Friday, November 14, 2008

Smokey Chili

Smokey Chili
A little side note: I do a lot of my cooking on the fly (aka, skip the measuring cups, save yourself from doing more dishes). So use this as a guide, experiment, perfect it if you must...just don't freak out if I say "use a tsp of salt" and you use a tsp and a half and don't spend your day contemplating how to tell if your medium onion is a medium onion or not. If you like salt and onions use as much as you like, if you don't then skip it.

You'll need...
To perform this cooking task successfully:
1 Large pot or crock pot
1 small mixing bowl
Tbsp and tsp measuring spoons

For the Junk in the chili:
3 strips of raw (frozen - I'll explain why later) bacon (maple, thick cut, pepper, whatever)
1 lb pork loin (whole not ground)
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can kidney beans (these are the ones that look like kidneys, sometimes called just 'red beans')

1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
3+ Tbsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Ground oregano
1 Tbsp Seasoning salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes

I would go ahead and prep all of your ingredient ahead of time. Makes it easier to watch the stove and then you don't get behind, burn or forget anything.

Prep Veg: Dice the 1/2 medium onion, bell pepper, and garlic (you can buy pre-minced garlic to save time). Pull into small mixing bowl. To this add the Tbsp of seasoning salt, some black pepper (like a pinch or two), and even some chili powder if you like. This allows the vegetables to get seasoned before they go in the pot and helps disperse it evenly throughout the sauce. Toss the veg until it is evenly covered in seasoning, set aside.

Prep Meat: Use approximately 3 strips of bacon. I recommend you keep it frozen just because it's easier to slice into strips, if it's already defrosted, oh well. Cut the bacon into small pieces. The fat rendered from the bacon will help brown the pork and give the chili a smokey flavor. Next, take your pound of pork loin and cut it into cubes. I like the cubes of meat versus the ground. It makes the Chili more hearty like a stew. Also, if you want to substitute pork loin for flank steak or anything else then go for it!

Put in Pot: (If you're using a crock pot I recommend browning the bacon and meat before putting it in the pot). Turn your stove top on to medium high heat. Throw in the sliced bacon. Allow to cook (it doesn't have to be completely brown or crispy, just get some of the fat and juices out). Once there's some bacon greasy in the pot add the pork loin cubes. Cook until brown. At this point i recommend seasoning the pork with a little black pepper and chili powder. Don't worry about salt, the bacon will take care of that. Now add seasoned veg, kidney beans, the can of diced tomatoes, and the can of chicken stock (Don't worry the stock will reduce and get thicker). Bring all of these ingredients to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Add can of tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, ground oregano, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer until sauce thickens. Feel free to add more chili powder, salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste.

Use this chili as a topping for baked potatoes, wavy egg noodle, rice, or elbow mac. Add shredded cheese, sour cream, or fried onions to finish it off.

Chili reheats well, you can even freeze it if you want. Also, the longer you let it simmer the more tender the meat will turn out. Always taste it and add seasoning to your liking.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Claudio, We Miss You

Cafe Beaudelaire
2504 Lincolnway
Ames, IA 50014 (Their site is under may be that way for awhile)

Cafe Beaudelaire on Urbanspoon

A little side note: As an amateur foodie I work with what I'm dealt. And as soon as I'm paid to do this, hell, I'll travel everywhere and devote all of my time to this instead of just posting when there's lull time at work (a smaller, asian version of Anthony Bourdain?) Also, I've only had the opportunity to live and fully experience 2 places: Minneapolis and Ames and thus this is what I write about. I've traveled many places but didn't alway experience food like I wanted to and I definitely didn't document any of it, which is too bad.

On a better note, I think it will interest and suprise those of you who choose to read that Ames is more than just a college town in Iowa. I guess in addition to finding restaurant gems in Minneapolis, maybe the same can go for the Midwest...someday the US? The world?

Cafe Beaudelaire is located in the heart of campus town (sorry AmesBeat, don't sue me, I just needed a photo so I could reminisce with myself). Amidst a sea of sports bars, dives, dorms, and fast food, Cafe B is something unexpected. Owner Claudio is from Brazil, how he ended up in Ames, Iowa? You should ask him. He's there most of the time either cooking, having a beer, or socializing with the regulars. I'd like to think I'm one of the regulars...even though now I only get to go about once a month. I also have to mention the awesome and always well dressed J the bartender. I would visit this place for those two alone.

