big Bourbon Bacon Chili

In spite of my better intentions and in direct opposition of my best interest, I sometimes hire people.  While wading through the vast slew of resumes, seeing experience is nice, noting education helpful, but nothing quite grabs the attention like bacon.

If you are drooling already, you are not alone, so am I.  Bacon ought to be the 5th food group.  Yes, you read me right- bacon should be a food group on to itself.  This isn’t a weird idea at all.  Think of Australia.  Australia is a country and a continent.   It is high time we consider of bacon as the ‘Australia’ of food.   It is just that damn good.

 

It is DAY 362.  If I had doubted that we’d make it the entire 365 days of chili, I no longer do.  Consider this ‘humbling, bumbling oasis of chili’ continent on to itself.

 

Ingredients:

 

Sauce:

 

1 C vegetable juice

2 T bourbon

2 T brown sugar

1 T white sugar

1 T chili powder

½ t coriander

½ t paprika

 

Bacon:

 

2 lb of bacon

 

Directions:

 

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan. Using a whisk is not only fun, it is probably the best way to get the sugar stirred in to the solution.
  2. Simmer on low for 2 hours. This reduces the sauce.
  3. While sauce simmers, prepare the bacon in your favorite bacon makin’ manner. We bake the bacon at 400F on cooling racks (which are set on a brownie pan to catch the drippings).
  4. To serve: Use your imagination, dip the bacon, make a bacon soup in the sauce, or perhaps you could fashion a bacon and sauce sandwich with fresh homemade bread.*

 

* All iterations are tasty, trust me.  I am very thorough with bacon experimentation.  I never met a bacon I didn’t like.

 

Big Bourbon Bacon Chili.  I dream in bacon.  Do you?

Big Bourbon Bacon Chili. I dream in bacon. Do you?

Fifth food group feeding the sixth sense on the seventh day.

Fifth food group feeding the sixth sense on the seventh day.

Tasting Notes:

 

The spicy sweetness of the Big Bourbon Chili sauce played the perfect foil to bacon’s salty, meaty, wonderfulness.  I had intended to make at least three pounds of bacon but, true to its shrill, vexatious nature, our inept smoke alarm began screaming early into the first bacon batch.  I can think of no other object that is more deserving of being sent down under (6 feet under).

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Chili Gumbo

The line between opulent and ragged is stark.  Today’s 20 mile run took me past million dollar homes and the milling homeless, all within the course of a few strides.  The juxtaposed stand so strikingly close to one another as to make abundant fodder for the machinations of speculation.  How does anyone arrive at either extreme of the socioeconomic spectrum?  How does society permit such appalling disparities to exist?  Why am I out here freezing my ass off and running all over hell and gone when I could be home (in my small but mostly comfortable house), making a humble CHILI tribute to Cajun gumbo?

 

I am disciplining myself to run a 50K race which will take place 6 weeks.  The truth about long distance running is that the experience grants moments of sparkling opulence and periods of ragged misery.  While the ‘opulence’ is rare when compared to the sizable portion of ragged misery, the process (yes, distance running is a process) awards a clarity that I am thankful for.  Today I handed out money on my run.  I will surely hand out more (I run every day [without fail]).

If anyone in interested in a nice 12 week 50K training program, I have developed this one. (Whenever possible, run in Merrell shoes, especially Mix Masters).

 

Monday- 2-3 miles

Tuesday- Speed work (400 or 800 or 1600 repeats)

Wednesday- 4-5 miles

Thursday- Hill repeats

Friday- 2-3 miles

Saturday- Long Slow Distance (12-22 miles)

Sunday- 5-8 Miles

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1/3 C flour

¼ C cooking oil

1 T chili powder

½ t black pepper

½ t red pepper flakes

1/3 C diced jalapeno (deseeded)

1/3 C finely diced celery

¾ C diced white onion

1 can (14.5 oz) Mexican Style diced tomatoes

2 C chicken broth

½ C vegetable juice

13 oz smoked beef sausage (sliced)

½ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced

½ lb king fish, diced

2 bay leaves

1 lb frozen, sliced okra

 

Directions:

 

  1. Mix flour and oil together in a pot and fry them until the mixture develops a reddish color.
  2. Add seasonings, jalapenos, celery and onion.
  3. Fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

 

Chili Gumbo

Chili Gumbo

 

Tasting Notes:

 

Spicy but very well balanced.  Huge chunks of meat in a spicy roux is always a winner.  I’d say that this chili has a lot going for it.  Mrs. Chili365 countered by saying that it has a lot ‘gooing’ for it.  She is put off by the slimy texture imparted by the okra.  Sliminess aside, the chili gumbo was first class all the way.  It remained true to its gumbo roots while maintaining the most appropriate in chili flair.  The gumbo paired incredibly well with store bought shrimp po’ boy sandwiches and some cold blatz.  The extra calories are a reward necessary evil after a long run in the cold and a bait to ensnare more moments of clarity.

