Christmas Chili Breakfast Sausage

During the holiday season we forgive these indulgences.  Chili pork sausage, eggs and bacon Spam (you heard me right, bacon Spam) make for a Merry Cholesterol-mas.   The best gift I can give my arteries this Christmas is a little extra work.

 

1 lb ground pork

1 T chili powder

1 t garlic pepper seasoning

½ t paprika

½ t hot red pepper flakes

¼ t powdered jalapeno

¼ t black pepper

 

Directions:

 

  1. Mix seasonings in a bowl.
  2. On plate, press ground pork flat.
  3. Sprinkle with chili seasonings and mix the heavenly chili goodness in.
  4. Form into patties.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight*
  6. Fry until cooked

 

Christmas Chili Breakfast Sausage

Christmas Chili Breakfast Sausage

* I had to hide these patties in the nether regions of the refrigerator. It is Christmas. The last thing the world needed was to have Santa show up to our place a little early and mistake the raw pork patties for holiday cookies. Imagine how dismaying it would be for the earth’s children if Santa had to forego his annual rounds because he contracted trichinosis, or cholera, or shitzophrenia (or whatever malady wrought by eating uncooked pork). He’d be confined to spreading yuletide cheer all over our commode. I surmise of any, our children would be the most distraught by said churn of events.

 Christmas Chili Breakfast Sausage

The Jolly Old Fat Man needs to keep his hands off the raw pork.

The Jolly Old Fat Man needs to keep his hands off the raw pork.

Tasting Notes:

 

The chili sausage was leaner than I expected, but nonetheless pretty damn tasty.  The spicy little pucks of chili goodness paired well with bacon spam, hashbrowns, and eggs.  To top off the meal, I ran 4 ½ miles (in my red Merrell Mix Master shoes) to retrieve a 6 pack of donuts.  Living large, living chili.

 

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Chili Tamales

The greatly antiquated man had made careful study of me, beginning the very moment we took ownership of the house.  Years later he ambled over to our modest yard with an oblong box in tow and apportioned a shocking revelation.  “I don’t know if you like beer….”   My senses were reeling.  This guy made a daily ritual of keeping a keen on my every move.  I have some clearly defining characteristics.  One of them being that I’m the Pontiff of Beer in this here town (an’ don’t you forget it.)  How could he fail to notice? My eyes bugged as the fever-pitched inner dialogue threated to become jagged, audible.

Whoa.  Hold the phone there, Cletus.  Me not like beer?  That’s as comical as believing that cops don’t desire donuts or erroneously deducing that Miley Cyrus doesn’t crave attention.

Just as these sentiments were about to sneak passed my lips, I realized that Cletus, undaunted by my sudden pallor and bewildered expression, was still speaking.

“Anyway, I won’t be needing these anymore, I brought them over for you.”

There, handsomely enveloped in mildewed cardboard were the oldest cans of Natural Light in existence.  Likely these cans were from the very twelve pack that Thomas Jefferson had purchased just before he drafted Declaration of Independence.  (For you history buffs, he wrote our nation’s founding document right before he owned the Chicago Cubs but some time after he gained national prominence for killing a rabid stegosaurus while armed with only Apple brand stylus.)

I was pondering drinking one of these century old relics as I made chili tamales.  Tamales are delicious but the process of making them is more handsy than Clarence Thomas at a sorority sleepover.  I needed something to distract me from the drudgery.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb cooked chicken, shredded

¾ C salsa (I used Newman’s Own brand peach salsa)

2 C masa harina (corn flour)

2 T chili powder

1 t baking powder

1 t paprika

1 t ground cumin

1 t Mexican oregano

½ t hot red pepper flakes

1/3 C vegetable oil

2 C chicken broth

 

 

Corn husks- soaked in warm water to soften

 

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix salsa and shredded chicken
  2. In a second bowl, mix flour, chili powder, baking powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, pepper flakes then add oil and broth.
  3. Mix until a pasty consistency is achieved.
  4. Mix in chicken-salsa mixture.
  5. Spoon the chili mix into corn husks and form a nice wrap.
  6. Steam on very low heat for 1 hour.

 

Chili Tamales

Chili Tamales

Smithsonian Institute here we come.

Smithsonian Institute here we come.

Remember the little openings?

Remember the little openings?