The place is small, but well kept...almost too classy/trendy for the college bar scene. In the morning and afternoon Cafe B serves up a variety of coffee drinks, fresh fruit smoothies, and breakfast. Mr. Bottenfield and I survived on this place last winter. Simple and to the point, Cafe B offers the regular hashbrowns, eggs, steak, pancakes, etc. All are above average. They also have more traditional dishes South American dishes including breakfast rice and sandwiches served with fried eggs, peas and corn on top. I highly recommend requesting a Beaudelaire burger with munster cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top. It cannot be beat! I should mention that they put mayo on all of their burgers, so if you do not like, ask for none.

Cafe B does triple duty as a cafe, restaurant, and bar. During the evenings Cafe B turns into a great hang out, almost, not clubby. It's hard to explain. They do feature DJs, music, and a huge assortment of drinks. Also, if you have something in mind and know what goes into it they'll probably make it for you. Cafe B's calling card in Ames is their long island ice teas. Now, I'm more of a beer girl/woman/lady/person/thing, but the long islands are not bad and you definitely get your money's worth. With a good selection of beer and daily specials its a sure thing for a night out.

Prices are reasonable, staff is friendly, it is out of the ordinary for a college town in Iowa. If you ever find yourself in the neighborhood stop in. I MISS YOU BEAUDELAIRE!


Juicy Lucy 'til the Cows Come Home (in nice neat little burger patties that is)

5-8 Club
5800 Cedar Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(There are also locations in Champlin and Woodbury)

I've alway driven by the 5-8 club but never visited. Then a few weeks ago my sister went with a friend and told me they had bleu cheese filled hamburgers and I knew I had to go. My life depended on it...

According to the restaurant officials (aka, the online menu) the 5-8 club used to be a speakeasy back in the prohibitions days during the 1920s. Once prohibition was lifted the 5-8 continued to serve booze in it's legal form and added a food menu to the mix. It soon became widely known for its famous burgers and beer selection. Today, over 75 years later, the 5-8 is still around serving their famous burgers old-school style.

While it made have been a wide selection back in the days of prohibition, the 5-8 serves primarily domestics (not that there's anything wrong with that), a small array of wine (but who drinks wine with burgers anyways!?), and Mike's Hard Lemonade (if you enjoy a stomach ache in a bottle).

THIS IS A BURGER JOINT PEOPLE! If I see you in here trying to look adorable I will karate chop you in your neck. There's plenty of parking and lots of seating, but it's a popular place. The hightop tables can fit 4, but they are fairly small. If you go on the weekend during lunch you'll probably have to wait.

Onion Straws $5.25
Can someone say giant basket of fried onions? Good, lots, onion breath for weeks. Thin sliced onions, hand breaded and deep fried. Not your typical fried onion. You must share these or suffer the consequences of eating a large basket of onions all by your lonesome. If you don't like onions beware. You could probably skip the fries if you get these. I'm going with the Extreme Jojos next time.

Bacon Cheeseburger $4.25 (Mr. Bottenfield's choice)
plus Fries & Coleslaw $1.95 (Unless you add a "basket" to your burger you'll just get a burger with no side, other sides include Jojos & Coleslaw ($2.50) and Rings & Coleslaw ($2.75)).
Quarter pound, cooked medium well unless otherwise requested, served with pickles. Good, juicy burger. Mr. Bottenfield didn't rave, but there was nothing to complain about.

The Juicy Lucy $4.95 (Woot! Mine!)
This is what I was waiting for. A half pound burger stuffed with your choice of American, Bleu, Pepper, or Swiss cheese. I thought the burger was awesome and something I haven't seen anywhere else. I would definitely go back to the 5-8 for another stuffed burger. I didn't order any sides because the onion things kicked my ass and the burger finished the job.

Pitcher of Leine's Honey Weiss $10.25

# of People: 4
Reservations: NO SUCH THING
Day/Time of Visit: Sunday, November 2nd at Football o' clock (Noon-thirtyish).
Will I be back: Once I recover from my first visit.
YAYs!: Good food for you buck, friendly staff, bleu cheese stuffed into meat (um...great).
Nays: Large crowd, funky weird guy who stared at my sister.
Notes: I tasted onions for a week afterwards. I may skip those next time. Call 612-823-5858 for pick-up orders.


5-8 Club Tavern & Grill on Urbanspoon