 

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Grandma’s Kwanzaa Coffee Chili

Time needs no assistance.  Aiding time’s progress is futile.  Abetting its coarse passage is criminal.  While time does not define a person, it sets a parameter and frames the canvass on which each of us will work.  My brush stroke is slap-dash as I work in earthy browns and deep reds.  Ah, chili.  360 days into the chili experiment and I will not confess to wishing the days would pass quickly, painlessly.  The year ending is evitable and I knew we’d get to this point at a steady rate.  I’ve measured the chili experience at a steady (daily) interval.  Someday it may be greater than the sum of its pieces or (perhaps more likely) it may be some great piece of _ _it.

 

Somehow through the clamor of holidays and bustle of incessant travel I had forgotten to drink coffee.  Appears that I have accidentally given up one of my lesser vices.  Maybe no coffee as a beverage but as a special ingredient for Kwanzaa chili?  Oh hell yes.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 ½ lb ground beef

1 can tomato soup

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

1 C prepared coffee

1 T chili powder

1 t paprika

1 t cumin

¼ t red hot pepper flakes

1 C vegetable juice

1 T brown sugar

1 can (15 oz) corn, drained

2 C Cooked Spaghetti noodles, cut into thirds

 

 

For the side:

Diced raw onion

 

Directions:

  1. Brown ground beef in a pan, drain fat.
  2. Add everything except corn, noodles and onions.
  3. Mix well and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  4. Add corn and noodles, simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with onions.
Kwanzaa Coffee Chili.  This may be the worst picture I've taken all year.  I am sorry.

Kwanzaa Coffee Chili. This may be the worst picture I’ve taken all year. I am sorry.

 

Tasting Notes:

 

The coffee gave this chili a wholesome, round flavor as the sugar and corn imparted a pleasant sweetness.  Little spice was apparent but there was enough to fill the bill.  Many of the guest ITP rated this chili as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.  One of the chili aunts was even so kind enough to rate the Kwanzaa Coffee Chili as ’excellent’.  She will be qualified as excellent for agreeing to take the leftover chili off our hands.  Five days now remain and we need to run lean and more the product before New Year’s.  Time waits for no chili.

 

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Chili Chex Mix

No rest for the wicked and no respite from the chili. We are at it every day, holidays included. 359 straight days of chili and today I have fully depleted what was (in January) a massive stash of antacids. Feverishly eating an entire bag of ghost pepper flavored popcorn has contributed to my tummy trouble. As they say, fight fire with more snack food.

Here is your holiday bonus. The funniest snack related piece of satire is here.

Snack ingredients:

4 C wheat Chex

4 C corn Chex

2 C peanuts

2 C pretzels

 

Seasoning Ingredients:

6 T butter

1 ½ T Worcestershire Sauce

2 t Sriracha sauce

1 T chili powder

½ t cumin

½ t paprika

½ t Mexican oregano

½ t seasoned salt

 

CHili Chex Mix

CHili Chex Mix

Directions:

 

  1. In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine the snack ingredients and mix well.
  2. In a smaller microwave safe bowl, combine the seasoning ingredients.
  3. Heat the seasoning ingredients until butter is melt, mixing well.
  4. Pour the seasoning over the snack materials, mixing well.
  5. Microwave for a total of 4 minutes, mixing after each minute.

 

Tasting Notes:

 

I had wanted to use little rye crisps in the snack mix. Unfortunately, the variety I purchased contained caraway. Caraway is evil and, in the spirit of avoiding evil, I avoiding adding the caraway flavored rye crisps to the snack mix.

 

The snack mix (sans caraway, plus chili flavor) was delicious. I was able to garner a few ‘hey Dad, you actually did a good job on this one” comments. I was totally feeling the love. The chili chex mix is not a radical departure from well-established and ubiquitous standard recipe, but it is a pleasantly, chili-y variation on them.

 

 

 

 

 

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