Tasting Notes:

 

To my great surprise 1) I mustered enough restraint to leave the fermented artifacts well enough alone.  2) The Pirate ably shepherded the tamale-making process through some rough pasture, as I teetered on the brink of a nervous breakdown. 3) The tamales were excellent.

 

Much of my surprise stemmed from the fact that I the consistency was true to tamale nature.  The flavor was just as refined and the ITP and I were most pleased.   This was totally worth the effort.  I just wish Cletus were here to see it.

 

 

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Chili Ham Salad Sandwiches

The mystique and all-consuming wonderment of capturing lightning in a bottle is not to be underestimated. I paused momentarily, having concerns about pushing the envelope too far and thus bleeding to death from the resulting paper cuts.  Magical ham salad- Grandma Chili365 had been regaling me with stories of 1930s tavern dances and these incredible sandwiches.

Rare indeed, these, but man I had to give ‘er a go.  Reanimating the tragically hip allure of these finger food tasties* would be like finding another pair of totally posh distance running shoes (like these Merrell Mix Masters.I have just shy of 900 miles on them.)

The finest running shoe ever created.

The finest running shoe ever created.

 

Making a psychedelically straight-edge batch of ham salad befitting of the dancing snacks from my family’s ancestral tavern would be on par with apprehending a stealthy, unicorn-riding ninja while wearing the cat’s pajamas.  Me-O-W.

 

*Microsoft Word HATES the word ‘tasties’.     The software was tripping all over itself to change the word to ‘testis’.    I’ll let you be the judge.  Reread the above making the awkward word substitution and let me know what you think.

9 days of chili left

Ingredients:

 

8 oz cubed ham

½ C finely diced pickled banana peppers

1/3 C mayonnaise

2 t chili powder

¼ t coriander

½ t hot sauce.

Bread (you choose)

 

Directions:

 

  1. Using a pastry cutter, chop the cubed ham into much smaller bits. (I’d have used the blender, but the blender’s motor started on fire yesterday. I set it outside (on a ‘small appliance time-out’). It is still ‘doing time’ and is currently suffering through a sleet-storm.
    Turning your pastry cutter into a ham cutter (surprisingly) does not require an expensive after-market mod.

    Turning your pastry cutter into a ham cutter (surprisingly) does not require an expensive after-market mod.

    Q: What's white and stands in the corner? A: A naughty Blender.

    Q: What’s white and stands in the corner?
    A: A naughty Blender.

  2. Add minced ham and banana peppers to a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix mayo, chili powder, coriander, and hot sauce.
  4. Add the chili mayo to the ham/pepper mix and mix well.
  5. Serve on bread.

 

Chili Ham Salad Sandwiches

Chili Ham Salad Sandwiches

Tasting Notes:

While my chili ham sandwiches likely can’t rival the fantastic rural tavern fare prepared by my great-great grandmother nearly a century ago, we enjoyed today’s meal.  The chili ham salad was spread both on soft wheat and on hard rye bread.  Of the two, the wheat bread better showcased the creamy, piquant ham goodness.  The best bet would have been homemade bread, but I wasn’t able to push the envelope that far.

 

I haven’t seen daylight in at least two weeks.  I think someone made off with the sun.  ANYthing that reminds me of sunshine and summer is a beautiful thing.  Finger sammies with mayo make me think of picnics on the beach and for that I am very grateful.  While today’s sandwiches were delicious and much enjoyed, they weren’t exactly lightning in a bottle.  The good news is, they weren’t exactly ‘testis’ in a bottle either.

 

 

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Holly Jolly Green Pork Chili

The dream is reoccurring.  Anthony Hopkins is standing over me “It puts the cushion roast in the slow cooker. It does so when it is told.”  Why Hopkins and not Ted Levin?  I have no clue. It makes the damn whole thing all the more terrifying.  At least I feel like I have a kinship with Levin.

Anyway, when it comes to nightmare tormentors, beggars are clearly not choosers. (Where is Portia De Rossi when Hopkins is ordering me to stuff a two pound pork roast into haggard-looking crock pot?  She too busy to help a guy in serious need?)  Grudgingly, I’ve finally kowtowed to Dr. Lecter.  The results follow.

 

Ingredients:

 

2 lb cushion pork roast

1 ½ lb tomatillos, blended*

½ C Anaheim Chile, diced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 T chili powder

1 t garlic pepper seasoning

2 T lime juice

 

For the side:

 

Cilantro

Corn tortillas

 

Directions:

 

  1. Cook cushion pork roast in a slow cooker for 7 hours.
  2. Remove roast from cooker and set aside to cool.
  3. Blend tomatillos.    * about half way through the process, the blender’s motor began to burn making the entire room smell terrible.  I continued ‘blending’ with a pastry cutter.
  4. Add tomatillos, Anaheim chile, garlic, chili powder, garlic seasoning, and lime juice to a pot and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Cut pork into small cubes and add it to the pot, simmering an additional 15 minutes.
  6.  To serve, spoon chili into corn tortillas and add cilantro.

 

Holly Jolly Green Pork Chili Tacos

Holly Jolly Green Pork Chili Tacos

Tasting Notes:

 

Sticky, citrusy, and sour- this chili made a fine accompaniment to the corn tortillas and a lager beer.  The guest ITP enjoyed the meal for its rich array of flavors and for being mild and kid-friendly.  This marks a second successful cushion pork recipe and another delicious solstice meal.  Tacos anyone?

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Chili Stromboli

I ate nearly the entire pot, by myself and in (near) total darkness.  (Let’s be honest, if I were to eat anything in (total) total darkness I would repeatedly miss my mouth, incessantly impaling my face with the fork thus resulting in obvious tragic consequences.  ‘Tis NOT the season for an unscheduled blood transfusion.)  ‘Tis the season for naked hedonism and my bold and self-indulgent attack on the largess of last night’s ramen chili made for an interesting 18 mile run this morning.   Glossing over the glitziest details, I’ll say this- I’m tired and I owe the Involuntary Taste Panel something delicious, something magical, something…. Stromboli.

 

Incidentally, has anyone else argued with his/her spouse about the vagaries of ‘particular’ and ‘peculiar’? (Perhaps in the context of public restroom usage or regarding the nuances of automobile parking?)  It is not a ‘to-MAY-toe’ ‘to-MAH-toe’ thing, trust me.  There is a clear threshold that must be crossed from ‘particular’ to reach ‘peculiar’.  Mrs. Chili365 has long ago and with nary-a-heed, waltzed way, way, way over this line.  Thankfully, I am particularly normal.

 

The most magical, wonderful Strombolis come from Pizza King in Evansville, Indiana.  I live nowhere near there and it will take at least 2 days to ship them here.  I will have to muddle through in my own chili way.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 lb ground beef

6 oz mushrooms, diced

1 C diced white onion

½ C marinara sauce

1 T chili powder

1 t red pepper flakes

2 envelopes of Betty Crocker Pizza Crust, rehydrated with water as per package directions.

1 C mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

 

  1. Fry ground beef, breaking it into small bits as you go.
  2. Drain fat.
  3. Add mushroom, onion, marinara, chili powder, and pepper flakes.
  4. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Allow the chili meat mix to cool a bit.
  6. While meat cools, roll out the dough (which you had prepared according to Betty’s helpful directions) on a floured board.
  7. Divide flour in two.
  8. To each half, add chili meat mix to the bottom potion. (You’ll be folding the unadorned portion over the meat to make a pasty. Dig?) *If you have meat that won’t fit, no worries, eat this dividend from a bowl.
  9. Top each mound-o-meat with ½ C mozzarella cheese.
  10. Fold the ‘top’ over the meat mix.
  11. Pinch the edges together and, if you have a precocious 9-year old daughter, have her take a fork and make fanciness on the edge. Boom.
  12. Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.
Chili Stromboli.  It is calling to you.  Why not answer?

Chili Stromboli. It is calling to you. Why not answer?

Get ready to fold it over, Rover.

Get ready to fold it over, Rover.

Fold over complete and the fork work is amazing.

Fold over complete and the fork work is amazing.

 

Tasting Notes:

 

The kitchen smelled completely amazing as these baked.  We could hardly wait for the chili strombolis to exit the oven.  When the time finally arrived and we able to dig in, we weren’t disappointed.  Spicy, oniony, and flaky, much like my girlfriend from back in junior high.  (Hi Wendy).  My son, Pre, who lately had been absolutely voracious in his chili abstinence, totally attacked this chili.  In truth, the chili turned out far better than I had expected.  The difficulty with a dish like this is keeping the crust crispy.  I was able to do two things correctly in this instance.  The first was keeping the amount of sauce relatively low so as to keep things from becoming too soggy.  Second, it was important to keep the baking temperature low to facilitate an even baking of the top and bottom crust.  I am particular (not peculiar) about my strombolis.  Today it paid off in spades.

 

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Way Better Chili Ramen

One of the doctors I worked with would drink beer with me as we stood amongst the radioactive waste . The other doctor disapproved of my daily ritual of eating ramen from a junky plastic bowl.  He’d ominously inform me that I was what I was eating.

 

Surly it was contrasting approaches life that governed the actions of these two very learned men.  Alas, that was years ago.  Fortunately I can happily to report that I have not become a dioxin infused curvy noodle nor I have grown into an ale-swilling Spiderman.

 

On the subject of metamorphoses, last Friday I imbibed too much Pure Cap hot sauce.  It felt like I had swallowed a drawer full of flaming steak knives.  In a contrasting and profoundly questionable move, this Friday I am applying the hot sauce (diluted in baby cream) to a persistently troublesome hamstring.  This fact has become crystal clear- the problems wrought by 353 straight days of chili are colliding headlong into the difficulties cultivated by 471 consecutive days of running.   There must be a lesson in this somewhere.  Maybe I’ve become the antithetical role model.

 

Distractions in check, we come full circle and back to ramen.  Tricking out Plebian fare to make it something exciting and palatable kicks some serious ass.  Try it.

 

Ingredients:

 

½ lb ground beef

1 can (15 oz) red beans (drained)

1 T chili powder

1 t sriracha sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) chili style diced tomatoes

1 C water

1 package of chili flavored ramen noodles

 

Directions:

 

  1. In a pot, fry ground beef and drain fat.
  2. Add beans, chili powder, sriracha, diced tomatoes, and water.
  3. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add ramen noodles and ramen chili seasoning packet.
  5. Simmer for 5 minutes longer.
Way Better Chili Ramen

Way Better Chili Ramen

Tasting Notes:

 

Undoubtedly this dish pays a dear homage to Midwestern-ized chili.  Noodles, beans, and meat form a trifecta that is straight up in your vector.  The chili is undeniable delicious and very reminiscent of some of the better fare served at a deer hunting camp or during a cold weather ultra-marathon.  Any way you spoon it, this spicy soup is a big winner as a tasty dinner.

 

 

 

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Garlic Chili Mashed Potatoes

Somehow we’ll have to introduce Richard Dreyfus’s character from Close Encounters to Randy from Christmas Story.  Imagine the mashup of mashed potato mayhem.  Sadly, this squashed spud meeting of the minds likely will never take place.  Well, an opportunity missed is a disappointment gained.   Unless you have the opportunity to miss work, you then gain time to disappoint your family with another chili recipe.

 

We love butter.  As evidence, this recipe makes use of an entire stick of butter.  Once, I walked into the kitchen only to fork tracks etched deeply into the stick of butter I had set out expressly for the purpose of cookie making.   I looked up from the table just in time to see (a then 3-year-old) Pre neatly setting down a fork and crawling under the kitchen table in the vain hope of avoiding detection.  It all means something.

 

Ingredients:

 

2 lbs red potatoes, washed

1 stick (4 oz) butter

1/3 C finely diced green onion

1/3 C finely diced Anaheim pepper

6 cloves garlic, smashed

1 T chili powder

½ t paprika

¼ C half and half

 

Directions:

 

  1. Cook potatoes in the microwave until soft.
  2. Melt butter in a pot.
  3. Add green onion, pepper, and garlic.
  4. Add seasonings and fry for 4-5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
  5. Turn heat to low and add cooked potatoes, smashing them as you go.
  6. Add half and half and continue mashing potatoes until a homogenous mixture is achieved.
Garlic Chili Mashed Potatoes.  Close encounters of the chili kind.

Garlic Chili Mashed Potatoes. Close encounters of the chili kind.

 

Tasting Notes:

 

The garlic, green onion, and mild chiles imbued these deliciously creamy mashed potatoes with a pleasantly herbaceous character.  The chili flavor was evident but certainly not overpowering.  Served with ring bologna and canned corn, the garlic chili mashed potatoes disappointed no one.

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